Tokyo Kawaii Club Magic Mailer Haul

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Tokyo Disney has the best merchandise. I’m sorry, but you just can’t compete with the Japanese on this sort of thing.

When I visited Tokyo Disney in 2015 (wow, was my trip almost 3 years ago now?), I wanted to bring home absolutely everything, and if you’ve read my haul post from that trip, you’ll know that I did bring back a lot, but not a day goes by that I don’t see something new and adorable on Instagram and have to fight the urge to jump on a plane to Japan and blow my credit card balance in that happy place.

So when I discovered that Tokyo Kawaii Club make amazing little packages of magical merchandise and ship them to all over the world, I couldn’t resist treating myself to a little taster to tide me over until I can get out there again. I ordered the Magic Mailer back in early January, and my package arrived last weekend, although I did have to collect it from the sorting office because I had to pay a customs charge on it, and I was so excited that I ripped it open as soon as I got home. So what did it contain?

Firstly, I got this AMAZING Donald Duck diary. I love Donald and I’m a sucker for a cute notebook and this is just perfect for me. Its got a double-page calendar spread for each month, and then pages at the back for notes and doodles, and each page has a little Donald sketch in the corner.

I also got a cute little Pluto keyring, which having just had Lunar New Year and bringing in the Year of the Dog, which is also my year of the Chinese zodiac, it was perfect timing, plus I got this sweet little heart-shaped Donald and Daisy button.

Speaking of heart-shaped, how sweet is this little tin? Its full of individually wrapped chocolates with a little Mickey imprint. I also got a set of Tiana notelets which fold up into little paper princesses!

Finally, the biggest item in the mailer was this Belle tsum tsum. I’m not sure what its official size is called because its much bigger than a mini tsum tsum but about half the size of the medium tsums that I have, but its still super cute!

Tokyo Kawaii Club offers a few different mailer options, and you can even set up a repeat order and have it as a monthly subscription! Michael did a really great job of personalising my mailer with my favourite characters, so I’d love to see what he would conjure up another time for me!

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Tokyo Disney Throwback

Exactly one year ago to the day, I stepped foot in Tokyo Disneyland for the first time. You can read my trip diary here, but today I thought it would be fun to share some of my unseen photos!

Tokyo Disneyland Station

There’s a slight upset among some Disney fans because Tokyo Disneyland doesn’t have a classic Main Street USA when you enter the park, replaced instead with the World Bazaar. The World Bazaar is a lot like Main Street in a lot of ways, just covered with a kind of greenhouse roof, and decorated with lanterns and flags.

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Tokyo Disneyland World Bazaar

It does make the walk down towards the castle feel a little longer, and take a little bit of the focus away from the beautiful Cinderella castle, but its so interesting to walk through something a little different from Main Street USA

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First thing in the morning, you’ll get to meet quite the collection of characters at the end of the World Bazaar. My favourites by far were Bernard and Bianca from The Rescuers – so tiny and adorable! I’ve never liked Gideon and Honest John that much, but they seemed to like my camera!

Tokyo Disneyland Partner Statue

I just love statues in Disney parks, don’t you?

Tokyo Disneyland

Tokyo DisneySea is a park like no other – quite possibly one of my favourite Disney parks of all time! It is totally unique and packed with amazing attractions and the most perfect tiny details, and I could walk around there all day without going on a single ride and still feel amazed by everything.

Tokyo DisneySea Tower of Terror

Unlike its Western cousins, the Tower of Terror in DisneySea isn’t sponsored by The Twilight Zone, and therefore has its own unique design and the story behind the ride is different – no spoilers, but its still as scary!

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There’s also a full-sized cruise ship docked in the park!

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If you’re a little mermaid fan, you HAVE to visit DisneySea just for Mermaid Lagoon. From the outside, you see the beautiful underwater city of Atlantica, just as it appears in the movie, but once you enter and journey under the sea (yes, you really go down!) you can play among the fishes til your heart’s content! Its a great place to avoid summer heat!

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You should also watch out for street rats in Arabian Coast – a practically perfect replica of Agrabah!

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Hmm.. I wonder where the imagineers got inspiration for this one..

Tokyo Disneyland Hotel

And I’ll just leave you with this absolutely stunning sunset over the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel!

