Did you know that Tokyo Disneyland is the only Disney park in the world with two large-scale castles? While the Magic Kingdom tried with their own Beast’s castle, the one in Tokyo Disneyland took the beloved Beauty and the Beast and cranked it up to an impressive scale. This post has spoilers for the ride, so if you don’t want that, be warned!
Outside: Approaching the Castle
The castle outside is impressive: it stands 30m (98ft) tall, compared to Cinderella’s castle which stands 58m (198ft) tall. While much shorter by comparison, most likely to preserve sightlines, the forced perspective really works wonders. The trees frame is exceptionally, and the old trick of shortening windows closer to the top while elongating those on the bottom really helps give it a grand appearance.
Inside: The Queue/Line Experience
When you enter, you’re greeted with several rooms in the castle, with long hallways replete with some very impressive tapestries adorning the walls. After a short walk, winding through a few parlors and a hall of talking suits of armor, you’ll arrive at the preshow area. It’s a large staircase with two balconies and a magic stained glass window. The narrator explains how the beast was cursed, manipulating the contents of the window as the story progresses. To the right, you can see the wilting rose that marks the Beast’s remaining time, and the whole foyer has an eery blue glow to it. The best part is the animatronics that appear. They walk out, do a bit of a show, and then walk back out. It’s really creative with the use of perspective and technology that makes the motions so fluid and immersive.
The Ride: Trackless Dark Ride Dancing
Continuing down, you enter the kitchen, where you board your teacup ride vehicle. You board and then glide your way into the first scene. The whole ride takes you through the entire movie, with select musical numbers throughout (all in Japanese). The way the teacups move is pretty impressive; very reminiscent of Pooh’s Hunny Hunt. The cups glide in circles and figures while the vehicle itself tilts around as if you were dancing. It’s really fun to experience, but I can easily see this series of motions causing the more sensitive among us to get a bit motion sick. The way the teacups position where you look is also very clever, as scenes will change around you while you are looking away. There’s also a great use of Pepper’s Ghost towards the end. The whole experience is like riding through a musical; I can’t quite think of any other Disney attraction like it! This is definitely a must-see if you are in Tokyo Disneyland.
To get in, you need to make a reservation for an entry time. If you have trouble doing so using the Tokyo Disney App, you can ask any of the cast members nearby and they will help you. We had trouble linking our tickets to the app, so the cast member outside managing the queue helped us set it up with us. They were incredibly kind and helpful, even with a slight language difference/barrier. My hat’s off to Imagineering on this one!