In Disney theme parks around the world, there are always seasonal events. Halloween is one of the most unique ones, and most of the world’s Disney resorts have some kind of party that allows guests to dress up in costumes. In Disney World in Florida, there is a special after-hours party at night where guests can wear costumes and visit the park. It’s only during this special time of day that anyone can enter the park in a costume, and it’s only at night.
Tokyo Disney Resort celebrates a bit differently. In Tokyo Disney, guests can visit the parks for nearly two entire months in costumes; and they can stay at the parks all day! That means lots of great photo opportunities, chances to make friends, and great memories to be made. So what is Tokyo Disney Resort like at Halloween? What kind of cosplay do people wear? What does everyone do while they’re there, and what kind of special opportunities are there for cosplayers? We have been fortunate enough to attend Tokyo Disney for Halloween for five years now, and are ready to give you an inside look!
A Growing Event
As little as three years ago, Disneyland Halloween was quite different. The rules were still the same; during a selected period of time, guests of all ages could come to Tokyo Disney and spend the day in full Disney cosplay. For the rest of the year, only children under the age of 12 can go to the parks in a costume. The main rule was simple - the outfit had to be from a Disney-owned product, including Star Wars or inspired by a ride in the park (like Indiana Jones). When it began, Disneyland Halloween lasted for one week near the start of September, and one week at the end of October. You could only cosplay in these two weeks, and only at Tokyo Disneyland.
Then just two years ago, everything changed. The event had gotten so popular that those two weeks were overcrowded at Disneyland. Tickets sold out far in advance. And Disney saw an opportunity; cosplayers loved doing this and would be willing to come multiple times if they had the chance. Plus, Disney Sea was right next door. So they opened the gates, expanding Disney Halloween to both parks, and also allowing everyone to cosplay for the entire season! So now for about six weeks every year, guests can visit both of the parks in their favourite Disney-inspired cosplays.
And come they do! Expanding the amount of time that is available to cosplay has allowed some people to go multiple times and more flexible, and has also taken some of the strain off the park. There isn’t a day that Tokyo Disney isn’t crowded, but it’s become a lot more bearable during the Halloween season since the cosplay time was expanded.
A Unique Opportunity
Because cosplay is frowned upon in public in Japan, cosplayers have to take all of their photos at cosplay events or studios. And while Western cosplays like Disney and Star Wars have become more commonplace in the past few years at Japanese events, these events and the studios cater to anime cosplay. Luckily, Tokyo Disney Halloween gives cosplayers the best opportunity for photos they could ever ask for! After all, what makes a better backdrop for a Disney cosplay than Disney itself?
Tokyo Disneyland is the perfect place for cosplayers that want to be princes and princesses especially. Photos in front of Cinderella Castle are iconic, and there are always plenty of princesses in elaborate ball gowns taking advantage of the backdrop every year. Star Wars cosplayers can head over to the Star Wars area of the park and take some cool pictures there as well (and don’t forget to ride Star Tours as your favourite character; it’s a ride nearly any cosplayer can still enjoy in their outfit). There’s also the American West, jungle, and New Orleans styles areas of the park for backdrops as well! Plus taking photos on the carousel or Alice’s teacups are also very popular.
Then there’s Disney Sea, which offers even more unique photo opportunities. Disney Sea is full of hidden doorways and alleyways that cosplayers are always posing in, with backgrounds like a full pirate ship, a medieval stone castle, an Aztec temple, Jules Vernian railings, a Middle Eastern village, and Venetian streets and bridges. Sure, there’s no Cinderella Castle, but for cosplayers that like Peter Pan, Aladdin, Indiana Jones and more, it’s perfect. Disney Sea thus far has been less popular for cosplayers and a little less crowded for taking photos, but that might change as the years go on. In 2018, staff members at Disney Sea were handing out cards with QR codes that, when scanned, showed hints for all the best places for cosplayers to take pictures!
True Disney Magic
On top of all the awesome photos you can take and other attractions and foods you can experience while at Tokyo Disney Halloween, it’s hard to escape the catching feeling of being part of the magic at the parks. Something about being in Disney makes most people feel happy and like children again, and Disney Halloween adds to that. Not only are you at the parks having fun, but you feel like you’re a part of them. Not everyone visiting Disney will be cosplayers, after all, and many of these people love to take pictures with the cosplayers.
Children, especially, are excited to meet you when you’re their favourite character at Disney! And being a cosplayer and not a park employee means you can take a lot of pictures when anyone who asks and have a chance to interact with the other guests. Seeing children believe you’re the real thing and how you can make their day at Disney actually magical is incomparable. There’s not any other cosplay experience quite like it. If you’re a Disney fan, there’s nothing better than feeling like you’re a real part of Tokyo Disney. The memories won’t be ones you’re likely to forget any time soon.
Tokyo Disney Resort offers Disney and Star Wars cosplayers the chance of a lifetime every Halloween. The pictures that can be taken are incomparable, and it’s the chance of a lifetime to feel like you’re a part of the Disney magic. Plus in addition to cosplay, there’s an entire theme park all around you to enjoy, complete with rides, shows, and plenty of food. Tokyo Disney Halloween feels like how we imagine a Disney convention would feel - with the added bonus of being hosted right in the park. For Disney lovers, it’s more than worth the trip.
Have you ever been to Tokyo Disney Halloween? Would you like to go someday? Have you had another chance to cosplay at a Disney park around the world? Do you have any questions about cosplaying at Tokyo Disney? We would love to hear from you in the comments!