New Exclusive Attractions Disney Fans Can Only Find In Tokyo

Tokyo Disney Resort has two theme parks, Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea, with many of the same classic rides found at Disneyland and Disney World in the U.S. — though some of the rides at these parks have slightly different names, and the animatronic figures speak or sing more in Japanese, peppered with occasional English. Otherwise, attractions such as Big Thunder Mountain and the Country Bear Theater should be familiar to stateside parkgoers. Rides such as Splash Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean, which have received notable alterations in the U.S. in recent years, also endure in Tokyo in their original form.

Both first-time visitors and revenge trippers traveling halfway around the world to visit Japan, however, may be more interested in experiencing the rides, parades, and shows that are totally unique to Tokyo Disney Resort. Tokyo Disneyland, for instance, has Monsters Inc. Ride & Go Seek! and Pooh's Hunny Hunt. DisneySea has Journey to the Center of the Earth, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and Sindbad's Storybook Voyage.

These attractions have been around for years, so if you've been to the resort, you may have already experienced them, or their reputation may precede them if you're wired into theme park news or ride videos online. For over two years, though, Japan had its borders closed to most foreign tourists due to the pandemic, and it wasn't until October 2022 that it finally reopened. During this time, several exclusive new attractions opened at Tokyo Disney Resort. Here are five worth checking out.

Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast

Fantasyland at Tokyo Disneyland underwent a major expansion in the 2020s, with the opening of a whole new area themed to the Oscar-winning animated film "Beauty and the Beast." The area includes a French village with shops, refreshment stands, and a fountain and restaurant dedicated to the villain Gaston, though the true centerpiece is the Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast attraction, which brings the classic animated film to life. It's the world's first ride-through attraction based on the movie; it's housed inside a full-scale recreation of the Beast's castle, which is comparable to Cinderella Castle in detail and size (over 100 feet).

In the Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast, each vehicle is a cup — like a bigger version of the spinning ones in Alice's Tea Party, combined with the trackless ride system of Pooh's Hunny Hunt. Visitors board their cups in the kitchen before entering the famous "Be Our Guest" scene from the movie. You can ask to sit up front; even if you don't catch an English-speaking cast member, "front" or furonto is a borrowed word in Japanese that they should understand.

In front, you'll have a better view of the animatronics as your cup dances along with the music, ice skates across a frozen pond, and swirls through the ballroom in the ride's grand finale. Along the way, you'll even see the seemingly animatronic Beast transform into an animatronic human prince through the magic of Disney's Imagineering.

The Happy Ride with Baymax

The medical robot Baymax from the animated movie "Big Hero 6" has had a presence in the U.S. Disney parks, with a one-time meet-and-greet in Epcot and the all-new San Fransokyo Square coming to Disneyland's California Adventure on August 31, 2023. But here's a fun fact: The original inspiration for Baymax's face came from the bells of Hanazono Shrine in Shinjuku, Tokyo. It's appropriate, then, that Tokyo Disneyland is the first place on earth for the character to receive his own ride: The Happy Ride with Baymax.

If you've experienced Alien Swirling Saucers in Florida's Toy Story Land, you'll have a good idea of what to expect from The Happy Ride with Baymax in Tokyo's Tomorrowland. The ride whips you around as different upbeat songs play — to make you happy and healthy. That's according to the ride queue, which holds a concrete block with Baymax's massive handprints next to those of the movie's young protagonist, Hiro Hamada.

Like the Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast, The Happy Ride with Baymax comes with the option of Premier Access, a paid Fastpass you can purchase through the Tokyo Disney Resort app. Use it to skip the standby line, and when you're done, head around the corner to check out the new chandelier-adorned popcorn shop, The Big Pop. It's attached to the same building as the ride and specializes in the resort's ever-popular flavored popcorn.

Harmony in Color parade

Tokyo Disneyland's ongoing 40th-anniversary celebration has brought a brand-new daytime parade, "Harmony in Color," to the park. Even when the anniversary event ends in March 2024, this should be the new regular daytime parade for the next five years if it follows the same pattern as the 35th-anniversary parade.

Needless to say, you can only see "Harmony in Color" at Tokyo Disneyland. Baymax pops up again in this parade on a towering torii gate float, though it's Tinkerbell from "Peter Pan" out in front on the lead float. Besides them, you'll see floats that bring to life elements of "Toy Story," "Pocahontas," "The Incredibles," "Up," "Tangled," "Wreck-It Ralph," "Zootopia," "Moana," and "Coco."

Premier Access is available to purchase for "Harmony in Color." It puts you inside a special reserved seating area in the park's central plaza, where Cinderella Castle is located. However, the parade route stretches from the Haunted Mansion part of Fantasyland through Westernland (or Frontierland, as it's known stateside) and all the way back to Toontown (which holds the new character greeting spot, Minnie's Style Studio). As such, budget-minded Tokyo visitors can stake out a position somewhere else along the route.

If you miss "Harmony in Color" during the day, Tokyo Disneyland still offers the classic Electrical Parade. The original version of that parade celebrated its 50th anniversary at California's Disneyland in 2022, but it's no longer running there or at any other Disney parks. This makes Tokyo's nighttime parade a somewhat exclusive offering.

Mickey's Magical Music World show

As part of the expansion of Fantasyland, Tokyo Disneyland built its first indoor theater, the Fantasyland Forest Theatre. True to its name, the theater has a fairytale forest décor and is set back among trees between the Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast and The Happy Ride with Baymax. Every day, it hosts three to five performances of the stage show "Mickey's Magical Music World."

This 25-minute show features impressive set constructions and a revolving door of Disney characters. The concept involves Mickey and Minnie Mouse and friends finding a music box in the forest, which opens to songs and characters from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," "Pinocchio," "Peter Pan," "The Jungle Book," "The Little Mermaid," "Beauty and the Beast," "The Lion King," and "Toy Story."

There are three ways to score entry to "Mickey's Magical Music World." If you've booked a vacation package through Tokyo Disney Resort, you should be able to choose this show as one of your entertainment options. Those packages can be pricey, however, and once you're inside the park, anyone can use the Tokyo Disney Resort app to submit a free entry request for the show. It's a lottery system, but even if the gods don't favor you with a winning entry, you can still get in line in the morning for the first show of the day, which is usually open to anyone on a first-come, first-served basis (crowds permitting).

Believe! Sea of Dreams night show

The last major new ride to open at Tokyo DisneySea is Soaring: Fantastic Flight, which opened in 2019. It's an alternate version of the Epcot and Disney California Adventure attraction, with a new backstory unique to DisneySea, and a more elaborate, Italian-themed ride building. This makes it mesh with the surrounding port of Mediterranean Harbor, which is where you'll want to be for the park's new nighttime spectacular, "Believe! Sea of Dreams."

The show, which debuted in November 2022, replaces the former nightly show, "Fantasmic," which you can still see in the U.S. It's performed on the water in Mediterranean Harbor against the backdrop of DisneySea's central volcano landmark, Mount Prometheus. Boats take to the water with characters, while pyrotechnics and projection mapping light up the volcano and the side of the in-park Hotel MiraCosta. This is the first time the hotel has become part of the show at DisneySea, and if you're staying there on the Porto Paradiso side or eating at one of the participating restaurants, you can watch it from a window or balcony.

DisneySea has another in-park luxury hotel and its biggest-ever expansion on the way for spring 2024, with the port of Fantasy Springs bringing three new areas and four rides themed to "Frozen," "Tangled," and "Peter Pan." If you can't make it to Tokyo Disney Resort before then, it surely will offer many more new and exclusive attractions to experience in the near future.