2 days at Tokyo Disneyland & DisneySea with toddler-to-be

25 years ago, I visited Tokyo Disney with my family for the first time. For my husband, Disney World in Florida was also full of childhood memories with his family. This December, two months after both Japan and my home country Taiwan opened up from COVID, we brought our 1y9m daughter to see the magical world that Disney created in Tokyo. Visiting Disney in recent years could be stressful due to the crowd, and some planning is necessary in order to get on some popular rides. In this post, I’m sharing some notes from our two days at DisneySea and Disneyland. Other parts of our week-long trip are documented here.


We got discounted tickets for fully vaccinated visitors on the official website, about 49 USD per day per adult. US credit cards did not work for us, and we had to use a Taiwanese credit card. This price was quite affordable compared to the latest pricing at Disney World in Florida. Kids under 4 don’t need a ticket, and for our daughter under 2 there was still a lot to play and see. It’s essential to have the Disney Resort app at hand, to check the map and wait time for each ride. There are no free FastPasses anymore, only paid Disney Premium Access (DPA) for few select rides. We saw many FastPass machines idling around the park, standing with a cover on them.

When to get in

Even though the official website stated the opening time at 9 AM, it was known on the internet that the park opened at 8:15 AM with people lining up much earlier. For Disney fans like us, we got in line by 7:45 AM for both parks (which meant waking up at 5:45 AM for us to travel from the hotel we stayed at). DisneySea had a much longer line for security, we waited for 1 hour to get into the park around 8:45 AM. At Disneyland, the total wait was about 35 minutes.

Tokyo Disneyland, Japan


The new release of a new character in the Duffy family this year, LinaBell, was probably what drew a huge crowd. In the park, we saw about half of the people with a LinaBell plushie or accessory.

Rides, Christmas show, indoor playground

There were 3 big rides with the most wait, Soaring, Toy Story Mania, and Tower of Terror. With our 1-year-old daughter, we went for the Toy Story ride right after getting into the park with about a 45-minute wait. Then we got lunch and saw the Christmas show that we got from the lottery. During our daughter’s nap, we both went on Indiana Jones with the single rider line with almost no wait and passing a long queue. In the afternoon, we all went on more rides with at most a 15-minute wait: Captain Nemo’s submarine, Aladdin carousel, Aquatopia (no music), and Simbad. Around 5 PM when it got chilly and dark, we headed to the indoor playground. The upper floor walkway was closed, so we just went on the Jellyfish ride among the 3 smaller rides. After that, we took a steamboat back and walked back to the front of the park.

Tokyo DisneySea Tokyo DisneySea

Lunch at Cafe Portofino

With our young daughter, we only looked for restaurants with counter service. Originally, we wanted to get lunch at Cape Cod Cook-Off where the Duffy show took place. However, the show had been suspended since July 2020 due to COVID. We decided on Cafe Portofino since they offered a kids’ menu, and we brought some food for our daughter that we prepared ahead in an insulated food jar. The set meals (pasta) were pretty filling, and the staff was really friendly helping us bring the plates to our table.

Tokyo DisneySea

Dinner at Saizeriya in JR Maihama station

I highly recommended eating at Saizeriya if taking the JR train back. The chain restaurant was very family-friendly and right on the 1st floor of the JR station with a family bathroom at the back. The menu had a few side dishes that we could order for our 1-year-old, like rice and vegetables. We also ordered another chicken entree to share among the three of us. The best thing was, everything was quite affordable and we had a feast including beer for the price of one meal at a typical sit down restaurant.

Tokyo DisneySea


Compared to DisneySea, Disneyland had more rides with shorter wait on average. Without the large water area like in DisneySea, it was also faster to walk between places in Disneyland. The only adult ride we did was Splash Mountain during our daughter’s nap, with rider switch. We had a full day going to the following rides with our daughter in order: Pooh, Petter Pan (almost no wait), Dumbo, Tea cup, Carousel, Pinocchio, (after nap) Haunted Mansion – Nightmare before Christmas version (Standby Pass only from the app), Small World, Roger Rabbit, Beauty and the Beast (DPA), Monsters Inc., and watched the Country Bear show at the end to rest and wrap up the day.

