Over the last few months, I did very little flying. I had a chance to stay at a couple of hotels worth reviewing, though. One of those was the Disney Ambassador Hotel where I stayed with my then-girlfriend (now wife) at the end of April. It is one of the four (soon to be five) Disney hotels at Tokyo Disney Resort.
While I stayed at the Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay as a kid and at the Hilton Tokyo Bay a couple of times last year (both official partner hotels of Tokyo Disney Resort), this was my first time staying at an actual Disney hotel. As such, I was really curious to see what the experience would be like. Long story short, it was great (and there was even some “aviation” involved too) – for more details, continue reading.
Getting to the Hotel
Of the four Disney hotels in Tokyo, two are adjacent to the two Disney parks in Tokyo. Tokyo Disneyland Hotel is located right across the street from the entrance to, well, Tokyo Disneyland, and Hotel MiraCosta is located inside Tokyo DisneySea. These are also the highest-end of the four. Tokyo Disney Celebration Hotel, the cheapest of the four, is located a 20-minute shuttle bus ride away from the parks.
Disney Ambassador Hotel, on the other hand, is located adjacent to Ikspiari, a shopping mall within the resort near Maihama station. As such, if you are getting to the hotel from Tokyo, you will need to go to Maihama station and walk from there through (or around) the Ikspiari shopping mall to the hotel. The route is well sign-posted.
If, on the other hand, you are going to or from the hotel to one of the two Disney parks, you can take the hotel’s free shuttle bus which operates every 10 to 15 minutes during most of the day. For the latest timetable, check the hotel’s official website. The ride to either of the two parks only takes a few minutes.
Alternatively, if you are going to Tokyo Disneyland, you can also walk through Ikspiari toward Maihama station from where the park is just a short walk away.
Check-in and Lobby
Because of the ongoing pandemic, only the main person on the reservation was asked to stay at the front desk while checking in. With that, since my wife made the booking, I left the front desk and sat at one of the many seats in the lobby.
Overall, the check-in process was smooth, and we had the room keys (as well as some Disney Ambassador Hotel-themed postcards) in no time. The Tokyo Disney Resort app on my wife’s phone worked as a room key too.
Prior to heading to our room, we took a few photos of the lobby. When one of the staff saw us doing so, she approached us to offer to take a photo of us and give us a sticker.
The lobby itself, while not large, was quite impressive.
It was equipped with plenty of seating and featured a statue of Mickey Mouse right in the middle. What I loved about it the most, though, was its ceiling decorated with a Disney- and aviation-themed graphic. That theme could also be found, as you will see later in this review, on the hotel’s amenities, for example.
There was also a piano that mostly played automatically, but at times had an actual pianist playing it.
On one end, the lobby was bordered by the elevator hall and on the other by a staircase featuring a nice painting of a castle.
While the hotel offers several character-themed (Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Stitch, etc.) rooms, this time we decided to stay in a “non-character” double “superior room.” Our room was on the fourth floor and could be accessed by the elevators in which the announcements were made by none other than Mickey Mouse.
In the morning, Japanese newspapers could be found in the room-floor elevator hall.
Walking down the hallway designed to resemble a ship, we reached our room and got in, as mentioned earlier, using the key loaded in my wife’s Tokyo Disney Resort app.
Just past the room’s entrance, on the left side, there was a closet with some slippers and a nice Disney Ambassador Hotel-themed paper bag one could take home. There was also a vanity with a Mickey Mouse-themed mirror and a drinks corner. The latter included a refrigerator with three small bottles of Evian water and a kettle with green tea and coffee.
On the right side, there was a bathroom area consisting of three parts. Facing the mirror in the area with a sink, there was the toilet room on the left and the bathroom itself, equipped with a fairly large tub, on the right.
Some of the amenities featured the aviation theme that could be seen in the lobby. I particularly liked the small metal “Amenity Kit” case which one could take home and use for something else. It would have been nice, though, if it didn’t actually have the words “Amenity Kit” on it…
Entering the main part of the room, the most prominent feature was, of course, a large and comfortable bed placed just off the inner right corner. The sheet covering the duvet was, as one could expect by now, Mickey Mouse-themed.
On either side of the bed, there was a nightstand, each with conveniently accessible power outlets and a USB port. The nightstand on the right side also featured a phone, an alarm clock, and a notepad.
Normally, I wouldn’t mention the phone, but this time… When we tried to check out using the TV located across from the bed, it wouldn’t let us do so saying we have a voicemail that needs to be played first. Turns out that because my wife mentioned on the reservation that it was my birthday, Mickey and Minnie Mouse “called” me to wish me Happy Birthday – what a nice touch that I am sure any kid would love.
Next to the TV stand, there was a large sofa, and at the very back of the room next to the windows, there was a table with a pair of chairs.
