5 Things Disney Parks Can Learn from Tokyo Disney Resort / by Mary Pavlou

I swear this blog isn’t an official Tokyo Disney Resort fan blog, but that seems to be the route I’ve taken. After some reflection, I want to highlight some of the reasons why TDR exceptionally standouts from the rest. I know what you’re thinking because I hear it all the time, “They have the best merchandise! Why can’t we get that here?”, “I wish we had cute food like that!”, “Their parades are always better.” While I absolutely agree that the US parks can try harder to match Tokyo Disney Resort’s wonderful quality, in order to narrow things down, I chose to list five simple changes that the Disney Parks can easily make. 

1. Parade Ettiquette

Finding the best spot to watch the parade isn’t always the easiest, especially when there are no consistent rules! I find it especially frustrating when I stand behind a sitting family that decides to stand up at the last minute only to completely block my view. However, at Tokyo Disney Resort I’ve observed that the first few rows along the parade route usually sit during the parade. So, if you’re the type of person who wants to stand for the parade you never have to worry about the rows ahead. This rule is also great for any of those guests who wish to experience the parade but arrive just a little too late to get a perfect view.

Finding the best spot to watch the parade isn’t always the easiest, especially when there are no consistent rules! I find it especially frustrating when I stand behind a sitting family that decides to stand up at the last minute only to completely block my view. However, at Tokyo Disney Resort I’ve observed that the first few rows along the parade route usually sit during the parade. So, if you’re the type of person who wants to stand for the parade you never have to worry about the rows ahead. This rule is also great for any of those guests who wish to experience the parade but arrive just a little too late to get a perfect view.

2. Photography Rules

Speaking from experience, there’s nothing worse than getting stuck right behind someone with their iPad or camera raised during a show or parade. At Tokyo Disney Resort they kindly ask (or gesture like the Cast Member in the photo above) before each show or parade that you do not raise any device above your head as a courtesy to those around you.  In addition, there are some shows at that actually advise against photography during their performance. This rule helps fully immerse guests in the story.

Speaking from experience, there’s nothing worse than getting stuck right behind someone with their iPad or camera raised during a show or parade. At Tokyo Disney Resort they kindly ask (or gesture like the Cast Member in the photo above) before each show or parade that you do not raise any device above your head as a courtesy to those around you.

In addition, there are some shows at that actually advise against photography during their performance. This rule helps fully immerse guests in the story.

3. Convenient & Cute Packaging

Let’s get down to it, I am someone who is very particular about graphic design, and there’s nothing better than something that is visually pleasing and actually useful! Tokyo Disneyland has some of the most unique food packaging that I’ve seen in the Disney Parks that puts the fun in functional. For instance, there are little pizza boxes perfectly designed to fit just a single slice (fun fact: these boxes have been around TDL since the 80s!) In addition, most quick service locations serve your meal in a box sets specially designed with cup holders so your drink and fries always have a spot. Even their wrappers for sandwiches and buns are collectible. These little details, especially area specific goods, are all apart of the Tokyo Disney experience. They set themselves apart from the US Parks by creating one-of-a-kind bags, boxes, food wrappers, and cups that I covet just as much as their merchandise. The problem I find while visiting the US Disney parks is that they do not stand out anymore. The same ‘Disney Parks’ has been used on both coasts for roughly eight years. If I can get the same product from one park, what’s the reason to even go to the other? That’s what makes Tokyo Disney Resort so appealing because they understand how to keep their guests coming back. Special sets and seasonal goods are the way to go.

Let’s get down to it, I am someone who is very particular about graphic design, and there’s nothing better than something that is visually pleasing and actually useful! Tokyo Disneyland has some of the most unique food packaging that I’ve seen in the Disney Parks that puts the fun in functional. For instance, there are little pizza boxes perfectly designed to fit just a single slice (fun fact: these boxes have been around TDL since the 80s!) In addition, most quick service locations serve your meal in a box sets specially designed with cup holders so your drink and fries always have a spot. Even their wrappers for sandwiches and buns are collectible. These little details, especially area specific goods, are all apart of the Tokyo Disney experience. They set themselves apart from the US Parks by creating one-of-a-kind bags, boxes, food wrappers, and cups that I covet just as much as their merchandise. The problem I find while visiting the US Disney parks is that they do not stand out anymore. The same ‘Disney Parks’ has been used on both coasts for roughly eight years. If I can get the same product from one park, what’s the reason to even go to the other? That’s what makes Tokyo Disney Resort so appealing because they understand how to keep their guests coming back. Special sets and seasonal goods are the way to go.

4. Conscientious Trash

Breaking down trash and disposing of it in the appropriate bin? Revolutionary! I know many of us can be guilty of being too lazy to discard our waste properly, but at Tokyo Disneyland, I have observed just how mindful guests can be. It’s common in Japanese etiquette to take your rubbish with you or finish the item wherever there are trash bins. It’s not ordinary or proper to eat and walk as we do in America. The Japanese live by “ikkai ichi dousa” or one thing at a time. As a result, Tokyo Disneyland is the cleanest and best well-kept theme park I’ve visited in my life, and at 35 you can hardly see its age.

Breaking down trash and disposing of it in the appropriate bin? Revolutionary! I know many of us can be guilty of being too lazy to discard our waste properly, but at Tokyo Disneyland, I have observed just how mindful guests can be. It’s common in Japanese etiquette to take your rubbish with you or finish the item wherever there are trash bins. It’s not ordinary or proper to eat and walk as we do in America. The Japanese live by “ikkai ichi dousa” or one thing at a time. As a result, Tokyo Disneyland is the cleanest and best well-kept theme park I’ve visited in my life, and at 35 you can hardly see its age.

5. Contingency Parade 

There’s nothing worse than the collective upset from guests when their beloved show or parade is cancelled, but Tokyo Disneyland is always prepared. When the rain is just a little too intense for their usual nighttime parade, Nightfall Glow takes its place. This short but sweet, 4 unit glittering parade can easily handle the rain with top-covered floats and unique costumes. It’s an absolute must-have especially at Walt Disney World where rain showers are expected daily. Although the US parks have a rainy day cavalcade, it’s not as special as this rarely seen parade that is specifically designed for the rain. If you’re anything like me, you’ll keep checking the weather forecast for a little Nightfall Glow.

There’s nothing worse than the collective upset from guests when their beloved show or parade is cancelled, but Tokyo Disneyland is always prepared. When the rain is just a little too intense for their usual nighttime parade, Nightfall Glow takes its place. This short but sweet, 4 unit glittering parade can easily handle the rain with top-covered floats and unique costumes. It’s an absolute must-have especially at Walt Disney World where rain showers are expected daily. Although the US parks have a rainy day cavalcade, it’s not as special as this rarely seen parade that is specifically designed for the rain. If you’re anything like me, you’ll keep checking the weather forecast for a little Nightfall Glow.