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April 11, 2015 - Day 1 - Arrival in Tokyo & Disneyland Hotel Visit

This morning was an early morning with a 4am wakeup call.  We were packed up and in the lobby of the Hong Kong Disneyland hotel at 5am and in a cab to the airport shortly after.  Arrived in under 15 minutes and learned Cathay Pacific was not checking in for our flight until 6:15am.  Waited around then checked in and headed through customs and security.  Stopped for breakfast at McDonalds and then made a quick look through the Hong Kong Disneyland Store before heading for our gate.  Ended up leaving almost an hour late but arrived only 10 minutes late.   Once landed made our way to the Limo Bus and to the Tokyo Disney Resort.  We are staying at the Hilton so checked in, unpacked quickly then headed for the Resort Line and around the Ikspiari for dinner.  Found a TGI Fridays and ate there.   Then wandered around a bit and found the grocery store.   After grabbing some food and drinks for later in the trip most of the group returned to the hotel via the monorail.  I opted to go explore the Disneyland Hotel.  Walked around the lobby and public spaces for an hour or so then walked over to the front gate of Disneyland.  Wandered around a bit then headed back to the Resort Line and the Hilton to call it a night.

Thoughts & Observations
  • If you want to read about the first part of the day and the other 6 days of my Hong Kong visit check out the Hong Kong Trip Reports section.

  • We arrived in Tokyo at the Haneda Airport a few minutes late but not bad consider we left Hong Kong an hour late.   It was cloud/overcast but not raining as we approached.  I thought I got a quick glimpse of the Disney Resort on final approach but with the angle, my seat near the wing, and clouds not sure.. but I am telling myself I did.

  • The walk from the gate to the customs area was very long but once there the process was quick and orderly.  The bags were a bit slow coming but eventually they showed up.

  • Unfortunately due to the delay in the bags we managed to miss the bus by a few minutes so it meant an hour wait for the next one.  This gave us time to look around the airport, we knew when we left we would be spending several hours here so we were curious food choices etc..   the choices for picky eaters like me were extremely limited and nothing really jumped out.  There was a burger place but it did not look overly tempting.  There was also a 7-eleven type place with some snacks so at least a couple options.  But nothing like what Hong Kong had.

  • I found the JR service center and purchased a Suica card since I knew I would need to be taking the trains for our sightseeing days.  This saved us some time and was one thing off the list.  We opted for the card vs paying the fares for each trip to simplify things and so we did not get delayed doing fare adjustments or other possible headaches.  

  • We took the Limousine Bus from the airport to Disney.  This was the most cost effective option.  We boarded and were on our way with a half dozen other guests with no problems.  Since there were only 3 groups we did not have to make many stops once we reached Disney.  We did get a little tour of the property since we were the last stop at the Hilton.

  • We opted to stay at the Tokyo Bay Hilton which is at the Disney Resort.  We did this because of the cost difference and we could find a room that had three beds (we had three adults and many of the rooms had two double beds and that would be tight).   The room was part of their family rooms.. it was called a Happy Magic Room.  All in all it was a bit run down and very childish.  If we had small kids they would have loved it!  Our view was looking toward Disney.. so in the foreground was the Monorail and beyond that the parking lot then the Disneyland Park.  Unfortunately we were too low and the wrong angle to see DisneySea. 

  • We arrived at Bayside Station and purchased our Resort Line (monorail) tickets.  The longest pass available was four days. So we bought one today and would have to buy another four day for the second half of the trip later on.  We probably could have saved a few bucks and either walked or taken a different shuttle a couple of the days but we did not want the hassle and saved more than enough on the room choice.  (If you stay at one of the Disney hotels your ticket is included).

  • The Monorail was very efficient throughout our stay (except the one day it was down for some reason).   The Mickey windows, and details were nice.  But after spending time on the Hong Kong Disneyland Line it was a bit of let down.. the Hong Kong trains were much nicer in my opinion.

  • We took the Monorail around to the Resort Gateway station.  This gave us a preview of DisneySea along the way.  We disembarked and headed for Ikspiari.  This is their equivalent of Downtown Disney.  It is a shopping and entertainment district right off the Gateway Station.    After we exited the Monorail we looked at the map to try and find a place to eat.  This was a bit challenging since most was in Japanese.  We looked up and saw something we recognized above.. a TGI Fridays sign.  So being the non-adventurous eaters that we are we headed there for dinner.  The wait was only 20 minutes and for a Saturday night that seemed reasonable.  

  • The menu at TGI Fridays was very similar to ours and prices were slightly more (but we took that as the Disney mark-up).  I went for an old stand by burger and it was good (plus I was very hungry so that may have added to it).  The waitresses and waiters knew a little English and tried to understand/help.  Ordering still took some pointing.  I opted to use Google Translate which worked very well. I told them what I wanted and then typed it in so they could see the English and Japanese on my phone.  They got it and my order came out correct (this worked every time).

  • After dinner we set off to find other food options and look around.   Navigating Ikspiari was not that easy.  Most of the maps were in Japanese and the layout is not very simple with multiple levels and paths on a level.   By the end of the trip we had figured it out but it was a little challenging the first evening to get our bearings.  We found a couple bakeries, a market, Krispy Kreme, and a food court that looked promising.  There was also a Rain Forest Café and a couple other restaurants that looked promising too.    After stocking up on some breakfast options for tomorrow and snacks for the room the others decided to head back and relax. 

  • I could not do that… and had to explore.. so I took the Monorail one stop to the Disneyland Station and took a look at the front entrance and beyond it World Bazaar.  I then turned around and headed for the Disneyland Hotel to check it out.   The level of detail and feel of the hotel is that of a Deluxe Disney Property which was expected given the price point.  The lobby felt rather small to me in terms of floor space, maybe it was the height that gave it that feel.  There were some springtime displays and after walking around a bit I decided to head back since I knew tomorrow would be an early morning.

  • Once back at the hotel I wanted to upload some pictures and my post.  Unfortunately we did not have a high enough status with Hilton for free internet and I really did not want to pay for it so I was stuck with the free lobby wi-fi.  This was a bit of a challenge and its range was very limited in the lobby area.  But in the end it worked… I got my information posted and it worked to help me limit my time online since I would grow frustrated with it.  But after having the great wi-fi in Hong Kong it was a bit of an adjustment.

  • It was very cool to go to sleep looking out at Disneyland.  Seeing Space Mountain and Cinderella Castle was a great view.  (Yes there was a parking lot in front but it sort of blurred away over time).

Pedometer Stats
Miles 4.0
Steps 10,602
Moderate Steps 4,505
Moderate Steps/Time 40


Pictures from Day 1 include the trip from the airport to Disney, a look around our room at the Hilton, dinner at Ikspiari, and a visit to the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel to wrap up the evening.


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