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This Tokyo Disneysea vs Disneyland Japan guide will take you around both parks showing you the differences that make them unique, plus top food dishes you have to try, and gift shop finds. 

Disneyland and Disneysea were one of the highlights during our one week in Tokyo

It was a day of magical proportions with no time to waste.

Heads up, both parks are massive and can easily take up an entire day in each.

Let’s begin exploring!

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Psst. . . Looking for more guides around Japan? Check out my other posts.

disneysea vs disneyland

Tokyo Disneysea vs. Disneyland

I wanted to share everything between the two parks such as top attractions, must-try foods (psst…I made a video), gift shop finds, and a one-day itinerary. 

You will also find distinct differences between Disneysea and Disneyland including a few comparisons to the original Disneyland California.

I can’t help myself.

disneysea vs disneyland

Tokyo Disneyland

Right away you will feel a huge difference with the absence of Main Street USA.

Although I was extremely happy to be there I was taken back because I couldn’t spot a single balloon. 

The shock eventually passed as I welcomed the difference and explored World Bazaar – stopping in the first gift shop I found to purchase a Tokyo Disneyland T-shirt.

What I did love was the ample amount of space around Cinderella’s castle. The grounds are very picturesque with plenty of space to snap a photo without tons of strangers photo bombing.

Rides & Attractions

Rides are similar to the ones you will find in other Magic Kingdom parks from Big Thunder Mountain, Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blaster, Haunted Mansion, Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, It’s a Small World and more.

I’ve always loved the Peter Pan Flight ride for obvious reasons and was very pleased to see how updated the one at Tokyo Disneyland was.

Could be that’s it’s a newer park compared to the original. The lights seemed brighter with an overall smoother flight.

Another major difference I’ve never experienced in any other park was Cinderella’s Fairy Tale Hall.

Yes, you can tour the castle while learning (or remembering) the classic story.

Try on the glass slipper, say hi to Gus Gus, take a seat in the throne, and twirl around the grand ballroom.

Dining

There are so many dining options at Tokyo Disneyland. You could spend a couple of days eating your way around without ever riding a single ride.

I cover food towards the end of this post so make sure you read to the end!!

You will find Blue Bayou here at the Pirates ride, as well as, Crystal Palace Restaurant and Cafe Orleans.

There are a few Asian options you won’t find at any other park such as Restaurant Hokusai and China Voyager.

For unique dining, I recommend The Queen of Heart’s Banquet Hall. It’s cafeteria-style so no reservations required.

For sweets, go to the Great American Waffle Company and Rackety’s Racoon Saloon, especially if you love churros and ice cream.

Shows & Parades

What’s Disneyland without a proper celebration? You will find the usual day and nighttime parades, as well as, nightly fireworks.

The Electrical Parade Dreamlights at night did not disappoint.

You will also find tons of shows requiring advanced reservations.

Why is Tokyo Disneyland Main Street Covered?

Tokyo Disneyland’s version of Main Street USA is called World Bazaar and it’s covered because many markets in Japan are indoor.

This gives a unique spin to Tokyo Disneyland and pays tribute to their style.  

Tokyo Disneysea

It’s difficult to compare Disneysea because there is no other park quite like it. Some aspects are a close resemblance to Hollywood Studio with Tower of Terror being here. Hints of Epcot vibes too with various representations of countries around the world. 

Right away I noticed the big balloons which made me happy. Up until this point, I thought balloons didn’t exist at Tokyo Disney but it turns out they do in Disneysea.

Have you ever heard of Duffy? Yeah, me either but he is one popular bear here.

I mean HUGE!

Quite possibly more than Mickey Mouse.

Yeah, I said it. 

Because Duffy is literally everywhere. In every shop, on every child.

Rides & Attractions

As an American, you will find some parts of Disneysea to feel very much like home.

Many of the places are American themed from New York City to the deep South.

For Tokyo, this western decor is very unique and different from their own culture, but as an American, you might not get that same awe.

However, that is only a fraction of the park.

What I loved the most about Disneysea was their tribute to the Little Mermaid. I loved that movie growing up but rarely see the story highlighted in the parks. That was until Disneysea opened. 

Now you will find a whole under the sea world at Mermaid’s Lagoon and Mysterious Island where you can see Prince Eric’s ship.

This park is so massive – looking at the map you are going to need a full 13 hours to explore. That’s open to close.

Aquatopia is the water version of Autopia. I personally enjoyed this ride more.

Thrill rides include Raging SpiritsJourney to the Center of the Earth, and Indiana Jones Adventure.

This is nothing like the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland and Disneyworld.

This only scratches the surface. I have yet to mention Toy Story Mania.

Dining

If you’re looking to splurge, I recommend booking a reservation at Magellan’s. An upscale dining experience.

If not there, then aboard the SS Columbia Dining located in New York Harbour. Here is where you can find the Roosevelt Lounge where we ended up for drinks.

Of course, I have to mention Miguel’s El Dorado Cantina because Mexican food is life.

Snack trolley’s and quick bites can be found all around the park. A great and affordable option for snacking in between rides. This, however, is where you find the most sugar.

If you can help it, try a few snacks and wait for the main meal at one of the above-mentioned restaurants.

vending machines at tokyo disneysea

If you’ve heard about the crazy vending machines found around Tokyo, it should come as no surprise they exist at Tokyo Disneysea.

