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Tokyo Disneyland vs. Tokyo DisneySea: Which Is Better?

Tokyo Disneyland vs Tokyo DisneySea? Ever wondered which Tokyo theme park is best? We will break it down for you. Tokyo Disney Resort contains both Tokyo Disneyland and  DisneySea. Below is our full guide. 

a collage showing people enjoying different activities at Disney Resort
A collection of happy Disney Resort visitors

While Tokyo Disneyland has the same popularity and classic touch of other Disney parks, DisneySea is known for being one of a kind. Both are loved by theme park goers all over the world, and they’re one of the top places to visit in Japan with kids

Cinderella's famous castle in all its glory in Disneyland Tokyo
Cinderellas Castle, Disneyland Tokyo

If you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering what the difference between the two is. We’re here to answer just that!

Here’s everything you need to know about Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea:

What makes Tokyo Disneyland so unique?

a group of girls enjoying the wonders of Disneyland
A group of girls enjoying the wonders of Disneyland

Tokyo Disneyland opened in April 1983 and was the first international Disney Park beyond the borders of the United States. It’s also the first Disney Park in Asia.

It spans a whopping 110 acres, featuring familiar themed zones such as Tomorrowland and Adventureland. If you’ve been to other Disney parks around the world, you’ll know the moment you step into Tokyo Disneyland that it also has the Happiest Place on Earth vibe. It also has rides and attractions similar to or even replicas of its counterparts worldwide.

What makes Tokyo DisneySea so celebrated?

Mermaid Lagoon, a place where you feel like you are underwater only at Disney Sea Tokyo.
Happy girl taking a picture at Mermaid Lagoon at Disney Sea Tokyo

Tokyo DisneySea is a 176-acre theme park that opened in 2001. This and Disneyland together make up the Tokyo Disneyland Resort. It has a more nautical theme with seven themed areas or “Ports of Call” that resemble natural harbours. Keeping with the theme, it also overlooks Tokyo Bay. Parkgoers adore DisneySea for being the only one of its kind on the planet. 

You can get tickets to both Tokyo Disney Resort parks here

Comparison of the 7 Themed Zones at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea

Disneyland

Both children and adult's enjoying the carousel ride in Disneyland.
Happy little girl enjoying the carousel ride in Disneyland with her mum

Tokyo Disneyland has seven themed zones, similar to other Disney Parks, with slight adjustments to suit the Japanese audience better.

First, you’ll encounter World Bazaar. This zone is reminiscent of 20th-century America, like Disney World Orlando’s Main Street theme. It’s the park’s main shopping centre, so get your wallets ready for those Mickey and Minnie ears—and don’t forget the souvenirs!

The next zone is Fantasyland, the sibling to Disney World’s Magic Kingdom theme park. In fact, it has nearly an exact replica of Cinderella’s Castle in Florida! In Fantasyland, fairy tales like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Peter Pan, and more come to life through rides and other attractions!

Third is Adventureland, filled with thrills, with attractions set in the jungles of Africa, Asia, South America and other parts of the world. It has a complementary New Orleans-themed area, with restaurants featuring the city’s cuisine.

Passengers aboard the Western River Railroad going through Adventureland.
Western River Railroad, Tokyo Disneyland

Westernland is Tokyo Disneyland’s take on Frontierland, with “old west” themes. Its standout features are the Big Thunder Mountain (a mine-train roller coaster) and the Rivers of America, complete with Mark Twain riverboats.

Tomorrowland is the futuristic part of Tokyo Disneyland. Here you will discover rides, including Space Mountain and the Star Wars-themed Star Tours.

Toontown is Tokyo’s take on ‘Mickey’s Toontown’, a small-scale recreation of Mickey Mouse’s universe. Last but not least is the smallest of the bunch: Critter Country, home to the popular ride Splash Mountain.

Overall, the experience at Tokyo Disneyland is closer to the original Disneyland Park in California including many similar themed lands and rides.

DisneySea

an image of an active volcano, one of the unique experiences available only at DisneySea Tokyo.
Active volcano at DisneySea Tokyo

Tokyo DisneySea also has seven theme zones called ‘Ports of Call,’ all marine themed of course. Some ‘Ports of Call’ are reimagined famous harbours of the world (Italian port towns and American 20th-century harbours). Others are based on famous tales.

The Jules Verne-inspired Mysterious Island boasts the iconic volcano Mount Prometheus as its centrepiece. Here you will find ‘20,000 Leagues Under the Sea’ and ‘Journey to the Centre of the Earth’, two of the most popular attractions in the park.

In Mermaid Lagoon you will discover Ariel and her friends. This port has rides and attractions for kids, such as Ariel’s Playground, recreating The Little Mermaid’s movie set.

