If I can go to just one...

Discussion of Non-U.S. Disney Parks

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duggett
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If I can go to just one...

Post by duggett » Oct Mon 14, 2013 10:31 am

If I can go to just one of the international parks, which one should it be?
We are thinking of taking an international trip, and it would be great to add our first visit to one of the non-US Disney parks as part of the trip.
We have been to Disney World and Disneyland dozens of times and are looking for a new perspective. And we have been to many international locations, but never to one the Disney parks outside the US.
Any suggestions?
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Re: If I can go to just one...

Post by Amy » Oct Mon 14, 2013 11:11 am

duggett wrote:If I can go to just one of the international parks, which one should it be?
We are thinking of taking an international trip, and it would be great to add our first visit to one of the non-US Disney parks as part of the trip.
We have been to Disney World and Disneyland dozens of times and are looking for a new perspective. And we have been to many international locations, but never to one the Disney parks outside the US.
Any suggestions?
I have been fortunate enough to visit both the Disneyland Paris Resort and Tokyo Disney Resort. If I could only choose one of those two, I would go to Tokyo again, specifically Tokyo Disney Sea. It is a beautiful park with absolutely amazing scenery and music and attractions! Obviously it is a bit easier to visit DLP because of it's location in Europe, but if you can make it to Japan, I would recommend that one :D One thing to note, although many Japanese people speak a fair amount of English, and there are translation cards and the like available for attractions, you should not assume you will find any CM that will speak English with you. But everyone is very polite and if you learn a few basic phrases before you go you would be ok. I had studied Japanese in college and although my skills were a bit rusty after 11 years, I did ok.

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Re: If I can go to just one...

Post by horizons1 » Oct Mon 14, 2013 1:22 pm

I went to DLRP twice this past spring and it was great, but I have to think that TDR is even better!
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Re: If I can go to just one...

Post by Cardinals314 » Oct Mon 14, 2013 3:02 pm

I have never been to either, but I would go to Tokyo. DisneySea looks great. The Studios park in Paris from what I have heard isn't good. However, the consensus with many people is that Paris does have the better "Magic Kingdom" park than Tokyo.
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Re: If I can go to just one...

Post by Goofyfan » Oct Mon 14, 2013 4:20 pm

I think I would have picked Tokyo.....But with the Damage that their reactor had....The radiation kind of scares me. So Paris for me. :shock: :goofy:
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Re: If I can go to just one...

Post by Amy » Oct Mon 14, 2013 8:08 pm

Cardinals314 wrote:I have never been to either, but I would go to Tokyo. DisneySea looks great. The Studios park in Paris from what I have heard isn't good. However, the consensus with many people is that Paris does have the better "Magic Kingdom" park than Tokyo.
The parks are so different it is hard to compare. Tokyo Disneyland's Pooh's Honey Hunt is a-m-a-z-i-n-g though!!

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Re: If I can go to just one...

Post by Wizzard419 » Oct Mon 14, 2013 8:55 pm

Ignore the parks themselves for this, and first ask if you would be visiting the nearby major cities. If yes, then pick based on that, otherwise I probably would say just go for one of the Asian parks.

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Re: If I can go to just one...

Post by acp » Oct Wed 16, 2013 7:08 am

duggett wrote:If I can go to just one of the international parks, which one should it be?
We are thinking of taking an international trip, and it would be great to add our first visit to one of the non-US Disney parks as part of the trip.
We have been to Disney World and Disneyland dozens of times and are looking for a new perspective. And we have been to many international locations, but never to one the Disney parks outside the US.
Any suggestions?
Having been to DLP and TDR, if I were to pick my favourite from the two, I'd pick TDR. Tokyo DisneySea alone makes it the best of all the resorts I've visited.

DLP is certainly the prettiest of the Disneyland-style parks. It has the prettiest castle, and it's also the largest of the Disneyland-style parks out of all of them. DLP has the best Space Mountain and the best Big Thunder Mountain of all the resorts, and also has the awesome Disney Dreams nighttime show, which IMO is better than what MK has with Wishes.

