I visited Disneysea on a 100% forecast rainy day; thinking that the rainwater would make the Disneysea experience more authentic. yea right. Well, the truth was that we couldn’t change any of the planned itinerary; but on a hindsight, every cloud has a silver lining!
Advantages of a Rainy Day
- The queues are shorter for rides
- The queues are shorter for the cafes/restaurants
- You can take really cool photos with an umbrella (just kidding)
The weather forecast in Japan is scarily accurate. It was predicted to rain from like 5am till 4pm as according to the weather app on my iPhone. And the weird thing was that it was the only rainy day in our entire trip. The day before, the day after and the other days of the week – there was no rain. I guess my visit to disneysea had to be that special. It’s like that there’s this one single huge rain cloud hovering Tokyo on that one day, raining for close to 12 hours.
So.. if the weather forecast was gonna be that terrible, we were hoping that there would be lesser visitors to Disneysea that morning.
Just to describe the rain situation that morning – the rain was light (showers) but it was non-stop with strong winds.
Rain attire (May 2016)
- Timberland Boots + Leggings + Shorts + Shirt + Jacket + Umbrella
Although we bought raincoats the night before, I eventually relied on my umbrella as it was simply too troublesome to wear and take off the raincoats whenever you reach the sheltered locations. Umbrella on the other hand was a lot simpler to open and close. In fact, majority of the Japanese (maybe 70%) preferred used long umbrellas. Even if they had their raincoats on, they still carried an umbrella to shelter their had as the strong winds can force the rainhoods off your head.
You will be surprise – some rides even had a space or slot for you to fit your umbrella with you in your seat!
How to get to Disneysea
It was about an hour journey from our Shinjuku airbnb to Maihama Station (390Y), followed by a 260Y train ticket to Disneysea Station. Alternatively, you can save 260Y and take the free Disney Resort Cruiser (bus) which will bring you to Disneysea too.
There was no queue at the ticketing area when we arrived at 8:40am. I guess it was because of the rain and that we were late for its 8:00am opening.
After buying the tickets, there’s a simple bag check which we got through despite packing food. I guess they are not too strict on bringing outside food and drinks into theme parks.
How to strategize and plan your rides at Disneysea
Alright I did a little map below which showed my itinerary for that day. The one with numbers are the rides/attractions I went while the rest without numbers are things that you should visit if there’s sufficient time.
Another thing to note is that the majority of the rides are actually indoor & sheltered. Apart from Raging Spirits (outdoor roller coaster) and maybe the Venetian Gondolas, I don’t think any of the rides will be canceled due to bad weather.
When you enter, it would be good to visit the lottery machines with the tickets to determine if you are lucky enough to secure a seat for the Big Band Beat. Sadly, I wasn’t lucky enough to win the tickets so we didn’t manage to watch the show. However, according to the website, you are able to queue for balcony tickets. This information was certainly not passed on to me on that day by the staff on duty =( Do let me know if you manage to get in by queuing.
When we entered, we chiong-ed to the newest and most popular ride of Disneysea – Toy Story Mania.
When we reached, the fast past timing available was already at 1PM (4 hours away) while the queue time was 40 or 45 minutes. We ended up joining the queue since other reviews that I’ve read said that this ride was usually a 90 – 120 minutes wait! I guess raining days has its perks too~
Initially, I thought that this ride would have been the same as the buzz light year ride in Hong Kong Disneyland. Well, it was good for me to have that expectation because this Toy Story Mania ride was even more fun than the one in Hong Kong~~ It is a mixture of 3D play + carnival game concept and I practiced the anyhow whack approached and ended up with a higher score than my friend, but with a pathetic accuracy of 33%. It is a pretty enjoyable ride.
After Toy Story Mania, we took a fast pass for Towers of Terror which was only an hour away. As a result, we ended up at Turtle Talk which could be somewhat boring for someone who can’t understand Japanese. There was a lot of verbal interactions with 0 translations but it was pretty cool to see the enthusiasm from the audience with the crew. The story is something about how someone invented an equipment which allows sea creatures to talk in human language.
Tower of terrors – despite mentally preparing myself for the ride (after reviews from friends), this ride still scared the hell out of me. There were only Japanese instructions and story-telling so the fear level was not as high since we didn’t understand the story behind this haunted tower. It was a very short adrenaline-rush ride and once is enough for me.. Well, it is not that bad but I generally don’t like such rides.
We queued for Duffy photo taking as I kind of like duffy bear. Do you know that Duffy originated from Disneysea? In the past, you can only find Duffy items solely in Tokyo Disneysea (somewhat of a marketing technique for Disneysea) but now I do see duffy items in HK Disneyland as well!
There’s something nice about mascots in Japan. I find that they make an extra effort to interact with people as compared to the other ones that I have met! I saw this duffy bear walk out from his photozone to hug and welcome a special kid and he even made it a point to hug and High 5 everyone at the end! Aww, duffy.. By the way, because of these extra efforts, the queues for phototaking is no joke. I think I waited about 40 to 50 minutes for this single photo opportunity.
What to do if you see random mascots walking around the streets?
Well, I’ve been to Disneyland in both USA & Hong Kong and it’s the first time I’ve witnessed a queue-less photo taking encounter. Want to take photos with them? There’s no queue for it – You got to wait among the crowd and figure out what’s the best way to attract the mascot’s attention. The mascot chooses you and decides his style of the photo to his liking (see below for example).
Later on at the entrance plaza, we spent like more than 5 mins trying to attract his (big bad wolf) attention. A Disney staff (seeing that we were struggling) taught us to wave both of our hands in front of the mascot’s eyes to attract the attention. Despite doing that awkward action, Big Bad Wolf only picked me after 3 other people! Taking photos with mascots have never been so tiring before but.. the excitement that you get when the mascot signals you to go over is pretty amazing! Everyone else who didn’t get picked will be watching your moment of fame in jealousy, wondering when it will be their turn..
