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Tokyo Disney Resort: Beyond the Theme Parks! 


Me at Tokyo Disney Resort
During my 14-day trip to Japan, after I spent an amazing day at Tokyo DisneySea and another incredible day at Tokyo Disneyland, I felt like I was missing something. I had packed in two full days at the theme parks, leaving no time to explore the rest of Tokyo Disney Resort. And so, I added another “Disney day” to my schedule. This day would be dedicated to seeing the three Disney hotels and whatever else the Tokyo Disney Resort had to offer.
Just inside one of the Bon Voyage store entrances
Shopping at Bon Voyage

In order to make the most of my previous precious theme park days, I hadn’t spent much time shopping in the parks, and so my first stop on my third day at Tokyo Disney Resort was the resort’s huge gift shop, Bon Voyage. Bon Voyage carried many, but certainly not all, of the Tokyo Disney theme park items that I had seen for sale inside the parks.

With no rides or shows vying for my attention, I examined the gift boxes of cookies and snacks, Disney charms, Disney hand towels, Disney plush characters, Disney jewelry, Disney car accessories, Disney chopsticks, Disney-character-tail lint rollers, Disney-themed Q-tips, and Disney character hats that I’d never seen for sale at U.S. Disney parks. I made a mental note of the items that I planned to purchase at the end of the day and then continued toward the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel.
Tokyo Disneyland Hotel courtyard
Tokyo Disneyland Hotel

The Tokyo Disneyland Hotel was just outside the entrance to Tokyo Disneyland. Steps away from the hotel, the Tokyo Disneyland Station offered easy access, via monorail, to Tokyo DisneySea.

The approach to the hotel from the monorail station was breathtaking. The towering, Victorian-style building flanked a courtyard with Disney-character topiaries. There was a Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and shopping and dining venues along the lower level of the hotel. I am, unfortunately, too old for a princess makeover at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. I browsed in a nearby shop and then made my way to the hotel lobby.
Tokyo Disneyland Hotel lobby
Tokyo Disneyland Hotel lobby as seen from a guest floor hallway
The hotel lobby was grand, with high ceilings, accented by chandeliers and skylights with stained-glass touches. Bronze Mickey and Minnie statues greeted guests as they walked through the main entrance. Opposite the entrance were tall windows that looked out at Tokyo Disneyland Station and offered a peek at Cinderella Castle. There was a café and bar where diners could enjoy this view along with meals, drinks, and desserts.
Tokyo Disneyland Hotel lobby detail
In the center of the lobby, Tinkerbell topped a soothing, multi-level fountain. A windowed elevator, that offered guests a view of the lobby as they traveled, was laced with ironwork that featured iconic Disney images.
Wall sconce in Tokyo Disneyland Hotel guest room hallway
I took a walk down a guest room hallway where housekeepers greeted me with a bow and a “Konnichiwa.” In the hallways, I spotted Mickey, incorporated into the wall sconces.
Tokyo Disneyland Hotel front entrance
Fountain outside the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel entrance
Outside the front entrance of the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel, sculptures brought to life the famous sorcerer’s apprentice story from Disney’s Fantasia. Brooms, holding buckets that spouted water, filled the overflowing inner fountain. Sorcerer Mickey stood at the center. Seeing the story that had captured my imagination as a child in the form of a fountain was enchanting. This just might be my favorite fountain in the world.
Disney Ambassador Hotel front entrance
Disney Ambassador Hotel

Disney Ambassador Hotel was located between Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea. It was a short walk away from a quick monorail ride to the theme parks.
Disney Ambassador Hotel lobby as seen from a guest floor hallway
The Disney Ambassador Hotel had an Art Deco style cruise ship vibe. The lobby felt more intimate than the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel, and a bit more geared toward children. The ceiling featured a mural of Mickey’s friends on an airplane adventure.
Disney Ambassador Hotel lobby with movie director Mickey sculpture
Toward the center of the lobby, there was a sculpture of Mickey working as a movie director. It was so shiny that it was difficult to fully appreciate or photograph. My favorite feature of the lobby was the piano music that seemed to be coming from the unattended piano. I just had to sit for a few minutes and enjoy it.
Tokyo DisneySea Hotel MiraCosta front entrance with the fountain
Tokyo DisneySea Hotel MiraCosta

The final Tokyo Disney Resort hotel that I visited was Tokyo DisneySea Hotel MiraCosta. The hotel was not just near Tokyo DisneySea, the MiraCosta was actually part of the theme park! Hotel guests had their own “secret” entrance to DisneySea.