Mermaid Lagoon at DisneySea, where kids can enjoy with the characters of Little Mermaid.
Mermaid Lagoon at DisneySea

Another fiction-based Post is Arabian Coast, which recreates themes from the Arabian Nights (think Aladdin and Sinbad!). While the characters there are fictional, much of the architecture is based on Arabian designs. Lost River Delta, on the other hand, is based on archaeological sites in Central America and features Aztec Ruins – where you’ll find the thrilling Indiana Jones ride.

Port Discovery is DisneySea’s Tomorrowland, as it’s a futuristic section with sci-fi-based attractions. Here you’ll find a fictional marine life institute and the boat ride Aquatopia.

Mediterranean Harbor is a romantic recreation of an Italian port city, complete with Venetian canals and gondolas. The port is home to DisneySea Hotel MiraCosta, which makes it seem like an actual city within a theme park. The nighttime fireworks spectacular is based in this zone

Finally, American Waterfront is reminiscent of the harbours of 20th-century New York. Here you can hop on the famous S.S. Columbia boat for a park tour.

Comparison of rides and attractions

If you’re deciding whether to visit Tokyo Disneyland or DisneySea, you’ll want to know which has the best theme park rides. Find out which attractions each park has for your kids’ age group below. 

Disneyland

Dumbo the flying elephant, one of the many rides at Disneyland Tokyo
Dumbo the flying elephant ride at Disneyland Tokyo

Like its global counterparts, Disneyland rides make the magic of Disney films come to life. This includes Dumbo the Flying Elephant, a carousel-type ride perfect for the little ones. Another great ride for the kids is Monsters, Inc. Ride & Go Seek, an interactive dark ride only available in Tokyo. This interactive ride lets you use your flashlight to find tiny monsters.

An image of Splash Mountain; a flume ride at DisneySea Tokyo.
Splash Mountain ride at DisneySea Tokyo

Disneyland also offers thrilling rides for big kids. including the classic Space Mountain. This dark indoor coaster will zip you through twists and turns at unbelievable speeds. Another adrenaline-pumping signature Disney ride is Splash Mountain, a log flume ride with a 45-degree drop. Get ready to scream and maybe get wet, as you’ll be going at 64km/h at the final drop.

DisneySea

The rides in DisneySea are mostly suited to teens and adults. Most attractions also creatively explore the waters, from gondolas to submarine rides. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is a submarine ride based on Jules Verne’s work that explores the depths of the seas in search of the lost city of Atlantis.

People on the ride Journey to the Centre of the Earth; found inside Mount Prometheus, Tokyo DisneySea
People on the ride Journey to the Centre of the Earth; found inside Mount Prometheus, Tokyo DisneySea

Journey to the Center of the Earth is a thrilling ride on an underground vehicle in the depths of Mount Prometheus. If you need a little relaxation to balance the rides, the Venetian Gondolas are fun to ride with the whole family!

Another popular attraction and ride is Soaring: Fantastic Flight, a motion simulator ride similar to Soarin’ Around the World at other Disney parks. Tokyo DisneySea’s incarnation has plenty of exclusive features, including the immersive Museum of Fantastic Flight. 

Tokyo DisneySea still offers rides for little ones, such as the famous interactive indoor ride Toy Story Mania! It’s an entertaining mix of spinning vehicle rides and carnival/arcade games. Whirlpool in Mermaid Lagoon is like a teacup ride reminiscent of the Beauty and the Beast Rides in other Disney Parks.

Alice’s tea party, a spinning ride for both kids and adults at Tokyo Disneyland
Alice’s tea party, a spinning ride for both kids and adults at Tokyo Disneyland

Disney parades

Mickey Mouse and other beloved characters in a character parade at Disney Resort Tokyo
Mickey Mouse in a character parade at Disney Resort Tokyo

If you want a taste of the classic Main Street character parade with Disney characters, then Disneyland is the park for you. Dreaming Up! is Tokyo’s take on the Festival of Fantasy, where Mickey and friends show up in magical floats.

Want to watch a spectacular Disney boat parade with Mickey and his pals? Then DisneySea is for you! Called ‘Time to Shine’, the floating greeting parade is a must to watch your favourite characters sail by.

Conclusion: which theme park is superior, Tokyo Disneyland or DisneySea?

a girl posing in front of the beloved Cinderella’s castle
A girl posing in front of the beloved Cinderella’s castle

So, should I visit Tokyo Disneyland or DisneySea?

If you can, both Disney parks are definitely worth visiting. For the classic Disney theme park experience, Disneyland is for you. DisneySea is the place to be for something different and geared more towards adults. Either way, you’ll have a magical time!

Whichever you prefer, you can find a hotel or a holiday home with cozycozy accommodation comparison site.

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