Golden Week in Japan is a series of public holidays that happen around the same time, which happens at end of April and beginning of May. Considered one of the busiest times at the Resort (also in and around Japan). If it is your first time visiting, you should avoid it if possible. If you happen to find yourself visiting the Resort during this time, use our guide to make the most of your time.
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 all of those days, and on days that are at the beginning or the end of the holiday (if they land a weekend). As always, check our TDR Navi for the most up-to-date crowd forecast.
- For 2015 the busy days start May 2nd, since that is a Saturday and will go until Tuesday, May 5th.
- In 2016, expect the crowds to start on April 29th (Friday) and lasting until May 5th (Thursday).
Many people will be visiting the resort for their holiday, so the park will hit capacity. What does that mean for you?
- Popular Attraction wait times will be 100+ minutes
- 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 will be gone early morning
- Long queues to do anything
Consider this the pinnacle of weekends, over the span of a week (depending on the year). You can easily apply our Weekend Survival Guide to handle the crowds.
If you are NOT staying at an official hotel, then you will have to buy your tickets well in advance. They will sell out and it is hard to say whether or not when tickets will resume sales on any given day. Read our full guide on how to purchase tickets.
To eliminate any disappointment, purchase your tickets online (sadly you won’t get the cute tickets as a souvenir). You can purchase tickets up to 60 days in advance. Remember, this is only if you are not staying at an official hotel. If you are, then you are guaranteed entrance to the parks, even if they are at capacity.
If you’re staying at the official hotels, then take advantage of your 15 minute Happy Entry perk. That small amount of time will make all the difference when getting FastPasses. But, be sure to get to the gate at least 15 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 8am, then get in line at 6am. This is to ensure your best chances of getting a FastPass for one popular attraction.
Choose one attraction and go for that FastPass. All lines will be long and queues to get FastPasses can get up to 20-30 minutes just to get them. By the time your next FastPass is available, likely there will be none left at another attractions. 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.
Much like other Disney Parks, eat at off-peak hours to reduce the number of people (if only slightly) waiting to eat. You will be in a queue to eat anywhere, even at the Counter Service restaurants. If you are able to, book your table dining ahead of time or as soon as you enter the park. For deciding where to eat, read our Dining Guide.
Guests will be waiting 2-3 hours for a show (depending on the weather). You however, do not have to do that. If you try 1-1.5 hours a head of time, you can land a decent spot. Be sure to bring a plastic sheet to sit on.
May is getting close to the rainy season, so check the weather forecast the day before. If it is rainy than umbrellas are nice, until it gets very windy. Bring ponchos, which you can buy at any 100yen store in Japan, and do not be afraid to wear comfortable rubber boots. You can purchase ponchos in the parks, but expect to pay a premium.
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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