To be honest I think we'd travel back to Japan just to visit Tokyo Disney again! I knew our time here would be magical but it was even better than I expected.
We arrived at the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel the afternoon before and checked into the hotel. I wholeheartedly recommend this hotel, it was one of the most amazing places I've ever stayed. Every single detail is Disney themed and over the top. From the moment you enter the grand foyer with it's soaring ceilings, palm trees and ornate chandeliers to the vintage style lifts with Mickey and Goofy directing you to your floor, I felt like a little kid again.
We chose to stay in one of the themed character suites which was a little more expensive but so worthwhile! Plus, we could fit our family of 6 into one room (woo hoo!). Our suite was the Beauty and the Beast room and we had a view over the main courtyard. Everything about the room was over the top, with oversized velvet armchairs, character beds, lead lighting and wallpaper in every corner of the room. Our breakfast buffet was decadent and at the same time just perfect. Our breakfast table overlooked the manicured gardens and had a view of the Mickey Mouse monorail chugging along bringing in the day's visitors to the park. The continental buffet was super cute with Disney themed pancakes, Japanese style breakfast and a huge selection of sweets.
The best thing about Tokyo Disney is the kawaii factor - everyone young and old gets into theme for the day, walking about with Mickey Mouse ears, Disney T shirts and character costumes. Our middle girls got swept up in the excitement and bought Snow White and Alice in Wonderland dresses that morning to wear for the day. Being blonde, they were constantly asked for photos ("Real Disney princesses!") and treated like stars for the day which they revelled in. Add in our 22 month old with a head of curls and the girls were pretty much celebrities.
It was also my eldest daughter's 11th birthday and the staff went out of their way to make it special with a phone call to the room from Mickey Mouse and special birthday sticker to wear which meant all the staff at the park wished her a happy birthday all day long.
The park opens 15 minutes early for guests staying at the hotel and the gates to the park are right outside the entrance which meant we could back to the hotel for a break after 6 or 7 hours to have some dinner and then go back out for the night time festivities and fireworks. If you're not staying at the park you could also use the Disney monorail to go to Ikspiari Mall (3 minute ride) and eat lunch there! There's plenty of shops and cafes there and while I found the food to be reasonably priced at Disneyland I could imagine it being hard to find a table on a busy day so the mall would be my pick.
We went on a Wednesday out of school holidays and the park was pleasantly not too crowded. It was a little drizzly the day we went but it didn't affect our day whatsoever as all the rides are covered and raincoats and umberellas available to purchase for a reasonable price were everywhere. We waited a maximum of 15-20 minutes for rides (which really only felt like 5 or 10). I think we were extremely lucky though, the crowds on weekends can be intense so take advantage of the fast passes as soon as you enter the park. The fast passes will allow you to choose a ride (usually one with a long wait time), reserve a ticket and get given a time to return. When you return you jump straight into the fast past lane which take you to the front of the line. We used them for the rollercoasters and they were awesome. If we were planning to return again at a busy time, I would look into the Enjoy Lots of Attractions Vacation Package which gives you fast passes on all the rides at any time.
The staff at the park are so polite and eager to please. As soon as we stopped to look at the map or take a photo they were right there asking if we needed help or if they could take the photo for us. The characters on the rides all speak in Japanese which is actually really charming and the kids didn't mind one bit. (Buzz Lightyear delivering his monologue in Japanese was particularly funny.) Some of the rides were also in English and the staff had a decent amount of English to get by on though so you definitely don't feel out of your depth.
Make sure you catch at least one of the parades, there's one mid morning and one at about 7:30pm. The parade is one of those 'pinch me' moments where we all got a bit teary. The Snow White and Alice in Wonderland characters spotted our matching girls and blew them a kiss too which absolutely made their day.
Tokyo Disney is definitely suited to smaller kids (our girls are 22 months, 6, 9 and 11 and absolutely loved it) but if you're looking for more thrilling rides, make sure you also visit DisneySea which is right next door. When we go back, we'll be spending 2-3 days and visiting both attractions. And of course, staying at the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel again!