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 guide gives you our best tips and information on Golden Week at both Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea!
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 is over, it’s one of the best times to visit Tokyo Disneyland. The crowds are at some of its lowest, the weather is favourable, and the seasonal events are still happening!
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.
What Days are Busy During Golden Week?
For 2018, the crowds begin on Friday, April 27, through Monday, May 6, 2018. The holidays fall on the weekdays this year and leads to a longer holiday for everyone. Use the crowd calendar for an updated look at the predictions.
The least crowded days (predicted) are:
- April 30
- May 1-2
Expect heavy crowds (close to capacity) on these days:
- April 28
- April 29
- May 3-5
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
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 make sure 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.
If you find yourself at the parks during golden week, not all is lost. 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). If you have an advance ticket you’ll be able to enter the park without any issue.
Read our guide on how to buy park tickets for Tokyo Disneyland (including discount tickets).
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
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.
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 TDR Wait for iOS and Android
- 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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