I have received some questions about the ticket purchase process for Tokyo Disney so thought I would share my experiences from my May 2023 visit –
Tokyo Disney Resort has always been different than the other Disney parks around the world with its ticket options. Then with COVID this changed further as they stopped selling multi day and annual pass tickets and moved from paper to digital tickets. Also the guaranteed entry for guests staying at the official hotels no longer exists. So pre-purchasing tickets to ensure you get into the parks is recommended as park tickets have a tendency to sell out, especially for weekend dates.
During my May 2023 visit only single day single park tickets were available for purchase. You could purchase directly from Tokyo Disney Resort using their website or mobile app or from a supported third party site like KLOOK. Ticket pricing for a single park/single day vary by day ranging from 7,900 yen to 9,400 yen for adults. They also have a couple of other options such as early evening for weekends or weeknight available. Also note once you purchase a ticket you can change the date (and pay the difference if you go to a more expensive day) but you cannot change the park you bought the ticket for.
The Tokyo Disney Resort online ordering system has a reputation for being a challenge with international credit cards. Over the years there have been a large number of issues. There are a lot of variables but a common thread seems MasterCard has the highest odds of success with VISA next. American Express seems to have little success.
I waited until a few weeks before my trip to purchase my park tickets. I had been monitoring availability and only some weekends and Golden Week days were selling out. Neither of these applied to my planned park days so I felt comfortable waiting. I wanted to see if they changed any of the options plus I was not sure exactly which days and which park I wanted to go to. As well as the mix of days between the two parks. I finally decided to buy some base tickets to use as placeholders if nothing else for my trip. I really wanted to wait to see the weather forecast to decide on which park which day but decided with the potential purchasing challenges I should get something on the books. I wanted to purchase four days, 2 for each park for three adults. These were all weekdays and priced at 8,400 yen each ($61.59 with the conversion on the day I purchased).
I went to the website and logged in and went through the process to purchase park tickets. I learned I could not purchase all four days I wanted at once, they had to be bought one day at a time. So I added the first day to my cart, inputted my credit card info and hit submit. An error message popped up right away. There was a code but no explanation.
I assumed it was the credit card so I tried another. This time I received a different error code and a text from my credit card company asking about a foreign transaction. I followed the prompts to allow the transaction then went back to the Disney site and tried a second time with this card. This time it went to a verification screen that texted me a code. After entering the code I received an error screen with a code (1-155). Also I received notices from the credit card that a charge had been made then reversed. I tried a third credit card and it did the same thing as the second card.
The error screen recommends third parties to purchase tickets if you are having problems. I looked into that but they were more pricey and I thought would just introduce more challenges if I wanted to change things, etc.. After some time searching around the internet I decided to call Tokyo Disney Resort and try to get the official site to work. Tokyo Disney Resort has no online help option that I could find so your only choice is to call Japan. I found the number, 81-45-330-9697 and it was open 10am to 3pm Japan Time (6pm to 11pm my time). I looked up how to make an international call and the pricing from my land line and cell phone to compare rates. My landline is Frontier Fios and it is 5 cents a minute so I went that route. To call internationally I dialed 011 then the phone number, after releasing the international call block I had set on the phone line. I called about 20 minutes after they opened and was met with a recording saying all lines were busy and to call back later. The initial messages is in Japanese then an English version plays following it. I called back about 20 minutes after that and same message. Waited another half hour and called back. This time it rung and a different recording played and I selected the English option from the menu. It transferred me and a hold message played saying they were busy and I could stay on the line or call back later. I opted to stay on the line. This message played about every 30 seconds so it got old really fast.. after about 20 minutes an operator came on and said hello and something in Japanese then I was on hold again. A few minutes later a cast member was there as well as an interpreter on the line. The cast member greeted me then asked for the problem. I explained it through the interpreter. They asked me for all my Disney account info (name, email, address) and after a lot of back and forth spelling out all those items through the interpreter they looped in another department and concluded it was a security issue. Seems their system is set to block international purchases of tickets. They turned off the block and said it would remain open for three days for me to make purchases. I asked if this could be extended through the duration of my trip as I may want to add additional tickets once I get to Japan. The said NO.. three days was the only option. While on the line I processed my first ticket request and it went through no problem. I thanked them and hung up.
Then went and did the subsequent purchases for my other days with no issue. They emailed me receipts and ticket QR codes instantly and the tickets showed up in the app and on the website account instantly.
I learned that your Disney account may be blocked from international purchases and you have to call Tokyo and ask for the block to be removed which they will do but for only three days at a time.
Changing Dates Experience:
While in Tokyo I decided I wanted to shift my days around due to weather. Rain was forecasted and I had a spare day so I wanted to shift my park day and avoid the bad weather. I had no reason/desire to go to the park in the rain. I went to the website and worked through the ticket screens to change the date of my reservation. The process was fairly straightforward but required a lot of clicks. I did find it interesting instead of just moving the ticket as I was expecting, they ended up refunding my ticket purchase and then purchasing a new ticket. The weather forecast shifted again so I ended up moving my park ticket back to the original date, the process was the same and since there was availability it was not a problem.
Purchasing a ticket while in Tokyo:
As we reached the end of our trip we had a spare day. The weather forecast kept changing but it was looking optimistic and we did not want to spend another day at the hotel so we decided we wanted to purchase a ticket for the next day (it was evening by this point probably around 7pm).
I went to the website and it showed limited availability for the day, which it had all day as I was checking. I selected the tickets I wanted to purchase and clicked the button. I had my fingers crossed I would not encounter the credit card issues since I was in Japan now. After several seconds a new error screen popped up saying there was no availability. The park was sold out. I went back and it still said limited. Turns out limited applied to the evening passes and the full day ones were gone. I found it odd it let me select the full day then error out. Anyways I was out of luck.
I pondered purchasing from a third party vendor at this point but I did not really want to deal with figuring that out and I figured they would be sold out too. So instead I went down to the front desk to talk to someone at the hotel. There was a ticket window in the lobby, but I had not noticed it open nor really read the signs since I already had my tickets.
Turns out they do sell a limited number of tickets at the hotel, but you have to have a voucher and pay in cash. I talked to a very friendly person at the guest services desk who at first asked me to open the app and try, then they checked availability on their computer where they confirmed park tickets were sold out. They asked me to wait and they left. After several minutes he returned and was able to issue me a voucher. This process took some time as they had do things on the computer plus write out a voucher.
Then I was told to come back tomorrow morning at 7am and purchase the ticket. Of course I was not paying attention to what he wrote down and they wrote the wrong name on the voucher! I noticed this while on the elevator. So I had to go back down and they had to repeat the process and fix it. (What happened is while they were gone someone else used the computer and the info on the screen was for that person not me).
The next morning I stopped by the window to confirm my voucher would work and that I had to use cash. They confirmed it and pointed me to the automated exchange machine in the lobby to get the needed yen, since I did not have enough for the three tickets we needed.
The cash exchange machine was easy to use, the exchange rate was not great (127.7886 yen to the dollar) compared to our credit card (~137 yen to the dollar) but it turned out to be better than our original rate (1.26371 yen to the dollar) for the yen we picked up before traveling to Japan. I returned to the window and purchased our tickets. The process was quick and no problems. Interesting to note they issue you paper tickets and you cannot scan/add those tickets to the Tokyo Disney Resort App until after you scan them at the park entrance.
If you have any questions about the ticket purchasing experience or anything else related to Tokyo Disney Resort feel free to ask away and I will share my experiences or two cents.
For all my pictures, videos, thoughts and observations from this visit to Japan be sure to check out my 2023 Tokyo Disney Resort Trip Summary Page.