We visited Tokyo Disneyland this year. For those lucky enough to make it into Japan, we definitely recommend visiting as soon as you can! Especially since there are much less crowds and shorter waiting times!
Tokyo Disneyland's Current Situation
"Is Disneyland still open?" is probably what everyone is wondering in this covid situation. The answer is a very happy "Yes!"
However, there are quite a few important changes that you should know if you're planning to go to Disney. The most important being that tickets are only available to buy online now AND tickets for your visiting date will only go on sale 2 months earlier. For example, tickets for 5 May are only available to buy from 5 March 2pm.
Experiencing Tokyo Disneyland Mid-Covid
Average Waiting Time of 10~20 minutes
Because of the reduced number of guests allowed in the park, naturally waiting times have shortened! Aside from Standby Pass limited attractions with a few hours to whole day wait, the other rides have very reasonable waiting times! The longest ride we had to wait was Pooh's Hunny Hunt at 20 minutes.
Some Performances Cancelled
Some performances and parades have been suspended since July 2020 when Coronavirus in Japan was at its worst. The affected performances and parades as announced on Disney's Webiste are as follows:
- Jamboree Mickey!
- Let's Party Gras!
- Mickey's Rainbow Luau
- Horseshoe Roundup
- Mickey & Company at The Diamond Horseshoe
- Mickey & Friends Greeting Parade
Standby Pass Replaces Fast Pass
Since the park's reopening in July 2020, Tokyo Disney has stopped issuing fast pass. Instead, standby passes are issued.
What's the difference between Standby Pass and Fast Pass?
Fast Pass allows one to queue for an express line between the time period stated on the ticket. You do not need a Fast Pass to ride an attraction (but queues may be longer).
Standby pass allows one to enter the queue for an attraction between the time period stated on the pass. You cannot queue/ride an attraction without a standby pass.
What? Is there really a difference?
Apart from the fact that you cannot ride without a standby pass, I don't really feel much of a difference. On the day we visited only 2 attractions were issuing standby passes, so maybe that's why?
No Close Contact with Characters
Social distancing is heavily enforced when it comes to character greetings. This was the case for Universal Studios Japan as well. A yellow tape line on the floor marks where guests can stand to take photos. We're not allowed to cross the line or hug the characters of course.
Tips for Enjoying Tokyo Disneyland
1. Download the App
DOWNLOAD THE APP! You can check waiting time, book attraction ride standby passes, reserve stage show entry requests, and look at the map - with GPS to find your location and easier navigation.
2. Get there before the park opens!
Although the park officially opens at 9am, people are allowed to enter earlier. We got there at 8:30, queued to enter and by the time we scanned our QR codes and stepped in the park it was 9am on the dot. Once you're in, immediately book your Standby Pass for the most popular attraction. For now, this would be Beauty and the Beast and Baymax's Happy Ride.
3. Choose how to use Standby Pass carefully!
Choose how to use your standby pass carefully. Most likely you'll only get to use it once. We used it on Baymax Happy Ride and by the time we finished the ride and our standbypass was available again, there were no more Beauty and the Beast standby passes left.
4. Choose carefully, only 1 Entry Request a day!
Entry Requests for stage shows can only be applied once a day - in other words, you can only watch 1 entry request limited show a day. Research in advance and pick which one you want to watch. We watched Mickey's Magical Music World at Fantasyland Forest Theatre and it was daaaarrrrn gooooood! No regretsss!
5. Pre-book for Restaurants with Priority Seating!
If there's a restaurant you really want to dine at no matter what, make sure to pre-book in advance to guarantee a table! You can pre-book from 1 month in advance to 9pm the day before your visit. You can also book on the day of your visit from 9am online or 10am at the restaurant itself. We did not know about this and therefore could not try the Mickey Waffles. 😔
6. Work Your Way From Inside Out
When the park first opens, naturally everybody will be heading to the nearest attractions. So, head for the inner ones first. Come afternoon to evening, the rides near the entrance will have a much shorter waiting time. We only realized this much later in the day - Space Mountain had a 40 minute wait in the morning but by 2~3pm when we sat it, it was only a 20 minute wait. Same with Pooh's Hunny Hunt, we waited 30 minutes at around 10am but by 3pm when we passed by it was only a 20 minute wait. Urgh!
6. Don't miss the parades!
Check parade times and time yourself to get a good seat along the parade route. You'll notice people sitting on the floor. Nighttime parade and daytime parades are different!
7. Don't miss the fireworks show!
8:00pm is when the fireworks are launched. It's only a 5 minutes show so if you're on a ride at that time you'll miss it. We hung out under the wooden bridge near Splash Mountain for a clear view of it.
8. You can cover everything if you try hard enough!
It is entirely possible to sit all the rides in one day (aside from the attractions with standby pass), if you plan properly and stick to your schedule. We could've covered all the rides, except Beauty and the Beast (curses), but took it lite-and-easy with lunch break, popcorn break, hot chocolate & churros break, and lots of spare time to shop. Plus, we didn't really plan our route and just went with whatever we wanted to ride, even so we've sat almost all the rides!
Until next time~🐁