Review: Maxon’s Thoughts on Tokyo DisneySea’s Fantasy Springs

Now that Fantasy Springs, Tokyo DisneySea’s gigantic expansion, is open, let’s take a deep look at my opinions of the new area. Before we jump in, I want to disclaim that I did not get a chance to eat at any of the restaurants except for Oaken’s OK Foods. At this time, the Fantasy Springs area and its attractions are only accessible with a free Standby Pass, paid Priority Pass, or Fantasy Springs Magic park ticket available through vacation packages and the Fantasy Springs Hotel.

Fantasy Springs is the brand new port at Tokyo DisneySea. Containing attractions themed to Peter Pan, Frozen, and Tangled, this new area is a huge deviation of theme from the rest of the park. Situated behind the Arabian Coast and Lost River Delta areas, Fantasy Springs is positioned as almost a mini park. With only one entry in and out of the land, it is easy to forget that you are in the same park as Journey to the Center of the Earth. In a way, I appreciate that this area feels like its own entity, and it does match the detail and grandeur of DisneySea.

Walking into Fantasy Springs, you are greeted by an impressive rockwork fountain and cave. Engraved with characters from the attractions, this entrance feels like an overture to your adventures within the land. After scanning entry into the new area, you exit the cave and are hugged by forced perspective rockwork, lush foliage, and gorgeous water features throughout.

Moving straight ahead you’ll find yourself in Peter Pan’s Never Land. With Skull Rock, the Jolly Roger, and the towering volcanoes, this area is by far the most visually interesting. Skull Rock and the Jolly Roger are both explorable, providing some nice entertainment beyond the attractions. It is the only area to contain two rides with Peter Pan’s Never Land Flight and Fairy Tinker Bell's Busy Buggies.

Peter Pan’s Never Land Flight is a motion based, 3D dark ride similar to The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man at Universal Studios Florida. Entering the queue, you’ll find yourself exploring some open caves leading to a pre show in the Lost Boys’ hideout. After meeting Peter and all the boys, you set out on your own Never Land adventure. In your pirate ship, you are flown around as you meet up with all the characters from the Disney classic animated feature. The ride climaxes in a flight to London and Back with Peter, Michael, Wendy and John. Honestly, I was underwhelmed the first time I experienced this attraction, but after a few more rides I started to really enjoy the experience. It is significantly more thrilling than the classic Fantasyland dark ride, but it also provides a completely unique perspective of the world of Peter Pan. With the lengthy “flying” segments, those with motion sickness should exercise caution. Moving on, Tinker Bell’s Busy Buggies was an adorable outdoor attraction similar to Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train formerly at Disney California Adventure park. The oversized sets made you feel shrunken down to fairy size, and it is a perfect family experience to complement the more intense Peter Pan’s Never Land Adventure.

Traveling down the path, you’ll see Frozen Kingdom dominated by Arendelle castle and Elsa’s Ice Palace looming over the surrounding village. Unfortunately, Arendelle village was just a bathroom, but across the bridge you’ll find Anna and Elsa’s Frozen Journey.

The E-Ticket boat ride uses a very similar ride system to Frozen Ever After, featuring track switches and drops. Frozen Journey, unlike Frozen Ever After, is a retelling of the events of the hit animated film. Traveling through the story, the ride features every major moment in the movie. I was expecting this ride to be phenomenal, and it was! I will say Frozen Journey does change from moving forward and backwards quite frequently, making the effect feel repetitive, and the drops are underwhelming in comparison to Frozen Ever After. With that being said, the size and scope of the show scenes is only matched by the neighboring Enchanted Tales of Beauty and the Beast. When trying your luck for a Standby Pass or a Priority Pass, this is the attraction you should prioritize.

I was also able to checkout the inside of the Royal Banquet of Arendelle restaurant, which contained a large eating area themed to the coronation hall. Fitted with a throne, guests could take pictures as if they were Arendelle royalty. On the right side of Arendelle castle sits Oaken’s OK Foods. The main snack available here is the cardamom and meat bread, which was one of my favorite snacks I had at Tokyo Disney. I highly recommend it if you need a pick-me-up while exploring the new area.

Rounding out the rest of Fantasy Springs is Rapunzel's Forest. Containing the Rapunzel’s Lantern Festival boat ride and The Snuggly Duckling restaurant, this area is the smallest of the three. Rapunzel’s Lantern Festival, which is incredibly well done, was far too short of an attraction. Right as you start to settle into the ride, you round the corner back into the station. With Tangled being such a fun movie, I wish that the first proper attraction it received let guests be immersed further into the film.

Past the attractions and restaurants, which also require a mobile order to enjoy, there isn’t a whole lot to experience in the new area. Keeping myself mostly blind prior to my trip, I expected Fantasy Springs to have more to explore. The area didn’t have any meet and greets or character encounters. Even in terms of shopping, there was only one gift shop awkwardly out of the way in the Fantasy Springs Hotel. At 35 acres, I was really anticipating spending a good chunk of my trip enjoying the new area. However, I found myself drawn back into the rest of Tokyo DisneySea. That is not to say that what is there isn’t spectacular. Tokyo Disney Resort and Disney Imagineering put an incredible amount of time, energy and money into this gorgeously designed port, and I really look forward to seeing what else is added to the area as we move towards the future. The rides, while not necessarily complete home runs, are still executed with precision and detail beyond almost any theme park attraction in the world. If anything, it is a wonderful reminder that theme parks are more than just big budget rides and large lands, but more a culmination of small details that really immerse you into a world beyond your own.

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Maxon Faber
Based in Los Angeles, California, Maxon is roller coaster and musical theatre nerd. His favorite dinosaur is the parasaurolophus, specifically the one in Jurassic World: The Ride.