stands as the only Disney park that's not actually owned by the Walt Disney Company, it's owned by The Oriental Land Company
who paid Disney to use their name, likeness and blueprints of the original park in Anaheim to create their own theme
park and sweetened the deal by giving Disney 10% of all ticket sales and 5% of merchandise. Today, Oriental Land Company's Tokyo Disneyland is the most visited (and most profitable) Disneyland in the world.
Because it's owned by a different
company, there are enough subtle differences to this park that make it an unforgettable experience.
Please see the Disney
promotional music video "The Dream Goes On" (celebrating the 25th anniversary of the park), below to get a feel for what
makes Tokyo Disneyland unique.
Since we're fairly certain
you have a good grasp of what an American Disney theme park is like, we're just going to highlight what makes Tokyo Disneyland
different, by themed land below:
Bazaar ("Main Street" in the U.S.)
This main street is named "World
Bazaar" because let's face it, Main Street U.S.A. isn't exactly Main Street Japan, it's more like a journey into America's
quaint past. Here, japanese tourists can stroll through a World's Fair, tasting different foods (like churros
and turkey), checking out foreign amusements (like the Penny Arcade and Magic Shop) and listening to American
Jazz from a live band. It's all so exotic, right? Well maybe not, but if you grew up on JPop, mochi and natto
you'd think this was pretty weird and cool.
Another unique feature of the
World Bazaar in Tokyo is the glass roof, there to protect people from the rain and snow (yes, it snows in Tokyo).
Below is a pic of the World Bazaar exit towards the Castle. Notice that there's a Main
Street down the middle and buildings that extend far on either side as well. That's because there's a "Central Street"
that connects like a "T" to Main Street making it possible to walk directly to Tomorrowland or Adventureland without
seeing Cinderella's Castle.
no train on Main Street to connect you to different lands. There's a train in Westernland that connects to Adventureland
but it's a pretty short ride. It's mostly for show, and not really useful for getting anywhere.
There are only a couple of differences in Fantasyland, the first
is the castle. Although the park it's mostly modeled after the original California theme park, it's been tricked
out with Florida's Cinderella's Castle instead of the Sleeping Beauty Castle we know from L.A.
as you can see in the pic below the "classic" style of Fantasyland that looked like a Renaissance fair at the
foot of a castle has prevailed over the remodeled Fantasyland's in the rest of the parks. If you've
been to a Disney Park before 1985, this will give you an instant flashback while you're there.
are covered (in case of rain or snow) and they've cleverly hung chinese lanterns from the "tent" above in keeping with Alice's
Tea Party. We also wanted to point out that characters play a much bigger role in Tokyo Disneyland than other parks,
you'll see them interact with the guests more and even hop on a ride or two. Please see Mary Poppins and Bert on the
covered teacups below:
us to probably the most creative addition to Fantasyland, The Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall.
under the watchful gaze of the Queen's tiny palace...
of this restaurant is appropriately themed....
of the food looks the part.
It's cafeteria style,
so you point to the food you want and pay at the register and then an attendant will show you to your table.
This land is pretty
much the same with the exception that if you've only been to the park in California you might not know that the Pirate's ride
is here instead of in New Orlean's Square.
The only other difference that exists is with the restaurants.
Polynesian Terrace: The restaurant in
Tokyo still has a nightly luau. They perform two polynesian shows, one at lunch with Lilo (from Lilo and Stitch)
and one at dinner with Mickey and Minnie.
Note: The visitors to Tokyo Disneyland are mostly interested
in the shows and parades, it's the main reason they are there so if you do want to book a dinner here and see a show,
the reservations for this restaurant must be made a month in advance and on a website in japanese only OR through the concierge
at a Disney Hotel if you booked a room. Click the pic above to link to the official page and reservations.
