Whenever we get questions from those traveling to Japan Disney we are asked “What is better Tokyo Disneyland vs Disneysea?” We absolutely love both of the parks in Tokyo and they both have their own pros and cons. In this guide we will round up the difference between disneyland and disneysea, what are the best things to do in each park and compare so you can decide which park is right for you.
Table of Contents
Tokyo Disneyland vs DisneySea Overview
In this guide we will compare each park in a number of categories which should help you prioritise which of the two parks you should visit.
- toddler and child friendliness
- character meet and greets and more.
If I am honest we loved both Disneyland and Disneysea, and if you have time I would recommend allocating two days to your Japan itinerary to do the parks. But if you can’t do this for whatever reason this guide will ensure you pick the right park for you
Remember: it is best to book your tickets for both Disneyland and Disneysea in advance as the queues for the on the day tickets can get extremely long.
- Click here for tickets for Tokyo Disneyland
- Click here to buy your Tokyo Disneysea tickets online in advance HERE
But before we get into those we thought it would be worthwhile to tell you about the difference between Disneyland and Disneysea.
Difference between Disneyland and Disneysea
When you are looking for the main difference between Disneyland and Disneysea in Tokyo I would say the biggest difference is in the theming.
Tokyo Disneyland is split into the traditional Disneyland park realms of:
- Toon TOwn
- Critter Country
- Westernland and
and it is home to some of the most classic Disney rides such as Dumbo and the Flying Elephant, the carousel, Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise, Splash Mountain and Buzz Lightyear’s Astroblast to name but a few.
Tokyo Disneysea on the other hand is a completely unique park that can not be found anywhere else around the world.
Therefore I would say that the main difference between Disneyland and Disneysea is one is a traditional Disney park while Disneysea is a unique offering to Japan.
It is is worth noting that currently the prices for admission for Disneyland and Disneysea are the same.
Tokyo Disneyland vs Disney Sea – which park has the best theming?
Both parks have amazing theming and are completely different in their worlds and styles. In order to understand which park has the best theming it is worth going into detail about each of the.
As I mentioned above Tokyo Disney has all of the usual lands you would expect of a Disneyland including: Toon Town
- Critter Country
- World Bazaar
And while the theming is excellent if you have been to other Disneyland around the world the theming will feel very familiar.
Tokyo Disney sea on the other hand is more unusual with lands that I have not found in any other Disney park around the world.
Disneysea has 6 distinct areas including:
- Mediterranean Harbour
- Arabian Coast
- Port Discovery
- American Waterfront
- Mermaid Lagoon and
- Mysterious Island
If you want a truly unique experience than Disneysea will be the park that is best for you. However if you want a very traditional Disney experience you may want to stick with Tokyo Disneyland.
Whichever park you pick however I think you will have an amazing and uniquely Japanese experience.
What has the best rides Tokyo Disney Sea vs Disney Tokyo?
The rides at both Tokyo Dinseysea and Disney Tokyo parks are incredible. Again I would say however that the main difference between the rides at the two parks is the difference between having the traditional Disney experience and something unique.
At Disneyland Japan you will find some of the classic rides such as:
- Jungle Cruise
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Big Thunder Mountain
- Mark Twain River Road
- Splash Mountain
- Space Mountain
- Dumbo etc.
Whereas although Disneysea has some classic rides that you would find at though not as many as Disneyland and they lean towards the more adrenaline fuelled such as
- Tower of Terror
- Indiana Jones Adventure
and it has takes on
- Dumbo – instead a magic carpet ride in Arabian Coast
- It’s a Small world
So overall – what theme park has the best rides? Well it depends who you are and what experience you want
For those who want a traditional Disney experience then Disneyland is the park for you. However if you want to ride unique rides at Japan Disney then you should definitely be heading to Disneysea instead of Tokyo Disney.
Is Tokyo Disney or Disneysea Busier
Both Tokyo Disneyland or Disneysea are exceptionally busy parks. I would say they can be the busiest of all the parks around the world.
Now while both parks have fast passes to help you navigate the queues you may be wondering which park has the bigger crowds Tokyo Disney or Disneysea?
While both parks get very busy, I would say that Tokyo Disneysea has more of the thrill rides and unique experiences that can be the queues longer and the parks feel busier.
If you want to visit the quietest park I would probably head to Disneyland however it is important to consult crowd calendars to decide on the best time to visit Tokyo Disney and Disneysea to avoid crowds.
Which has the best character experiences Tokyo Disneyland vs Disneysea Japan?
In truth there are plenty of character meet and greet experiences at both parks in Japan.
We found that we were able to meet the classic characters of Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy and Goofy in both of the parks. Obviously this is liable to change but is a good indication that at least some of the classic characters will be out for you to meet in both parks.
Note: check out our post on questions to ask Disney characters for great character interactions here.
The main difference we found with the classic characters meet and greets in Japan was in their dress. In Tokyo Disneyland we met the characters in their classic costumes.
In Disneysea however we saw them in more unique attire. For instance when we met Daisy in Disneysea she was in her Arabian dress which is a costume I have never met her in before or since.