The room offered views of the hotel’s pool as well as a distant view of some of the taller DisneySea attractions including the Prometheus volcano and the Tower of Terror.
Finishing off the room tour, I should mention that the wallpaper was Mickey and Minnie Mouse-themed too. Also, as can be seen in some of the photos above too, there were several frames with Mickey Mouse-themed artwork hanging around the room.
Dining Options: Hotel Restaurants
Disney Ambassador Hotel is equipped with four restaurants: Chef Mickey, Empire Grill, Tick Tock Diner, and Hyperion Lounge. Between the stay described above and our other visits, I am fortunate to have tried all of them.
Other than Hyperion Lounge which is located in the hotel’s lobby, the restaurants could be found in a hallway that leads from one of the hotel’s entrances into the lobby.
At Hyperion Lounge, one could get desserts and drinks. Like most other Disney restaurants, in addition to the regular menu items, there were some seasonal specials as well. We tried the “Disney Easter” Special Drink which not only looked but also tasted good.
The mood in the lounge was nice given that the piano mentioned earlier in this review was located just outside it.
For lunch, we tried Chef Mickey, the hotel’s casual dining restaurant. That one not only offered plenty of Japanese and non-Japanese options in its buffet, but also the opportunity to take photo with… Well, Chef Mickey.
I also, of course, loved the good selection of desserts.
Empire Grill is slightly more high-end and offers a variety of course meals. It’s a great place to dine at if you are looking to celebrate something – whether a birthday or getting married.
Finally, Tick Tock Diner offers a variety of sandwiches and other light meals. While I haven’t eaten inside this restaurant, we took out their “bread selection” box when we stayed at the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel in August.
While the bread was great, if you are on a budget, there are certainly cheaper alternatives.
You can find the latest menus of the four restaurants here.
Dining Options: Alternatives
One of the on-site alternatives to the hotel’s restaurants is the hotel’s convenience store. While slightly more expensive than regular convenience stores in Japan, it offers plenty of food including bread, rice balls, bento boxes, and so on to choose from.
Another alternative is the room service. While we didn’t have any meal off the menu, my wife arranged a birthday cake for me which we ate for breakfst.
Lastly, if you would prefer to avoid the fairly expensive on-site dining options but want something more than convenience store food, you can simply walk over to the Ikspiari mall or Maihama station.
Either of those is only a few minutes away from the hotel and offers plenty of restaurants. For the list of dining options at Ikspiari, click here.
Depending on your preferences, you could also get take-out and take it back to your room.
In addition to the seating area in the lobby, there was also some seating on the upper floors.
The most notable such seating area was on the second floor, at the top of the staircase with the castle painting. Besides some seating, that area also featured a pair of nice statues of Mickey and Minnie Mouse.
While closed at the time of my visit due to COVID-19, on the ground floor, there was also “Chip ‘N Dale’s Playground” – a play room for children.
The last three indoor things worth mentioning include:
- Festival Disney, a gift store with plenty of Disney merchandise including some items exclusive to Disney Ambassador Hotel
- A convenience store that, beside the already mentioned food and drinks also offered plenty of other items (cosmeticts, umbrellas, snacks, etc.) one might need to buy
- A small exhibit located in the restaurant area, showcasing some Mickey Mouse graphics and Walt Disney photos
Outdoor, there was a pool area which was closed during my visit. On the Ikspiari side, there was also a nice square with some trees, flowers, and benches.
While staying at the hotel is fun in and of itself, most people stay there to, of course, visit either Tokyo Disneyland or DisneySea. During non-COVID-19 times, hotel guests can enter either of the parks 15 minutes ahead of other guests giving them some extra time for photos or to take an extra ride.
During our visit, for about $30, one could buy a pass allowing entry into DisneySea one hour ahead of the regular opening time. Currently, that seems to be discontinued, though.
With that, currently, the main benefit of staying at the Disney Ambassador Hotel (or any other Disney hotel) is the ability to buy park tickets in the hotel.
Normally this is not too much of a deal. However, with the visitor numbers considerably restricted due to COVID-19 and it being more or less a lottery if you try buying tickets online (the server crashes 99.9% of the time due to too many people trying to access it at the same time), staying at a Disney hotel is more or less the only way to get into the parks without too much frustration.
Disney Ambassador Hotel Summary
If you are a fan of Disney parks, want to stay at the Tokyo Disney Resort for a night or two, and want to splurge a bit but not stay at the more expensive Disneyland or MiraCosta hotels, the Disney Ambassador Hotel is a perfect choice.
The room was comfortable and, as an aviation enthusiast, I really liked the ceiling in the lobby. While further from Tokyo Disneyland than the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel, it is still only a short shuttle ride or a fifteen minute walk away. DisneySea is only a short shuttle bus ride away too.