Tokyo Disneyland

This is the best day to visit Tokyo Disneyland if you don’t want to wait in 2-hour lines

Tokyo Disneyland is just as magical as its American counterpart, but with the addition of adult cosplay and some seriously delicious food. It also has notoriously long lines – it’s not unheard of to wait over two hours to get on Pirates of the Caribbean or over three hours just to ride Space Mountain during holiday weekends.

We’ve already revealed the eight least crowded weekends and holidays at Tokyo Disneyland and found out that scorching hot temperatures are enough to keep the crowds at bay. Just this past weekend we discovered another day of short lines at Tokyo Disneyland for those who don’t mind being a little uncomfortable if it means not having to stand around all day.

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Tokyo Disney Sea adds pitch-black sausage, other spooky treats for Halloween

Japan has gotten into Halloween in a big way in the last few years. By mid-September, stores start putting up decorations and offering seasonal treats, even if the practice of trick-or-treating hasn’t really caught on here yet.

So it’s only natural that Halloween gets special treatment from another popular import, Tokyo’s Disney theme parks, as Disney Sea is offering up some spooky Halloween menu items, including a pitch black sausage.

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Experience an entire day at Tokyo Disneyland in just 110 seconds of time-lapse video

Despite having lived in Japan for eight years now, I’ve never actually been to Tokyo Disneyland. I was lucky enough to be taken to Walt Disney World, Florida when I was a kid, but now that I’m older and infinitely more cynical, I don’t think I have the stomach for an entire day of cheery music and giant mice.

One thing people often ask me (after whether McDonald’s is any different here) when they learn that Japan has its own Disneyland, though, is whether the park is anywhere near as good as those in Florida or California. In the past, I’ve only been able to shrug and tell them that “the kids here go nuts over it, so probably,” but now, with this time-lapse video made by the folks at Tokyo Disneyland, I can safely say that it’s pretty much exactly the same.

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The reason Tokyo Disneyland has no mosquitos (plus three other cool things about its water)

Tokyo Disneyland and Disney Sea can both make pretty strong claims for the “Happiest Place on Earth” title. Combining the cast of the animation pioneer’s collected works with Japanese sensibilities results in some of the most unbridled and deep-rooted enthusiasm for cartoon characters you’re likely to find anywhere. Adding to the experience is the attention to detail and hospitality that comes from the world’s preeminent amusement park operator and the country with the highest customer service standards on the planet.

But while all those things go a long way towards helping visitors enjoy their stay, the excitement they bring just might pale in comparison to the joy guests feel when they realize there’s something Japan’s Disney theme parks don’t have: mosquitos.

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Tokyo Disneyland honors “proto-Fastpass” given to girl 16 years ago, melts the Internet’s heart

Between the exciting rides, fun mascots and surprisingly progressive policies, millions of Japanese and foreign tourists have their “dreams come true” at Tokyo Disneyland every year. But for every dream fulfilled, there are always a few little hearts broken when a child realizes they are too short to experience the thrilling ride that has everyone else screaming for joy.

Some 16 years ago, one such girl was turned away at one of the rides and given a “Future Passenger Certificate,” a seemingly primitive version of Disney’s Fastpass, which entitled her to skip to the front of the line when she came back as an older and taller Tokyo Disneyland guest.

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Tokyo Disneyland celebrates “Thanks Day” where the employees become valued guests

On 27 January, Tokyo Disneyland held a little-known annual event to express gratitude for their legions of employees. Called “Thanks Day” it’s the one times of the year where those who work hard offering us visitors their cordial hospitality get to cut loose and have free rein over the park. Meanwhile, their managers give themselves a temporary demotion for the night to serve colas and operate Big Thunder Mountain.

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Tokyo DisneySea offers unbearably cute limited-edition Duffy sweets and souvenirs

From now until March 20, Tokyo DisneySea is offering some very cute snacks featuring Duffy, the Disney bear, and his lady friend, ShellieMay. Take a look after the jump, but be warned: the cuteness is off the charts!

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Captain EO to close again at Tokyo Disneyland, will be replaced by Lilo & Stitch attraction

There few pieces of cinematic brilliance that come close to matching Captain EO. The star power of Michael Jackson guided by the directing talents of Francis Ford Coppola in a George Lucas Production all come together in a space-operatic masterpiece that taught us all to dream again.

However, the film was taken from us after a fleeting 11-year run at Disney theme parks around the world. Then in a bittersweet moment it was reopened in tribute to the king of pop’s passing in 2010. And now again we in Japan will have to mourn the 17-minute film’s closing in 2014.

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12 urban legends about Tokyo Disneyland

Tokyo Disneyland is a magical place, what with all the joyous rides, concerts utilizing incredible animatronics and performers who seemingly never tire, mostly not-terrifying mascots available for photo ops, and children mysteriously vanishing from the park every year, never to be seen again.

Wait, what?

Okay, so the last one may or may not be an urban legend. Like any public place that gets massive amounts of traffic and a lot of media attention, Tokyo Disneyland attracts its fair share of urban legends. Some of these legends apply to Disneyland locations worldwide, while others are exclusive to TDL. Let’s take a look at some of the more interesting/frightening ones:

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Visiting Alcázar of Segovia, the real Disney castle

As you may have heard, Disney’s movies and theme parks are incredibly popular in Japan. While Hello Kitty is the reigning queen of cute, she can never rest easy knowing that Minnie is just one step behind, ready to take the throne. And with the immense popularity of Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Disney Sea, it’s hardly any wonder that one of the most popular destinations for Japanese folks traveling abroad is Alcázar of Segovia, a Spanish castle which served as the inspiration for the nearly universally-known Cinderella castle.

And when you see the pictures we’ve found of the castle, you’ll want to visit it too!

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Since when was Halloween so popular in Japan?

Just like in many Western countries right now, in Japan ’tis the season to be spooky. Halls in Tokyo are decked with orange; cute pumpkins, witches and ghosts wink from shop windows; and you might even find a special seasonal pastry in your local bakery or supermarket.

Now firmly established in the annual Japanese calendar, not so long ago hardly anyone even knew that such a thing as Halloween existed. How could this day, which has become more like a month-long festival in Japan, go from zero to hero so quickly? What brought this on, and why is it so big in Japan? Japan’s Madame Riri looks at four different reasons.

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Tokyo Disneyland’s cast creates magic in the kingdom

At Tokyo Disneyland and every other embodiment of Disney’s Magic Kingdom, the staff are all referred to as “cast members.” It may seem strange at first to refer to the people sweeping the sidewalks and answering phones the same way you would an actor in a play, but the fact is that all the theme park is a stage and the staff are but players, doing all they can to make the magic of Disney come alive. It’s their primary job to bring a sense of joy and wonder to every last visitor to the park, and yet the magic can manifest itself in some truly surprising ways! Here are a few of the first-person accounts given by people impressed by the Tokyo Disneyland cast.

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The awesome outfits of cosplayers at Tokyo Disneyland

Cosplay isn’t just for conventions or the Kyoto subway. Tokyo Disneyland during the Halloween season is a great place for Disney fans to show off their cosplay skills. Usually, anyone out of elementary school isn’t allowed to enter Tokyo Disneyland in full costume, but during the first and last week of the Disney Halloween event (September 9 to 15 and October 25 to 31), anyone is invited to cosplay at the park. Let’s take a look at some of the impressive costumes from the first week of the TDL Halloween season.

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Cinderella Castle up in flames during this summer’s Tokyo Disneyland fireworks display

Cinderella Castle is the most iconic attraction at the Disney theme parks in the United States and Japan. It often stands at the center of special holiday and seasonal fireworks displays, allowing guests some breathtaking views of the tiered beauty. This year, it looks like Tokyo Disneyland got a little carried away with their summer fireworks display, inspiring a flurry of excited Tweets with captions such as “A huge explosion at Cinderella Castle!” and “Cinderella Castle ablaze!”

