This post is part of a series from our recent holiday to Japan. You can read more about our trip by clicking here – Japan With Kids.
Once we knew we were going to Japan, we made a decision we would visit one theme park. As we were going to Osaka we could have visited Universal Studios, but a number of readers highly recommended visiting the Disney Resort.
DisneySea vs DisneyLand
I did some research on which would be best for us to visit, DisneyLand or DisneySea and decided that DisneySea would be the best option for us as:
- We have older kids, on what I read the rides at this park would suit older kids better
- We have already been to DisneyLand in Hong Kong
- DisneySea is a one of a kind
Disney Resort is huge, it is made up of two parks, three Disney Hotels and six official Disney partner hotels. You can use the Disney Monorail to get from the train station to DisneySea. We asked the kids what they wanted to do and they wanted to walk, so we did. It would have taken around 20 minutes, but it was great to see a little more of the resort as we walked.
DisneySea is organised into themed areas, all of which are highly detailed and well thought out:
- Mediterranean Harbor
- American Waterfront
- Port Discovery
- Lost River Delta
- Arabian Coast
- Mermaid Lagoon
- Mysterious Island
To visit all of these areas fully you would need to be at DisneySea from very early in the morning to late in the evening. You can see exact opening times here, but it is generally open from 8.30am – 10.00pm.
We were only there for about five hours, so we chose to focus on the attractions the kids would like best. This also meant not taking in any of the shows they had on offer either. We saw the parade and shows at DisneyLand Hong Kong and when we asked the kids if they would rather spend time on rides or shows, they all wanted the rides.
Like other Disney resorts, DisneySea offers FASTPASS. For certain attractions there are FASTPASS ticketing machines near the entrance. You insert your Passport ticket and it will then allocate you a time period for the ride. When you come back at this time you have a different queue and less waiting time.
Not all of the kids wanted to go on the same rides. For a large part of our time there we split up into two groups – myself with miss 9 and master 4, Mr I with masters 14, 12 and 7. This did give us a bonus. We determined which rides would have the longest waits and used all our passports to obtain FASTPASS tickets. (You can only be waiting for one FASTPASS ride at a time though.) This meant that the three boys actually ended up having two turns on some rides in quick succession, as they used mine and the other kids FASTPASSES.
Lost River Delta – Indiana Jones Adventure Temple of the Crystal Skull
It took them close to an hour to have their ride. Master 7 loved it and thought it was a bit scary. The 14 and 12 year old thought it was “okay”.
Myself, miss 9 and master 4 went off to Mermaid Lagoon. It is so gorgeously presented and is aimed at younger children. Our first ride we went on was the Flounder’s Flying Fish Coaster. It was great fun and we only waited for about 15 minutes which was even better!
The coaster was in the outside area of Mermaid Lagoon. Mermaid Lagoon has a large undercover area which would be perfect on days when the weather is either too hot or rainy. It also wasn’t very busy when we were there, with all the queues being less than 15 minutes.
Port Discovery – StormRider
We met back together to go on StormRider. The information said this was a family friendly ride, so all of us lined up to go on the attraction. The queue moved quickly and soon we were let in for a “briefing”. The bulk of it was in Japanese so we couldn’t really understand what was being said, but we had the idea it was to do with being in the eye of a storm.
We were then let into a theatre and I let the four year old sit on my lap as he had become apprehensive about the attraction. This was short lived as the staff advised everyone had to have their own seat and seatbelt – it was like sitting in a plane.
A film started to play, a plane flew into a storm and we were the passengers on board. The seats vibrated, something burst through the ceiling, water mist sprayed us and the sounds were fantastic.
It was one of the best attractions I have experienced. Almost everyone loved it. Poor master 4 found it overwhelming. When we made our way out into the daylight, we sat down for a moment and I sat him on my knee. He was quiet for a while and then he said “I thought I was going to die.” I felt terrible! So a word of warning about taking little ones onto this one, they might find it a little too frightening.
This was a favourite ride for the 9 and 7 year old. The four year old was still a little on edge and asked me if the creatures could get us! He relaxed once I assured him nothing could get us in our cabin.
Mr I and the three boys then headed off to the Journey to the Center of the Earth ride to use the FASTPASS tickets.
The rides in this area are great for younger kids and kids who don’t like anything to scary or spinny. Our first ride was the Caravan Carousel. The queue for this was quite short and we waited for about 15 minutes.
Yes I am dedicating a section of this post to popcorn! We had a late and very big breakfast before we went to DisneySea and had a plan to just buy snacks at DisneySea. We knew popcorn was a big deal at Disney Sea. You can buy a refillable bucket and then just take it to other popcorn carts around the park and pay a lesser amount to have it refilled.
The Planning With Kids family traveled to Japan courtesy of Jetstar.