Flying to Tokyo: part 1 of our guide to visiting Tokyo Disney Resort

Welcome to Tokyo Disney!

Tokyo Disney is one of the world’s most visited amusement park resort in the world, and it has its amazing features that will make even the most die-hard visitor to Walt Disney World or Disneyland Paris feel incredible.

In this article, we will look at how to get to Tokyo Disney and how to access the resort.

Tokyo Disney is located in Urayasu, a city located east of Tokyo.  The closest airports to the resort are Tokyo International Airport (HND is the airport code) and Narita International Airport (NRT is the airport code) with Tokyo International Airport the closest.

Commonly known as Haneda Airport, HND was from the opening of Narita Airport in 1978 until 2010 used for domestic flights.  Expanding demand and the beginning of the jet age had quickly overwhelmed the infrastructure of the airport and Narita was built to accommodate the incredible demand of flights to Tokyo.  Narita is located over 40 miles away east of Tokyo while Haneda is a much closer 8.7 miles south of Tokyo Station, the central railway station in Tokyo.

That made Narita the default choices for flights to Tokyo and thus, nearly all international flights fly into Narita.  In 2010, night time slots were available to foreign airlines looking to fly into Haneda, but it was quite difficult, and quite a few flights canceled.

In 2013, the Japanese government revised its slot allocation plan and finally, daytime slots to select airlines were available and they were used for flagship service to Tokyo.  For example, Air Canada added a flight from Toronto to Haneda in addition to its service to Narita from the same city.  The response was so good that the Haneda flight is now on a large capacity Boeing 777-300ER and the old Toronto-Narita flight will now operate as Montreal to Narita, adding yet another option for those looking to visit Tokyo Disney.

Here is a list of current service to Tokyo Haneda from Europe and North America as of June 2018:

  • Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG), on Air France, All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Japan Airlines.
  • London-Heathrow (LHR), on British Airways, Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways (ANA).
  • Toronto, Canada (YYZ), on Air Canada.
  • Vancouver, Canada (YVR), on All Nippon Airways (ANA)
  • Montreal, Canada (YUL), on Air Canada.
  • Chicago-O’Hare, United States (ORD), on All Nippon Airways (ANA)
  • Frankfurt, Germany (FRA) on All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Lufthansa.
  • Munich, Germany (MUC) on Lufthansa.
  • Los Angeles, United States (LAX), on Delta Airlines and All Nippon Airways (ANA).
  • San Francisco, United States (SFO) on Japan Airlines and United Airlines.
  • Minneapolis St-Paul, United States (MSP), on Delta Airlines.
  • New York JFK (JFK), on All Nippon Airways (ANA), Japan Airlines
  • Honolulu (HNL), on All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Hawaiian Airlines.
  • Kailua-Kona (KOA) on Hawaiian Airlines.

The advantage to flying into Haneda airport is that it’s much is closer to the city than Narita and will make your trip easier when you fly in and out.  To reach the city from the airport, you have three options:

  • Tokyo Monorail. This city crossing monorail will take you to Hamamatsucho station, and from there, you can connect to the Yamanote JR line that goes around Tokyo in a loop and Daimon, a subway station.  Very fast with the express train only taking 13 minutes from the International terminal to the terminus station.
  • Keikyu line. It offers a lot of service around Tokyo but can be challenging to navigate for a first-time
  • Limousine Bus: Limousine bus is a conglomerate of bus companies and from the International Terminal offer service to all areas of the city. Of interest to us is a bus that leaves from Haneda with the last one servicing the International Terminal at 1750 and it only takes 35-40 minutes to reach Tokyo Disney.  For reservation, head to the counter in the arrival lobby and then proceed to the bus station.  If you miss that one, you can hop on a bus that goes between terminals and the last one leaving Terminal 2 is at 19:00.  The cost is quite reasonable at 830 yens one way per adult and 420 yens for a child, and this is our recommendation.

If you arrive after 18:15, you will need to either take a taxi from Haneda International Terminal to Tokyo Disney or navigate the railways to reach Tokyo Disney.  In that case, the JR Station for Tokyo Disney is Maihama station, and you can do your research here:  http://www.hyperdia.com/ Hyperdia is a research tool that will give you the optimal public transportation route from your station to your destination along with cost and transfer points.

