Disney
Photo: Parinya Suwanitch/DreamstimeTokyo Disneyland

Here’s what's changed at Tokyo Disneyland during the pandemic

There are new rules to follow, but some things at Disneyland and DisneySea have stayed the same

Tabea Greuner
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Tabea Greuner
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As two of Japan’s most popular theme parks, Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea have really had to adapt to the pandemic, bringing in capped visitor numbers and new social distancing measures. There are new ticket prices, as well as plenty of new safety rules to follow. On the other hand, some things have stayed just the same – the rides are still great, the food is still cute, and the queues are still long. 

Here’s what you need to know about Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea in 2022 to enjoy your visit to the fullest.

Disney
Photo: Tabea GreunerA photo of Disney tickets taken before the coronavirus pandemic

Save up! Ticket prices have gone up

One of the biggest changes you’ll notice when purchasing a ticket to either Tokyo Disneyland or DisneySea is the price increase. Tokyo Disney Resort has increased the price of park ticket prices to a hefty ¥9,400 per person for a one-day pass during most weekends and peak periods such as Halloween and Christmas. See our full breakdown of the new pricing scheme here.

Disney ticket
Photo: Screenshot of Tokyo Disney Resort’s ticket booking page

You have to book tickets in advance online – and they’re still hard to get

While getting tickets to Disneyland has never been easy exactly, in pre-Covid times, we used to be able to enjoy a spontaneous midweek trip to the park outside peak season. Not anymore, though – now you’ll have to reserve your ticket online in advance. From 2pm every day, you can buy park tickets up to two months in advance. For example, if you plan to visit on March 7, you can book your ticket from January 7 onwards. Be quick, though. Sales end when the visitor capacity for that day is reached, although slots may open up again due to cancellations.

We also recommend making reservations for popular park restaurants online right after booking your ticket. Not only will it save you queuing up, but during weekends and holidays, restaurants may only grant admission to those with prior reservations. See here for restaurants in Tokyo Disneyland that take reservations, and here for Tokyo DisneySea.

You still need to arrive early 

This has always been good advice for anyone with a big Disney day planned, but it’s even more essential now. Especially on weekends, holidays and peak periods, entering Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea may take up to one hour due to new safety measures. Both parks have implemented bag and body scanners at all entry gates. It’s a bit like going through an airport – right down to the long, slow-moving queues.

Disney Resort app
Photo: Tabea GreunerThe Tokyo Disney Resort app

Definitely get the app, because...

Pre-Covid, you only needed to bring your phone to snap a few photos inside the parks. However, a smartphone is now required to get entry to a number of attractions at both Disney parks. Make sure to download Tokyo Disney Resort’s official app (Android/iOS) prior to your visit, as you’ll need it to get a Standby Pass or Entry Request.

Fastpasses are gone

That's right. Both Disney parks have ditched their Fastpass system, which used to let visitors skip the lines at popular rides at a specified time. Instead of paper Fastpass tickets, there are now digital Standby Passes, which you get via the Disney Resort app. 

Standby Pass

Upon entering the park, you’ll get access to the Standby Pass menu in the app, where you can choose a time slot for the rides you would like to enjoy. You’ll need to be quick to secure one of the coveted spots as they tend to book out fast. Most of the time, you won’t be able to just queue up for rides that require Standby Passes. In other words, if you can’t get a Standby Pass, you can’t go on the ride.

See here for the list of attractions that require Standby Passes in Tokyo Disneyland and here for Tokyo DisneySea.

Entry Request

The Entry Request is a new lottery-based system for some shows and character greetings. After entering the park, you can make Entry Requests via the app. Note that only those who receive a confirmation message with a specified entry time will be able to enjoy the experiences.

For a list of events that require Entry Requests, see here for Tokyo Disneyland and here for Tokyo DisneySea.

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Want souvenir snacks? There’s an app for that 

Picking up Disney snacks as souvenirs at the end of your visit is a major part of any park visit. However, both Disney parks are facing a shortage of the themed cakes, biscuits, chips and more that usually come in beautiful tins, tote bags and other fancy packaging. As of December 14 2021, most of the sweets and snacks have to be purchased via the Tokyo Disney Resort app.

Instead of rushing to the gift shop, you can only get your hands on the coveted treats via the app’s online shop, but note that the snacks are currently limited to one item per person. There’s no word yet on how long the shortage is expected to last, so the new system might be in place for a while.

If you can’t make it to either Disneyland or DisneySea, make sure to visit Tokyo’s new Disney Flagship store in Shinjuku. Unlike the parks, entry is free, however, you will also need to make a reservation in advance.

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