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All images by Aleney de Winter © Disney

10 reasons Tokyo DisneySea is fab for families

Tokyo, Japan

Said by many to be the best Disney Park in the World, Tokyo DisneySea is a stunning one-of-a-kind Disney experience that cleverly combines high tech Japanese wizardry with the celebrated hospitality that Disney is so famous for. Along with some iconic Disney favourite attractions, visitors will find unique, immersive rides plus sparkling show and shows that will appeal to everyone. Here, in no particular order, are 10 reasons we think DisneySea is fantastic for families.

1. It’s a one-of-a-kind

Celebrating 15 fabulous years this year, Tokyo DisneySea is unlike any Disney park you’ll find anywhere else in the world. Tokyo DisneySea is a fully realised concept park inspired by the magical myths and legends of the sea. Boasting seven themed ports: Mediterranean Harbor, Mermaid Lagoon, Arabian Coast, Lost River Delta, Port Discovery and American Waterfront and Mysterious Island, complete with erupting volcano, visitors of every age will find an exciting and unique experience that still packs plenty of that essential Disney magic.

2. The gear is great

The first stop on any Disney Park adventure has to be to the boutiques to stock up on all the essentials like mouse ears, hats and headbands and all that irresistibly Disney themed gear that is a must for any Disney Day. But Tokyo DisneySea appears to have more hats and ears than any park I’ve visited with so many wildly different variations of Minnie Mouse’s ears that my daughter Marlo (7) ended up with three pairs! And my son did pretty well too with a Goofy hat that suited him down to the ground. The shopping doesn’t stop at the entrance with themed gear specific to each and every zone. My tip is to keep an eye out for the cute Woody and Jessie hats in American Waterfront’s Toy Storey Mania!


3. The attention to detail is incredible

Our jaws literally hit the floor at the first sight of this extraordinary park. So authentic is the classical Italian theming of the Mediterranean Coast, our first of the seven ports of call, that we wondered if we’d taken the wrong train at Tokyo Station and had miraculously ended up in Venice. From the fire-breathing volcano at the Park’s centre to the hulking S.S. Columbia in American Waterfront and the Middle Eastern maze that is Arabian Coast, Tokyo DisneySea uses incredible detail to achieve the utmost authenticity and clever design tricks to separate each port of call into its own spectacularly immersive world.

4. There’s something for kids of every age

Despite its reputation as a park for older visitors, and they will love it, DisneySea has something for kids of every age. From the gently cute rides and entertainment of Mermaid Lagoon, where lucky littlies may even get to meet the radiant Ariel herself, to the divine double-decker Caravan Carousel and enchanting Sindbad’s Storybook Voyage in the Arabian Coast, there are plenty of rides and shows suitable for even the littlest guests. School age children will also enjoy the twirling, whirling fun of Aquatopia and underwater adventures on the Nemo and Friends SeaRider. And Toy Story Mania! in the American Waterfront is a ride that’s awesome for all ages. Braver kids can take on epic thrill rides including the iconic Tower of Terror, the Jules Verne-Inspired 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Journey to the Center of the Earth, and the rollicking Raging Spirits coaster. But no matter what age, there’s so much to see, do and experience that you couldn’t possibly fit it all in one day.


5. Getting around is half the fun

Tokyo DisneySea takes transport seriously. To start with, getting here is a cinch on the monorail that links the two Tokyo Disney parks, as well as its incredible collection of hotels, to JR Maihama Station. And once you enter the gates you can explore the park’s waterways by Venetian Gondola and the DisneySea Transit Steamer Line, or on four wheels in one of the American Waterfront’s vintage Big City Vehicles. And, given Walt Disney’s fondness for trains, it should come as no surprise that there’s also the elevated Tokyo DisneySea Electric Railway, which transports tired little (and big) feet between The American Waterfront and Port Discovery.

6. It’s educational as well as fun

Fortress Explorations was one of my history loving son’s favourite attractions in the park. The interactive play area is more “edutainment” than ride and showcases some of the iconinc inventions of some of the greatest thinkers in history. As he bounced in out of each of the ten rooms he was able to learn about the earth’s rotation in the Chamber of Planets, visit an alchemy laboratory and even got to eyeball an incredibly detailed replica of Leonardo’s Flying Machine as he played.


7.The entertainment is next level

Visitors young and old will be dazzled by Tokyo DisneySea’s mesmerising shows and live performances. There are mesmerising street performers and the Arabian Coast’s Magic Lamp Theater, a cute magic show that blends live action with a 3D movie. And the 1930’s jazz and show tunes of American Waterfront’s toe-tapping Big Band Beat along with the mind- blowing extravaganza of light, water, music and pyrotechnics that is Fantasmic! simply cannot be missed.

8. The characters are as cuddly as can be

If it is princesses you seek, you’re better off heading next door to Tokyo Disneyland. But like every Disney park around the world there are plenty of opportunities for character meet and greets at Tokyo DisneySea. Mermaid loving littlies can get face to fin with Ariel in her grotto at Mermaid Lagoon, where we also spotted Donald Duck and Goofy heading off for a splash. We also got crazy with Timon from The Lion King, saw Stitch doing his glitchy thing in the Arabian Coast and of course got up close and personal with Mickey Mouse on the Mickey & Friends Greeting Trails.

9. The food is fabulous

Tokyo DisneySea has to be the best Disney theme park in the world for food choices with almost 40 dining venues serving up everything from sandwiches, fried chicken, hot dogs, and burgers to mouth-watering Japanese cuisine, Italian specialities and fine dining. If your kids have a sweet tooth they’ll find cream filled pastries, churros, soft serve ice cream, Mickey and Minnie inspired ice treats and more. But by far our favourite Tokyo DisneySea delight is the amazing popcorn. Not only are there a variety of flavours including sea salt, black pepper, curry and garlic-shrimp (my personal fave) as well as sweeter versions including chocolate and caramel, there are as many varieties of popcorn buckets to carry it in. The kids proudly toted their Mickey Mouse bucket, overflowing with caramel popcorn for the best part of the day. And the bucket made for a great souvenir of our visit. Oh, and unlike Tokyo Disneyland next door, Tokyo DisneySea is licensed, so mum and dad can have a tipple or two.

10. It will make your kids’ feet itch for more adventures

With its authentically and intricately themed ports of call representing so many parts of the world, DisneySea will have your kids hankering to explore the world, or at the very least a return visit to Tokyo for more of DisneySea’s unique take on the wonderful world of Disney.

For more information or to book, visit the Tokyo DisneySea website.

When she’s not treading on Lego, Aleney de Winter is a travel, food and parenting writer. She shares tales of travelling and eating along with the hilarious antics of her globetrotting nine-year old foodie son and delicious six-year old daughter on her blog, Boy Eats World.

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