I’ve got all sorts of Tokyo Disney posts, from trip tips to dining reviews, be sure to check them out here °o°

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Teppan Edo

If you’re looking for Disney dining with a difference, look no further than Epcot’s World Showcase for a huge selection of international cuisine, and after my trip to Japan last summer, I couldn’t wait to eat here.

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Teppan Edo shares its location in the Japan pavilion with Tokyo Dining, which is a regular sit-down dining experience, but offers guests a much more unique experience as your meal is cooked right before your eyes on the table in front of you!

Each table sits eight people, so as a party of two, we were sat with another family – small groups be prepared for this – but we were so immersed in the experience that it was totally fine, even though the other family was a little dramatic at times..

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We ordered our drinks and starters first, which were brought out to the table really quickly while we waited for our chef to arrive. I had ordered assorted tempura which I shared with Dad, who had ordered sushi which was prepared by the chef when she arrived.

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For the main course, all of the dishes had the same udon noodle and vegetable base, and then you chose the meat – steak, shrimp, chicken, swordfish or a combination – or the vegetarian option, and then they also come with a bowl of rice and a selection of dipping sauces. Our chef prepared the noodles and vegetables on the hot plate in front of us, while simultaneously cooking each of the different meats to perfection AND performing tricks like making an onion volcano; it was completely amazing to watch, and it was delicious!

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Now a few things I will mention if you’re thinking about eating here:

  • Firstly, this is an experience that takes time – it was maybe half an hour to 45 minutes before our main course was served, not that you noticed the time, but if you’re starving hungry I can imagine the wait would be a little torturous!
  • They don’t offer any substitutions – one of the dramas of the family we were sat with was that one of the girls was super fussy and wanted regular steamed rice instead of the rice on the menu, and unfortunately that couldn’t be accommodated, so double check the menu before booking with fussy eaters.
  • As well as being sat with other people if you’re a small group, if you’re a group larger than 8, you will probably be split between two tables.

Now all that said, it was one of our favourite meals of the whole trip – 100% unique! If you’re on the Disney Dining Plan, it counts as a table service meal, and if not you’re looking at about $40pp excluding tax and gratuity. Oh, and don’t forget to make those reservations 180 days in advance to avoid disappointment!

What’s your favourite World Showcase pavilion?

Japan – The Unseen Bits

Its totally crazy to think that its been almost 2 whole months since I got back from our trip to Japan, and even crazier to think that there’s so much from the non-Disney side of my trip that I haven’t shared!

We had such an incredible time travelling around Japan, so today I’m just going to share a few more of the sights and tourist-y bits that we squeezed into our trip while were weren’t rushing around on the trains!

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After leaving Disneyland, we had another day in Tokyo, primarily for the purpose of going to an animal cafe. If you’re not familiar with the concept, due to the fact that many Japanese people are unable to keep pets, ‘cafes’ have popped up all over the place where cats/dogs/rabbits/goats/owls are set loose for guests to play with for their paid-for time slot, crazy right?! Well we still had to go to one, and we chose a bunny cafe, specifically Mimi Bunny, which was on the 8th floor of what seemed to be a block of flats, but with a business on each floor. After changing our shoes, washing our hands and being fully sanitised, we paid for half an hour of bunny bliss, during which two gorgeous rabbits were let loose in our little area for us to feed, stroke and generally coo over. 100% worth it!

I was also pretty excited to come across a Tsum-Tsum arcade game in the street, so obviously had to give that a go (or two).

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After leaving Tokyo we headed down to Osaka and set up base on the 41st floor of the tallest building in the city; the hotel lobby was on the 19th floor, and the views were incredible! From Osaka we could anywhere by the train network, so we headed down to a town called Nada, famous for the deer that roam free around the main tourist areas, including inside the temples! You can buy biscuits to feed them too, which is a good idea if you don’t want them to help themselves to the contents of your handbag, or even your map!

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 We also managed to catch part of a festival in Kyoto, where there was a parade through the streets of floats that are handmade each year entirely out of wood, with no steel supports, and are pulled by hand! It wasn’t exactly the flare we imagined it would be, but it was still really interesting to watch! (It was raining, and you can see in the photos that the floats had little rain ponchos on, ha!)