WDSP isn't overly amazing, however it is slowly getting better. They're opening a new Ratatouille attraction there in 2014 which from what I've read about it should be pretty good. The park also has some unique attractions that you won't find in other resorts (Crush's Coaster, Cinemagique, Animagique, Ratatouille (when it opens next year).

For DLP, you'll probably want to take two days to get around it all at a nice pace. WDSP you can do in less than a day - it's quite a small park.

TDR is just amazing. TDL is somewhat reminiscent of MK (mainly because bits of it were taken from the same blueprints), but the biggest difference is that *everything* works. No matter how much I tried, I couldn't spot anything in the park that didn't work. Every animatronic works, every effect works. The Cast Members are the most friendly I've ever encountered in any of the resorts. Tokyo DisneySea is by far the best theme park in the world. The level of detail in that park is simply astonishing.

For TDR, you really need two days for each park if you want to make sure you can get through everything. You could get away with one day in each park, but if you want to properly take everything in, two days is probably better. You'll also want to avoid weekends. The crowds in the Tokyo parks goes way up at the weekends.

Hong Kong I've not been to, however I have read up on it (I nearly went there "on the way" to Tokyo earlier this year, but didn't). It's the smallest of the resorts, and only has one park. The new expansion lands have opened this year, so there's some new and unique to HKDL attractions there that look pretty good. That said, it's probably still not really worth a trip just to visit the park. If you're visiting Hong Kong in general, it's probably worth taking a day to go over there, but if you're going on a trip primarily to visit the Disney park, go to Tokyo.

As for the language barrier, don't let it worry you at all. You'll generally find that most cast members in the non-US resorts can speak enough English to at least get the gist of what you want.
Goofyfan wrote:I think I would have picked Tokyo.....But with the Damage that their reactor had....The radiation kind of scares me. So Paris for me. :shock: :goofy:
The incident at Fukushima isn't having any effect on Tokyo (or most of Japan, for that matter).

Looking at the section for it on the (UK) government's travel advice website, the advice is just to not go into the 20km exclusion zone. It also points out that the risks are gradually declining ( https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advic ... d-security (scroll down to the "Fukushima" section)). From what I can tell, most of the worry over it (other than in the immediate area, of course), is down to how it was reported in the media. As usual, the media put a lot of stories out that made it sound like the entire country was effected, when in reality it wasn't.

Basically, if you're visiting Japan, as long as you aren't going into the exclusion zone (which would be silly..), you're going to be fine. In Tokyo, there's actually no sign anything even happened. Everything's just "business as usual" (and from what I remember reading at the time, has been since a few days after the earthquake in 2011). In short, don't worry about it and enjoy your trip to Japan. It's an awesome, amazing place.
Wizzard419 wrote:Ignore the parks themselves for this, and first ask if you would be visiting the nearby major cities. If yes, then pick based on that, otherwise I probably would say just go for one of the Asian parks.
This. Don't go to, for instance, Tokyo Disney Resort and not actually look around Tokyo itself ;) In fact, you're probably better off going to visit Tokyo and taking a side-trip to the Disney resort. I stayed in Tokyo rather than at Disney and took the train to Disney (all the non-US resorts can be got to by train from the nearby cities VERY easily and cheaply), and the hotel was much cheaper than the ones at Disney, and I was much better positioned to get around Tokyo itself.

The best way to look at picking which resort to go to might be just to decide which part of the world you want to visit. Would you like to visit Paris, or Tokyo, or Hong Kong, or somewhere else entirely?
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Re: If I can go to just one...

Post by duggett » Oct Wed 16, 2013 12:53 pm

Amy wrote:
duggett wrote:If I can go to just one of the international parks, which one should it be?
We are thinking of taking an international trip, and it would be great to add our first visit to one of the non-US Disney parks as part of the trip.
We have been to Disney World and Disneyland dozens of times and are looking for a new perspective. And we have been to many international locations, but never to one the Disney parks outside the US.
Any suggestions?
I have been fortunate enough to visit both the Disneyland Paris Resort and Tokyo Disney Resort. If I could only choose one of those two, I would go to Tokyo again, specifically Tokyo Disney Sea. It is a beautiful park with absolutely amazing scenery and music and attractions! Obviously it is a bit easier to visit DLP because of it's location in Europe, but if you can make it to Japan, I would recommend that one :D One thing to note, although many Japanese people speak a fair amount of English, and there are translation cards and the like available for attractions, you should not assume you will find any CM that will speak English with you. But everyone is very polite and if you learn a few basic phrases before you go you would be ok. I had studied Japanese in college and although my skills were a bit rusty after 11 years, I did ok.

