They can go to Disneyland for free until they turn five", said my wife.
"No, it says four here" said I.
"What? Then we need to go this month!"
So we are going to Disneyland. Or actually Disney Sea.
We are going this weekend, as this happens to be a long weekend. We are going to Disney Sea since we went to Disneyland in June. Also, the kids have been asking to go to Disney Sea. Here are a few things we have thought about that may be helpful for others to consider too.
1. Book A Hotel
We actually could be at Disney Sea (on the other side of Ikispiari mall, to the left as you exit the station) in about 1.5 hours, maybe less. But the park opens already at 8 AM on weekends. So if we were to go there we would have to get there very early. Easier to stay in a hotel. But much more expensive.
2. Buy Tickets At The Hotel
if you stay in a Disney partner hotel, you can buy your tickets right there. Much more convenient than standing in line at 6 AM.
3. Ride The Best Rides Early
The kids are walking now, and they are physically big enough to ride most rides (one of my daughters is over 120 cm!). They still want to ride together with mommy and daddy, though.
If you do go ride you should go as early as possible. Not everyone who intends to visit the park are coming at 8 AM, even though they will miss the character greetings at the gate (those only happen within an an hour or so after the parks open). The lines to the rides are much shorter in the morning. And it puts your kids in perfect mode for watching a show or parade.
4. Bring The Popcorn Containers
Disneyland and Disney Sea take popcorn to a whole new level. There are popcorn carts dotted all over the park, and they have different taste. We are talking not just butter, but caramel, soy sauce and butter, curry and lots more.
When you buy popcorn you can get a plain paper container, or you can get a souvenir container. There are Mickey ears, Minnie ribbons, Dumbo, and a host of other Disney chsracters.
But in Tokyo Disneyland and Disney Sea, you will also find other popcorn containers - R2D2 and other Star Wars characters were out in force when we were there last. I hope to see some Marvel characters this time. They actually are stuff you can sell on eBay. But bring them to the Disney parks and you get a serious discount. Fill up your children on popcorn. The food in the Disney parks is not bad, but it is expensive. Even if you can get beer and wine with your meal in Disney Sea.
5. Eat At Ikispiari
just outside the gates to Disney Sea is a shopping center called Ikispiari (if you think the name looks weird, try pronouncing it, then it makes some sense). Like all Japanese shopping centers, it has a huge selection of restaurants. There are even more in the train station.
The prices in those restaurants are at least 30% lower than those inside the park. And since you can leave the park and come back on the same ticket, it pays both in terms of money and taste.
6. Make Sure Your Kids Have Good Shoes
i am constantly amazed at people putting five-year-olds in strollers and pushing them around the park. Yes, it is convenient if your child falls asleep. I carried my daughter through Tokyo Station last time, and she weighs 25 kg. There are very few strollers which can handle that.
But your kids have legs for a reason. They are meant to walk and run. They have amazing stamina, which parents often do not. But their parents have sensible shoes, and give their kids beach sandals. Give them proper shoes, and they will love Disney Sea even more.
I am Wisterian Watertree, recently moved from Tokyo to Sendai, previously of Bangkong and Honolulu. I write about travel, especially with our three beautiful kids (two girls and one boy, soon turning seven - yes. they are triplets). Travel is education and fun rolled into one, and if you are like me, that is something you want to give to your kids. If you want more tips and want to find out when I will publish something, get it from my email list. If you want to be personal, drop me a note on email@example.com, or if you want general tips, follow me on Twitter @wisterianw.