The borders are open, the weather is nice...and everyone you know is headed to Japan!
It’s been years for many of us since we last traveled internationally, and nothing can be more exciting than preparing for a long-awaited, long coveted vacation across the sea to arguably one of the top tourist destinations in the world.
But of course, with trip planning also comes trip budgeting. Is this going to be a luxurious “treat yo’self” kind of trip, or is this going to be a scrappy “see how much we can save” kind of trip? Whatever your preference is, more power to you! I tend to lean on the scrappier side where possible, with plenty of room for splurging on the things I prioritize.
My recent trip to Asia spanned 3 countries over 22 days, so there were plenty of budgeting concerns that I had to work through over the course of it, but the thing I wanted to focus on today was one of my top priorities of the entire trip: a trip to Tokyo Disney Resort in Japan!
The last time I visited Tokyo Disney Resort, I only spent a single day there visiting DisneySea, and that was it. This time, I wanted to do it right, so staying on property was a must (and it had to be Toy Story Hotel!), and I was certain I wanted to visit both parks. So that’s exactly what we did! In order to balance out time and budget (there’s just so much to see and do in Japan!), we did only do a one-night stay on-property so that made for a bit of compromise when it came to check-in and check-out time, but I’ll revisit that a little later.
Tokyo Disney Resort Schedule
Here’s the basic breakdown of what my trip to Tokyo Disney Resort looked like schedule-wise:
We did end our day pretty early at Tokyo Disneyland. We were all pretty exhausted at that point (I was running on Day 12 and country #3 of my 3-country Asia trip, so I was running on fumes), but the thing we noticed from our previous night staying on-property is that the subway station gets packed after closing. We just happened to be walking by the station on our way to the Bon Voyage gift shop when we saw the massive crowds just trying to get through the turnstiles of the subway to get home, and those crowds were not something we were prepared to deal with on our way out with all of our luggage in tow. So, we decided to just leave a bit early and give ourselves more time and space to work with.
Costs, of course, will vary depending on the kinds of food experience you’re going for and the amount and types of souvenirs you’re looking to buy. I was much more interested in trying different snacks and treats so I opted for a lot more of the fast casual food stops instead of any sit-down restaurants. Those are wonderful experiences! I’d highly recommend them if that’s something you’re excited about! But that wasn’t part of our journey this time around.
The other thing to bear in mind, particularly when traveling internationally, is that the exchange rate also matters! I’ll share prices both in yen and the USD conversion at my time of travel.
For context, our average exchange rate during the trip was about $1 USD = 133 yen (a very fortunate exchange rate for us!)
Here is how the cost breakdown came out for my group of 3:
In total, for a 2-day 1-night trip to Tokyo Disney Resort, we spent around $1,400 USD for three people.
Based on the calendar’s ticket prices, we got our park tickets at around the mid-range of possible prices. 1-Day Passports range from 7,900 - 9,400 yen for adults.
When it came to snacks and treats, we were pretty open to trying anything that looked interesting. And when it came to souvenirs, I felt like I was shopping pretty much all day! So at around $230 USD per person per day considering all parts of the trip (lodging, food, etc.), that seems pretty good!
Again, I would say if you’re looking for a more upscale experience where you’ll be enjoying sit-down restaurants and ordering more fanciful foods, the cost is going to look a bit different. Your choice of lodging also matters - Toy Story Hotel is considered a moderate tier hotel; you can also opt for the deluxe tier like Tokyo Disneyland Hotel which will cost more, or a value tier hotel like the Tokyo Disney Celebration Hotel or a partner hotel which would be a bit cheaper.
But in general, I would say that Tokyo Disney Resort is a particularly affordable place to visit! (especially if the exchange rate is on your side ;))
It’s really all about balancing what’s important to you!
One thing I would say is for sure worth it is getting the multi-day Disney Resort Line pass depending on how long you’re staying on property. You get unlimited use of the Line for the duration of the pass which is super useful if you’re going back and forth between the parks and your hotel (if your hotel is along the route). The passes are actually themed as well based on whatever is being celebrated at the moment, so it’s also a cute and fun keepsake or souvenir from your trip!
If you’re trying to be more budget-friendly, I’d recommend looking for Tokyo Disney-specific souvenir items. There’s so many to choose from that are also fairly affordable from individually wrapped snacks to trinkets to stationary. Bringing goodies back home to your loved ones doesn’t have to break the bank, and they’ll still be super special! Just keep an eye out for those unique items and maybe skip the stuff you can get back home.
One notable missing expense on our trip was any Premier Access expenses. These are available for some rides as well as some shows for 1,500 yen per person (about $12 USD at our estimated exchange rate). While these might be worth it for some, our group was accepting of just waiting in the standby lines and hoping for the lottery tickets for the shows we wanted to see. Unfortunately we didn't into any of the lottery shows we tried for, but it didn't impact our day too heavily, so I likely still would not opt for Premier Access in the future either.
The only ride I might consider purchasing Premier Access for would be The Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast, but we were able to use our Happy15 to run to the ride queue and were able to walk on without any issues!
Notes for Future Trips
I would definitely say for a quick trip like this, I had a great time. But it didn’t come without its minor inconveniences.
The tail ends of the trip both felt rushed, and as someone who stresses out easily about anything and everything, I was particularly affected by this. When getting ready for check-in I wanted to make sure we got to Tokyo DisneySea’s entrance as early as possible because I knew how long the line could be to get into the park. So I had to make sure we could get to Toy Story Hotel as early as possible, check-in, and buy our tickets.
On the other end, when we were leaving, I didn’t want to get caught up in the subway crowd on our way out because we were all already so exhausted from our Disney days. Having to manage our luggages, our exhaustion, and the shoulder to shoulder crowds would have been such a nightmare. Which is why we cut our Tokyo Disneyland day early and headed out well before the park closed. As a result, we obviously missed out on more time in Tokyo Disneyland as well as the nighttime show, the fireworks, etc.
What I'd Do Next Time
While I am fairly surprised at how smoothly things went, I would have preferred just a bit more time at the parks! Tokyo Disneyland is beautiful and contrary to the things I’ve heard prior to going, it’s so much different than California’s Disneyland! I thought they were going to be so similar, but there’s a lot that’s unique there, and the park is pretty big as well, so there’s lots of different areas to explore. And of course, this being Japan, they just had so many cute and unique touches that were so iconically Tokyo Disney, like the themed vending machines, the local merchandise, and the cute food! (Mickey-shaped churros, anyone??)
So next time around, I would like to stay for at least two nights. Yes, it’ll cost more lodging-wise, but it feels like it’ll be worth it because I’ll feel comfortable staying the whole day at both parks knowing that my bed is just a Disney Resort Line ride away and I can crash almost immediately after the parks close! Crowds are inevitable when you’re at a place like Tokyo Disney, so crowd avoidance measures are well worth it to me, and if I get just a little more time to stay in the magic, all the better!
Balancing Time with Non-Disney Activities
When you’re in Tokyo for a limited amount of time, you have to strike a balance between all the things you want to get to. Would I have loved to stay in Tokyo Disneyland longer? Yes! But I also wanted to see more of Tokyo and spend more time with my family who hadn’t gone to the parks with us. It definitely depends on what your goals are on your trip and how long you get to be there! We had different cities we wanted to explore, and so many food places we wanted to visit both in and outside of Tokyo with a limited amount of time to do it. Remember that there's magic to be found everywhere, even if you're not at one the happiest places on Earth ;)
I hope you find this useful if you’re budgeting for a future/potential trip to the Tokyo Disney Resort! As always, if you have any further questions or want more details, I’m happy to chat, just send me a message!