Golden Week in Japan is a series of public holidays that happen at the end of April and the beginning of May. It’s one of the busiest times at Tokyo Disney Resort (also in and around Japan). Everyone is on vacation and travelling 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 guide gives you our best tips and information on Golden Week at Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea!
If you’re visiting over Golden Week, buying your tickets in advance is best.
Table of Contents
When is Golden Week?
The Japanese Public Holidays that are part of Golden Week are:
- April 29th (Showa Day)
- May 3rd (Constitution Memorial Day)
- May 4th (Greenery Day)
- May 5th (Children’s Day)
Once the Golden Week rush ends, it’s one of the best times to visit Tokyo Disneyland. The crowds are at of their lowest, the weather is favourable, and the seasonal events are still happening!
Golden Week 2019
Japan has enacted a law to assign one-off holidays to celebrate the imperial succession, creating a 10-day Golden Week in 2019. Emperor Akihito abdicated on April 30, while Crown Prince Naruhito ascended the imperial throne on May 1, 2019.
This creates a rare 10-day vacation from April 27 through May 6, 2019. With April 29 and May 3-6 already public holidays in 2019, April 30 and May 2nd are holidays for 2019. As per Japanese law, any weekdays that fall between public holidays also become holidays.
You should avoid the Parks between April 27 and May 6, 2019.
- Saturday, April 27 (Weekend)
- Sunday, April 28 (Weekend)
- Monday, April 29 (Showa Day)
- Tuesday, April 30 (Bridge Holiday)
- Wednesday, May 1 (Emperor’s Coronation)
- Thursday, May 2 (Bridge Holiday)
- Friday, May 3 (Constitution Memorial Day)
- Saturday, May 4 (Greenery Day)
- Sunday, May 5 (Children’s Day)
- Monday, May 6 (Children’s Day Observed)
The 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, get 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 carry all these items in the parks but expect to pay a premium.
What Days Are Busy During Golden Week?
For 2019, the crowds begin on Saturday, April 27, through Monday, May 6, 2018. Use the crowd calendar for an updated look at the predictions. Since this 10-day Golden Week (see above) is a rare event, the crowd calendar may not be accurate.
It’s best to avoid the duration of the Golden Week holiday in 2019. It’s best to visit before April 27 and after May 6, 2019.
During Golden Week, the resort has Disney’s Easter at both Parks.
How to Handle the Crowds
Tokyo Disney Resort is famous, 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
If you’re staying at a Disney Hotel, take advantage of your 15-minute early entry. 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 cannot take advantage of the Happy 15 entry, arrive at the park 2 hours before opening to get the best possible chances at FastPasses, or get into standby. If the park is opening at 8:00, 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 keen on getting there that early (I know the feeling, trust me), then at the absolute latest, get there 1-hour before the park opens.
Not all is lost if you find yourself at the parks during golden week. Follow these tips to help make your day go smoother. The biggest tip I can tell you is to get your park tickets in advance. You’ll waste valuable time waiting in line if you buy the same day (also risk having the parks reach capacity). You can enter the park without an issue if you have an advance ticket.
Read our guide on how to buy park tickets for Tokyo Disneyland.
Choose one attraction and go for that FastPass. The lines are long, and queues for FastPasses can reach 20-30 minutes to get them. When your next FastPass is available, none will likely be 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 on standby for Pooh’s Hunny Hunt. Or vice versa.
- Tokyo DisneySea
- Skip Toy Story (if you have done it before in the US), get a FastPass for Tower of Terror and get on 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 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 the details. For snack suggestions, 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
Some guests wait 2-3 hours for the next show (such as the parade at Tokyo Disneyland or the harbor show at Tokyo DisneySea). However, you won’t want to do that as you want to make the most 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.
Follow these tips, and you’ll be in good shape.
- Buy your tickets in advance
- 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 the park opens
- Download the Tokyo Disney Resort app ahead of time
- 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 regular 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 the show starts time
- Read our Top 10 FAQ if you have any questions.
If you can, avoid Golden Week altogether when planning your trip. If you cannot 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.
More Things to Do in Tokyo
My recommendations for things to do in and around Tokyo! Plan a day at the Hello Kitty theme park, Sanrio Puroland, and an afternoon at the popular TeamLab Planets TOKYO. Take a tour around Tokyo with the convenient hop-on and-off bus. Spend a rainy afternoon inside Japan’s largest indoor theme park, Tokyo Joyoplis, near Tokyo Disney!
More on Tokyo Disney Resort
Tokyo Disney Resort Guidebook
Are you planning a trip to Tokyo Disney Resort? If so, you need our digital guidebook! Our guidebook is the most comprehensive resource available, covering everything you need to know about the park, including tickets, hotels, restaurants, attractions, shows, seasonal events, and more! With our guidebook, you’ll be an expert on Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea before you even set foot in the Parks. You’ll know what to expect, where to go, and what to do. You’ll also be able to avoid the crowds and make the most of your time.
Get tickets for Tokyo Disney Resort
Buying your tickets for Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea ahead of time is vital. Read our comprehensive guide on tickets to learn how to purchase tickets. For recommendations on SIM cards, portable Wi-Fi devices, travel insurance, cheap flights, and hotel bookings, read our travel resources page.
Learn more about Tokyo Disney Resort
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