I just finished doing the timing chain tensioner in my truck, 97 Hardbody, which has a KA24E like your car. I can't imagine they're set up too differently. I can tell you that it wasn't the easiest thing ever, but it is possible to do at home. Off the top of my head I can tell you everything I had to remove: radiator, power steering pump, air conditioning pump, water pump, oil pump, distributor, valve cover, literally everything off the front of the motor. I also had to remove the alternator because I broke a bolt in the oil pump that I needed to torch out, so you shouldn't have to remove the alternator as I did. I decided not to drop the oil pan because in my truck that would involve lifting the motor and I had no reason to drop it. You can slide the front cover out even though it's sandwiched between the head and the oil pan.
If you do plan on doing this job yourself, and you would like to get it done in a timely manner, I can only suggest that you get everything you need before you start. Fresh oil, coolant (if you aren't reusing whats in there already), timing light (since you're completely removing the distributor), pulley remover (for the crankshaft pulley), Black RTV sealant, waterpump/thermostat housing sealant, and any new parts you can afford. I personally told myself before I started that since I would be removing everything anyways I might as well replace it. I ended up replacing the oil pump, water pump, and valve cover gasket even though they were all originally fine. In the end I totaled about $300 in parts including the chain tensioner and guide, and I know I won't have to worry about anything for a while.
That's just my story. If you decide to tackle it I hope everything goes as well for you as it did for me.