Shows & Parades

The only show worth watching is the Disney Light the Night Show. Not that the rest of the shows are bad, Disneysea simply doesn’t have as many shows as Disneyland.

A majority of the shows here are atmosphere meaning random flash mobs of performers.

Must-Try Food and Drink

Here are the most unique foods at Disneysea and Disneyland you have to try and where to find them.

Make sure you check out the video above to see more of the food on this list. Also, subscribe to my channel!!

When I say I ate my way around both parks I mean it. My the end you could roll me out.

My rule has always been that diets don’t exist at the happiest place on earth.

disneysea vs disneyland

Churros

Both Disneyland and Disney Sea sell churros only these are Mickey-shaped.

I’m biased because Churros have always been my favorite treat at Disneyland.

disneysea vs disneyland

Toy Story Green Alien Mochi

These goodies remain to be the cutest treat found at both parks.

I was surprised to find they were not frozen like mochi ice cream. However, they were still delicious with a strawberry filling.

Toon Town Spring Roll

These tasty spring rolls come with two options –  a shrimp and egg or pizza.

disneysea vs disneyland

Mickey Mouse Glove Sandwich

This combo meal comes with fries and a sandwich assembled with fried chicken breast, lettuce, and tomato, on a Chinese bun.

disneysea vs disneyland food

Pork and Rice Roll

The name is exactly that. Bacon-wrapped around sticky rice. A cheap snack to curb your hunger that is not sugar.

disneysea vs disneyland popcorn

Popcorn

Popcorn is a big deal both at Tokyo Disneyland and Disneysea. They come in a variety of flavors from soy sauce and bbq to strawberry and hot chocolate. Oh yes, we tried them all!

disneysea vs disneyland

Teddy Roosevelt Room

Teddy Roosevelt Room can be found at Disneysea.

This lounge, located on the C deck on the second floor of the SS Columbia pays tribute to former President Theodore Roosevelt. 

Given we were sampling our way around the park we only grabbed an appetizer and two drinks.

We tried the Camembert Cheese Fondue with Baguette and seasonal cocktails.

disneysea vs disneyland

Caramel Banana Cake

While you will find tons of gift shop treats to take home many are the usual chocolates, cookies, and lollipops.

I was on a mission to find a unique treat I’ve never had before. I found that to be these Caramel Banana treats that look like twinkies.

They are quite rich. One was enough to satisfy my sweet tooth. These lasted us for weeks and with some leftover for our family when we returned home.

Gift Shop Finds

There are a few things I found to be unique in the gift shops here which are:

Chop Sticks come in an array of options from Cinderella to classic Mickey.

Headbands are a bigger deal than Mickey and Minnie ears. You will instead find tons of character inspired headbands with floppy ears rather than the plastic pointy ones I’ve always known.

Japanese culture is all about cleanliness when it comes to sitting on the street.

Usually, during the parade, you sit wherever you can. I’m talking bum to concrete, but here you will find floor mats for purchase so that your tush never gets dirty from sitting directly on the street.

Disneyland and DisneySea in One Day

Is it possible to see them in one day?

Anything is possible with a little pixie dust, but you will have to pick and choose what you want to see. Time is of the essence, therefore, must not be wasted.

Maximize time by riding your must-ride attractions as soon as the park opens, even if that means bouncing back and forth between both parks. Save even more time by jumping in the single rider line.

Once that is out of the way you are free to grab some snacks.

I recommend starting with lunch at the Queen of Heart’s Banquet Hall, followed by popcorn at the first stand you can find.

If you grabbed fast passes at the beginning of the day, it’s probably time to redeem them. Head out for a few more rides, then go check out Mermaid’s Lagoon – enjoying street performers along the way.

Once you can breathe again, go try the churros.

As the day sets in and you need rest, head to the Roosevelt Lounge at Tokyo Disneysea for light snacks and drinks. Mostly drinks hehe.

Next, take your adventure to sea and hop on a gondola or boat.

Finish your day shopping for souvenirs before snagging a spot for Disney Light the Night Show and/or Electrical Parade Dreamlights. Just don’t forget your floor mat 😉

disneysea vs disneyland

Getting to the Park and Ticket Info

The quickest way of getting to the parks is by Disney tram line, but first, you need to get to Maihama Station.

Take the JR line (a line you can access from all major stations like Shinjuku and plenty more) and exit at Maihama Station. 

You will see some Disney items displayed but not much. Your best bet is to follow the large crowd.

You will have one more access fee which is solely for Disney Parks. It’s wrapped with Mickey Mouse – you cannot miss it.

If you plan to visit for 2 days as I did then purchase the 2-day Magic Passport ticket for 14,800 Yen ($138).

They offer reduced rate tickets to anyone who comes for the second half of the day either after 3 pm or 6 pm.

View all ticket options here. 

You can purchase tickets from the official Tokyo Disney website or Klook.

As you can see, when it comes to Tokyo Disneysea vs Disneyland, one is no better than the other. They both offer a magical experience filled with food, thrills, and spectacular shows. 

Even if you have only one day to explore the parks, I recommend buying a park hopper pass.

Psst. . . Looking for more guides around Japan? Check out my other posts.

What park looks the most fun to you? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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