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We also squeezed in a few more tourist hotspots, from a bamboo trail and zen gardens, to a shopping trip in Daiso – the Japanese 100 yen store (that’s 55p!), which we had a blast in!

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Our whole trip was such a unique experience, from shopping and the train system to the cultural attractions and the food. If you’ve ever thought about visiting Japan, I have two words for you: DO IT.

xoxo

Top Tokyo Disney Tips

Being in Tokyo Disneyland is a totally unique experience, and expecting a regular Disney park experience could leave you a little out of your comfort zone, so here are some of my top tips for doing Disney Tokyo-style!

Language and Culture

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– Do not expect English – I’m serious! While there may be the occasional announcement in English or clip of English singing, all of the shows, parades and attractions are in Japanese, and most of the cast members speak very limited English, if any, so be prepared to mime, signal and act out your conversations, and embrace it – everyone has a laugh over it! Also don’t stress over not knowing the language, all you really need is hello and thank you, and you’re pretty much set.

– Everyone is really friendly – cast members are literally everywhere, and their job is basically to wave and say hi. Smile and wave back, and you make their day!

– Generally, the Japanese are pretty small – if you’re short (like me!) its ideal, say goodbye to watching parades on tip-toes! If you’re fairly tall, however, you may be asked to move at times, purely to be considerate to other guests. Similarly, the seats on rides tend to be a little smaller than on their American counterparts.

– Personal space isn’t a big deal – you know when you’re waiting for a lift and its a little crowded so you decide to wait for the next one? Yeah that doesn’t happen so much in Japan, so be prepared to be a little out of your comfort zone if you like your space.

Park Life

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– Tokyo Disneyland utilises the classic Fastpass system – going to the machine, getting your pass, and only holding one at a time. Be sure to make good use of these, Fastpasses are taken pretty seriously and you get to skip a lot of the line, and it could save you some major waits.

– Characters randomly appear around the parks throughout the day, rather than at specific places and times, and they tend to have a slightly more eclectic range: The Rescuers, Wolfgang Puck, Jiminy Cricket etc, and you’ll be hard pushed to find a princess! They’re also not big on autographs, so although they’ll sign them, you won’t find anywhere to buy an autograph book.

– There’s no running, but expect a stampede – at park opening, cast members are everywhere to remind guests not to run, but that doesn’t stop it! Expect stampedes heading to the most popular rides: Toy Story Mania, Tower of Terror etc

– Do not be afraid to dress up – people in Tokyo Disney go all out, from matching outfits to Disneybounds, and everyone has at least one thing Disney in their outfit

– Don’t expect wifi – unlike Disney World where you get free wifi everywhere, there’s no wifi connections available in the parks.

– There’s no Photopass option – with the exception of a few meet and greets, there are no dedicated photographers in the parks, and no Photopass option. You can buy your ride photos, or order prints from your character meets, but that’s pretty much it.

Shows and Parades

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– You can reserve your spot for a show or parade up to an hour before, and bringing a plastic mat to put down will save you burning on the hot concrete

– Some shows have priority seating – you can take part in a lottery to win these priority spots once per show each day, so be sure to pick up a show guide to find out where these lotteries are held

– Be prepared to be asked to remove hats and Mickey ears – if you’re standing to watch a parade or show, or even in attractions like Country Bear Jamboree and Philharmagic, you’ll be asked to remove any hats or ears so as not to block the view of those behind you.

– Take the ‘get wet’ signs seriously – if you’re in one of these zones, its not a maybe, its a promise. We watched crowds get seriously soaked in these areas!

Hotel, Tickets and Travel

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– If you’re staying in a Disneyland resort, you get access to the parks 15 minutes early – don’t turn your nose up, it can mean the difference between a 20 minute wait and a 90 minute wait!

– The easiest way to get to your hotel or the parks is by train – the Japanese train system is flawless, and the JR line has a train station at Ikspiari, from which its less than 5 minutes walk to the Disneyland or Tokyo Disneyland hotel, or you can transfer onto the monorail.

– Like in the parks, don’t expect wifi, but ask just in case – we asked about the wifi, and were told there wasn’t any, but they provided us a little router for our room

– Parkhopper tickets are only available to guests staying at Disneyland resorts – otherwise its one park per day

– The monorail isn’t complimentary – you’ll need to buy a pass!