The hotel’s theme matched Mediterranean Harbor, the DisneySea “port-of-call” of which it was a part. At the front entrance of the MiraCosta was an ancient-looking fountain featuring slightly-scary stone creatures spouting water from and around their bodies.
Tokyo DisneySea Hotel MiraCosta lobby
In the main lobby was an impressive brass ship which sported Disney touches on close inspection. The MiraCosta lobby had a more adult feel to it than the other hotels, and, like the Disney Ambassador Hotel, it felt intimate.
View of Tokyo DisneySea from Hotel MiraCosta lobby
Just off the lobby, large windows revealed that the hotel really was part of Tokyo DisneySea. The windows looked out directly into Mediterranean Harbor with Mount Prometheus, the volcano, as an ominous backdrop.
Pinocchio and Geppetto in a guest room hallway mural at Hotel MiraCosta
After staring longingly into the park, flooded with happy memories, I took a jaunt down a guest room hallway, where I found the story of Pinocchio somewhat subtly incorporated into the murals.

The Disney hotel pools

The outdoor pools at the three Disney hotels at Tokyo Disney Resort only open in the summer, and were not yet open when I visited in June. I did take a look at Hotel MiraCosta’s small, but bright and lovely, heated indoor pool. Like most upscale hotels in the Tokyo area, there was a steep fee for hotel guests wishing to use the indoor pool during their stay.
Disney UniBEARsity items at the Ikspiari Disney Store
Downtown Disney?

Ikspiari is Tokyo Disney Resort’s answer to Downtown Disney. There were stores that one might find at a typical shopping mall, selling mostly clothes and shoes at typical mall prices. There was also a movie theater, a food court, and a large Disney Store. Among the extensive selection of Disney items, from Disney character backpacks to Disney UniBEARsity plush toys, the Disney Store featured bargain clearance merchandise which was eagerly snapped up by shoppers.

Back to Bon Voyage

The sun was starting to set when I made my way back to Bon Voyage to make my final purchases. It was hard to believe that I’d spent an entire fun-filled day at the Tokyo Disney Resort without entering either of the two theme parks. It was something I hadn’t planned when creating my Japan itinerary, but something I’d recommend to any Disney fan who travels to Tokyo to see Tokyo Disney Resort.

I did this in 2013 near Tokyo, Japan.

Jen (California, USA)
P.S. Inspired by my trip to Japan, I wrote a novel called Lost in Tokyo, about a girl finding herself and falling in love. Lost in Tokyo is available at Amazon.com and is FREE with Kindle Unlimited!

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Nineteen-year-old Erin is hoping that her visit to Japan with her best friend, Adam, will be life-changing. When Erin was just four years old, her mother mysteriously vanished. Erin's only clue to her mother's possible whereabouts is a hand-written itinerary for a dream trip to Japan, a trip that Erin doesn't know if her mother ever had the chance to take. Erin has decided to carry out this itinerary, believing that it might help her find her mother.

But Erin's trip won't be going according to plan.

Hours after they arrive in Tokyo, in a jet-lagged fog, Erin and Adam end up in bed together. While struggling with the tension that now dominates their once innocent friendship and the trauma stirred up from Erin's painful past, Erin and Adam visit the places on her mother's list. As they explore the wonders of Japan, Erin finds herself haunted by strange "memories" that seem to belong to her mother. Could these memories be real? If so, perhaps her mother can be found.

Praise for LOST IN TOKYO:

"Full of heartbreak, loss and finding yourself while falling in love with your best friend. I would absolutely recommend this book and I have to several people already." -- Amy, Goodreads

"Beautifully written ... emotional adventure. Quite a few scenes brought out the goosebumps." -- Denise, Goodreads

"There were so many surprises I was on the edge of my seat." -- Kathryn, Goodreads

"Japan as a backdrop was such a unique story setting. It was both peaceful and exciting at the same time." -- Amanda, Goodreads

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LOST IN TOKYO provides a travel guide of wonderful things to see and do while on vacation in Japan (featuring attractions in Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara, Nikko, and Kamakura) wrapped in a coming-of-age story of healing and hope, with an unexpected ending that you'll never see coming.

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