Universal Studios Japan VS Tokyo Disney Parks: Japan's Theme Park Showdown


Faruq Senin •  Jun 06, 2023

A visit to Japan's theme parks is a must as it offers a unique experience that you can't quite get elsewhere. The most popular theme parks in Japan are none other than Universal Studios Japan (USJ) and Tokyo Disneyland & DisneySea! With amazing rides, exciting parades and characters, these 2 theme parks are always pitted against each other. If you're getting some travel inspiration, we've come up with this guide: Universal Studios Japan VS Tokyo Disney Parks. If you have time or budget for only one park, we hope this comparison guide will give you a better idea on which theme park will suit you more.

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1. Ticket prices & Opening hours

Ticket prices for both parks don't differ much. If we're comparing a 1-day pass, Disneyis slightly cheaper (about JPY400 cheaper) than USJ. But that said, in terms of flexibility, the Disney parks have more variety. Not to mention that you can buy a general Disney park ticket and choose to use it for Tokyo Disneyland or DisneySea.

Here's a breakdown of prices:


  • 1 DAY Studio Pass:
    • Adults, 12 and over - JPY8600
    • Child, 4-11 - JPY5600
    • Seniors, 65 and over - JPY7700
  • 2 DAY Studio Pass:
    • Adults, 12 and over - JPY16300
    • Child, 4-11 - JPY10600

Tokyo Disneyland

  • 1-Day Passport:
    • Adult - JPY8300
    • Junior - JPY6900
    • Child - JPY4900

Winner: Tokyo Disney Parks

While USJ is cheaper, we'd go with Tokyo Disney parks for this round as the ticket choices are more flexible. You can choose not to spend the whole day at the park if you don't want to and get the cheaper passports instead. Plus, you'd also get to enjoy more savings if you choose to visit Tokyo Disney parks on 2 consecutive days or more.

As for opening hours, Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea tend to stay open till about 9/10PM while USJ only opens till 8/9PM. So, both Disney parks will definitely give you more bang for your buck!

P.S. Deciding between Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea instead?Check out this comparison guide!

2. Best rides and attractions


The main highlight of USJ is none other than the Wizarding World of Harry Potter! Take a ride on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and follow Harry and friends on their magic adventures; there's even a Quidditch match during the ride! Drink some yummy Butterbeer while you're at it and cast spells with some Wand Magic.

Besides that, USJ is also home to one of the world's best amusement park rides - The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman. You'll also be treated to unique roller coasters like The Flying Dinosaur where you'll sit face down and "fly" or the Hollywood Dream - The Ride - Backdrop where you'll experience an exhilarating ride on a backwards roller coaster!

Top rides in USJ:

Tokyo Disney:

The Tokyo Disney parks are perfect for everyone as they have both slow-paced kid-friendly rides at Disneyland and adrenaline-pumping rides at DisneySea! There's a huge variety of rides here with a combined total of more than 80 rides in both parks. Disney fans would love to step into the world of Monsters Inc or the world of Star Wars in 3D.

Credit: Vinit Panchal on Flickr

Did you know that Tokyo DisneySea is also the only DisneySea in the world? Besides its IG-worthy backdrops (including a replica of Venice), it's also home to hair-raising rides like the Tower of Terror and Journey to the Center of the Earth.

Top rides in Tokyo Disney:

Winner: Tie

This one's a tough choice! As Potterheads ourselves, it's hard for us not to love the Wizarding World of Harry Potter as it is both magical and breathtaking. But we definitely can't discount the fact that Tokyo Disney parks have the ONLY DisneySea in the world, which adds to its unique factor! In terms of variety, both parks also have plenty of kid-friendly and thrilling rides, though Tokyo Disneyland might be a better fit if you're travelling with kids.

So, it really boils down to what you're looking for in these parks and who you're travelling with. We're sitting on the fence for this one.

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3. Skip-the-line privileges

As both parks are really popular, they are both equally crowded. But luckily, both parks have skip-the-line privileges. Let's compare them both:

Universal Express Pass at USJ:


  • Enter a separate queue to cut waiting times at popular rides
  • Can be used for 4 or 7 rides, depending on which Express Pass you buy
  • You can buy Express passes online in advance or at the park
  • Use of Express passes are unlimited


  • Express passes come at an additional cost (JPY7800-10800)

FASTPASS at Tokyo Disney:


  • There are no longer FASTPASS available.


While the FASTPASS used to be free, the Disney Parks no longer run on this attraction pass! However, they did introduce a new system which has three tiers - Standby Pass, Entry Request, and Disney Premier Access. The Entry Request is essentially a “lottery” to experience select character greetings and shows, it's best for when your children are hoping to catch a glimpse of their fave Disney characters! And finally, the Disney Premier Pass which is essentially a paid FASTPASS, where you can skip the lines to attractions and even shows with this. For more info, check outTokyo Disney Resort App!

Winner: USJ

4. Availability of Muslim-friendly food and prayer spaces


Tokyo Disney:

  • Muslim-friendly Menu at Red Lobster, Ikspiari shopping mall
  • Prayers - Request to do your prayers at the Main Street House

Winner: Tie

While USJ and the Disney parks don't have any halal-certified eateries, both of them have restaurants with Muslim-friendly menus. While USJ has one more Muslim-friendly option at Hotel Keihan Universal, this is a more premium option as it serves halal Wagyu (costs JY3850 or more) and it's only perfect if you're looking to splurge. That said, you can pack your own meals and let the staff at both parks know that you have dietary restrictions. Not to mention that the staff at both parks will accommodate to your needs to do your prayers.

Hence, in terms of Muslim-friendly amenities, we'd say it's a tie between both theme parks!

5. Shows and Parades


Besides the fantastic rides at USJ, the theatre shows, street shows, and parades are all a must-see! They are full of life and part of the USJ experience. Although the shows are in Japanese, it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to watch them in a foreign language! The Universal Spectacle Night Parade is a treat - witness the world's first transforming float from the Universe of Transformers, dance with minions and more.

Top shows at USJ: 

At DisneySea, you'll be treated to at least 3-5 shows, with one seasonal show. The Big Band Beat is one of the best shows here, with top-notch singers and dancing by Mickey and friends. They also have their version of Disney Light The Night complete with massive fireworks display against the volcanic backdrop of the Mysterious Island.

Top shows at Tokyo Disney:

Winner: Tokyo Disney Parks

There's a reason why Disneyland is called the "happiest place on Earth" and its spectacular shows take credit for this! With memorable characters that everyone can relate to, complete with gorgeous costumes, dances and more, you'll definitely be able to relive your childhood. For this, we'd have to give this to Tokyo Disney Parks!

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Final Verdict: Tokyo Disney Parks!

And the winner is Tokyo Disney Parks! With not just 1 but 2 theme parks in one, it's hard not to love the Tokyo Disney Parks as they provide a wholesome experience for different types of travellers. That said, with amazing rides, attractions and shows at both USJ and Tokyo Disney parks, it's really a tough call. With the breath-taking Wizarding World of Harry Potter and award-winning rides, USJ is definitely a worthy contender. Ultimately, we hope this comparison guide has given you a better idea of what you can expect at both parks, so you can keep them in mind for your future trips to Japan!

Tokyo Disney:

It wouldn't be a visit to the Disney parks if you don't watch its vibrant parade and shows. At Disneyland, catch Mickey and friends waving at the crowd at the Dreaming Up! daytime parade or witness the glittering lights at the Nighttime Parade "Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade Dreamlights". Then, check out the enchanting fireworks with Disney Light the Night for an end to your magical day.