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Welcome to my blog!

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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Visiting Tokyo Disneyland & DisneySEA Post-Covid19 [UPDATED: 30/6/21]

Okay, an entry for all you curious bees out there wondering if this magical land of fun has been left in desolation after months of closure (which is unheard of in history!) and how things are since they opened up the gates again *cues in Anna's first time in forever scene*

Before i proceed further, i'll need to insert a fair warning that i'll be making tons of lame disney related jokes/ puns and references throughout this entry and if this is going to make your eye roll back so hard best to click "X" to close this page now haha. If you don't mind, then please by all means "be our guest" and proceed ahead!

Without further adieu, let's head straight into the details and see what has changed since pre-covid era-this is starting to sound like we just went through an apocolyse or something when in reality it has just been 10 months tops lol. Finally i can belt out "into the unknown" song as i walk through the gates haha, because we really aren't sure what to expect post covid. 

You can check out my pre-covid visit to Disneyland/SEA: HERE & HERE

Multiple entry tickets bought together are counted a 1 group

Confusing? Hear me out because i'm still somewhat confused myself.

This is actually a theory i figured out because last year when we got our entrance tickets, we both scanned in our disney phone app individually so we can apply for whatever fastpass rides we want as individual riders (if you scan both tickets into 1 phone, then whatever booking you make will be considered as 2 riders instead of 1, geddit?)

This round on the first day, the danna blurly scanned both tickets into his phone app forgetting how the previous system works because this app was launched last year July 2019 and we only used it once in Oct 2019 lol.  I just scanned my ticket to see if i could still at least access to the app's shopping store but the whole day it was showing me nothing despite my ticket being accepted into the system & displayed. I couldn't access to any information about Disneyland on the app, restaurants/ souvenier stores, everything the danna can see on his app doesn't show up on mine (and my app was up to date btw).  

He applied for Baymax's happy ride standby pass as we initially failed to get a spot for beauty & the beast and got it but guess what? That standby pass notification for that particular ride appeared on my app too.
I can't access anything else but i got the same pass notification as his?? Weird.

So 2nd day at DisneySEA i told him to pass me one of the tickets to scan so i can go ride on one of the roller coasters (he hates fasts rides lol) true enough my suspicions was confirmed after I've scanned MY own ticket into MY own phone, applied for "SOARING" ride standby pass and got it, the danna received the same reservation notification on his app too (so he has no choice but to ride as well lol).

That's how we concluded, if you bought a few tickets at the same time likely they are programmed by the system to be counted as 1 group. So you don't split up and ride different rides or apply for multiple standby passes. 

Sorry to those who are reading this and going "huh???", i've tried my best to make the explanation as simple as possible 😓

But what didn't make any sense was why i still couldn't access the app's souvenir stores throughout the 3 days we were there, so i had to buy stuff through the danna's phone instead. 

Fast Pass replaced with "Standby Pass"

For how long, who knows? 
The fast pass booths are closed, on the official app it has been replaced with "Standby Pass"
Their current ride ticketing system is a little confusing especially for those who had been to Disneyland/SEA a couple of times over the years, we are more familiar with "fast passes" which gives us early access and shorter waiting time for designated popular rides, all of these has been now temporarily replaced with "standby passes".

These are only available for new attractions/ popular rides in Disneyland/SEA as listed below (from 23rd sept 2020):
  • Beauty & The Beast
  • Baymax Happy Ride
  • Soaring: Fantastic Flight
  • Toy Story Mania!
We managed to get standby passes for all 3 rides except for Toy Story Mania! because that one we were told by the staff on site that from 7pm, it's opened to non standby-pass holders which was a small miracle for us as it was the first ride we wanted to go on upon entering DisneySEA but all slots were fully booked. However i'm not sure if this " from 7pm non pass holder entry" applies to every other standby pass rides, but no harm asking when you are there. 

Took us 2 tries to get a spot for Beauty & the beast T_T

Nearly forgot to mention that "Standby pass" is somewhat similar to fast pass, because once you have applied for a specific ride slot, you are not allowed to apply for other standby pass rides until you have finished your current ride. So there's no promises if you are lucky enough to get 2 standby passes in a day. For us, we only managed to book 1 standby pass ride a day max out of all 3 days.