Over on the other side.. I saw a group of “fan girls” crowding Goody with squeals of excitement. They actually brought printed photos which they took with Goofy in the previous visits and asked him for his autograph. I was pretty much in shocked as I can’t imagine that people will take the extra effort to “fantasize” a.. cartoon character? It was an eye-opener for me.. As much as I adore Rilakkuma, Little Twin Stars & Paddington & Duffy, I can never imagine myself fantasizing with a lifesize mascot as if it was a real human.. hmm?
Anyway, Disneysea is beside a real sea and it can be very scenic or days with good weather. I didn’t take much photos as the skies were gloomy due to rain.
Indiana Jones ride – pretty standard Indiana Jones ride whereby you bounce around a jeep.
Took this Sindbad boat ride since there was no queue and we were tired and needed a break. We were lucky to get a “private” boat just for the 2 of us and I had the entire row to myself. Took the opportunity to rest and stretch my legs from all that walking. It’s a very comfortable and relaxing boat ride (to the extent that you can doze off) which is somewhat like the “It’s a small world ride” or “Pirates of Caribbean” whereby you sit down and watch puppets move and dance to the music. I know nothing about Sindbad prior to this ride and the thing that I took away was that he had a cute pet monkey. Anyway, I took the photo of bananas below because.. there was actually a scent of bananas when the boat went pass this! We were pretty amazed of how significant and impressive this artificial banana scent was!
Really cool double-tiered carousel. It was pretty awkward because everyone on the ride were kids that were traveling with their parents. Well, it was a good shelter from the rain and I sat on a genie from Aladdin.
Journey to the center of the Earth – this ride scared the hell out of us (or rather me) and I even got a cramp in my leg due to the shock. Nothing that scary but it was more of the surprise factor. Shall not give any spoiler but do ride it. It is pretty fun but less scary than space mountain (if you want to compare).
For lunch, we ate the onigiri that we bought from the convenience store before entering Disneysea. For dinner, we decided to dine in a restaurant where we could sit down and relax while waiting for the show at night. I can’t remember the name of the restaurant but it was near the entrance plaza. Being a fan of everything limited edition, I ordered a very normal tasting pasta with their 15th anniversary logo. The set came with a mock mojito drink too. Priced at 1670Y, it was somewhat affordable given that it was a theme park and we sat really long to make the money worth.
If you’re visiting Disneysea this year (2016), they are currently celebrating their 15th anniversary and there’s this crystal compass that you can buy for 3000Y. This “magical” item will light up when you put it at the Crystal Point (picture below). It claims that it will light up magically during the Fantasmic night show but I didn’t really observe it. Well, 3000Y for an item which can only be used once? Can’t really put justice to the price tag..
If you see random wooden “chairs” like the one below, they are actually photo spots for owners of duffy bear, his gf (shellie-may) or their new friend Gelatoni. Usually the bears need to be like the 40cm ones in order to sit perfectly. Look at how awkward my own palm-size duffy (and his friend paddington) is resting on the wooden chair. Anyway, if it wasn’t a rainy day, there would have been a queue for such photo spots. You can read more about Duffy and its entire craze in this link.
Don’t miss out on your chance to take photos during sunset as it will be beautiful if it wasn’t a cloudy day.
And we waited.. and waited and waited.. till 8:30PM.
The finale show is at the main water area at the center of the park and you can choose to watch it center-facing or side-facing. We decided to take the side-facing view as it was less crowded. It was super windy and chilly that night (despite it being the end of Spring, start of Summer) and we sat on the raincoats that we brought. There were other more prepared customers with picnic mats. The sitting area was well-organized with marshals instructing on the seating arrangement. They spoke all in Japanese which.. left me clueless as usual but it was interesting to see them trying to warm up the very tired crowd. Japanese people can be really spontaneous!
One more tip if you don’t already know – Selfie sticks & tripods are BANNED in Disneysea and Disneyland.
I was a victim of this new regulation. I carried my tripod with me throughout the entire day, only to set it up and unset it when the staff saw me fiddling with it. I haven’t even taken a single photo using the tripod.. Moreover the area I was at while fixing the tripod was totally out of sight from the main crowd but yet I got “caught”. Urgh.
The show was about 15 minutes if I’m not wrong. It’s a performance of water, lights and boats ferrying mascots. Anyway, so the show ended and we were slowly departing and suddenly there was an announcement for fireworks performance. It should be a daily affair except for “- No performances from July 8 to August 31, 2016.” as seen from their official website. Likely that these dates are the rainy season in Tokyo.
Look at the tons of people.. on a random tuesday night where the rain only stopped at 4PM. If you’re visiting on a non-rainy day, expect a 30% increase in visitors..
Visiting Disneysea on a rainy day might not be so bad after all. I would say that 90% of the rides are indoors and the queues are significantly shorter as compared to their usual days! However, do note that the parades will be canceled due to bad weather. For our case, all the outdoor day parades were canceled as it was raining. We were thankful that the rain stopped in the evening, just in time for them to prepare their closing finale show. Also, the mascots may make fewer appearances due to the rain. My friend did not manage to see her favourite chip and dale for photo taking and it was somewhat upsetting =( Nevertheless, we made good use of the situation to our advantage and cleared as many rides as possible. The biggest pity was the lack of good photos taken of the surroundings. I guess there will always be a next time!
If you’ve planned a trip to Disneysea and the weather forecast shows bad weather and you can’t reschedule your itinerary, don’t be too upset! The experience will has its pleasant surprise too!