Thanks, I don't know any Japanese, but can get by with a few phrases, especially if the CM's have experience communicating with English-speaking guests.
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Re: If I can go to just one...

Post by duggett » Oct Wed 16, 2013 12:57 pm

Cardinals314 wrote:I have never been to either, but I would go to Tokyo. DisneySea looks great. The Studios park in Paris from what I have heard isn't good. However, the consensus with many people is that Paris does have the better "Magic Kingdom" park than Tokyo.
Thanks, we would not be travelling with small kids, so DisneySea would be more interesting (and new) vs. another Magic Kingdom. However, we would definitely spend a few days at each.
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Re: If I can go to just one...

Post by duggett » Oct Wed 16, 2013 12:58 pm

Goofyfan wrote:I think I would have picked Tokyo.....But with the Damage that their reactor had....The radiation kind of scares me. So Paris for me. :shock: :goofy:

From what I know about Japan, Tokyo is not at risk from the reactor. I have no qualms about going back to Tokyo city ...but not to the radiation zone.
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Re: If I can go to just one...

Post by duggett » Oct Wed 16, 2013 1:02 pm

Wizzard419 wrote:Ignore the parks themselves for this, and first ask if you would be visiting the nearby major cities. If yes, then pick based on that, otherwise I probably would say just go for one of the Asian parks.

Of course. We have travelled on business and pleasure to many international locations, and have seen the tourist sites. But we have never gone to the Disney parks - always seemed to be more "local" things to do. Now that I am retired, we can spend more time - and therefore have time to dig deeper into the local sites, plus check out the Disney Parks as well.
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Re: If I can go to just one...

Post by duggett » Oct Wed 16, 2013 1:10 pm

acp wrote:
duggett wrote:If I can go to just one of the international parks, which one should it be?
We are thinking of taking an international trip, and it would be great to add our first visit to one of the non-US Disney parks as part of the trip.
We have been to Disney World and Disneyland dozens of times and are looking for a new perspective. And we have been to many international locations, but never to one the Disney parks outside the US.
Any suggestions?
Having been to DLP and TDR, if I were to pick my favourite from the two, I'd pick TDR. Tokyo DisneySea alone makes it the best of all the resorts I've visited.

DLP is certainly the prettiest of the Disneyland-style parks. It has the prettiest castle, and it's also the largest of the Disneyland-style parks out of all of them. DLP has the best Space Mountain and the best Big Thunder Mountain of all the resorts, and also has the awesome Disney Dreams nighttime show, which IMO is better than what MK has with Wishes.

WDSP isn't overly amazing, however it is slowly getting better. They're opening a new Ratatouille attraction there in 2014 which from what I've read about it should be pretty good. The park also has some unique attractions that you won't find in other resorts (Crush's Coaster, Cinemagique, Animagique, Ratatouille (when it opens next year).

For DLP, you'll probably want to take two days to get around it all at a nice pace. WDSP you can do in less than a day - it's quite a small park.

TDR is just amazing. TDL is somewhat reminiscent of MK (mainly because bits of it were taken from the same blueprints), but the biggest difference is that *everything* works. No matter how much I tried, I couldn't spot anything in the park that didn't work. Every animatronic works, every effect works. The Cast Members are the most friendly I've ever encountered in any of the resorts. Tokyo DisneySea is by far the best theme park in the world. The level of detail in that park is simply astonishing.

For TDR, you really need two days for each park if you want to make sure you can get through everything. You could get away with one day in each park, but if you want to properly take everything in, two days is probably better. You'll also want to avoid weekends. The crowds in the Tokyo parks goes way up at the weekends.

