Thursday, June 21, 2012

Tokyo Disney: Benefits of staying in an on property hotel.

It is no secret that Disney is a world class vacation destination all over the world and Tokyo is no exception to the rule. If you are traveling through Tokyo and have any type of soft spot for Disney then you might want to check out the park and give it a little of your time. So you want to go to the Tokyo Disney Resort, now it's time to weigh your options on where to day. Of course there are options all over Tokyo of hotels where you could stay and still enjoy the Tokyo Disney Resort but in this post I want to focus on some of the benefits of staying what is known as "on property" or at one of the Tokyo Disney Report hotels.

The first and possibly biggest benefit of staying on Disney property anywhere in the world is that you are staying as close as you can get to the action. Usually the hotels which are on property are either within walking distance from the parks or if they are not transportation is provided free of charge. In the Tokyo  Disney Resort there are three hotels which are considered within walking distance: The Miracosta, The Ambassador and The Disneyland Hotel. These three hotels also have a bus service which transports you from park to park and a monorail which does the same. Both the buss and the monorail are free of charge for those who are staying on property, however, to ride the monorail for free you will need to get a special pass from your hotel during check-in. If you are not staying on property the monorail works like any other train in Tokyo and must be paid for. The cost is not very expensive but nonetheless it is a charge that you will have to pay if you choose to use the service and are not staying on Disney property. At this time I am not familiar with that is required to use the buss. I do know that it is free for those who are staying on property but I am not sure if they use the same type of pass that is used for the monorail system.

The advantages to staying on property don't stop at being in close proximity to the park, you also have advantages that other park guests don't have. To visit the parks you have to purchase tickets, but don't mistakenly purchase your tickets at the front gate, make sure you purchase you're tickets from the hotel you are staying at. If you are staying at an on property hotel you have the ability to purchase special tickets which allow you to enter the park before everyone else and they also allow you to reenter the park even if they have reached max capacity. This means that if you choose to go back to your room over lunch to get out of the hot summer sun you are guaranteed to be let back into the park when you return and won't be turned away. This is a great advantage because it allows you to take advantage of the fact that you have a room within walking distance of the parks.

The perks continue in the park as well. Want to purchase fun an interesting things you see in the park but don't want to lug them around. Also not too keep on the idea of going all the way back to the hotel just to drop off a life size Duffy Stuffy? No problem. If you are staying on property you can have any purchase you make (aside from open food items like popcorn) sent directly to your hotel. No need to carry anything around while you are enjoying the sights and sounds of the park. Once you go back to the hotel for the day just stop at it's gift shop and your goods will be there waiting for you. It's that simple.

Of course there are other benefits to staying at the hotel which you would get at any other high quality hotel. The rooms are themed with your favorite Disney characters as is the rest of the hotel. There are also restaurants with foods for everyone to enjoy and areas where you can purchase necessities and snacks. Some hotels also have smaller and quicker food options such as a diner, deli or other quick service options. These hotels do come at a cost, however, it is comparable to a Disney Resort Deluxe hotel hotel anywhere else in the world. Prices are subject to change with the season so if you are interested please visit the Tokyo Disney website. My personal opinion, having stayed at other Disney properties in the past is that it is very worth the money to stay here if you take advantage of all the perks which are available to you. If you choose to not take advantage of those perks you might find yourself spending extra money on something you were entitled to get for fee and that just seems unnecessary.

Although I have said some wonderful things about the hotels on property I have also taken some time to do some research on what other people were saying and to be completely honest the response was overwhelming good. There were some people out there who did have negative things to say about the hotels but overall I truly thing that the problem they had with the hotels was that they did not meet the unrealistic expectations of the person writing the review. One person had felt that staying at one of the hotels was too far away because it was a 10 minute walk to the park on foot and a 5 minute buss ride and that is "unacceptable for small children who want to visit the park". For me this comment was almost laughable as I have stayed on property before and traveled with young children making over a 20 minute walk to the park and feeling like I was extremely close. With a 10 minute walk and a 5 minute buss ride I am not sure how much closer you can get. This person then stated that they switched hotels to the Mira Costa because they could walk directly into the park and that is the way it should be. In my opinion these are unrealistic expectations. Another person had made a review saying that the accommodations were not very good at all. They stated that the bed was very firm and that there was not a grab deal of area for your clothing to be hung in the closets which I do not necessarily feel is unrealistic expectations but rather the result of not fully understanding the location you are traveling to. Here in Japan beds are extremely firm because people here are used to sleeping on the floor using futon. For some this is common knowledge but for others I suppose it is not as common as you would think. If you were to visit bed shops you will see that there is not a great deal of places for you to find the soft springy bed that you might find in the western world. As for the lack of space to hang things in the closets this is most likely again because of culture. Many Japanese people travel for short periods of time so you might not stay in a hotel for more than 2 or 3 days. This makes it unnecessary to have more than 2 or 3 hangers in a closet. Of course these are all things that are subjective based on your personal experiences in the past. The final complaint that I am going to talk about here is a person who had said that they were waiting for 45 minutes to get into Chef Mickey's for a character breakfast. This is actually one of the complaints that I would classify as not having traveled to a place which has a high capacity before. I also wonder if they had used another perk that you have as a person who stays on property called "priority seating".