– All of the partner hotels are right near a monorail stop, and there are also resort buses to take you to the parks

– The swimming pool at Tokyo Disneyland hotel is pretty small – don’t expect Floridian flamboyance!

– There’s a Bibbity-Bobbity Boutique in Tokyo Disneyland hotel for your little princesses

– Don’t forget your handstamp – if you’re leaving the park for a while, to parkhop or popping back to your hotel, don’t forget to get your hand stamped as you leave so you can get back in! Its a UV stamp, so don’t worry if you don’t see anything on your skin, and its pretty tough so washing hands/swimming won’t rub it off

Food and Drink

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– Don’t expect Western food everywhere – while there are some Western options, most of the food is very much oriental based, and the Western options are a little odd: pizza with seafood etc. Portion sizes are also smaller than in American parks, but still very filling!

– There’s no dining reservations, but there is priority seating – similar to Fastpass, head to the restaurant first thing, and you’ll be given a ticket with an allocated time to return

– There are water fountains everywhere, and its the norm for people to bring in their own bottles to fill up

– Beware of the coffee – I’m not a drinker, but my mum and sister both hated the Japanese coffee, apparently its crazy bitter. Also, some bottled drinks in the vending machines look like fruit teas, but are actually iced coffees.

– On the subject, you won’t find a lot of milk or milk-based products – around 90% of Asians are lactose intolerant, so milk for tea and coffee, ice-cream etc is fairly limited.

– Also beware of the popcorn – there are popcorn stands everywhere, but you’ll only find salted in a few locations. Flavours include honey, curry and soy sauce!

– People save tables, and its taken pretty seriously – if you see a bottle or a jumper left on a table, don’t move it and sit there. Everyone does it, and everyone respects it, so find somewhere else.

Shopping

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– The same merchandise is everywhere – don’t stress that you might have missed an opportunity to buy something, chances are it’ll be in the next shop you go into!

– There’s a Disney Store at Ikspiari, which is the shopping centre on the monorail loop – it has different products to what’s available in the parks

– There are biscuits everywhere – souvenir biscuits are a big deal in Japan. They come in millions of shapes, sizes, fancy tins etc, and there are entire shops dedicated to them, so don’t resist!

Weather

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– Be prepared for all conditions, and possibly all at the same time – it can be burning hot and bucketing down with rain and blowing a gale simultaneously!

– Because of how extreme the weather can be, shows and parades can be cancelled with little notice, or modified for the safety of the cast members and guests

– Carry an umbrella – not only will it keep you dry during those mega downpours, but it will also provide great sun protection, and don’t worry about looking silly, loads of people do it

– Don’t expect air-con – while most buildings are cooled during the summer months, its not always that instant super-cool feeling you might expect; more like a comfortable temperature once you’ve adapted to it

Tokyo Disney is a totally unique experience, and the most important piece of advice I can give is this:

Just do it. Go, experience it all for yourself, and you’ll have an incredible time, I promise!

°o°

Tokyo Disney Haul

For me, the only thing that was going to be more exciting than my Tokyo trip, was all the wonderful goodies I knew I would find in Japan. I packed the bare minimum (which by my standards is still probably more than anyone else) so I could fill my case to bursting with amazing ‘stuff’ to bring home, and I think I did a pretty good job..

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This isn’t even all of it! BUT a fair few of these goodies are for giveaways, so its not all mine, but I’m going to share what I did buy just for me!

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Nanoblocks have a small following here in the UK, but they were everywhere in Tokyo Disneyland; every character you could imagine in teeny tiny Lego-like building blocks. I was going to resist, but when I saw the castle I couldn’t help myself, and because the Tokyo Monorail was just so darn cute, I ended up getting that one too, and I’m really excited to give building them a go!

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Next, the wearable goodies! The Japanese really go all out when they dress for Disney, and the range was endless! From the parks, I got myself a pair of sparkly Minnie ears, a Minnie scrunchie, the amazing LGM ears, monorail socks, and Winnie the Pooh clip-on ears. A lot of people in the parks choose to wear clip-on ears, and they came in a pretty impressive range from Minnie to Pooh to Stitch. I picked up some Tsum Tsum hairbands from the Disney Store just outside the parks, and the Tsum Tsum socks came from some crazy shops we found in a Tokyo shopping centre.

