The landscaping at DisneySea – detailed and realistic. Set against the evening sky, it is stunning!
Fresh from our resounding conquest of Tokyo Disneyland the day before, we were psyched to explore the world’s one and only Tokyo DisneySea. This time, we aimed to conquer all the Fast Past (FP) rides and some of the major shows recommended by travel websites.
Introduction to DisneySea:
Ariel’s Mermaid Lagoon – colourful and playful with lots of fun for the whole family.
The Waterfront Square with the SS Columbia in the background.
Like its name suggests, it is a ocean-themed Disney amusement park (think: Mermaids, Arabian Coasts, Aladdin and yes, that blue genie). The connection of Disney productions to the ‘Sea’ theme isn’t as familiar but who cares, its really a spellbinding place. Moreover, this is the only DisneySea in the world.
Size and Landscape:
No details are spared here – from the intricate patterns on the dome to the very realistic Mount Prometheus which ‘erupts’ occasionally.
DisneySea is huge. Much bigger than Tokyo Disneyland next door. For those of us who have been to a couple of Disneylands, you may find the layout and landscaping unfamiliar. For example, instead of the iconic Cinderella’s Castle being the center piece, there’s now Mount Prometheus sitting on Mysterious Island and in front of it is a large lake instead of a typical Disney square. It takes some getting used to but after a few runs (yes, runs), it’ll get to you. But be prepared for longer runs and walks due to the sheer size of the place.
Despite that, the architecture and landscaping work is phenomenal. Given that the general theme at the facade is Arabian / Mediterranean mix, the faux seaside /cliff homes were astounding. When I first stepped into the theme park, I thought I was strolling along the streets of Morocco! Very detailed, very real. Mount Prometheus (Mysterious Island) itself is a sight to behold – it is scarily like a real volcano especially when it glows and spews out ‘lava’ in the evenings. Do make time to take photos of the amazing landscaping while you are in DisneySea.
Aquatophia in action.
Fast Pass (FP) Rides and Shows:
To maximize our visit, we did our research prior and zoomed in on the rides and shows we intend to catch.
Walk deep into DisneySea to find the Temple of the Crystal Skull – one of our favourite rides! We took it twice!
Deep in the lagoon of Mysterious island where a ‘down to earth’ journey awaits.
Here is a list of the popular rides and shows that utilize the Fast Pass System:
- Journey to the Center of the Earth (Mysterious Island)
- Toy Story Mania (American Waterfront)
- King Triton’s Concert (Mermaid Lagoon)
- The Magic Lamp Theatre (Arabian Coast)
- Temple of the Crystal Skull (Lost River Delta)
- Raging Spirits (Lost River Delta)
- Storm Rider (Port Discovery)
- Tower of Terror (American Waterfront): We skipped this as we are not into Horror-genre.
- 20,000 Leagues under the Sea (Mysterious Island): It was closed for maintenance during our visit. Oh well, a good excuse to return.
Welcome to Toyville – ToyStory land! One of our fav rides in DisneySea and the one we queued the longest.
List of DisneySea Shows:
- Fanstasmic: The evening light and fireworks show (Mediterranean Harbour) – not to be missed
- Big Band Beat (Broadway Music Theatre)
- A Table is Waiting (Dockside Stage)
- My Friend Duffy (Cape Cod Cook-off)
- King Triton’s Concert: NEW! (Mermaid Lagoon Theatre)
This ‘concert’ took us by surprise – Big Band Beat…One of the rare shows in English. Don’t miss it.
Queue forming for Big Band Beat. Worth the wait.
Summary of our ‘Voyage’ across DisneySea:
“Daddy, I want bigger rides”.
The very words I ‘feared’ my daughter would tell me has finally been spoken. Not because I was afraid of the rides but it was another sure sign that my baby girl is growing up too fast! Though I’ve been prepping myself for this day to arrive (Thanks to Legoland and USS!).
So now, here we are at DisneySea which boasts of bigger, bolder rides than Tokyo Disneyland.