Hong Kong I've not been to, however I have read up on it (I nearly went there "on the way" to Tokyo earlier this year, but didn't). It's the smallest of the resorts, and only has one park. The new expansion lands have opened this year, so there's some new and unique to HKDL attractions there that look pretty good. That said, it's probably still not really worth a trip just to visit the park. If you're visiting Hong Kong in general, it's probably worth taking a day to go over there, but if you're going on a trip primarily to visit the Disney park, go to Tokyo.

As for the language barrier, don't let it worry you at all. You'll generally find that most cast members in the non-US resorts can speak enough English to at least get the gist of what you want.
Goofyfan wrote:I think I would have picked Tokyo.....But with the Damage that their reactor had....The radiation kind of scares me. So Paris for me. :shock: :goofy:
The incident at Fukushima isn't having any effect on Tokyo (or most of Japan, for that matter).

Looking at the section for it on the (UK) government's travel advice website, the advice is just to not go into the 20km exclusion zone. It also points out that the risks are gradually declining ( https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advic ... d-security (scroll down to the "Fukushima" section)). From what I can tell, most of the worry over it (other than in the immediate area, of course), is down to how it was reported in the media. As usual, the media put a lot of stories out that made it sound like the entire country was effected, when in reality it wasn't.

Basically, if you're visiting Japan, as long as you aren't going into the exclusion zone (which would be silly..), you're going to be fine. In Tokyo, there's actually no sign anything even happened. Everything's just "business as usual" (and from what I remember reading at the time, has been since a few days after the earthquake in 2011). In short, don't worry about it and enjoy your trip to Japan. It's an awesome, amazing place.
Wizzard419 wrote:Ignore the parks themselves for this, and first ask if you would be visiting the nearby major cities. If yes, then pick based on that, otherwise I probably would say just go for one of the Asian parks.
This. Don't go to, for instance, Tokyo Disney Resort and not actually look around Tokyo itself ;) In fact, you're probably better off going to visit Tokyo and taking a side-trip to the Disney resort. I stayed in Tokyo rather than at Disney and took the train to Disney (all the non-US resorts can be got to by train from the nearby cities VERY easily and cheaply), and the hotel was much cheaper than the ones at Disney, and I was much better positioned to get around Tokyo itself.

The best way to look at picking which resort to go to might be just to decide which part of the world you want to visit. Would you like to visit Paris, or Tokyo, or Hong Kong, or somewhere else entirely?
Wow! Fantastic response! It will take me a while to digest it all...and do some more research. I think we are leaning toward Tokyo - it seems more spectacular. Concerning crowds, is there a better time of year for Tokyo? And can we really do each park in two days each? If we make the trip, we don't want to short-change ourselves on time. And realistically, if we stay in Tokyo, how long does it take from hotel to park? (I know it depends on where in Tokyo we stay, but we would be interested in your suggestion on that too.) Again, thanks for the well-thought-out response. We may have more questions, though! :-)
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Re: If I can go to just one...

Post by Amy » Oct Wed 16, 2013 1:25 pm

I went to TDL/TDS during December and it wasn't horribly crowded then, but that was 10 years ago. Since the US parks crowd levels have shifted so much, I don't know if the same shift is happening overseas or not. I had three days, one day in TDL and one day in TDS, then a park hopper day between the two. I would have loved one more day, but I think I saw most everything at least once and a few attractions more than once during those three days.
I stayed right at the parks so I can't speak for the commute time, but I believe it is around 30 minutes or so from the city to the parks. Rest assured the trains are very much on time there though, so if you are expecting a certain travel time, you should be fine counting on that very time!

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Re: If I can go to just one...

Post by acp » Oct Wed 16, 2013 1:48 pm

duggett wrote:Wow! Fantastic response! It will take me a while to digest it all...and do some more research. I think we are leaning toward Tokyo - it seems more spectacular. Concerning crowds, is there a better time of year for Tokyo? And can we really do each park in two days each? If we make the trip, we don't want to short-change ourselves on time. And realistically, if we stay in Tokyo, how long does it take from hotel to park? (I know it depends on where in Tokyo we stay, but we would be interested in your suggestion on that too.) Again, thanks for the well-thought-out response. We may have more questions, though! :-)
I went in May, just after Golden Week (one of the main Japanese holiday periods), and the crowds were manageable. For the weather, I believe Spring or Autumn are favourable and I'd been told the weather was good for visiting in either March/April/May (except Golden Week, and there's the possibility of timing it with the cherry blossoms in April if you're careful) or September/October (although given they had a fairly large typhoon yesterday...). Summer I believe can be *very* hot, and crowded. There's plenty of travel guide websites around which will give you an idea of the usual weather for a given month, etc.

