PHOTOS: Tokyo DisneySea Complete Character Greeting Guide
Tokyo DisneySea is both a triumph of simulation and a character lover’s paradise. Earlier this year, Tom Corless did a 6-part video tour of the park after his first trip there. When I started making my own trips there four years ago, I was mostly interested in experiencing all the different attractions first. After branching out from rides and shows to restaurants, I gradually became interested in the numerous characters I was spotting out and about in the park’s seven “ports.”
DisneySea is highly immersive in its theming and that extends right on down to the characters and their costumes. With the exception of Mysterious Island, all the ports have thematically appropriate characters who make regular daily appearances. You might not catch them all on the same day. But having lived in Tokyo long enough to do ample reconnaissance, I’ve put together a field guide for character hunters who might be coming in from outside the country.
Tokyo DisneySea Character Greeting Guide
We’ll be taking a deep dive here into 80 photos, moving through the park port-by-port. How do the characters in each port reflect its overall theme? Are there any obscure characters who don’t normally appear in the U.S. parks? Let’s take a look. If you can’t make it across the world to Japan, you can still vicariously live the many meet-and-greets with this (mostly) complete photo guide to character greetings at Tokyo DisneySea.
DisneySea Plaza is sort of a sub-port within the larger central port of Mediterranean Harbor at Tokyo DisneySea. It’s the area when you first walk in before you take the passage under the fabulous in-park Hotel Miracosta.
On any given day, you might encounter Chip and Dale, their girlfriend Clarice, Donald and Daisy Duck, Goofy, and Pluto. These characters roam freely around the Aquasphere fountain. Clarice is definitely one of those obscure characters that you aren’t likely to see in the U.S. parks. She made her sole appearance in the 1952 cartoon Two Chips and a Miss. How’s that for a Disney deep cut?
Guests have to wait in line to meet Mickey or Minnie Mouse in DisneySea Plaza. However, after rope-drop in the morning, the mice do appear on stage with the Tokyo DisneySea Maritime Band.
All the characters in this entrance area are wearing costumes from a retired show called “Over the Waves,” which was performed onstage in front of the S.S. Columbia, the park’s lifesize cruise ship model. It’s appropriate in that guests entering Tokyo DisneySea are sailing “over the waves” into an international sea-themed adventure.
Mediterranean Harbor — which has its own new version of Soarin’ coming next year — is themed to an Italian port city. So it’s populated with Pinocchio characters. You can meet Pinocchio, Jiminy Cricket, Geppetto, and the rascally Honest John and Gideon the Cat in this port.
Word has it that Jack Sparrow also makes appearances in the docked ship that is part of the Fortress Explorations attraction. He seems to be a rare character, however. Japan-based podcasters embark on futile hunts for him, and I always keep my eyes peeled. But the only time I’ve ever seen Jack Sparrow at DisneySea was during the “Pirates Summer” harbor show.
Right now, Halloween provides the chance for some other rare greetings with villains in Mediterranean Harbor. Two examples are Captain Hook and the Evil Queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Alas, since 2018 marks the last year for DisneySea’s “Villains World” Halloween event, there’s no telling if these greetings will continue.
With its Jules Verne theme, Mysterious Island stands apart from the other character-filled ports in Tokyo DisneySea. There aren’t any characters who make appearances here. The closest thing would be Cast Members for the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea attraction. They sport the same uniforms as Captain Nemo’s submarine crew in Disney’s 1954 live-action 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea movie.
Triton’s Kingdom is the main indoor structure in Mermaid Lagoon. Here you can sometimes catch Pluto, Goofy, Donald, and Daisy near Sebastian’s Calypso Kitchen and the Mermaid Lagoon Theater exit. In keeping with the underwater theme, they’re all wearing swimming and snorkeling gear.
Outside, the Little Mermaid herself, Ariel, has her own dedicated greeting grotto. Every once in a while, Prince Eric has been known to show his face near the entrance to Triton’s Kingdom. There are also occasional sightings of Eric’s dog, Max, but that’s one character that has always eluded me save for faraway glimpses on a boat in the park’s nighttime spectacular, Fantasmic!
