It’s interesting to compare Tokyo Disneyland to Disneyland in Anaheim, especially looking at the people in the park, both guests and cast members. Since I’ve been to Disneyland so many times, the different behaviors in Japan were fascinating, which made Tokyo Disneyland a wonderful experience (that I hope to repeat again someday).
My first shock was the difference in crowd patterns. In Anaheim, I expect Space Mountain and Splash Mountain to fill their queues first. However, in Japan, Winnie the Pooh (Pooh-san) is king – even more popular than Mickey! So, the first ride that everyone runs to is Pooh’s Hunny Hunt! Space Mountain was a walk-on most of the day, in fact. Granted, Pooh’s Hunny Hunt is a fantastic ride with astonishing trackless vehicles, but when the FastPass line is several hundred people deep, you know it’s a hit. The second most popular ride appeared to be Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, by the way.
The Tokyo Disneyland cast members were just as helpful and wonderful as any Disney park cast members, but the addition of Japanese culture made me feel even a little more special as a guest. For example, during the unloading of a ride, there are one or two cast members who are simply there to bow and thank you for riding the attraction!
Gift stores are also quite different. I always like to buy a T-shirt or two during a park visit, and at Disneyland in Anaheim there are hundreds to choose from. Not so at Tokyo Disneyland – I could only find one or two designs! Instead, the gift shops are filled with more practical items. A Japanese friend of mine was thrilled to buy a little desk trash can featuring Winnie the Pooh – not your typical Disney souvenir.