Boiler Room Bites: This is a small outpost of
a place that serves comfort food, mainly "donburi". We didn't say "american" comfort food, did we? Donburi (pronounced
Dohn-Boo-ree) means "Bowl". A donburi is a rice bowl with a meat, fish or vegetable topping - like at Yoshinoya Beef
Bowl. Here they serve such varied toppings as Taco Meat, Shrimp Patties and Creole Chicken. Unlike an American
Yoshinoya though they come with a bit of lettuce/cabbage on top and an egg (traditional in Japan).
restaurant is meant to resemble a salvaged and recycled boiler room from the hull of a big ship.
Voyager: This is a slightly bigger restaurant and serves chinese food, but you won't find dishes like Chow Mein or Sesame
Chicken (that's american food). You'll find fried tofu, beef with vegetables and shrimp in chili sauce.
restaurant is meant to look like a restaurant made from the hodge podge parts of a dismantled Clipper (ship).
Westernland(Frontierland in the U.S.)
This land is called Westernland for the obvious reason that it's
from the Wild Wild West of course! What's a "frontier" anyway? The omission of "wild, wild" in front of "west"
here kind of goes hand in hand with the belief that any American, at any time, could don a cowboy hat and spit tobacco on
a moving target while spinning a six-shooter in each hand. Yep. They could probably hit a tin can with those guns
if you threw it in the air, too. That's America for you! Americans don't ride horses mind you, that's ridiculous,
we just get on our Harley Davidson's for crissakes!
Camp Woodchuck Kitchen: This restaurant serves some American fare that you might be missing and some new Japanese food that you might never have tried. They have a chicken and waffles sandwich and serve turkey legs. They also serve Onigiri teriyaki sandwiches in the shape of Mickey's head.
Aside from the fried chicken, it's true that you'll never feel
further from home walking through this American-town-of-dreams, but it's pretty cool to see anyway right? By the
way, if you are American, we highly recommend meeting the hype by picking up a cowboy hat at the Mad Hatter and gettin'
your name stitched right on it. Also, if you're any good at shooting galleries this would be the place to impress quite
a few people. Oddly, it's a pretty good feeling living up to the japanese stereotype of an American.
Tomorrowland is very familiar but they do have a unique restaurant.
Galactic Pizza Port: This restaurant sells pizza but offers a show of sorts at the same time. Animatronic
aliens and video screens show you the progress of your pizza, sometimes an alarm will sound and all hell will break loose
but rest assured you'll get your slice of pizza. There are two kinds of pizza, chicken and vegetable or sausage and
mushroom. Below you can see the main alien "Tony Solaroni" from the Spumoni Galaxy.
There are some
side dishes too, but unless you're a daring diner, please beware of the seafood salad - it has octopus and seaweed in
Sea is another theme park (adjacent to Disneyland) that's unique to Tokyo. Japan is an island and they've had a
long love affair with the sea, so it's a seaside themed resort. With the exception of the Tower of Terror
and an Indiana Jones Ride (with a few differences from the one we know) everything else is brand new. Because
it's so new we'll highlight a few features using video below and give you a link at the end for more detailed
to the Center of the Earth - is a pretty great ride. It's a bit like Splash Mountain-on-land in concept,
you travel along at a slow pace looking at all kinds of beautiful scenery, then the enemy comes dangerously close so you
speed up and then take a big dip and that's the end. What's unique about this attraction is the shuttle launch that
lifts you high up before you take the dip, is almost as exciting as the drop.
This is the only roller coaster in the park and has a 360 degree
loop in it. It's a short, bumpy fun ride with more turns than drops. It sort of mimics an Indiana Jones cart ride
theme. Please see the video below:
this is mainly a kid's area it's worth checking out. They've put the rides indoors under a big canopy with the
effect that you're under the sea. You can ride on little spinny baby rides and if you're there at the right time you
can see a show (while still on your ride) that takes over the entire "underwater" land. Please see a Travel Channel
segment about Mermaid Lagoon in the YouTube video below: