This review reflects our experience from February 2016.
Sometimes we like to take trips that aren’t to Disney World in Florida. Recently we had the opportunity to take a quick trip to Tokyo Disney Resort in Japan! We were really excited about this opportunity and wanted to share our experience with our readers.
Tokyo Disney Resort is located just outside of Tokyo, Japan and features two parks, Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea. Tokyo Disneyland opened in 1983 and is a pretty close resemblance to Disneyland in California. DisneySea opened in 2001 and features a beautiful waterfront and many more thrill rides than Disneyland. Tokyo Disneyland has a few token attractions that are completely unique to this park. Monsters, Inc. Ride and Go Seek! and Pooh’s Hunny Hunt are only found here.
We decided to stay at a non-Disney resort to save a little money. We stayed at the Hilton Tokyo Bay which is just a few minute walk to the Bayside Station for the Disney Monorail. Unlike the Monorail in Florida, this one is not free. You can pay per ride or unlimited rides for a couple of days.
The Hilton Tokyo Bay was an absolutely beautiful hotel and it was a fraction of the cost of one of the Disney hotels. We booked a reservation that included a buffet breakfast each morning. While doing research about being vegan in Japan we came across the term “shojin ryori” which means vegetarian in Japanese. Luckily vegetarian in Japan is basically vegan. While we were walking around the buffet for breakfast each item was labeled with both Japanese and English and said if it contained any major allergens, which really helped us with what we could eat. We both filled up on cereal with soy milk, fruit, rice and fermented veggies. Not bad for a breakfast in Japan!
Our first day we spent in Tokyo Disneyland. We took the monorail over and saw the lines of people waiting for the park to open and we became incredibly overwhelmed. Our first day was on a Sunday, which we have now found out that weekends are MUCH busier. We got in line with everyone else and waited to enter the park.
Once in the park we had a plan to head to Monsters, Inc. Ride and Go Seek! but it was closed. So we grabbed a fastpass for Space Mountain and decided to go find Pooh’s Hunny Hunt. We got really lost and ended up finding it with an over 2 hour wait just 20 minutes after opening. So we decided to continue around the park and enjoyed a ride on a half Japanese half English It’s a Small World.
We found out that popcorn in Tokyo Disney Resort is a big deal. There are tons of different flavors located all through the parks with lines of at least 30 people for each. We couldn’t confirm any of them were vegan so we didn’t get to try any.
We went and rode on Space Mountain and had a blast. We were both really hungry and wanted to find some lunch. On the map it had all the restaurants listed with type of food and had one marked with a vegetarian option. We decided to go wait for the restaurant with the one vegetarian item which was the Eastside Cafe.
We stood in line and it seemed to be going nowhere. While in line I told Corey I was going to run up to the Guest Services center and ask about other food options for us. When I arrived I waited in line for a few minutes and then was helped. The cast member went to grab someone who spoke better English and I asked about vegetarian food. She basically told me the only option is at Eastside Cafe and that we won’t have luck with any of the quick service items. I don’t know if it was just a language barrier or there is literally nothing else for us vegans to eat here. So I went back to Corey who had drastically moved up in line and told him the bad news.
Once we were seated in Eastside Cafe we told our server we both want the Vegetarian Course which is a pasta dish. The pasta dish comes with a salad and bread for only ¥1,730, which is about $15.
The salad was pretty tasty considering it seemed to just be lettuce and oil. We may have just been that hungry, but it really wasn’t bad at all. Our bread was different than others around us since it was for the vegetarian meal.
The pasta dish was really good. It seemed to have some sort of pesto on it and a tomato sauce. It was full of veggies and topped with pine nuts. As a whole we really enjoyed this dish and it was really cheap for the amount of food we got. The only issue we saw was that it took us over an hour to get seated and eat and this seemed to be our only option for the day.
We continued exploring the park and enjoyed a show of the Country Bear Jamboree, which was mostly in English, we saw the Enchanted Tiki Room show, which was entirely in Japanese, rode Big Thunder Railroad and just enjoyed the sites. Many of the rides here are mirrors of the ones in the US so we weren’t too keen on standing in a 3 hour line for the Haunted Mansion. We found out that the parades in Japan are a really big deal. We caught part of the Frozen parade while walking around.
We spent a few hours taking in the sites, avoiding the giant crowd lines and looking for Tokyo Disneyland branded anything. We found that the merchandise here was completely different and it was nearly impossible to find anything that actually said the park name. I finally found a pin and we bought a rice scoop that said it. We hoped that tomorrow would bring better merchandise. We left to go get some dinner, when leaving the park we found out that you can get a hand stamp for returning to the park. I would recommend this to vegans who want to find food elsewhere or even head back to your hotel room for a snack/meal. The night we got in to Tokyo we took the train about 20 minutes to Tokyo Station where there is a full vegan ramen restaurant. Since this was so easy the night before, and the food was that good, we decided to do this again that night.
T’s TanTan is located in Tokyo Station which is just a few stops from Tokyo Disney Resort. It cost us a few dollars to go down there and it was worth it. It was a quick meal and very easy to get to. After eating we took the train back to Tokyo Disney Resort, took a short walk to the Monorail and went back to our hotel as we were exhausted and incredibly jet-lagged.
The next morning we had a few hours to spend at DisneySea. We were only in Tokyo on an extended layover so we had to make the most of our time. After seeing the crowds on Sunday we headed to the park a little earlier this time. Our plan was to do the Tower of Terror and Journey to the Center of the Earth, Indian Jones was down for refurbishment otherwise that would have been on our list!
We quickly moved with the crowds to the Tower of Terror to grab a fastpass. We were able to get one at a reasonable time for our quick visit and then quickly walked over to Journey to the Center of the Earth. We did standby for this one and it moved relatively quickly. This ride was AWESOME. You are in a single car that sits about 6 or 8 people and you slowly move down through the earth. Everything is beautiful and the colors are excellent. Suddenly there’s some loud sound, obviously something trying to attack us, and you shoot through the rest of the attraction launching you outside real quick then back in. We were both really stoked after this ride.
After we finished on Journey to the Center of the Earth we toured some shops on our way back to Tower of Terror. We finally found the Duffy merchandise that we knew Japan loved. Pretty much 80% of the merchandise in Tokyo DisneySea was either Duffy, ShellieMay or Gelatoni.
We went on Tower of Terror and really enjoyed it, despite not knowing the storyline at all. This is not a Twilight Zone attraction and the intro is all in Japanese. The attraction was just as fun as Disney World’s.
After we finished our two attractions we had set to do we decided to walk the whole park and explore. I ended up purchasing a Gelatoni because, well he’s a cat and a painter. Since everyone else seemed to be walking around with a stuffed animal I decided to join in and carry around my Gelatoni for a photo-op.
We did check on the map again about food and found that DisneySea has the same pasta dish that Disneyland has. I did, however, find a tasty Tropical Fruit Mickey Ice Bar while walking around.
The various lands in DisneySea were all really well themed and very cool to see. Each area was completely immersive, now begins our photo tour.
After our quick 4 hours in DisneySea we wish we had chosen to spend the whole day here and not in Disneyland. The crowds were much better here because it was a Monday. I would suggest that if you make the trip out here, which you should, that you come to the parks on a weekday and to plan on bringing snacks or meals to eat in your rooms. There are lockers available outside of the parks to put your food if you’re not staying on the monorail line.
We hoped back on the monorail and went back to our hotel to get ready to head to the airport. We plan on coming back and spending more time in DisneySea and actually explore Japan. Eating vegan here wasn’t hard, but just very limited. There are a bunch of vegan restaurants in Tokyo so if you’re willing to travel for food that can be done, but if you’re just in the parks you may get sick of pasta pretty quickly. There are a ton of other restaurants, but with the language barriers we were hesitant to try anywhere else.
We hope you enjoyed our detour to Tokyo Disney Resort!