Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Disney Sea are the last parks our family crossed off our world Disney theme park tour. Tokyo Disney Resort took the #1 spot in our rankings, singularly because of Tokyo Disney Sea.
► Ranking: #cleandiaper
Our Family Trip to Tokyo Disney Sea, Japan
Entering Disney Sea is truly like entering a fairy tale. There is a fiery roaring mountain, a mermaid lagoon and an Arabian coast. You are transported between worlds seamlessly, while highlighting aspects of the Disney franchise that are overlooked at every other property. This is a totally unique park.
The park uses the location to its advantage. It is built directly next to Tokyo Bay. In fact, you can actually see the inlet from some points in the park, and it’s filtered through the park becoming a part of the scenery and attractions. It’s almost as if the Bay was the designer’s muse. The details are not surpassed. From the Venetian gondolas to the stonework emulating ancient Italian architecture, everything is iconic, picturesque, and mimicked after coastal towns.
This is particularly noticeable in the American Waterfront where you can board a cruise ship and look out on the entire Bay, and Port Discovery where the water is literally bursting through the walls that hold in the Marine Life Institute. This aspect was extremely fascinating for our family. We love water, and all our children are water babies. There is something so inviting and comforting about the water.
Transportation around the park also utilizes the bay water. The Disney Sea Transit Steamer Line provides transportation to three lands within the park.
Everything in this park is immense, and larger than life. It is over the top grandeur, with epic facades that tell a story in the theming alone. While there are some comparisons to Epcot, this is not a replica by any stretch. Epcot is a world showcase that features aspects or snippets of corners of the world including cuisine and merchandise. Disney Sea amplifies the world showcase concept by offering lands named not only after specific places on the globe, but picturesque coastal countries, both imagined and real, and magnifies their beauty in the architecture, the rides, and the imagination. If Epcot is like walking through a storybook, where each page offers bullet points about each region, Disney Sea is like an immersive pop up book, with items to touch, feel, peek around the edges and look inside the flaps.
True to Disney fashion, there is a whole land devoted to shopping. Mediterranean Harbor is designed wholly to sit in the shadow of the fabulous MiraCosta resort that towers over the park entrance. I can imagine staying there has exquisite views that include all of Disney Sea and Tokyo Bay. We fully intend to experience them someday, however, for this trip we stayed at the Tokyo Celebration Hotel; it was not quite so glamorous.
Disney Sea entices and invites exploration and curiosity. You will find surprises around every corner. In Mermaid Lagoon there is a large 360° statue of King Triton. If you take the time to admire every side of him, you’ll discover an entire underwater world hidden from view.
In Port Discovery you’ll find marine life animals escaping along the bridge scaffolding.
The Arabian coast is hidden beyond a stylized Moroccan window down a grand staircase, and Mysterious Island is only accessible through obscure bridges masked in the center of the park. It’s even hidden on the map.
We loved Mysterious Island! Our baby couldn’t get enough of the underwater 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride.
Our little guy felt so adventurous on the roller-coaster Journey to the Center of the Earth!
Our eldest daughter was particular to Raging Spirits in Lost River Delta feeling especially brave riding a rollercoaster with a full upside down loop!
The castmembers here are amazing! On our last night we were eeking out the last few minutes of fun before the park closed. Gabriel had taken Miss Pie on Raging Spirits for her last run, and I was waiting on the bench outside with Miss Eclair and Widmore. They were running around when spontaneously one of the castmembers started chasing them. Miss Eclair started giggling uncontrollably, and thus ensued the next 10-15 minutes. It was some of the most fun they had the whole few days. The personal attention and the dedication to making a magical experience for everyone is what sets this park apart from the rest.
This park also showcases a Fashion Show with castmembers and a water light show on the river. Duffy and his girlfriend Stella are a main attraction. Available dining options are Table Service and most rides appeal to both adults and children.
► For Kids: They will love this park! It offers exploration and curiosity, and they’ll see characters they won’t find at any other park.
► Nap-time Version: Our top ranked Disney resort! We’ll be offering a cost comparison to Walt Disney World soon, but we found the cost to have a unique Japanese experience at the most magical park on the globe was about the same as a family vacation to Florida.
Have you visited this park? What did you think? Did you prefer Tokyo Disneyland, or Disney Sea? Check out our review of Tokyo Disneyland too!