Tokyo Disneyland: Deciding where to stay
Hello, again! Exactly one month ago Mark and I were checking into this beauty — the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel. Sorry it’s taken me so long to get going on the recap of our amazing Tokyo Disney adventures. I took over 5,000 photos and it’s been a beast to edit them all. But here we are, ready to dive into Day 1: starting with our check in experience at the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel.
We essentially booked our Tokyo Disneyland trip based on availability of the hotels. We wanted to do Tokyo just before the Thanksgiving holiday, and started looking into lodging for the trip in July, thinking 4 months would be enough of a head start. What we didn’t realize was just how crazy popular the official Disney hotels are at Tokyo Disneyland — apparently they operate at 90% capacity at all times!
We knew we wanted to stay at a hotel very near to Disneyland and Disney Sea, which pretty much ruled out the Disney Celebration Hotel and the Disney Ambassador Hotel, which both require a shuttle bus to the parks. It was down to the Hotel MiraCosta, located INSIDE Tokyo Disney Sea (!!), and the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel, located directly across the main entrance to Tokyo Disneyland. Unfortunately, by the time we got around to making reservations, the Hotel MiraCosta was completely sold out.
So, The Tokyo Disneyland Hotel it was! They also had very limited availability, but after shifting our trips dates a bit, we were able to book 4 nights in an amazing corner room with a theme park view.
Location, location, location
Like I mentioned before, the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel is located immediately adjacent to the Tokyo Disneyland park. It’s also right on the monorail loop, so getting to the Tokyo Disney Sea park is a total breeze — just two stops away.
And, unlike the monorail at Walt Disney World (which I find to be outdated, uncomfortable, and overly crowded) or Disneyland (which is more ornamental than actually functional), the monorail at Tokyo Disney feels like a world class experience. It’s reliable (comes every 6 minutes on the dot!), spacious, comfortable, and CUTE — look at those Mickey shaped windows!
Checking in at the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel
We took a cab from our Shinjuku Airbnb around 6:30am, and got to the Disneyland Hotel just after 7am. Since we’d booked a “Concierge Level” room, we got to check in at the Marceline Salon, a classy lounge located just off the main lobby. The hotel was really busy, so it was nice to get away from all the hustle and bustle of the main check in area.
Once at the Marceline Salon, they offered coffee and a table with a view, letting us relax and take in the sights while they went about checking us in. It was an easy, seamless process and we didn’t run into any snags, even with the (relatively significant) language barrier.
Biggest perk of a Tokyo Disney Hotel: the Happy 15 Entry
Besides the convenient location and magical charm of a Disney Hotel, the biggest perk BY FAR is the “Happy 15” Early Entry. For every night you stay at a Tokyo Disney Official Hotel, you get a special ticket allowing everyone in your party to enter the park of your choosing 15 minutes before the park opens to general admission.
Ok, I’ll be honest. The first time I heard of this perk I scoffed a little. 15 minutes!? That’s it? At Disneyland and WDW you get an entire Magic Hour! What’s the point of 15 measly minutes? But, let me tell you first hand: it made a whole WORLD of difference.
It’s hard to comprehend Tokyo Disney’s crowd situation until you’ve been there. Obviously, WDW and DLR are known for their crowds, too. But Tokyo Disney takes it above and beyond. We’re talking upwards of almost 100K people on the craziest days, and wait times that easily hit 3 hours. So, those 15 minutes were precious, allowing us to get in line for Fastpasses or hit the top attractions before the rest of the rush was even allowed inside. I’d recommend staying at a Tokyo Disney Hotel for this alone!
After we’d finished the check-in process, purchased our park tickets (just over $300 each, for 5 days) and received our monorail passes (free with our hotel stay), we packed up and got ready to hit the park! Our room wasn’t ready until about 4:30pm, but they stored our luggage for us and sent us merrily on our way into Tokyo Disneyland.
More to come on our first day in Tokyo Disneyland — and our corner room in the amazing Tokyo Disneyland Hotel…