There is a crowd calendar for Tokyo Disney Resort, but the page is in Japanese. Google Translate does an OKish job of translating it: http://www15.plala.or.jp/gcap/disney/

Whenever you decide to go, make sure your days in the park are on weekdays if you can. I did some weekend days, and the difference in crowds was quite impressive. Weekends are definitely noticeably busier.

You should be able to do the parks in two days each. Obviously, if you have more time, you can go at a more leisurely pace. The longest single ticket they sell is four days, of which you have to specify which park you visit on the first two, and can park hop on the second two (Three day and two day tickets have the same restriction on the first two days). You can also get after-six tickets if you find yourself without anything to do in an evening.

I stayed in Shinjuku, which is pretty central in Tokyo. The Disney resort is just outside Tokyo. For me, the train journey was around 45 minutes to get from the Shinjuku station to Maihama (where the resort is). With the walking from the hotel to the station (which was only basically crossing a road), and the changing trains at Tokyo station (on a very long moving walkway!), it was probably just about an hour or so. There are hotels on the same line as the Disney Resort which might be worth looking at and obviously quicker to get to the resort. I suppose it depends on what your primary focus in the trip is going to be. If you're going to be spending more time exploring Tokyo/Japan, you're probably better staying nearer to one of the major stations (That's part of the reason I chose to stay near Shinjuku station - it was VERY easy to get around from). The resort's around 20 minutes train journey from Tokyo station IIRC.

The trains are pretty much always exactly on time. You can get timetables and travel itineraries generated here: http://www.hyperdia.com/ - The station you want for Disney is Maihama.

The hotels at the Disney resort were a LOT more expensive. The cheapest of the Disney hotels was about three times what I paid for my hotel, and the non-Disney ones were also more expensive. Other than convenience for the Disney parks, there's not really any advantage to staying at the resort itself (Well, some Disney hotel guests can get into the parks early, but that's not really something I was worried about. And it certainly wasn't worth the huge price increase).

Once you get to the resort, you can take the monorail from Resort Gateway (which is next to the JR Maihama Station) to DisneySea (you do have to pay to use the monorail in Tokyo, but it's not expensive), and you can walk to Disneyland (which is quicker (and cheaper!) than taking the monorail). You can get day passes and 2 or 3 day passes for the monorail, but it cost more than just buying single tickets when you needed it (I just used my Suica card (the pre-paid train card they use in Tokyo)). As an example, I seem to recall it was cheaper to get two single tickets to go to and from DisneySea than it was to get a single day pass. I think it worked out cheaper to get the day pass if you were making three or four journeys on the monorail in the day - just the two to get to and from the park was cheaper to use individual tickets.

There's also Ikspiari at the Tokyo Disney Resort too, which is essentially what they have instead of Downtown Disney. It's basically a large shopping mall, with LOTS of shops.

I'm happy to try and answer any questions you have. I've still got a lot of my planning research in my head/hanging around from my trip in May. If it's useful, I did put together this post after planning my trip earlier this year with some planning notes: viewtopic.php?f=10&t=8803
duggett wrote:Thanks, I don't know any Japanese, but can get by with a few phrases, especially if the CM's have experience communicating with English-speaking guests.
The language barrier isn't a problem at all, really. Not at Disney, anyway.

Most cast members can string enough words together to at least get the point across, or understand what you want. They also go out of their way to make sure you're happy.

In the city itself, it varies. Places like the main train stations usually have staff at the service desks that can speak English, and a lot of the signs are in English. You can also select English on the ticket machines at all train stations.

Other than that, you can get by with just a few phrases ("Ohayo Gozaimasu" for Good Morning, "Konnichiwa" for Good Afternoon, "Konbanwa" for Good Evening, "Arigato Gozaimasu" for Thank You", etc).

(Sorry, that turned into quite a longer post than I planned! I can waffle on a bit when I get going ;))
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