Here's Why Tokyo Disneyland Can Be Cheaper To Visit Than Disney Parks In America

Tokyo holds the world's two best-rated Disney parks, but that's not the only reason it's on the radar of American theme park goers. Even with the cost of plane tickets, a trip to Tokyo Disney Resort can be cheaper than one to California's Disneyland Resort or Florida's Walt Disney World. The exchange rate from U.S. dollars to Japanese yen is to thank for that, and it might soon have you rethinking where to plan your next Disney vacation.

From August 2020 to June 2024 — when the new $2 billion expansion area, Fantasy Springs, opened at Tokyo DisneySea — the exchange rate climbed from about 106 to 156 yen against the dollar, according to Statista. This means the purchasing power of $1 in Japan went up around 150%. Just think of that as more bang for your Disney buck in Tokyo.

The benefit of traveling to DisneySea and Tokyo Disneyland hasn't escaped the notice of fans on TikTok (not to be confused with Tick-Tock, the hungry crocodile who appears in the Peter Pan's Never Land Adventure ride in Fantasy Springs). For @maddiecastellano, the biggest expense was airfare, but it only cost $1,050 for her family of four to fly round-trip from Honolulu to Tokyo. They stayed in a hotel on the resort's monorail loop for two nights and visited DisneySea for two days, and the total cost for them including food was $1,850. In the U.S., airfare may be cheaper, but you'll have to spend more on Disney ticket prices and other add-ons.

The airfare to Japan is offset by other U.S. expenses

International airfare might seem costly when you're paying it all upfront, but the expenses for a stateside Disney trip add up fast, too. Per CNN, it could cost a family of four $1,500 just for tickets, parking, and the Genie+ service for two days at California's two Disney parks. That's during the off season, and it only gets more expensive when you factor in food and hotel prices. Disney World has four theme parks, so there's more ground to cover, and it adds to your vacation's length and price. This is one reason why Disneyland may be better than Disney World for a short trip.

Even a budget trip to Disney World for four days costs around $5,000 for a family of four. This is the same resort that, after less than two years, closed down its new "Star Wars" hotel, where the minimum two-night stay ran $5,000 just for one couple. Deluxe resort hotels still fetch prices as astronomical as the spacefaring droid R2-D2 in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge.

Sure, you could cough up $900 a night to stay at the Grand Floridian, or you could hop on the Japanese airline ANA's R2-D2 jet to Tokyo. Depending on the airline, a good deal on a flight from Los Angeles to Japan could get you there for as little as $300 one-way or $600 round-trip. Flying from the East Coast (for example, Florida to Tokyo) would likely be pricier.

The exchange rate reduces ticket prices (and more)

In April 2024, the Japanese yen briefly dipped to its lowest value against the U.S. dollar since 1990. That benefits American travelers, though it's not the best news for Japanese citizens, who are paying more than ever to visit Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea. In 2023, the price of a peak ticket to the parks exceeded 10,000 yen for the first time. For its most in-demand rides, the increasingly monetized resort now charges for the line-skipping option of Premium Access, much like the U.S. Disney parks did away with free Fastpasses in favor of the Lightning Lane upcharge.

The difference when you're paying 156 versus 106 yen to the dollar would be that 10,000 yen equals about $64 instead of $94. That's for the highest price tier; the lowest tier for Tokyo Disney Resort tickets (on off-peak days) is 7,900 yen, or about $50 at the 156-yen rate. Paying $50 for a one-day Disney park ticket is unheard of in California, where tickets currently range from $119 to $194.

The savings you'll get in Japan trickle down to other expenses, like meals, souvenirs, and Premium Access rides. Fantasy Springs-adjacent hotels on the monorail loop, like the Hilton Tokyo Bay, also provide super-convenient park access for as low as $150 a night. While the currency exchange rate is always fluctuating, the yen's weakening in the 2020s gives fans a rare window of opportunity to save money on their Disney trip by flying to Tokyo.