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As we all know I’m a total homeware nut, and I honestly expected more of it in the parks but the range didn’t span much more than mugs and chopsticks in most places, but I did manage to get some cute lunchboxes, a large rice bowl and a plastic cup, as well as a Tokyo Disney mug and a Tokyo Disneyland hotel mug to add to my collection, as well as some Winnie the Pooh nail clippers – random, I know – and The Queen of Hearts plate came with one of our desserts in the Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall. From another store in Tokyo I also got some cool Pooh and Mickey sushi mould sets, as well as my favourite buy of the holiday: a Toy Story Little Green Men tea set! I had really hoped to get a tea set while in Japan, and this little guy stole my heart. As you can see in the top picture, the cups all stack up into a tower, and the head lifts off the teapot to act as another cup/sugar bowl, while the body is the pot; I’m in love!

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I also picked up a few crafty bits from various stores around Japan: a Minnie Mouse tape measure, some Disney washi tape, sew on Tsum Tsum appliques and a tin of little paper tsum tsum cards!

As well as all these wonderful goodies, there is one more beautiful buy, which I’ve snuck a picture of as its going to be my birthday present, so I can’t have it until October (waa!), but I have to share..

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We came across a Samantha Thavasa store in a shopping centre and I just wanted to have a quick look until I found this beautiful Dumbo purse – the picture doesn’t do justice to just how gorgeous it is!

I’m a pretty happy girly!

°o°

Tokyo Disneyland Day 3

Last day, waa!

Up bright and early once again to make use of our Magic 15, we headed round into Adventureland to get in an early Jungle Cruise before the queues got crazy long. Jungle Cruise is new to Tokyo, so really popular later in the day. It’s the same as the American version – over-acting and cheesy one-liners – but entirely in Japanese, so we were clueless as to what was actually being said and just went along with it. It was still fairly quiet after that, so we jumped on the Western River Railroad for a quick loop. Again, pretty similar to its Western counterparts, looping through Frontierland and round Tom Sawyer island, but with the random bonus addition of a tunnel full of dinosaurs..

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By this time, the park was open and so were the restaurants, so we stopped into Cafe Orleans for breakfast – a seemingly small but incredibly light and filling crepe – before splitting up for the day as Dad and Hannah wanted to go out into Tokyo, while Mum and I stayed in the park. The aim of the day was to hit as many of the bits we’d missed on day 1: Country Bear Jamboree, the smaller Fantasyland rides, Philharmagic, Toon Town etc, and we were pretty lucky with queue times, not waiting more than 30 minutes for anything. We’d already snagged a Fastpass for Splash Mountain for the afternoon, so we headed into the Hungry Bear Restaurant for lunch, mainly because everywhere else was rammed (not that it wasn’t there too!) but the food was actually pretty great: curry and rice in a nice air conditioned room!

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By the time we’d got back to Splash, we were pretty chuffed about our Fastpasses as the queue was well over an hour, so we felt pretty smug as we sauntered to the front of the line. I’d definitely say that this was one of the best Splash Mountains of any Disney park! The plan from there was to wander round the World Bazaar a bit before scouting a prime spot for the Happiness is Here parade, but as we picked up ice cream sundaes from Squeezers Tropical Juice Bar, there was a park announcement to say that the parade was being cancelled due to the strong winds; I mean, it was WINDY. I was pretty gutted as this was the one parade I was desperate to see as its they Tokyo equivalent of Festival of Fantasy, but as most of the floats consisted of balloons and inflatables, I could understand the reasoning behind the cancellation.

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With that in mind, Mum and I headed back to the hotel to chill out for a bit, knowing that Hannah and Dad would be coming back soon for us all to leave for Tokyo together, so we sat in the Dreamers Lounge in the hotel lobby with a drink and cake before going to meet them, and with that our Tokyo Disneyland adventure was over..

I can honestly say that Tokyo blew me away. I expected the same old, but still awesome Disney park set-up, just in Japan, but everything still managed to be unique, from each ride to the atmosphere and the people; it really is a totally different experience, and I can’t recommend it more!