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Tokyo Disney Resort December 2015 Trip Report, Part 1 - Hotels, Monorails and Beyond!
DisneyDan  Monday, January 25, 2016 4:00:44 PM
Hello everyone,

Last month Jon and I were in Tokyo Disney Resort for a week during their Christmas season. You can read about our Tokyo city experience, shopping, trains, our hotel near the resort and the airport, all in my Two Lost Boys trip report, which can be found here.

In this first Disney part of my reports, I am going to cover the Disney Resort Hotels, the monorail, and some of the other resort areas. Later this week I'll write the Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea parts.

Let's start with the first thing that you see when arriving at Maihama station - Bon Voyage. Bon Voyage is Tokyo Disney Resort's (TDR) equivalent to the World of Disney store that can found at the US and Paris resorts. It features merchandise from across both parks, all collected together in one place. We only stopped by here briefly on this trip, and we didn't find anything we really felt we needed or had missed at the parks, but being located near Maihama station, it's a good place to end a long day in the park, picking up last minute souvenirs.

Also near the train station is Ikspiari (effectively TDR's own Downtown Disney), which features a Disney Store, Rainforest Cafe, Starbucks, and dozens of other stores that are not Disney related at all. We never really spent much time in Ikspiari, save for the Disney Store, and eating at TGI Friday's (which really wasn't great, to be honest), and so the only thing I have a photo of from Ikspiari was my coffee one morning from Starbucks (I can hear the groans already).

When we visit TDR, we like to take some time out to visit the resort hotels. We like to see what's new and different, especially in the hotel stores, as in TDR they actually tend to have hotel-specific merchandise which is really cool (and I mean more than just a pin). We also wanted to visit them on this trip since it was Christmas season and we wanted to see how they had decorated for the holidays, as we had never seen that before.

Let's start with the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel, at the entrance to Tokyo Disneyland. The Tokyo Disneyland Hotel has two stores. One is a regular Disney gift shop, and the other is more of a convenience store. Being Japan, you never know what you might find, and so a trip to the convenience store is just as worth while as any other Disney store!

Let's take a look around the hotel.

The next stop on our Disney hotel tour is the Disney Ambassador Hotel, which is located at the far end of Ikspiari. There isn't much to say about it, except again, there are two stores which we visited. Let's just a take a look around.

The last on site hotel is the Tokyo DisneySea Hotel MiraCosta, located (unsurprisingly) at the entrance to Tokyo DisneySea. The MiraCosta is absolutely stunning through and through. The details and theming are incredible. I didn't take too many photos this time, as we I have taken a lot before. There is just one store at the MiraCosta. 

If you want to travel between the Ambassador and the theme parks, or from the on site official partner hotels to the Bayside monorail station, you can use the Disney Resort Cruiser buses. These are super cool buses that really embrace the Disney spirit. They were decorated for Christmas, so I had to take a couple of photos!

On the subject of transportation, we come to the Disney Resort Line, which is TDR's monorail system. For those of you unaware, you have to pay for the monorail in Japan. This isn't because of Disney though - it's actually due to a legal matter with transportation systems in Japan (it's also the same reason why Tokyo Disneyland park doesn't have a train circling it, but instead has the Western River Railroad).

Despite the fact that you have to pay, I absolutely love the TDR monorail system. The fact you have to pay is really reflected in how well the system is maintained. It is clean, efficient, the trains are large and themed with cute details that is typical of the Japanese. The monorail stations themselves are huge, well staffed, with lots of facilities including lockers, guest services desks, vending machines, restrooms, ticket machines and information boards. The tickets themselves are even themed depending on the season, and the best part is, if you're there for four days, you can get a free monorail themed Disney Trading Pin! You need three days worth of expired tickets and then on the fourth day you can collect your free pin at any one of the information offices at the monorail station turnstiles. The pin changes year to year, too, and they let you keep the souvenir tickets (albeit marking them so that they know you've had your pin already). So, not only can you travel in style on a really nice train, you get rewarded for it, too!

There are four monorail stations at the resort. Resort Gateway Station stands near Maihama, and is the station for Maihama, Ikspiari, the Ambassador, Bon Voyage and the resort bus station. Tokyo Disneyland Station is at the entrance to Tokyo Disneyland and services Tokyo Disneyland Park and the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel. Bayside Station is located behind Tokyo Disneyland, and is the station for the official on site partner hotels. Finally, Tokyo DisneySea Station is the station for Tokyo DisneySea Park and the Hotel MiraCosta.

Being Christmas season, and being TDR, of course all the stations had their own unique Christmas decorations. So, me being me, I wanted to take photos of them all. Let's start with the Resort Gateway Station.

The monorail travels in an anti-clockwise direction around the resort, so we shall do the same here. Our next stop is the Tokyo Disneyland Station.

On a clear day, there is a really awesome view of Mount Fuji from the Tokyo Disneyland Station platform. I got really lucky one day, and managed to get this photo:

After Tokyo Disneyland, we arrive at Bayside Station, behind the park. This is the smallest, and the one with the least facilities, of all the monorail stations.

After Bayside Station we come to our final stop before the train goes back to the Resort Gateway, Tokyo DisneySea Station.

Now of course, we have to travel on a train to be able to complete this journey, but I was saving the best for last. Not only are the monorail trains at TDR large, clean and actually Disney themed, they also get seasonal overlays, too! Much to my delight, for Christmas this past year, the trains had a Lilo and Stitch Christmas theme! Amazing!

That's it for our tour around the resort, and this part of my report! The next part of my trip report should be on the Character Central in the next couple of days, and will be for Tokyo Disneyland, so look out for that.

In case you missed them, here are the links to my Hong Kong reports that I wrote recently, which were all part of this same trip.

Have a great week everyone,

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