Another thing you should also know is that applying for a standby pass is NOT A GUARANTEED thing, it's via lottery system. It's like you are "Almost there" but not there yet 😭

You can select whatever ride time slot you want upon entering the park and apply for it but only those who are lucky will secure a spot. Unlike fast passes where it's first come first serve and definitely you'll get a spot. That's one of the most disapponting things about Disneyland/SEA post covid19. Like i get you guys are trying to make it exclusive and control the amount of people that gets to ride it but that's really encouranging gambling liao. If you really want to try your luck again, then you'll need to come another day and buy a new park entry ticket. 

NEW UPDATE [30/6/2021]

Heard from some friends who recently visited Tokyo Disneyland, it seems that they removed the "lottery system and standby pass requirement" from Beauty and the Beast Ride, so now anyone can line up for it which is major good news and at least you don't have to buy 2 days park tickets hoping you hit jackpot for the ride slot like like we did :')  

Reservation is required to enter major souvenir stores 

I was really bummed at first because i was looking forward to enter the newest Beauty & the Beast souvenier store but learned upon arriving that they'll only allow those who have made an advance booking through online. It's actually quite confusing, like how on earth they managed to book so far in advanced but then again nothing makes alot of sense post-covid so we'll just roll with it. 
It seems like they only allocate xx amount of visitor slots daily so once that's gone you are out of luck and when we checked online it was fully booked till like end of Nov (we were there on 29th sept lol). 

So yea if you are planning to go to Disneyland/SEA next year then make sure to reserve your "shopping slot" in advance.  

Only part in Disneyland that's packed because everyone wants to get into Gaston's tavern & Bonjour gift shop which is only accessible via online reservation

You can however shop the items through the disney app as well, a 1000yen delivery fee applies to orders below 10,000yen  BUT hold on, there's a fairy godmother's warning to Cinderella situation here and instead of 12 midnight you are only given till 11pm to check out your cart (please do it earlier so that the app doesn't crash with everyone kanchiong rushing to check out last minute as well). Visitors can access disneyland/SEA 's app shop once they have entered into the park and after they leave, once 11pm is up you can no longer access into the app's shop. 

So good thing i managed to grab some Beauty & the beast and baymax merchandise as these 2 major park stores can't be accessed without a pre-booking. Everything sounds so exclusive now and can imagine so many desperate Disney fans out there crying but guess these how things are for now until they come up with a more fairer solution than this. 

To Take Note:
There are still some souvenier stores you can enter while at the park but not many, and for the ones located near the main entrance/ exit of the park, right after the firework performance (almost closing time) they'll control all entry and exit points of the souvenier stores (one way in, one way out)  and trust me the line can get really long because everyone wants to do last minute shopping and despite their efforts to control the crowd flow, it still feels rather packed inside so better to just shop on the app. Way safer, how i know? Because Mother knows best (and i'm a mom..okay i'm going to stop now before someone calls the cops on me for being so lame XD) but seriously, shopping online IS safer lol. 

Lots of Rides & shows are suspended

Tower of Terror still operating like normal

If you "had a dream" of solely enjoying all the rides without long lines, be prepare to be disappointed because most of them are suspended especially the ones in DisneySEA. The amount of people in DisneySEA is wayyyyyy lesser compared to Disneyland. 

An empty DisneySEA

Park-goers waiting for the small parade to pass by at Disneyland, marker boxes on the ground to keep everyone socially distanced. 

Even the usual character meet and greet sessions this is to avoid crowding and close contacts, usually in a day there's like 3 sessions of parades but that too has been cut short to one or none, depending on the situation and every night before these magaical gates closes for the day, there will be firework display.
Those are still around, if the weather condition permits however, it's shorter and the position of the fireworks are slightly different because they don't want people to camp and crowd around for it. 

Honestly if you are staying at Sheraton hotel penguin room- 8th floor, you'll get a better firework view of DisneySEA from the balcony.  

Average waiting time for rides

Thanks to Disneyland for cutting down the sales ticket sold each day, we don't really have to wait long for all the rides despite not having fast passes (max 15 mins) and think i've rode on more rides than i did pre-covid lol. 
No kidding, previous visits majority of the time was wasted on waiting and max we could only cover less than a handful but this round think we nearly rode on everything that was available. So that's a huge win for us!

Reservation is required for some cafe/ restaurants

They no longer accept walk-ins to control the crowd, but if you don't fancy dining in Disneyland/SEA because of the price (it's actually expensive to eat in here, but the food is good at least lol) then you can get your own onigiri or bento from the konbini before entering. There are designated spots for you to eat at, please click this link

If you are interested in dining inside just for experience sake, you can book your slots throught the Disney app, make sure to do it the first thing you enter the park because it gets full pretty quick!

