Tokyo Disneyland During the Pandemic

The pandemic has really taken a toll on entertainment across the world. While Walt Disney World is open and expanding, Disneyland took a decidedly more reserved approach to keep in line with California regulations. Tokyo Disney Resort, however, has taken even greater measures to make sure that people can enjoy the parks while taking minimal risks of catching Covid.

Ticket Lotteries

The first great hurdle is to find a way to get into the parks. You have to get into a lottery to gain access to purchasing your tickets, starting with the first round two months out from your admission date, and then again for a second round (if you didn’t luck out in the first round) one month out from the admission date.

Others have tried to purchase tickets as they go on sale at convenience store kiosks with mixed results. Trying to get tickets from authorized sellers is still 99% luck and 1% timing, though.

What about buying tickets from the second-hand market, you may ask? Well, Tokyo Disney has a nice vague answer to that: It’s not allowed if it’s for commercial gain. That seems to be vague enough to catch what they want and ignore what they can’t be bothered with. Purchase resale tickets at your own discretion, but know when you go to the gates, they’ll scan your ticket or QR code and that’s pretty much all that happens (no ID check or anything of that nature).

Capacity and Attractions

Tokyo Disneyland Station - Two Second Street -
Tokyo Disneyland Station

Parks cap out at 16,000 guests. That seems like a lot, but when we went not too long ago, the park felt like a ghost town. You saw signs of life at attractions, some restaurants, and everyone mysteriously poured out of… somewhere to watch the grand afternoon parade. Attractions are still loaded somewhat regularly, with some slower rides having plexiglass barriers between seats (Beauty and the Beast), while others load every other row (Pirates of the Caribbean), and some load every other ride vehicle (Haunted Mansion).

Distancing is in effect at all attractions, although most people don’t really seem to follow that.

You do need reservations for attractions; stand-by queues are the norm, minus the two newest (Baymax and Beauty and the Beast). The wait times are beyond reasonable: There was a posted wait time of 15 minutes for Haunted Mansion but we literally walked onto the ride with no wait. On the flip side, there was a 25 minute posted wait time for Pooh’s Honey Hunt, and we waited for almost the full 25. We never saw anything beyond a 25 minute wait time, however.

Dining and Shopping

You need reservations to get into just about every dining establishment, full stop. Reservations open at 9 AM the day of, so you need to act fast to snag some reservations. We managed to get reservations at the Waffle Company for a nice brunch waffle, The Blue Bayou for a fancy lunch, and the Coffee House for a light dinner. You can also make advanced reservations for dining, but those tend to disappear very quickly if you’re not on it.

Some shopping establishments also require reservations, like the new popcorn shop, but almost all of the others do not. It needs to be said that most of the restaurants and shops are closed, due to the limited capacity. This includes the famous popcorn carts, of which we only saw two or three open, which was a bit disappointing (but understandable).

If you can get in, you’ll get a very abridged version of a regular Disney experience. The Mrs. and I both agreed that we didn’t quite feel the tickets for Disney Land were worth it. I’d recommend passing for now and waiting to see how things are in the coming year, if possible. We can’t say for Disney Sea, but I imagine since it is the vastly superior park, even with the restrictions, it would be worth spending the day there.

What do you think? Are you willing to drop the money to visit amusement parks even though the experience is altered significantly? Let us know what you think?


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