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If you are in for an adventure paired with lengthy, quirky, brutal honest thoughts then you are in the right place.

My name is Arisa and was a cosplayer for 12 years in Malaysia before settling down in Kyoto, Japan. Exploring Japan full time has been a long time dream of mine, so let's explore it together!
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Halloween at Tokyo Disneyland or Universal Studios Japan?

So happened this year I visited all 3 parks during Halloween period, it wasn’t intentional because Disney was planned for #lilpenguin ‘s birthday (she’s an October baby) while we had free tickets given by my father in law for USJ and it was expiring like end of September. So instead of letting the tickets burn, we just made a small family day out to USJ and i can confirm that the danna hates USJ during Halloween season lol. It’s the zombies roaming the park after dark that gets to him haha!

For those traveling to Japan within early September to End of October with plans to visit any of these 3 parks, then this entry is definitely for you. And I can finally use this phrase “you are in for a treat!” because it’s “trick or treat” season XDD Omg, please don’t slap me haha.

Back in my home country, it wasn’t a tradition/ custom to celebrate All Hallows’ Eve (now known as Halloween) but we do have hungry ghost festival lol, so this is considered rather a new thing for me. In western countries however, this is the season where everyone decorates their houses in the spooky spirit of Halloween like how we always see in those movies and kids would go trick or treating around the neighbourhood. But here in Japan, it’s just the decorations; it’s more like another marketing reason and season (cute spooky stuffs sells lol), you don’t really see kids going around knocking people’s doors for candies. They might probably get goodie bags in school but that’s about it.

To experience an all out Halloween experience in Japan, it’s usually “Shibuya crossing” on the 31st of Oct, it’s more of a public dress up event for adults which can sometimes get rather rowdy because of the booze. So for a more family friendly alternative + fun rides, just head to the theme parks lol.


Tokyo Disneyland (and SEA) VS Universal Studios Japan 

Just a side note: For those who are long time readers, I know you might feel that this post may be biased especially towards Disney because my entire childhood revolved around it but putting that aside this is an unbiased opinion & comparison post to help others decide on which park to visit during Halloween period.

There are many factors you might want to put into consideration before making your final decision, like what who are kinds of people in your group (young, elderly, kids, babies, etc), Fear tolerance, health conditions, how big of a fan are you to whichever park etc. I went to both parks with a baby, so for me “family friendly” is definitely my main goal.

Halloween Tip #1: Usually Halloween themes are released from early September up till 31st Oct before changing to their next season’s line up.

Every year each park has their own different theme, so everything in their line up from the songs, decorations and performances will revolve around that specific theme. This year for USJ it’s “Halloween Horror Nights” while Disneyland is “Spooky ‘Boo!’” and DisneySEA is “Festival of Mystique


No doubt ALL of them had really (like seriously) catchy songs which kept playing in my head even long after I left the place lol. I personally found USJ’s parade more “intimate” as in I don’t have to stand like a few hundred meters away just to watch it while in Disneyland & SEA there are ‘special viewing seats” given out via lottery method or for free seating areas, people would actually camp there an hour before the parade starts.

So for those who didn’t camp like me, good luck watching it from the back and taking photos is difficult unless you have a zoom lens ready (which I regretfully didn’t bring along. Geez)

For DisneySEA i was lucky enough to win the lottery for front row seats

I personally found USJ more fun because they do encourage you to dance along with the parade, one of the performers in USJ even came up to give #lilpenguin a high five! While in Disneyland/SEA it’s more of just watching (like sitting in front of a TV), the most people would do is wave back at the characters. That’s it.

 USJ parade

USJ’s costumes were also more fun & colourful while it was pretty unusual of Disney’s to be darker than usual especially since their visitors are mostly underage kids lol. Aside from that, Disney’s night electrical parade “Dreamlights” is a MUST WATCH, so much more entertaining than a bunch of dancing flash mob zombies and if the weather is good, there are usually fireworks to end the day (for Disneyland). Sadly, the day I went had strong winds so the fireworks were cancelled *sobs*. Fireworks are usually available on the 1st week of the month, but subject to change so you’ll need to check the website for updates.

Dreamlights parade in Disneyland is a must watch!

Score: It’s a TIE

USJ: 1

Disney: 1


In Disneyland

I would say Disneyland/SEA outdone themselves because they cover most areas with photo worthy spots while in USJ there are only SOME specific areas converted into “Halloween theme” (btw there’s a cool coffin in some "secret garden" if you can find it).

Meanwhile at Disney's, think every few hundred meters we stopped to take some photos lol. Like how can you not resist such cute spooky decorations??

Even a random bench in Disneyland is decorated!