Precautions taken by Disneyland/SEA

  • Entry into the park was abit slow because aside from the usual bag checking now, they have temperature checks and even those full body scanners like the one we go through at airport customs.
  • Hand santizers provided at every entry/ exit of the park, even at all rides, so no excuse not to use them frequently. 
  • Some rides waiting time can be abit longer than stated (eg: waiting time 10 mins, but entry 15 mins later) because the staffs are disinfecting every ride before allowing new riders to board. 
  • Social distancing ground markers are put on most rides (not all but most).
  • Some rides even have solid plastic barriers in between especially if it's a shared one. 
  • On ground staffs constantly reminding riders lining up to practice social distancing.
  • Entry is denied for those without facemasks

Just be careful at some of the washrooms as i noticed people crowding inside such a small space, there are plenty of washrooms available all over the park so if you see a line, skip that and head to the next one. 

How to get in before the crowd?

You'll need to "be prepared" to wake up at 6am, just kidding. 

The gates are usually opened to public from 11am onwards, and those who are wondering how i usually get in before that (9 am onwards); it's because hotels under Tokyo Disney Resort (click here), have a special entry pass for guests that book a stay with them. It's sort of an exclusive "perk" so we get to go in before anyone else. 

Though these Disney themed rooms can be a wee bit pricey but if you are using the GO TO campaign like we did-only for those in Japan (till Jan 2021), you can actually save quite abit on your booking.
If you are not too concerned about going in before the crowd then there are other more affordable nearby partnered hotels like Sheraton, Tokyo Bay Maihama, and etc that provides free shuttle bus service to the park/ resort liner. 
Also to take note, previously whenever you book a stay at hotels under Tokyo Disney Resort, there is such thing as a "Vacation package" which includes your room, park entry tickets, fast passes and other additional perks (like a 2 or 3 day passport special that allows you to hop in between both parks during your entire visit). But think because of covid19 they temporarily removed that passport special pass.

So each park ticket we got from our room booking is only intended for a specific park entry (Disneyland or DisneySEA only), no jumping around. 

If you stay with Disney hotels during your birthday you'll get a birthday card/ call greeting from Mickey himself!

Is it worth visiting post-covid19?

Is it worth visiting post-covid19 especially with the increase of entry tickets and lesser rides/ shows?

From my point of view, it was still enjoyable maybe because i was never too fond of crowds to begin with as i makes my anxienty and claustrophobia attacks pretty unbearable lol. 
If you are worried that things are different now and you won't find it enjoyable, rest assured that "Some things never change" like the Disney magic floating in the air as you walk into the park, every corner of it feels like you are finally home.  Only Disney lovers will get what i'm trying to say lol. 

Didn't see any Halloween decoration or cosplays (usually every Halloween Disneyland/SEA allows adults to dress up as well) this round, so guess Halloween has officially been "cancelled" for the year. 

I mean there's definitely still room for improvements for their new post-covid19 system but we'll have to give them time to figure things out while still maintaining the neccesarry safety precations to prevent the spread. It's not easy running the world's famous giant themepark brand especially when you can't monitor all park goers 24/7.   

Overall, Tokyo Disney Resort did an impressive job for their safety precautions but at the end of the day, humans are humans and many still careless as ever so it's our own duty to be alert at all times and don't be shy to tell a person if they are getting to close. 

Last but not least, avoid coming on weekends if it's possible!
Though the post covid19 crowd is considered "less compared to usual", coming on a weekday does make a difference!

And i'm going to finish off this post with a little classic Maui's line "You're welcome" ;)

For more recent updates you can check out Tokyo Disney resort's website: https://www.tokyodisneyresort.jp/en/index.html

And make sure to download the app on your phone before going (available on iOS & Android): https://www.tokyodisneyresort.jp/en/topics/tdrapp.html  (English version is now available as well, previously only Japanese)

So how many Disney references did you guys managed to find in my post? XD

PSS: Just saw the news that due to covid19, there are delays for the opening of Tangled & Frozen zone which was initially scheduled to open in 2022, so now we have to wait till 2023 before we can see it 😭
Oh well, hope Covid19 at least dies out by then. 

Yours Truly,

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