Two Ways to Do Halloween in Japan: Disneyland and Universal Studios

halloween-in-japan

Judging by heavily decorated department stores, you’d think that Halloween in Japan is the most important holiday of the year. For those who love dress up – it probably is, and for those who like dress up AND theme parks (that’s almost everyone in Japan, then) – it’s like dying and being buried in Halloween heaven.

Two of the country’s most famous theme parks – Tokyo Disney Resort and Universal Studios Japan in Osaka – are going all out with tricks and treats galore this season. Whether you’re planning on staying in Tokyo with Mickey and friends, or hopping on a broomstick over to Osaka to meet Harry and Hermoine, we run down all that you need to know before making that all important decision for Halloween in Japan: which theme park to celebrate it at?

Tokyo-Disney

The Disney Way

Tell me about the parks?
Tokyo Disney Resort is home to two parks; Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea.
Tokyo Disneyland is made up of seven themed lands and is essentially the classic Disney experience. Popular rides include Big Thunder Mountain and Pooh’s Hunny Hut. Meanwhile, Tokyo DisneySea is themed to the myths and stories of the sea. It is the more grown up of the two parks and also houses seven themed areas. Rides include the Tower of Terror and Indiana Jones Adventure.

What are they doing for Halloween?
Disney sure knows how to mark an occasion. It is the 20th year that Tokyo Disneyland is celebrating a Disney Halloween. The entire theme park has been decorated ghoulishly, and Mickey Mouse and his Disney friends star in a variety of musical performances in their Halloween Pop’n LIVE festival. The parade is extra spectacular with special merchandise available such as a “music festival” towel that guests can wave together with the Disney gang. Over at Tokyo DisneySea the Disney villains host a cool Halloween party in the Mediterranean Harbor. In the show, the villains take leading roles in the shows, including a spectacular finale with Maleficent.

Disney-Halloween

How scary is it?
The rides are pretty thrilling and some tie in especially well with the Halloween in Japan theme. Our favorites were Tower of Terror in American Waterfront at Tokyo DisneySea (try to smile for the photo at the top!) and Pirates of the Caribbean at the Adventureland at Tokyo Disneyland.

How great will my photos be?
This is the first time both parks will allow guests of all ages to dress up as Disney characters on any day during the special event period. We witnessed throngs of made up Belles, Cinderellas and Rapunzels with their accompanying princes during this time, which was an exciting sight. There are plenty of specially decorated photo spots, including a giant rock-themed pumpkin where you can jump inside with friends in World Bazaar, and of course Mickey, Minnie and their friends will be wearing gorgeous new costumes throughout the park and at the meet and greet areas.

Disney-Halloween

What is the food and drink situation?
Look out for some specials in for the season including a pumpkin and purple sweet potato pizza at Captain Hook’s Gallery, or juicy black-and-red gyoza sausage buns inspired by the Queen of Hearts over at Nautilus Gallery. There are mini snack cases in park stalls only available during Halloween too.

Where should I stay?
The resort is easily reached throughout Tokyo, but if you really want to maximize the Disney experience, then check in to the fancy Disney Ambassador Hotel. Rooms are themed to the Disney characters, such as the Minnie Mouse Room and the Donald Duck Room. Chef Mickey, located on the first floor of the hotel, is where guests tuck in to a buffet feast and Disney characters come to greet them at their tables.

tokyo-disney-room

How do I get there?
Tokyo Disneyland Resort is best reached via JR Keiyo and JR Musashino Line, taking you to Maihama Station where the parks are situated.

For more info:
http://www.tokyodisneyresort.jp/en/

universal-japan

The Universal Way

Tell me about the parks?
Opening in 2001, this mega park boasts 10 themed areas, including Minion Park dedicated to those lovable yellow creatures, and of course The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – the star attraction featuring the best ride we’ve ever been on: Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, a mix of rollercoaster and 3D animation effects that plunges you into the dark worlds of the hit movies. Other notable attractions include Hollywood Dream – The Ride: Backdrop which features a backwards rollercoaster (a lot scarier when you have no idea where you’re tumbling to!) and the family friendly Universal Wonderland with themed rides for Hello Kitty and Sesame Street.

What are they doing for Halloween?
The Universal Surprise Halloween is a delectable series of Halloween festivities from elaborate costume parades such as the Festa de Parade, a Trick or Treat candy mountain with the mischievous Minions, to terrifying night time park horrors. Staple attractions such as The Flying Dinosaur rollercoaster or the Jaws boat tour are sure to raise screams all year round, and these are complemented with additional Halloween décor.

Universal Trick or Treat

How scary is it?
As the sun sets the zombies come out to play all over the park, which is both fun and scary when you’re wandering around in the darkness with your friends. There is also an Exorcist maze where you hold a rope and walk through a passage of terror. We’d be lying if we said we kept our eyes open throughout the whole thing!

Universal-Japan-Halloween

How great will my photos be?
The park is decked out in spooky surprises from front to back. Snoopy and pals sit amongst photogenic pumpkins, and the characters strolling through the park have their best scary ensembles on display. Let’s not forget how scenic the entire Harry Potter corner is, complete with a Hogwarts Express photo op and a giant Hogwarts Castle.

What is the food and drink situation?
The park boasts a huge variety of cuisine but for Halloween we need to give honorable mentions to two very special bun delights. The Dracula Minions Kakuni stewed pork buns are delicious and can be found in front of the Saido Japanese restaurant, while the Hello Kitty Chucky Bun is a must photograph before biting into its yummy curry center.

Univeral Kitty Food

Where should I stay?
We recommend staying at the official Universal Studios’ official hotel, the Hotel Universal Port. It is situated right opposite the park, making for a convenient early start to the festivities. The surrounding area includes the Universal CityWalk lined with a host of restaurants and stores to keep the family entertained and fed, including the Hard Rock Café, TGI Friday’s and Pinkberry.

It is harbor side hotel, which means there are fantastic views of the glistening river in front of the theme park. The hotel offers concept rooms, party rooms that sleep up to six guests, and the first Minions rooms, where guests are surrounded by playful Minions on the walls and ceiling, with missile-shaped beds and crocodile-shaped sofas just like in Gru’s house from the films. The hotel was the only one in Osaka that was awarded a Best Breakfast accolade, so line your stomachs before a big day at the parks!

How do I get there?
Tokyo (Tokyo and Shinagawa Stations) and Osaka (Shin-Osaka Station) are connected by the JR Tokaido Shinkansen (http://english.jr-central.co.jp/), the easiest and most convenient way to travel between Osaka and Tokyo. Domestic flights are also available connecting to Itami Airport (ITM) and Kansai International Airport (KIX). To reach Universal Studios Japan, take the Yumesaki Line to Universal City. The trains accept PASMO and Suica cards.

For more info:
https://www.usj.co.jp/e/

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