Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea are bucket-list destinations for many, and while prices will always be high, there are some easy methods to save some yen—maybe for a second helping of that delicious caramel popcorn. Japan isn’t exactly a deal-a-minute, but with some wily ways and a few tricks up your sleeve, you can get the full Tokyo Disney experience with money to spare.
1. Tricks for Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea tickets
Where and how to buy tickets
You can buy e-tickets via the Tokyo Disney resort website. One benefit of this is that Disney allows free changes to be made online for e-tickets, including last-minute ones, while other sites may charge for changes. Wherever you buy it, your “e-ticket” should be printed out before you arrive (apparently the “e” part was lost on that one).
Date-specific or open tickets?
Disney provides two e-ticket options—a date-specific ticket or an open ticket. Date-specific tickets guarantee you entry on your chosen date, even if there are restrictions in place, and are valid for three months. Open tickets don’t guarantee entry, but are valid for one year. Since you can change the date on e-tickets online for free (as long as it’s still in the validity period of three months) it’s usually better to select the date-specific ticket if possible.
Can you buy Tokyo Disneyland tickets at the gate?
Presently, the sales counters at both theme parks are not operating. Never fear though, there are still other ways to get tickets. This means you either have to buy online, through a travel agency, an affiliated hotel, or a convenience store within Japan. Ticket purchases are limited to five for one group.
How much are Tokyo Disney annual passes?
Due to COVID restrictions most passes like the Starlight Pass, Multiple Day Pass, and Annual Passes that offer discounts have been discontinued until further notice. There haven’t been any updates on whether or not they will be available again in the future.
Pro tip: Skip the monorail and walk between Tokyo DisneySea and Disneyland. It takes 10 minutes.
2. Pack some snacks for Tokyo DisneySea and Disneyland
Much like Disney parks across the world, food and drink is priced pretty high inside the gates, but surprisingly you can bring in your own, with a few restrictions. We’re not saying don’t have any popcorn, we’re just saying have it after an onigiri or two …
Ways to save money
1. Buy breakfast at a convenience store before you go. Tokyo Disneyland Hotel has a convenience store well-stocked with breakfast-type foods. And at Maihama Station, there is a NewDays convenience store with a good selection of ready-to-go breakfast items, some even hot, that will be much cheaper than what’s on offer in the park.
2. Bring enough snacks and drinks to last the day. The park has picnic areas to eat in and the only prohibited items are alcoholic drinks and drinks in cans or glass bottles. You can leave food in lockers and pick it up later too.
3. Bring a refillable water bottle or reuse a plastic one. Both Tokyo DisneySea and Disneyland have water fountains dotted throughout the grounds—good for your wallet and the environment!
3. Opt for a late lunch at Tokyo DisneySea or Disneyland
While the meals can be a big part of the Tokyo Disney experience, thanks to Japanese portion sizes they may not be a big enough part for hungry travelers. The answer to this is the golden rule of choosing lunch over dinner, which is always much cheaper in Japan.
Ways to save money on meals
1. Check out some restaurant menus beforehand—China Voyager (DL), for example, has bowls of noodles for ¥1,030 while the Dockside Diner (DS) has sets from ¥1,200, which is not bad. Grandma Sara’s and Hungry Bear Restaurant at Tokyo Disneyland offer decent portions. The set meals are big enough for two people if you do not need to eat much and are about ¥1,500.
2. Budget for some clever treats—the turkey legs are ¥800 and will give you a better energy boost than sugary snacks, for example.
4. Get lucky with the lottery and cheat the crowds
While it isn’t exactly saving you money, there are some ways to make sure you get the most out of your day, which is kind of the same thing; maybe? With very little effort, you can secure some seats to the big shows and get on more rides, if you know the secrets.
Ways to save time
1. Running to toward the Fast Pass counters are a thing of the past (at least for now). Instead, simply download the official Disney Resort App and book all the rides and attractions you want from there. Make sure to have the app pre-installed onto your smartphone and activate it using the code on your ticket after you have your ticket scanned. Gone are the days of huffing and heaving across the entire park just to beat the line. Another thing about this app is that you can also check the waiting time and availability of attractions on the day.
2. Check schedules and plan around the performances: if you want to see the shows, then be in the right place and be there early to get a seat. If you’re not too bothered, take advantage of the (slightly) shorter queue times while everyone else is busy. The evening fireworks displays and day parades are also a great time for shorter queues. This hack is most helpful on emptier days, so …
3. Avoid the busiest days of the year and thus lots of the people: this includes Christmas Eve/Day, New Year’s Eve/Day, Obon and Golden Week as well as Saturdays, which are often the busiest day of the week—and long weekends. Again, the Disney crowd calendar will help a lot with making your experience truly magical instead of one long waiting game.
5. Sacrifice those souvenirs
Matching outfits are the done thing in Japan for dates, friends and families too, and even the most steadfast of haters may find themselves tempted to join in after a day of people-watching. The Disney souvenirs are bright, fun and … well, pricey, so they can be an easy way to cut costs, especially since you’ll probably never wear them again.
Ways to save on souvenirs at Tokyo Disney
1. If you have friends in Tokyo, see if you can borrow a hat or t-shirt they’ve had since their last Disney trip, or bring your own not-quite-official version from home.
2. Make the most of the photo-opportunity areas, e.g. sticking your face into a Mickey-shaped hole or posing with a character, which is free—you’ll get the photos and can spend on something else.
3. Consider something practical, like a water bottle—cute and money-saving is the best, right?
4. Disney Stores throughout Japan, e.g. the one in Shibuya (on the third floor), often have discounted merchandise corners. Here you find goods that are sometimes only a few months old at 20-70% off the regular price.
5. The Bon Voyage Store on the way from Maihama Station to the resort also sometimes has a “Value Section”. This merchandise is discounted up to 50% off.
6. The stores in the park also have discounted goods. The sections aren’t really advertised, but, you guessed it, check in the corners and at the back of the stores for goods with red stickers.
7. Nakano Broadway in Tokyo has a secondhand store for Disney Merchandise. Go before your big day and save some serious cash!
Bonus tip #1: Cheap hotels near Tokyo DisneySea and Disneyland
If you’re looking for somewhere to stay, we’ve got that covered too—see our article on affordable hotels near Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea.
Bonus tip #2: Coming straight from Narita Airport
Save some money and hassle on your airport transfer with our guide on getting from Narita Airport to Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea.
While we do our best to make sure it is correct, all information in this post is subject to change. This post was first published in July 2020 by Mareike Dornhege. Last updated in May 2022 by Heidi Sarol.