One thing that you will find at some Disney restaurants is that they do not take reservations but they do have this thing called "priority seating". Priority seating is a list that those staying at the hotel can be put on, it's almost like a fast pass line. Although you are not guaranteed a table at a certain time you can find yourself waiting less than the people who simple decide to show up. Priority seating procedures can be found out during check in but it is usually as simple as letting the restaurant or your hotel know that you would like to be put on the list and showing up. When your name gets called you then go in. Simple as that.

Overall if you are spending time in the Tokyo Disney Resort you may find it beneficial to stay at one of the on property hotels. Fore more information about the hotels themselves you can always check out the Tokyo Disney Resort website which has an English page which is incredibly informative. You can also stay tuned through the month of July as I post information regarding my trip to Tokyo and about the hotel that I am staying at which will be one of the on property hotels that I described above. As always thanks for reading and I will talk to you soon.


  1. I just got back from a visit to Tokyo Disney (I'm from the United States) and I loved it! I also agree that staying on property is definitely worth it. I stayed two nights in the Disneyland Hotel and two nights at the Ambassador. I wish I could've stayed at the MiraCosta as well, but it was too expensive, so I ended up staying at the Palm and Fountain Terrace (a Disney partner hotel) for the rest of my stay in Tokyo.

    Using the bus to get to and from the parks from the Ambassador was not a big deal at all. The hotel offers separate buses, one to each park, so you don't have to wait for people to get on/off at one park when you are going to the other one. Also, that bus is free to use. I was never asked to prove that I was staying in the hotel to get on the bus, so if anyone wanted to take the bus there to check out the lobby or eat at Chef Mickey's, you can do that without any hassle at all.

    When I was there, I did not have to pay extra to get into the parks early. Rather, I was given (without even asking for it) a separate pass that allowed me to get into Disneyland 15 minutes earlier than non-park guests. (They were not offering that perk for DisneySea at all, just Disneyland.)

    I did notice that the beds were a bit firmer than I was used to, and the pillows flatter, but overall, I didn't mind at all. I did notice, too, that the rooms were warmer than hotel rooms in the US. Usually I'm the first one to get cold (and always have to carry a jacket with me just in case!) but I had to crank on the air-conditioning to feel comfortable. Because of the warmth, my room in the Ambassador Hotel smelled and felt very musty, and in addition to the a/c, I also had to open the window to clear out the smell. That's a small complaint in the overall scheme of things, though, as I was very impressed with the hotels and their level of surface.

    One awesome thing about staying at two Disney hotels there? Once I had checked out of the Disneyland Hotel, they sent my luggage over to the Ambassador Hotel for me so that I didn't have to do it myself. I thought I would have to do it, thus taking time away from being in the parks, so that was a nice surprise!

    Another tip for non-locals: their bathrooms are set up as Japanese bathrooms so that the shower nozzle is actually outside of the tub. There's a small bucket-like seat that you can sit on while washing yourself with the nozzle. However, you can leave the nozzle in its holder and shower like you would in a normal shower, and the entire room acts like a shower in that there's a drain on the floor. It might shock some people seeing the bathrooms there for the first time, but having seen pictures of them ahead of time, they were not hard to use at all. (The same goes for the toilet. I never bothered with any of the extra buttons on them, and was still able to flush and use it like a Western toilet.)

    I'm actually a cast member at Walt Disney World in Florida, and I highly recommend that every Disney fan visit Tokyo Disney at least once in their lives. It was awesome, and I can't wait to save up enough to go back again. :D

  2. That should be "as I was very impressed with the hotels and their level of SERVICE." Heh. XD

  3. Thanks so much for your comment! Unfortunately musty smells are a hazard of living in a humid climate like Japan but it's something I suppose you get used to over time. Other than that I am glad that you enjoyed your stay and thank you for the information about the bus. I had figured that it was free of charge but I was not sure because when I went a few years ago we didn't use it and opted to walk instead. Thanks again for the comment!