As an example, leaving Haneda International Terminal at 19:00 on a Saturday would put you on a local monorail, and you would exit at Tennozu-Isle.  You would then transfer to the Rinkai Line and hop on a train bound for Shin-Kiba. 11 minutes later, you’d exit at Shin-Kiba and move to a JR Keiyo line local heading toward SOGA. 6 minutes later; you’d be at Maihama.  This whole journey would take you 53 minutes at a total cost of 830 yens.

Pound-Ya Haneda International Terminal.jpg

When leaving from the International Terminal in Haneda, we strongly recommend eating at Park Vault’s favorite airport restaurant: Pound-Ya!  Serving domestic japanese beef, the steaks and hamburgs are incredible and the cost quite reasonable.

From Narita Airport, you’re looking at the following options to reach Tokyo Disney:

  • JR Lines: from Narita Terminal 1 or 2, head toward the railroad station and enter in Hyperdia the station you’re leaving. Enter Maihama as your destination, and you should get a routing that will take you 70-75 minutes with one or two transfers.  Costs are again reasonable at 930 yens-1430 yens per person depending on your path.
  • Limousine Bus: Limousine Bus again offers buses from both Narita terminals toward Tokyo Disney.  The last bus leaves around 18:00 and takes 60-75 minutes to reach Tokyo Disney.  To book a ticket: exit the customs areas and find the Limousine Bus counter and inform them of the hotel you are staying.  Cost is 2450 yens per adult and 1230 yens per child.

Narita Bus Station (3).JPG

In 2007, this told you which buses left from each platform at Narita Airport.  In our case, we were heading toward Tokyo Disney Resort, so we would look for the bus saying TDR and it also tells you where it stops.

To reach Tokyo from Narita or to return to Narita at the end of your trip:

  • Narita Express: to reach Tokyo Station in comfort and speed, the Narita Express will take 81 minutes and cost you 3020 yens per person. All seats are reserved and this a good option if your hotel is in the middle of Tokyo.  Round-trip tickets are available and give you a nice discount:  4000 yens instead 6040 yens when purchased separately.
  • Keisei Skyliner: this high-speed train reaches Ueno Station in only 41 minutes and costs 2450 yens per person.  Ueno is north of Tokyo and has a world-famous zoo with pandas if you’ve never seen those fascinating animals before.
  • Regular JR trains. Those are useful when heading toward Maihama since you won’t have to backtrack through Tokyo, but to reach the city, it will be a challenge.  Those are regular commuter trains with no reserved seating, and you may need to stand the whole way while holding your suitcases and bags.

From the Tokyo area toward Maihama station, you need to transfer to the Musashino or Keiyo Line.  Many transfers will take you through Tokyo station, but we strongly recommend against that and we suggest you use an alternate routing. The reason for that is that the trains heading toward Maihama leave from a different area of the station and it will take 15-20 minutes of walking through one of the busiest train stations in the world to do your transfer.  How about a transfer at Shin-Kiba instead?  You may need to use the metro or transfer to another JR line at an added cost with the benefit that it will take the same amount of time as the transfer at Tokyo Station with a lot less walking and navigate a huge station.

One thing we suggest you do is to buy an IC card when you arrive in Tokyo.  Each person will need one and what this does is that you preload it with yens and then you tap it when passing a railroad turnstile and tap it when you exit.  This will give you a small discount versus single journey tickets, and you will not need to figure out how much the journey cost.  It also works at Tokyo Disney to take the Resort Monorail since you need to pay to ride it.  It will also work at convenience stores, vending machines, and some restaurants.  It is effectively like a tap and goes bank card that you pre-charge.

PASMO and SUICA are the two IC cards offered in Tokyo and which one you will receive on where you buy it.  PASMO is offered by Tokyo Metro and other non-JR lines in Tokyo.  SUICA is the IC card provided by JR Rail.  One interesting feature is that at the end of your trip, you can return your card to the appropriate station and have your deposit and money on it returned to you.

One last word about Taxi:  Japanese taxis are a very efficient and quick service with custom cars that are very comfortable.  They are however very expensive and for example, you are looking at over 17000 yens one way from Narita Airport to Tokyo Disney Resort.  Buy an IC card, familiarize yourself with Hyperdia and the railway system and you should be able to avoid using taxis on your trip.