Ikspiari has long been a date spot for my husband and me, and I frequently went when I was on maternity leave. And now, going to Ikspiari is one way that little Kaiju can get her Disney and train fix.
Little Kaiju’s fascination with trains is well-documented, but she’s slowly turning to a Disney fan…which is not a difficult feat when you grow up with Disney in your backyard (or in our case, down the river). Sometimes when I pick her up from daycare, I even see her wearing princess dresses!
Ikspiari is a mall/entertainment complex of 140 shops and restaurants, and it even has a movie theatre. It’s the gateway to Tokyo Disney Resort (TDR) and Tokyo Disney Resort Official Hotels, all connected via Disney Resort Monorail Line.
Before I begin, I want to make it very, very, very clear that my idea of “Tokyo Disney on a Budget at Ikspiari” should be considered IF you have a young child and live in the area because it’s a great place to relax, eat, and see the sights of TDR.
(My definition of “living in the area,” for what it’s worth, is anyone living in Katsushika or Edogawa Ward in Tokyo Prefecture; Matsudo, Urayasu, Funabashi or Ichikawa in Chiba Prefecture, or anywhere relatively close on the Keiyo line.)
Older kids might not appreciate being trekked all the way out to Maihama and “tricked,” and I certainly don’t recommend it as an TDR alternative to travelers to Japan. You will be very disappointed!
For how to do Tokyo Disney right, head over to The Tokyo Chapter for an amazing, concise guide on how to get the most of your experience as a family. Start with Disneyland Or Sea?
HOWEVER, if your hotel is in Urayasu/Tokyo Bay, definitely check out Ikspiari, if only for the Asoko + Three Coins store and The Disney Store.
With that out the way, here’s how I do Tokyo Disney on a budget at Ikspiari.
What I like about Ikspiari is the design (and the location, 25 minutes by bus, can’t really beat that).
Just as the parks of Tokyo Disney Resort are divided into themed areas, Ikspiari feels the same. Each floor has a particular theme, marked by distinct architecture.
The nursing room has been remodeled! I miss the Cheshire Cat inspired sofa, but it’s a very nice upgrade!
Where To Eat
My favorite places are on the 2nd Floor Theater Front: Kua Aina, a Hawaiian hamburger joint, and Guzman y Gomez (I found out during my trip to Brisbane that this Mexican restaurant is from Australia!).
The crowds on the weekends are Kua Aina are insane, so skip it unless you plan a super early lunch (as when the restaurant opens).
The wait times at Guzman y Gomez are hit and miss. Gong Cha, as explored in another post, has massive waiting times, so be prepared to wait if you really need your boba fix!
The food court in The Courtyard, on the ground floor, has a great variety of Japanese, western, and “ethnic” foods. Several restaurant have kids’ plates but my favorite is the udon shop, Yotsuba no Ka.
Remember to save yourself a seat before ordering, just by putting a book, cardigan, umbrella, to mark your spot. It’s a very common technique in Japan, and you’ll even see people leave shopping bags and purses too!
Another eating option is hitting up Seijo Supermarket and heading outside to the courtyard or to the 4th floor.
Most of the cafes and sweets shops are on The Courtyard, with a few other cafes scattered about. Fridays is on the 4th floor, but I find them overrated and rather expensive for dinner. BUT lunch on a weekday is worth it as most meals are just under 1,000 yen and (American sized) drinks have unlimited refills.
There’s also a Red Lobster and Outback Steakhouse, but I’ve never had either in my entire life, so…
Disney Resort Line
The Disney Resort Line loop monorail line linking Ikspiari with Disneysea, Land, and official hotels.
The exterior of the monorail changes seasonally to commemorate special events- kids get so excited when the monorail passes.
Naturally, the interior is decked out in all Mickey.
A single ride loop is 260 yen and festive one day passes are 650 yen for adults and 330 yen for kids (under 11). or you can just use an IC card.
There are only 4 stops and you can get a souvenir medal made at each station for only 100. The Monorail station at Ikspiari is Resort Gateway Station, right outside of Maihama Station.
Before going on the platform, take a picture at the photo area! The motif changes seasonally.
TIP: You might also want to buy drinks before entering Resort Gateway Station- the drink prices are much higher than at the Newsday shop right outside the station.
Some Disney Resort Line etiquette:
The front of the tram is understandably popular with kids. Older kids usually sit by themselves while toddlers sit with one parent. The unwritten rule is one loop up front, after that kids should change seats to give another child a chance.
Definitely get off at Tokyo DisneySea to see the sights from the “photo spot” right as you step off the platform.
After you get back on and head back to Resort Gateway Station, you exit via the 3rd floor of Ikspiari, which puts you face to face with Mickey at The Disney Store. Very clever!
My Secret Trainspotting Hideaway
BONUS: Confessions of an Instagram Mom
The plaza on the 4th floor is my favorite place to do family “photoshoots”:
I also like strolling through the courtyard connected to the lobby of the Ambassador Hotel:
How to Get To Ikspiari
Ikspiari is right outside the ticket gate of JR Maihama Station. Follow the crowd of people outside the gate and head to your immediate left.
You can also get there via the black and pink Keisei Shuttle 7 Bus that departs from Aoto, Kameari, Koiwa, Ichinoe, Kasai, and Tokyo Rinkai Park Stations. Get off at Tokyo Disneyland.
If you are staying at an official Disney hotel, take the monorail to Gateway Station