The teaser trailer for next year’s Aladdin movie isn’t the only place where you can see live-action Aladdin characters. At various times, Genie, Aladdin, Jasmine, Jafar, and Abu are all on hand in Arabian Coast at Tokyo DisneySea. Though I’ve never personally sighted him this way up close, Genie is one of those characters who has a pair of snazzy Christmas threads in his wardrobe, too.
The appearance of Daisy Duck in this port might seem like something of an anomaly, but her inclusion here makes up for her exclusion in the neighboring port of Lost River Delta.
Character Central shows Donald and Minnie in Arabian Coast costumes, as well. But based on intel from current Cast Members at the park, it seems those versions of the characters might have been retired in favor of two permanent, queued meet-and-greets over in Lost River Delta.
Ready to be met on most Arabian days — if not the “Arabian nights” of Aladdin song fame — Stitch wears a turban in Arabian Coast. He and his girlfriend Angel (another obscure character) have their own dedicated greeting spot that draws long lines.
Lost River Delta
At the very back of DisneySea, Lost River Delta has an area set up called “Mickey & Friends’ Greeting Trails,” where you can meet Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy at the Excavation Site, Nature Site, or Temple Site, respectively. Across the river, the ¡Saludos Amigos! Greeting Dock is the place where you can meet Donald.
There are a lot of loose Jungle Book monkeys in Lost River Delta, even though this is supposed to be a Central American jungle port and not an Indian one. Panchito Pistoles and Jose Carioca from The Three Caballeros also pop up near the Lost River Delta Outfitters store. So do Chip and Dale and Goofy’s son, Max. These three characters are decked out in Peruvian ponchos.
The Horizon Bay restaurant offers character dining in Port Discovery. Mickey, Minnie, and Pluto are the characters who will visit your table. Mickey and Minnie each seem to rotate between two distinctly different costumes, which are perhaps seasonal. The theme here is futuristic.
Outside the Horizon Bay restaurant and up near the DisneySea Electric Railway station, you might randomly encounter Goofy and Max, Chip and Dale, or Mrs. and Mrs. Incredible. Over at Tokyo Disneyland, Mr. and Mrs. Incredible also show up in Tomorrowland. This sort of reinforces the notion that Port Discovery is the Tomorrowland of Tokyo DisneySea.
Japanese Disney fans seem to have a predilection for cute characters. The seventh and final port at DisneySea, American Waterfront, is one place where you can see a number of those characters. Some of them are unique to the overseas parks.
Around Waterfront Park, 1970s Disney is in the house in the form of Bernard and Bianca from The Rescuers and Marie, Toulouse, and Berlioz from The Aristocrats. Though the cats are from Paris, they still fit into the backstory of this port. The New York Harbor section of American Waterfront is set during the 1910s when the city was “enlivened by new immigrants.”
Chip and Dale appear as newsboys and Clarice, Donald, and Daisy wear period-specific attire. Uncle Scrooge is also around, as is Cruella de Vil. Over in the sub-port of Cape Cod, you might also run into Thumper and Miss Bunny from Bambi.
Tokyo DisneySea is the birthplace of Duffy the Disney Bear. At the Village Greeting Place, Duffy goes through costume changes every season. His girlfriend, ShellieMay, might be around outside in a matching costume if you look for her.
At the beginning of this year, the new annual event, “Pixar Playtime,” started bringing an infusion of Pixar to DisneySea. During this event, Toy Story characters do greetings in Waterfront Park, not far from where the popular Toy Story Mania! attraction is located.
You won’t see Lots-o’-Huggin’ Bear at Toy Story Land in Florida, but you will see him here. Other characters who come out for greetings during “Pixar Playtime” include Sulley from Monsters, Inc. and Joy and Sadness from Inside Out.
American Waterfront also sometimes hosts “greeting drives,” where the characters cruise by in a car (or actually are a car, as in the case of Lightning McQueen). That’s how the new Friend of Duffy, StellaLou, made her debut last year.