One of the first things you think of when you begin planning for Tokyo Disney Resort is “when should I visit.” We have a full guide that explains when are and the best/worst times to visit.
Believe it or not, there are periods of time when Tokyo Disney Resort is not busy and practically empty (some days). We are asked a bit when the slowest times are or if there is an off-peak season. You’re in luck; I explain it all and give you enough information to decide if the off-peak winter season is a good time for you to visit! Also, when the best times for the chances of snow.
When is the Winter Slow Season?
The winter slow season starts in January and runs through to mid-February. However, the first week of January is the New Year (usually January 1 to 5) and the parks are quite busy (everyone is on holidays until the end of the first week).
After the New Year, the crowds drop. If you check our recommended Tokyo Disneyland Crowd Calendar you see light crowds. The months of January and February bring lighter crowds (although most weekends are still rather busy). Then once March hits, the crowds pick up due to the changing school year in Japan, which is around mid-March (depending on the school).
The crowds are not always low, however. The resort has events from January to March to help offset the lower crowds. Frozen Fantasy at Tokyo Disneyland and the new Pixar Playtime and Duffy’s Heartwarming Days at Tokyo DisneySea. The Tower of Terror: Level 13 “Shadow of Shiriki” was offered during this timeframe last year, but is now moved to Halloween 2018 (from what I can tell).
What’s the Weather Like?
To keep it simple, it’s cold, and on rare occasions, it may snow or blizzard. Snow is a rare occurrence, so the chances of it happening during your trip are pure luck and chance. But, the best chances are mid-January and February when it’s the coldest.
During the evenings, it can drop close to freezing in January and February (O°C or 32°F). During the day, it can get to around 8-10°C (46-52°F). Once you add the wind, it’s rather unpleasant unless you’re prepared. In December the weather begins to drop, then in March, it begins to warm up again.
Read our guide to how to keep yourself warm during this cold time of year.
Flights during this time period are a prime time for seat sales, so keep an eye out for those. I have seen flights from major airports in the US for as low as $400 USD round-trip and about $700 from Canada and Australia. Read our full guide to cheap flights to Japan. My favourite places to check are Google Flights and Skyscanner.
What to Expect During the Winter Slow Season
- Early closing times
- No lottery for shows
- Short waits to ride attractions
- Watch out for attraction closures and refurbishments
- No seasonal entertainment, but easy to watch regular parade or shows with no waiting
There are a few key points to be aware of if you decide to visit during this time. The first is reduced hours during weekdays. This fluctuates, so you’re best to check the official website for the park hours. The park(s) can open as late as 10:00 AM and close as early as 6:00 or 7:00 PM.
Refurbishments of shops, shows, restaurants, and attractions begin during this time, too. Check the closures guide to see the most up-to-date list.
Some days, the lottery for shows such as One Man’s Dream II and Big Band Beat isn’t needed. That means you don’t need to win the lottery to see the show, you can wait in standby and get in.
The wait times across the board are lower on average. The popular attractions such as Pooh’s Hunny Hunt and Monster’s Inc. at Tokyo Disneyland have waits under an hour, while Toy Story Mania at Tokyo DisneySea gets as low as an hour (which is low for this attraction). Later in the evening on colder days, many attractions may become a walk-on.
For the outdoor shows, you won’t have to wait for 60 minutes to get a decent spot. A lot of the time you can show up anywhere between 30 minutes to after the show has begun to get a good spot. Just remember, it’ll be cold while you’re waiting, so bundle up! Read our guides for both Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea for tips and recommendations for entertainment.
When is the Best Time to Visit?
If you’re keen on traveling during this season with minimal crowds, then mid to end of January is on average the lowest in terms of crowd. But this also means it’s cold and unpleasant weather in the evenings.
Should I Visit?
You’re asking yourself if you should visit? If you want to do as many attractions and shows as possible with minimal wait, then this is an excellent time to do so — as long as you don’t mind the cold. Take advantage of those lower wait times and crowd levels. Just be mindful of closures and the crowd calendar (such as public holidays, which are always busy no matter what time of the year).