If you enjoy meeting characters in unique outfits then Disneysea will be the park for you.
Our favourite character interaction while at Japan Disney was when the characters from Pinocchio joined us on the teacups and I found it was these touches at Disneyland that I enjoyed most!
However that isn’t to say that Disneysea is lacking in character experiences.
We found there to be plenty of meet and greets at Disneysea as soon as you entered through the turnstile There were also lots of photo opps and meet and greets around the park of the main characters in uncommon attire.
However the most popular meet and greet we round in Disneysea was the Meet and Greet Ariel in her Grotto experience in Mermaid Lagoon. However it is worth pointing out how popular this experience is. When we were there the line never dropped below 40 minutes. Therefore if this meet and greet is important to you you should prioritise this early in your Disneysea itinerary.
Is Disneyland or Disneysea better for princesses
Although we touched on character meet and greets above, the frequency we get asked about princesses in the park made me think they were worth their own section.
If you are looking for princesses at Japan Disney then I firmly recommend heading to Tokyo Disneyland over Disneysea.
While Disneysea does have the Ariel Meet and Greet it does not have a lot of guarunteed other princess meetings. Although we did see Jasmine when we were there.
If you head to Disneyland however you are more likely to see a few princesses as there is the Princess Fairytale hall meet and greet spot – but be warned the lines for this get long.
To get more out of your interaction with princesses be sure to check out our post on the best questions to ask disney princesses.
Also you will usually see a few princesses in the Disneyland parade.
So speaking of parades?
Tokyo Disney vs Disney sea which has the best parade?
If parades are top of your Disney Japan bucket list it is worth pointing out that only Tokyo Disneyland has a parade. Tokyo DisneySea doesn’t have the traditional parade.
However that does not mean Tokyo Disneysea is lacking in entertainment. Instead of the parade, Disneysea has a show that takes place on the lake with characters coming out on large boats or floats.
For those that have been to Disney World I would compare this to Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios.
the only thing I would say about Disneysea was that the shows we saw on the lake were all conducted in Japanese. So while we enjoyed the spectacle it was hard to follow the narrative.
Therefore if you like parades Tokyo Disneyland is the better park for you. If you just like to have an evening show however either park will suffice.
Which is better Tokyo Disneyland or Disneysea for Toddlers and Young Children?
As any parent of toddler will know, the requirements of travelling with a toddler is very different to travelling with kids of other ages.
When it comes to theme parks, you want to make sure there are plenty of rides that don’t have a minimum height requirement when travelling with toddler.
Although Disneysea is renowned for having more of the thrill rides in comparison to Disneyland, there are still plenty of toddler friendly rides there. You can read more about the best rides at Disneysea for toddlers here.
However if you want the classic Disney toddler friendly rides, the Disneyland park will be better. You can read more about how toddler friendly Tokyo Disneyland is here.
For this reason I think Tokyo Disneyland is just slightly better with toddlers however there are positives to both parks when travelling with littles.
It is worth noting here also that both Disneysea and Tokyo Disney are really easy to get around with strollers. There are stroller parks at the entrance to every ride, which all seemed to be well used and safe.
Next read: Using a stroller in Japan
There is also stroller rental and baby care centres available in both parks. However if you do plan on bringing your own stroller with you we recommend checking out our Disney stroller hacks to make your like in the park with a stroller easier.
Dining and Character Dining
If you are a foodie traveling to Disneyland and Disneysea you are really going to enjoy the parks. There are lots of unique snacks at the Japan Disney parks, as well as a huge variety of popcorn flavours to sample.
However what about if you like character dining. Unlike at other Disneyland Paris around the world you Aren’t spoiled for choice when it comes to character dining.
There is in fact only one character dining experience at Tokyo Disney. That is Chef Mickey which is actually at Disney Ambassador Hotel rather than in the parks. For this reason we don’t recommend using character dining as a deciding factor on which park to visit between Disneyland and Disneysea.
Useful Information about Disneyland and DisneySea for Visitors
How to Get To Disneyland or Disneysea Tokyo from the City?
It is really easy to get to both Disneyland and Disneysea from central Tokyo. You will need to take the Keiyo Line / Musashino Line to Maihama Station via JR (Japan Rail). From Tokyo Station the train only takes about 15 minutes. From there you will transfer onto the Disney Monorail.
However we recommend staying at a Disney resort on one of the partner hotels on the monorail loop.
Hotels on the monorail loop are:
For more information on visiting Tokyo with a baby check out this post.
Where Should You Buy Your Tokyo DisneySea or Disneyland Tickets?
Buying the tickets in advance is definitely an essential. We recommend buying your tickets online in advance HERE!
Overall – which is better Tokyo Disneysea vs Disneyland
We absolutely loved both Disneyland And Disneysea. If you want a traditional Disney experience we recommend heading to Disneyland but for those looking for something more unique it has to be Disneysea.
However given the unique ambiance of the parks, amazing rides and shows we recommend having one day in each park in your Tokyo itinerary.
Whichever you decide to go to be sure to book your tickets in advance to ensure you don’t have to queue on arrival!