This is the first in a series of posts that feature recommended spots outside of Shibuya. This first post is about one of the most popular attractions near Tokyo, Tokyo Disney Sea. Tokyo Disney sea is located just next to Tokyo Disneyland near Maihama Station. It's a water and sea-themed Disney park, which makes it a great place to visit in the warmer spring and summer months. See our Map for the exact location.
The park can be crowded on weekends and public holidays so if your schedule allows, visit on a weekday. There are several online crowd prediction calendars for Tokyo Disney Sea and Tokyo Disneyland which you can use to plan your trip. However, there is one great way to beat the crowds at Tokyo Disney Sea, fast passes!
Fast passes are only available for the more popular rides in the park. You can find a list of attractions that have fast passes on the Disney Sea website, here.
To get a fast pass ticket is easy!
First go to the attraction you want to ride. Located close to the entrance of the attraction you will find several small, box-like fast pass machines (see picture above). If you cannot find them, ask one of the Disney cast members near the ride to point you in the right direction. The fast pass machines are found only near the entrance to the attraction itself, so you have to physically walk to the attraction to get the fast pass ticket.
Next, hold your Disney Sea entrance ticket with the bar code facing upwards under the scanner in the slot of the machine (see picture below). Sometimes you have to wiggle the ticket a little to get the scanner to work. Don't give up.
When the green light flashes a fast pass ticket will pop out of the machine. The fast pass will have two times printed on it. These times indicate when you can go to the ride to be fast-tracked to the front of the line. For example, the fast pass in the picture above indicates that you can go to the Indiana Jones ride between 17:50 and 18:50 to enter the ride. We got this fast pass at about 2 p.m. so we spent the next 3 or 4 hours riding the other less popular attractions, exploring the park and grabbing some food. You can only hold one fast pass at a time, so grab a fast pass for your favorite ride first.
By getting these fast passes you don't have to waste time waiting in line at each attraction. When we visited it seemed like many overseas tourists and many older visitors to the park weren't using the fast pass service. Don't be tricked into waiting in all the long lines with everyone else. Find the fast pass vending machines to save yourself a lot of wasted time!
We visited on a Monday and, using fast passes, were able to ride on all the fast pass attractions except Raging Spirits, as well as on several of the other non-fast pass attractions. Note that there are a limited number of fast passes available for the day and they tend to run out in the late afternoon. If you get to the park when it opens in the morning, stop by the fast pass attraction you most want to ride first to pick up a fast pass before enjoying the other attractions.
When we visited the park the most popular attractions seemed to be the Tower of Terror, pictured above, and the Toy Story attraction. If you are an adrenaline junky, then you'll love the Tower of Terror. It was definitely the scariest ride in the park for us. The Toy Story attraction is great for people who like playing arcade or computer games, because it's a shooting style attraction. It was a lot of fun!
The ambiance of the park itself is great so take the time to stroll around and enjoy the scenery. There are several restaurants around the park but they tend to fill up around lunch time. We arrived at Tokyo Disney Sea just after 8 a.m. so we decided to have an early lunch/ brunch at around 10:30 at the mermaid lagoon restaurant. There were very few people there so it was nice and relaxing, and we were able to continue enjoying the park right through lunch. I recommend eating either early or late, and avoiding the lunch rush.