Golden Week in Japan is a series of public holidays that happen at end of April and beginning of May. It’s one of the busiest times at Tokyo Disney Resort (also in and around Japan). Everyone is on vacation and traveling inside and outside the country. You’re best avoiding this time, if possible. But, not all is lost if you find yourself at the parks on Golden Week.
Our full guide covers what to expect and how to handle the crowds for Golden Week at Tokyo Disney Resort.
When is Golden Week
The Japanese public holidays that make up Golden Week fall on the following days:
- April 29th
- May 3rd
- May 4th
- May 5th
Depending on what days of the week these holidays fall on, expect the resort to reach capacity during most, if not all, of those days. Check TDR Navi for the most up-to-date crowd forecast to get an idea of what the crowds are predicted to look like.
Golden Week always happens during the Easter event at Tokyo Disney Resort. So, make sure to read our full guide to Disney’s Easter to get an idea what you’d like to eat, watch, and buy!
How to Handle the Crowds
Tokyo Disney Resort is popular, so it makes sense that most people who don’t go regularly want to visit for their holidays. That means, the parks are busy and on average reach capacity most days. So, what does that mean for you?
- Popular attractions reach 100+ minute wait times:
- Pooh’s Hunny Hunt, Monster’s Inc, Big Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain, Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain
- Toy Story Mania, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Indiana Jones, Raging Spirits, & Tower of Terror
- FastPasses run out early in the day (sometimes even 30-minutes after an hour after opening for the most popular attractions like Toy Story Mania!, Pooh’s Hunny Hunt, and Monster’s Inc.
- Long queues for restaurants, food carts (including popcorn), and even the washroom
When Do the Crowds Subside?
After Golden Week the crowds thin out and is one of the BEST times to visit Tokyo Disney Resort. The last official holiday is May 5, so the weekend after that is when the crowds slow down.
Buy Your Park Tickets In Advance
Buy your tickets well in advance and not at the gate — this is a general rule but is crucial for Golden Week. The easiest way to buy your tickets is through Klook, they offer a 1-day and 2-day ticket. For other ways to buy tickets, our full guide to park tickets for Tokyo Disney Resort explains it all for you.
If you’re staying at a Disney Hotel, then take advantage of your 15-minute early entry called “Happy 15”. That small amount of time will make all the difference when getting FastPasses. But, get to the gate at least 30-minutes before your Happy Entry. There will be plenty of people ahead of you.
If you are unable to take advantage of the Happy 15 entry, arrive at the park 2-hours before opening, if you want to get the best possible chances at FastPasses, or getting into standby. If the park is opening at 8:00, then get in line at 6:00. This is to ensure your best chances of getting a FastPass for one popular attraction.
If you’re not that keen on getting there that early (I know the feeling trust me), then at the absolute latest get there 1-hour before park open.
Choose one attraction and go for that FastPass. The lines are long and queues for FastPasses can reach 20-30 minutes just to get them. By the time your next FastPass is available, likely there will be none left at another attraction. But, you may luck out so keep an eye out.
- Tokyo Disneyland
- Grab a FastPass for Monster’s Inc then wait in standby for Pooh’s Hunny Hunt. Or vice versa.
- Tokyo DisneySea
- Skip Toy Story (if you have done it before in the US) and get a FastPass for Tower of Terror and get into standby for Journey to the Center of the Earth.
- Toy Story Mania! Fastpasses will run out on average 30-minutes after the park opens.
Counter service restaurants are busy and yield long lines. You’re best eating on off-peak hours (before noon or after 18:00). There are long lines even in mid-afternoon. I suggest bringing small snacks to sustain you, to reduce the chance of becoming “hangry” (which I am known to get).
If you want table service, they begin taking reservations at the restaurant starting at 10:00. I suggest lining up at the restaurant at 9:30 to increase your chance of getting a reservation. Our dining guide has all details. For suggestions on snacks, read our top 10 awesome snacks at Tokyo Disney Resort. Then study our top choices for counter service and table service restaurants at both parks!
Parade & Entertainment Tips
Some guests wait 2-3 hours for the next show (such as the parade at Tokyo Disneyland or the harbor show at Tokyo DisneySea). You, however, won’t want to do that as you want to make the most out of your day. A good 60-minutes before showtime is more than enough. While you won’t have the best seat in the house, you’ll still be able to enjoy the excellent entertainment options at the parks.
End of April and the beginning of May is one of the most comfortable times of the year for weather. The temperature averages 18°C (64°F). Check the forecast before you head to the parks. If it’s going to rain then make sure to get yourself an umbrella (everyone uses them), a change of socks, and a poncho. You can pick all these up at the 100 yen shops throughout Japan.
They do carry all these items in the parks but expect to pay a premium for them.
Tips & Advice Summary
Follow these tips and you’ll be in good shape.
- Buy your tickets in advance (do not buy them at the gate)
- Read our packing guide to know what to bring to the park for the day
- Arrive at the gates at the latest 60-minutes before park open
- Download our wait time app for iOS (web version) to help save your sanity
- Grab a Japanese Today Guide (park map) as it has visuals of all the seasonal food and merchandise which help you plan what you want to eat and buy while you are waiting (Subscribe to our YouTube channel for the latest today guide explanations)
- If you’re a Nintendo 3DS player then this is a fantastic time to collect all those StreetPasses
- If you’re making a dinner reservation, line up at the restaurant at 09:30 as they begin taking reservations at 10:00 at the table service restaurants
- Counter service restaurants will have long queues, so eat outside the normal hours or snack all day
- Follow our attraction guides for both Tokyo Disneyland & Tokyo DisneySea
- Follow our show and entertainment guides for both Tokyo Disneyland & Tokyo DisneySea
- Get a spot for the parade or outdoor show at least 60 minutes before show start time
- Read our Top 10 FAQ if you have any questions
If you can, avoid Golden Week altogether when planning your trip. If you are unable to avoid visiting during this time, you are now equipped with the knowledge to make the most of it. Have you visited during Golden Week? If you have, share your stories with us in the comments.
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