I’ve got my work ‘cut out’ for me since we had a late start to our day as we had to settle luggage forwarding at the hotel lobby (see our tip further down) so by the time we reached the park entrance, it was about already 9:30am – 30 minutes since it opened at 9am. The moment we cleared the ticketing counter, I collected everyone’s admission tickets and off I dashed to get the Fast Passes for the popular rides. I aimed for the rides furthest away since those were the bigger rides which come highly recommended. Before you proceed with our itinerary, please read our Tokyo Disneyland Post to familarise yourself with the Fast Pass System.
We conquered 7 out of 9 Fast Pass Rides and Experiences including 3 of 5 of its popular shows during the 10 hours we spent in DisneySea along with some smaller cutesy rides inside the Mermaid Lagoon. We also capped it off with a complimentary Vintage Car ride against the stunning Summer sunset. So what do we think of this place?
We love it! Angie and I, even my 7 year-old, have been to 3 Disneylands but we unanimously agree that we prefer DisneySea for the following reasons:
- More varied rides: There was a good mix of cutesy rides for the young (mostly at Mermaid Lagoon) and the thrill rides for the adrenaline junkies like us who simply can’t get enough of the G-forces and drops.
- Much larger grounds with intricate, detailed landscaping. Walking around the grounds of DisneySea itself is an experience! (Check out the very realistic Mount Prometheus!)
- Much less crowded: It was still crowded but less so than Disneyland next door. Popular rides still packed queues of 60-90 minutes but due to its landscaping, the crowds were nicely tucked away! We felt more at leisure here and less rushed.
Inside Mermaid Lagoon – Ariel’s playground for the young at heart.
An enchanting indoor playground full of rides for little ones.
How we conquered Tokyo DisneySea!
Here are the First-Person-View (FPV) Videos for our rides at Tokyo DisneySea for keepsake and to relive those moments. Enjoy!
Sinbad Voyage Part 1:
Sinbad Voyage Part 2:
Electric Train Ride:
Toy Story Mania (3D):
Big City Vehicle Ride to SS Columbia:
Big City Vehicle Ride – Evening Sky
Aquatophia (Motion Sickness Alert):
Journey to the Center of the Earth:
Raging Spirit (The Ride):
Raging Spirit (View from outside):
Tips for Tokyo DisneySea:
Most of our tips listed from our Tokyo Disneyland experience still stand. Here are some specific ones for DisneySea:
- We purchased our 2-Day DisneySea and Disneyland Admission Tickets online so we can skip the queue at the ticket booth. Just remember to print the tickets and bring them along as you would need to scan the bar-codes for admission and to redeem the Fast Passes.
- DisneySea is a much larger theme park than Disneyland. Be prepared for longer and further walks and runs!
- Take time to enjoy the ‘scenery’ in the park between the rides. It’s quite an experience in itself.
- Mix your rides with show experiences. We particularly like Big Band Beat and Fanstasmic.
- If you want to do some shopping, you can still do so an hour before the park closes like we did.
- We had Japanese dinner at the Sakura Restaurant and it was fairly decent (a refreshing change from all the burgers, pizzas and popcorns). Restaurants with priority seating accepts advanced dinner reservations (from noon) so it was a relief not to stand in line when you are tired and hungry.
- Do stay on till the sun sets. The park is exceptionally mesmerizing at night.
A sample of our meal from Sakura – perfect place for dinner at DisneySea.
Yes…Curry Popcorn. There are other flavours too!
One last tip: Remember our late start to the day? Well, that was because our hotel, one of Disney’s official partner hotels, has a luggage forwarding service by ‘TaQBin’ which forwards luggage to our next destination for a relatively inexpensive fee! So, we spent some time in the morning arranging for our luggage to be forwarded to Hakone. How cool is that to know that while we were enjoying our day at DisneySea, our luggage were en-route to our next destination! For a DIY journey with kids, that is always an bonus.
Join us as we continue our DIY journey, onward to the onsen town of Hakone where the grand dame awaits.
Our DIY Japan Trip 2015 (Summer):