In DisneySEA, they went slightly abit gothic this year lol

Generally, Disneyland/SEA is also a pretty photo worthy themepark, every corner of it literally came out of a fairy-tale and i honestly find myself taking more photos here compared to my USJ visits regardless of seasons.
One of USJ's photo spots


USJ : 0

Disney: 1

Rides & Attractions

I would definitely say USJ has better Halloween edition rides & attractions compared to Disney’s because the only thing converted into Halloween edition is the Haunted Mansion which is now temporarily transformed into Nightmare before Christmas (pretty cool turnout). Other rides in Disneyland/SEA remains the same aside from DisneySEA’s newest attraction “Soaring” which takes 2 hours to ride if you don’t have a fast pass.

USJ has temporary attractions such as Biohazard (highly recommended walk through, super realistic!), Area51, Space Fantasy Blackhole (interesting pitch black ride lol), Cult of Chucky, Sadako’s Curse (too scared to go for this alone lol). All of these are enough to fill your scare quota of the day if that is your main goal.

Disney obviously keeps things children friendly so even babies can ride them, so if you are traveling with one, then USJ is definitely out of the question because there is literally on 3 baby friendly rides out of the entire USJ park. The only forgiving grace is USJ has a “zombie free” zone after dark lol but to get in & out of that zone you’ll still need to pass through the zombies haha.

Score: It’s a TIE

USJ: 1  (cool stuff for adults but none for kids)

Disney: 1 (suitable for kids of all ages)

Character Appearances

I see more character appearances throughout the day in Disneyland/SEA, so getting a photograph with them is easier compared to USJ. No kidding because after like 3 visits to USJ, finally I have a photo with one of the characters and so happened it was my favourite couple too (Shrek & Fiona).

Lucky shot in USJ and now that i look at this photo again, i do look abit like shrek lol. The frontal shot made my face look so round haha.


After dark, USJ is filled with the “undeads” and some of them can get really feisty like that damn clown that came charging right at me (I seriously HATE..LOATHE clowns). Disneyland/SEA remains zombie free so you can roam around at ease, which the danna highly prefers lol.

If you want to fulfil your walking dead/ L4D fantasy, then USJ is for you.


USJ: 0

Disney: 1


Halloween themed foods, can’t get any better with these insta worthy food shots! For both parks, its most the dessert and snacks that gets a Halloween makeover while the main course still looks the same. USJ has more food trucks offering various kinds of Halloween themed snacks & drinks while Disney’s is limited to restaurants/ cafes (and you’ll need to hunt for it).

USJ snacks

I got this from the cafe next to the Duffy merchandise store in DisneySEA where i had a burger set for dinner. So worth topping up to get this cute lunch bag!

However, Disney’s meals usually come with seasonal collectable items such as trays, lunchboxes, plates, cups, etc which are obtainable as add on purchase on top of your orders. Usually just costs a few extra hundred yen while USJ’s collectable item is probably just Harry Potter’s Butter Beer Mug lol.


USJ: 0

Disney: 1 (for the limited edition collectables)

Dressing up

So far when it comes to dress up, there isn’t much going around in USJ except more goths & dead brides than usual, part of USJ rules are you can dress up ANYTIME of the year but make sure the costume does not obstruct other guests, there is definitely more freedom here. You can are guidelines here if you are interested to dress up next time.

Meeting other cosplayers alike in Disneyland!

But for Disney, there is a rule that only children are allowed to wear costumes while adults only get to wear them during Halloween month. Think this rule applies to all Disneylands throughout the world and most adults just come in “inspired” clothing for normal days. And for Halloween, there are also very specific & strict set of guidelines; visitors are only able to cosplay Disney characters from the list approved by Tokyo Disneyland which can be found HERE

So make sure to study the guidelines for both parks if you are planning to dress up for the occasion.


USJ: 1

Disney: 1

Child friendly factor

Okay, this one is very easy lol, USJ is definitely not for young kids especially after dark when the zombies start to roam because it might give them nightmares. For Disneyland/SEA it’s always child (& family) friendly so people of all ages can enjoy it without any restrictions.

I honestly prefer the thrill of USJ because not every day you get such a ‘realistic’ setting, the lighting & fake fog along with the well make up casts; it’s just perfect for Halloween but its only something an adult (some, not all) would appreciate.


USJ: 0

Disney: 1

As you can see from the total scoring, Disney is obviously wins this Halloween show down, if you are still not convinced here are some things that might change your mind. Disneyland and DisneySEA is like right next to each other, so you basically get to enjoy 2 parks while USJ is only 1 park itself. Disney’s Fast Pass is available for FREE (USJ’s Express pass is so expensive!), and now with their new phone app; it makes it even easier to book your fast pass once you enter the park. No more running towards the rides just to get a hard copy of the fast pass. Only downside is this app is only available in Japanese, hopefully they’ll update with an English one soon.

The app also allows you the check the park real time

Disney isn’t just only kiddy rides okay, whoever had that in their mind needs a whack on the head lol. Go DisneySEA and ride Tower of Terrors, you’ll thank me later. I think I left my soul there, never in my life I’ve rode something this scary.

This ride is scary yo!

That concludes my Japan’s Halloween theme park comparison post, thanks for reading till the end and if you find it useful do share it!

Yours Truly,

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