The Two Best-Rated Disney Parks In The World Are In This Resort

When you hear your favorite YouTuber or theme park blogger call Tokyo DisneySea the world's best Disney park, it seems they aren't just blowing smoke like Mount Prometheus. In December 2023, the same analysis that determined Hollywood Studios to be the worst-rated Disney theme park found that DisneySea and the neighboring Tokyo Disneyland were the two best-rated parks. As of this writing, the scores from Yelp reviews for the two parks average 4.4 out of 5, which gives them an edge over Hollywood Studios at 3.7. If you scroll through the reviews, many of them echo the same praise for the combined Tokyo Disney Resort experience.

For some visitors, the Japanese attention to detail and culture of omotenashi (hospitality) might contribute to a superior guest experience. Public perception leans toward the idea that Oriental Land Company, which owns and operates the resort under a licensing agreement with Disney, may put fewer budgetary limitations on Imagineers. This could lead to a fuller realization of their creative concepts in the resort's intricate theming. The company most recently invested over $2 billion in a new DisneySea "port" called Fantasy Springs, which will feature areas themed to the animated films "Frozen," "Peter Pan," and "Tangled."

Among Disney fans, at least, that could be one reason Tokyo is TripAdvisor's top trending travel destination for 2024, based on user reviews and opinions. Skyscanner likewise found the capital to be one of three Japanese cities trending for travel, based on flight and hotel searches and bookings.

The Tokyo Disneyland experience

Tokyo Disneyland, which opened in April 1983 (six months after Epcot), offers a more classic, kid-friendly experience for guests compared to DisneySea. It has the three famous mountains: Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, and Space Mountain. The last one, an opening-day attraction, is currently preparing for its "Final Ignition" before it closes in July 2024 and undergoes a complete rebuild for 2027.

Cinderella Castle, the park's central landmark, will be familiar to anyone who's ever visited the Magic Kingdom in Florida. Yet Tokyo Disneyland is a two-castle park. The life-sized Beauty and the Beast Castle now balances out the new Fantasyland, which received the largest expansion in the park's history in 2020. That expansion also brought the world's first "Big Hero 6"-themed attraction, The Happy Ride with Baymax, to Tokyo Disneyland. It's just one of the exclusive attractions Disney fans can only find in Tokyo.

At Tokyo Disneyland, you'll also find Monsters, Inc. Ride & Go Seek! and Pooh's Hunny Hunt. The former is a dark ride where you shine a flashlight on hidden creatures. The latter, which reopens in May 2024, uses a trackless ride system that whirls you around in a honey pot as you explore the Hundred Acre Wood. Apart from these rides and some unique parades and shows, Tokyo Disneyland mirrors much of what you'd see at Magic Kingdom or the original Disneyland in California. The rest of the park is split up into similar areas like Adventureland and Tomorrowland.

The DisneySea experience

As its name implies, DisneySea has a nautical theme, which extends across different ports of call like Mediterranean Harbor and Mysterious Island. The latter is where you can enter Mount Prometheus and ride past a lava monster in Journey to the Center of the Earth. Anyone who misses the Magic Kingdom's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea will want to board DisneySea's reimagining of the ride. Even cloned attractions like Indiana Jones Adventure (housed inside a step pyramid) feature elaborate designs.

Walking into Epcot's version of Soaring takes you down a plain, neon-lit blue hall, while DisneySea's version takes you through an ornate, Italian-themed building. The lovely boat ride Sinbad's Storybook Voyage is a can't-miss, and Tower of Terror has a new look and backstory. Mount Prometheus isn't the only active volcano visible from the deck of the S.S. Columbia, which looks as big as a real cruise ship. On a clear morning, you can see all the way to Mount Fuji.

The long-awaited opening of Fantasy Springs only looks to continue the standard of excellence DisneySea has set with its immersive theme park environments. It will bring a second in-park hotel, along with three new areas: Frozen Kingdom, Peter Pan's Never Land, and Rapunzel's Forest. Japanese news reports, TV commercials, and drone videos have been teasing it with flying shots ahead of the grand opening on June 6, 2024. As travel interest in Tokyo Disney Resort continues to spread, you may similarly want to get airborne to Japan.