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Star Wars Takes Over Tokyo Disneyland to Celebrate Reopening of Star Tours

Three days after every other person on the internet was posting “May the fourth be with you,” Tokyo Disneyland was flooded with Star Wars fans celebrating the grand reopening of Star Tours: the Adventures Continues. The ride offers a 3-D Star Wars experience with over 50 possible randomly selected story combinations. There’s no greater thrill than feeling as if you are rocketing through space, interacting with familiar Star Wars characters in the third dimension.

But what impressed our reporter, Tashiro-kun, the most was the fanfare that day. With around 200 Disney cast members dressed in Star Wars costume and more Disney-Star Wars merchandise than you can shake a light saber at, Tokyo Disneyland on May 7 was the place to be for Star Wars fans.

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Top Five Worst Places to Visit in Japan

According to a recent survey conducted by the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO), as of September 2012, numbers of foreign tourists visiting Japan reach 430,000, an increase of 32.7 percent. Japan’s tourist industry suffered as a result of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, but it looks like tourism is on the rise in Japan once again.

 When foreigners do find themselves in Japan, travel guidebook in hand, they are inundated with advice regarding must-see places. But the worst part about taking a trip is arriving to one of these “must-see” locations and realizing it isn’t all that great. That’s why we’ve gathered up a list of the top five most disappointing tourist spots in Japan as recommended (unrecommended?) by users on Reddit.

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Eating Our Way Through Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea【You, Me, And A Tanuki】

For Christmas 2012, my husband and I headed off our island and spent Christmas in Tokyo. We set aside a few days to mill around Shibuya, Shinjuku, Akihabara, and a few other places, but the main event of our trip was going to Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea. The only problem was that we chose to go during one of the busiest times of the year: Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. So what do you do when everyone in Tokyo came to Disneyland, all the Fast Passes are gone, and you have to wait at least an hour to ride a three-minute ride? Eat everything in sight, of course.  Take a look at some of the awesome and unexpected food you can find in Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea.

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If you were lucky enough to take a trip to Disneyland as a child, you no doubt remember the bouquets of brightly colored balloons that towered over the crowds. And if you asked your mom really nicely and flashed your best set of puppy dog eyes, added in a few “please, oh please, oh please, I’ll be good all day!” you might have been granted an inflated Micky head to bob along with you while you made your way through the happiest place on earth.

If you’re a Japanese kid in November 2012, you will never have the chance to even covet a shiny Disney themed balloon because all traces of them have been wiped out of the park.

What the heck happened?!

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Tokyo Disneyland Sees Its First Ever Wedding at Cinderella’s Castle, Fairy Magic Starts At US$96,000

Flying in the face of the popular urban myth that couples who visit Tokyo Disneyland always leave single, on Friday, September 28, Takayuki Abiko and his bride Mayumi Kagoshi became the first couple ever to marry at Tokyo Disneyland’s Cinderella castle, inducing excited gasps and striking fear into the hearts of many across the land.

The “Disney Royal Dream Wedding” plan only began taking reservations at the beginning of September this year, giving Takayuki and Mayumi the privilege of being the first couple ever to exchange rows of love in the gigantic fairytale ballroom, and throwing them into the media spotlight. Read More

TripAdvisor Ranks Top 20 Japanese Travel Destinations For Foreign Visitors, Hiroshima Edges Kyoto For Top Spot

The Japanese arm of tourism website TripAdvisor gathered user comments and evaluations from the past year and used them to rank the Top 20 travel destinations in Japan over that time. Hiroshima Prefecture maintained its popularity with two destinations in the Top 5 while five Kyoto sightseeing spots made the list.

The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and A-Bomb Dome moved to the top of the list after coming in second last year. Read More

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