We had been planning to go to Tokyo Disneyland since a few months ago, but every time the kids got sick so we had to postpone! Finally yesterday we made it there and had a fantastic time!!
Here are my top tips for enjoying Tokyo Disneyland with young children (in our case 3.5 year old and 1 year old).
1. Buy your tickets online. My husband bought our tickets online the night before. Our printer had broken, so we printed the tickets out at 711 convenience store. Super easy and definitely saved us about an hour of lining up to buy tickets at the gate!
2. Get there early. Plan to arrive at 8:30am when the gates open. It was a partly cloudy day yesterday but it was still so HOT. So it was super important to arrive early, not only to avoid the crowds, but also for the kids to enjoy the morning before it got too hot.
3. Fast pass. The first thing we did was get a fast pass for Buzz Lightyear. My husband actually lined up for us and got our tickets (it wasn’t necessary for us all to line up together), so I took the kids to Cinderella’s castle and then we met up with my husband in Toontown. This was fantastic, as my son was keen to see EVERYTHING ASAP and definitely couldn’t have waited in line. We managed to get the Buzz fast pass for1:30pm (my husband lined up at 9:30, so the earliest fast pass we could get was for 4 hours later). My husband also lined up to get the Fastpass for the other highly popular kids attraction Winnie the Pooh Honey trail, but by the time he got there the earliest fast pass he could get was for 4pm, and as we planned to go home at 3pm, we decided just to see Buzz.
4. Take your kids to the less-popular (and therefore less crowded) attractions to begin with. Minnie Mouse’s house and Donald Duck’s boat in Toontown are super cute, nice and cool inside, and your kids will enjoy having the freedom to explore around without having to line up. My daughter isn’t walking yet, but she absolutely LOVED looking inside Minnie’s washing machine, and my son loved Donald Duck’s boat so much that he went there 6 times!
5. Meeting Mickey Mouse is like lining up to see Santa Claus. It literally took about 1.5 hours. Every time we turned a corner in his house I thought we would finally see him, only to find another room! The whole house was air conditioned though, and dimly lit which created a calming atmosphere with the kids which was nice. There were also little activities for them to do and sites to see while we waited. When we finally did meet Mickey he gave my son a huge hug which he LOVED (my daughter cried!), and we got to take a photo with our iPhone.
6. Food and water. My son was car sick on the way to Disneyland in the morning, so he basically turned up to the biggest event of his life with an empty stomach and looking very pale the poor thing. So I was constantly offering him water, bread, even icecream and juice just to keep up his fluid and food intake. The big issue though is that the food and drinks at Disneyland tend to be like fast food, and it is very hard to find simple healthy options for kids. Make sure you bring lots of water, sandwiches or onigiri and easy fruit such as bananas to keep your kids energy levels up.
7. Parade. Don’t miss the parade! Fantastic. You just need to put your kids on your shoulders so they can see.
8. Hats, umbrella, sunscreen.
9. Stroller. I am SO glad we took our stroller. We basically took it with us inside all the attractions, including Mickey Mouse’s house. This was a huge relief, particularly when we were waiting for so long to see Mickey. For Buzz Lightyear and a few others we weren’t able to take the stroller in so we had to leave it outside, but he just put my daughter in the Ergo and carried our valuables and it was fine.
10. Baby Rooms. Tokyo Disneyland has fantastic baby rooms! They are a bit in need of some renovating, but very clean, air-conditioned, and very comfortable. It was so comfortable in fact that I saw one mother had fallen asleep in her chair while taking a rest with her baby! There were a lot of staff inside helping out and providing clean changing mats etc for diaper changing, so very welcoming and stress-free.