Having Disneyland basically a hop, skip, and a jump away from where we live is pretty sweet. Does this mean we go all the time? No, but when we do, we know the ropes, have a routine, and know how to best enjoy the park. As my Daddy has said before, there are no bad days at Disney.
One thing that makes all the difference in the world: the Disney crowd calendar. Thanks to Jo from The Tokyo Chapter, the best resource for Disney (and Japan in general), we've picked up numerous tips and tricks in how to best navigate the parks. The Disney crowd calendar is one of them! It tells you peak days, the days where there's expected to be a lull, it even helps you anticipate the weather.
January can be hit or miss with the weather. It absolutely will be cold, but it's Disney! Wear layers, be prepared to shed some as it warms up a bit, then stuff them in the bag you're carrying to bring home goodies and merchandise. Like all Disney parks, there are items unique to Tokyo and the specific celebrations. Right now it's the first ever "Very, Very Minnie" celebration, so you know we picked up some pretty ears for a friend!
This year we also happened to go on the holiday Seijin no Hi, or Coming of Age Day. When the youth in Japan reach the age of adulthood, 20 years of age, it becomes an incredibly beautiful and colorful day. There were special treats at Disneyland for those celebrating, including a meeting with Mickey, but for us the treat was completely visual. Between the ornate furisodes and meticulously styled hair and make-up, both men and women went all out for their special day. A part of me is hoping Madeline will be able to observe this next year!
Hello churro! Do you see that darling Mickey at the very top? It's a not-so-hidden one if you play that game, but per our habit, after we complete Adventureland and at least one ride on Big Thunder Mountain and Pirates, we grab one...or three. One for each person. Right now they're the regular cinnamon-sugar, but at other times of year there are seasonal options. In October there was a pumpkin churro and it was absolutely delightful!
There are numerous places to eat at Tokyo Disney. Some more unique to Tokyo than other parks, so I recommend off-the beaten path to not only avoid the expected crowds, but to get a taste of something a little different. If you're on the go and want a snack, my children really enjoy Captain Hook's Galley for their yummy cheesy-potato bites. You can also get a Mickey waffle to-go from the Great American Waffle Company or the Boiler Room for several types of steamed buns. For sitting down Blue Bayou is fine, but the Crystal Palace is great if you're with children (especially since it's buffet style and that makes everyone happy!).
Speaking of Happy...Even with the castle being worked on-one or two rides closed for maintenance and updates-there is not one moment wasted. It is smile time from beginning to end and truly, that is part of the magic in going to Disney: that ability to make everything in the world feel right and good. And truly, that makes that time with family all the more enjoyable.
Nothing keeps us from having the time of our lives. We ride, we eat, we ride more, we eat more, we listen to music, we dance, we eat mayyyyybe a little more, and then we head home, tired, full, and absolutely happy in heart and spirit. The magic of Disney is undeniable!
(NOTE: If you're traveling to Japan, I mentioned her before, but please visit Jo's blog The Tokyo Chapter for tips, tricks, and all the ways to enjoy Tokyo Disneyland and Sea! Not only does she get that these are playgrounds for the children, but adults as well, and she considers the parents/adults as well as little ones when tackling how best to enjoy the parks. She's amazing!)