Tokyo Disneyland, Japan Tokyo Disneyland, Japan

Lunch at Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall

This is probably one of the most popular restaurants with counter service. To avoid the super long wait and also for COVID, we got in line shortly after the restaurant opened (the line already started beforehand) and waited for about half an hour. The decoration was pretty cool and we got two entrees, one custard pudding with a souvenir mug, and a kids’ meal along with the baby food we brought. The staff was also super helpful, and the restroom inside the restaurant was very convenient.

Tokyo Disneyland, Japan Tokyo Disneyland, Japan

Popcorn trucks

In the park, it was very common to see people with cross-body popcorn buckets in various styles and also popcorn trucks that sold them. The popular stands could get a very long line, probably from the flavor and the exclusive buckets they sold there. We weren’t into collecting popcorn buckets, but caved to a paper box of milk chocolate popcorn that I wouldn’t recommend (the chocolate flavor was barely noticeable). Other than popcorn, there were also special snacks like the cute Little Green Men mochi dumplings and gyoza dog at DisneySea.

Tokyo Disneyland, Japan

Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast

This Beauty and the Beast ride opened in September 2020, replacing a race car ride Autopia. This ride was only in Tokyo Disneyland at the time of writing, and it was truly our favorite ride of this trip. The wait was rarely under 120 minutes except for evening time, we decided to pay 2000 yen per adult for the DPA (like paid FastPass) since our daughter certainly cannot stand two hours of waiting. With the DPA, we walked through the line pretty quickly after entering the castle. For the ride, we went on a tea cup with two other groups and rode through an immersive tale of the Beauty and the Beast. The technology was very impressive, and the songs and scenes stayed in my head for days.

Tokyo Disneyland, Japan Tokyo Disneyland, Japan

Dinner at Chawan next to JR Maihama station

When leaving the park, we walked on the ramp instead of taking the monorail like in the morning. Chawan was right on the way, shortly before the train station. They had a high chair and kids meals, we picked the rice ball set (DIY). The flavor was a bit stronger than I hoped for the kids’ meal, and I didn’t see side dishes with a light flavor. Overall we still enjoyed the food and the ambiance after a long day in the park.

Tokyo Disneyland, Japan Tokyo Disneyland, Japan

Notes when visiting with a young child 📝

  • It was worth getting familiar with the Disney Resort app to find specific places more easily, since Disney no longer offered paper maps. The app also drained battery, a portable charger was essential
  • The single rider line was really a time saver when the kids are napping. There was only one ride (Indiana Jones) with single rider line at DisneySea and none at Disneyland when we went, but they could change anytime
  • The rider switch service could also be an option, either when the kids are napping or busy with other sights nearby. We did it with Splash Mountain, they scanned both the park tickets and the second rider can enter the priority line within some hours
  • The Beauty and the Beast ride was the most popular ride at the time, with a wait time of at least 120 minutes most of the time. We got DPA (2000 yen per adult) as soon as we got in the park, and it was so worthwhile as it was our favorite ride. For DPA, time range selection was available and we picked the time after the usual nap time
  • We also entered the lottery for shows and Standby Pass right when we scanned our tickets at the park. From our experience these two days, we only got one of all kinds each day
  • It’s best to avoid going on consecutive days, we went with a relaxing day between
  • If getting to Disneyland at the JR Maihama station, we found it faster and cheaper to get to the park by foot than by monorail. Especially with a stroller, there was no ramp to the platform and we had to take an elevator with some wait
  • There were two Baby Centers in both parks, at the front and the other side of the park. Other than changing diapers and feeding hungry kids, first-time stickers were also available from the staff there as a little souvenir for the baby. For changing diapers, every restroom also had at least one changing table
  • The restaurants all had a high chair, and the staff was very helpful with the trays
  • In Disneyland, lines might get a bit shorter during the big parades
  • In retrospect, we’d have planned Disney days in the first half of the trip when our daughter had the most energy (but our flight time didn’t give us the option). We also would have brought a carrier on Disneyland day, where multiple rides could take half an hour and strollers had to be parked outside
Tokyo DisneySea

Wrap Up

I still remember waiting in line impatiently 2.5 decades ago, while my parents told me to learn from other kids who waited patiently. With the increasing popularity these years, the wait time at Disney could be challenging for young kids. It’s really up to the style of parents, to go on more rides with more planning and early arrival or just enjoy the park without a schedule. Even with few or no rides, I’m sure the parades and shows are equally entertaining for the whole family. We had two full and exhausting days at Disney, and came back with magical memories.

Other than Disney, we also spent four days in other parts of Tokyo. Here are our lists of places and itinerary.

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