When Should You Visit Tokyo Disney Resort


When planning a trip to any Disney resort the #1 question is “When should I visit?”

Major public holidays are usually the busiest time of year, and off-peak or shoulder seasons tend to save your sanity. But because the Japanese calendar of public holidays differs greatly from North America (and even Europe), what might be the low season at other parks could be an extremely busy time at the Tokyo Disney Resort.

This guide breaks down the best and worst times to visit Tokyo Disneyland & Tokyo DisneySea. Also, we give you various scenarios, including weather conditions such as rain, snow, and typhoons.

Once you’re done, don’t forget to read our updated guide for 2017 — The Ultimate Guide to Tokyo Disney Resort.

Tokyo Disneyland Crowd Calendar

I recommend referring to this excellent Crowd Calendar from TDRNavi. They have an English version for both Tokyo Disneyland & Tokyo DisneySea. It’s updated daily and is our resource for crowd predictions. 

The above calendar no longer works. There is a Japanese only crowd calendar that is just as good (if not better). I have English translations and a guide on how to use and understand the calendar.

Best & Worst Times to Visit in 2017

Tangled Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade Dreamlights

If you’re planning a trip for 2017 then here is when we think the best and worst times are. Taking into account weather, events, closures, and construction. Read all the details for these events for fiscal 2017.

The best time is the beginning of July for Tanabata and Summer:

  • Tanabata Days
    • June 15, 2017 – July 7, 2017
  • Summer Event
    • July 11, 2017 – August 31, 2017
    • Tokyo DisneySea gets a new summer event themed to Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Updated version of Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade Dreamlights debuts on July 11, 2017
  • Keep in mind that Journey to the Center of the Earth is closed June 26, 2017, to July 16, 2017. You’ll have to choose if you want to see Tanabata Days or ride Journey.

Another excellent time is the end of Halloween and the beginning of Christmas. See the event calendar below for exact dates.

January and February see reduced park hours on various days. March is the worst time as Frozen Fantasy is popular and with school finishing, that month brings large crowds. Also, as every year Golden Week falls on the beginning May. Which means the busy time is April 29, 2017 – May 7, 2017.

The next sections talk about when to visit in a general sense.

Best Time to Visit

Spring flowers at Tokyo DisneySea in Cape Cod

Spring flowers at Tokyo DisneySea in Cape Cod

The best times to visit takes into account the weather, crowd levels, seasonal events, and Japanese Public Holidays:

  • January
    • After the first week of January
    • New Years is a big holiday in Japan
  • April
    • Calm before the storm of Golden Week and warmer weather
    • Chance to see the cherry blossoms
  • May
    • After Golden Week
  • September
    • Back to school
    • Start of Halloween
  • November

If you had to choose one time to visit then visiting the first-half of April or second-half of May is best. You miss one of the major Japanese Holidays — Golden Week. The weather is enjoyable since the humid Japanese summer has not started yet.

The tail-end of an event or in-between events is another excellent time to visit (any time of the year). Near the end of the event, many locals have seen everything. The last weekend of the event brings last-minute crowds. Then, in-between events (which is about a week) the crowds are lower.

Once you’ve decided on a time to go, check out our other planning guides:

You can see the rest of our guides in our Ultimate Planning Guide to Tokyo Disney Resort (updated for 2017)!

Lower Wait Times

If you want to ride as many attractions as possible (read our guides for both Tokyo Disneyland & Tokyo DisneySea for which rides are best) then the rainy, cold, or snowy weather is best. This keeps locals away and lowers wait times across the board.

It rains the most in June (rainy season) and September/October (typhoon season). The coldest time of the year is January to March — which is the least crowded time of the year and we consider it the low season.

Worst Times to Visit

Golden Week in Japan and Tokyo Disney Resort

Golden Week is one of the busiest times of the year. Photo by Hector.

While it’s hard to have a bad time at the parks, there are less than ideal times to visit. The worst times to visit take into account public holidays, weather, special events, and school schedules (which are different in Japan).

  • Any Japanese National Holiday
  • End of December into January
    • New Year’s is one of the biggest holidays of the year
  • July & August
  • June
    • Rainy Season
    • Outdoor entertainment canceled or altered
  • February & March
    • Cold weather
    • Chances of heavy snowfall
    • Spring break for students at the end of March

The worst times to visit — in my opinion — is the end of March (due to school holidays), Golden Week (crowds are insane), or August (the weather is almost unbearable).

Avoid most weekends and Japanese Public Holidays — especially Golden Week and New Years. Both Parks on average reach capacity during these times. Although weekends haven’t been seeing the crowds it used to, it still is busy and I recommend not visiting if it’s your first time. For those that have been to the US Parks on Christmas or New Years, the best way to describe the crowds is to take that and times it by 2 — albeit much more organized.

Wait times can get up to 3-4 hours for major attractions (Pooh’s Hunny Hunt, Monster’s Inc, Toy Story Mania, etc). Restaurant queues can reach to an hour or more. You need to make reservations for table service restaurants ahead of time.

If you find yourself visiting during a busy time, read our crowd survival guide. As it gives you crucial tips to make the most out of your time. I learned a great deal by visiting on the weekends and I am now passing that invaluable knowledge down to you. On a whole, it will feel more crowded (if you’re not used to it) so make sure to read our guide to how to deal with the crowds.

The beginning of any seasonal event brings the crowds on the first day and on the first weekend.

How to Experience Halloween & Christmas One Trip

Christmas Wishes 2016 Tokyo DisneySea

With so many seasonal events at the parks, you may want to see more than one event. If you time it just right, you’re able to experience two fantastic seasonal offerings at Tokyo Disney Resort!

On average there’s a week between events. Here’s how to see two events in one trip:

  • Visit the Parks for 2-days at the beginning of your trip
  • Then travel around Tokyo (and other parts of Japan)
  • Followed by another 2-days at the Parks at the end of your trip

The event calendar below shows the several days between events. Which helps you decide if you want to plan your trip around two events! The easiest is between Easter and Tanabata Days — with only one day between events.

EventStartEndDays Until Next EventNext Event
The Year of Wishes (Tokyo DisneySea)April 15, 2016March 17, 2017
New Year's ProgramJanuary 1, 2017January 5, 20178Anna and Elsa's Frozen Fantasy & Sweet Duffy
Anna and Elsa's Frozen Fantasy & Sweet DuffyJanuary 13, 2017March 17, 201718Disney's Easter
Disney's EasterApril 4, 2017June 14, 20171Disney Tanabata Days
Disney Tanabata DaysJune 15, 2017July 7, 20174Disney Natsu Matsuri
Disney Natsu MatsuriJuly 11, 2017August 31, 20177Disney's Halloween
Disney's HalloweenSeptember 8, 2017October 31, 20177Christmas Fantasy & Christmas Wishes
Christmas Fantasy & WishesNovember 8, 2017December 25, 20177New Year's Program
New Year's Program 2018January 1, 2018 (TBD)January 5, 2018 (TBD)7TBD

The next sections explain the different seasons and the crowds, events, and weather that comes with it.

Spring

Fashionable Easter Tokyo DisneySea Mickey and Minnie American Waterfront

  • Timeframe: March to May
  • Average Temperature: 14°C (57.2°F)
  • Average High: 16.5°C (62°F)
  • Average Low: 9.5°C (49°F)

The weather begins to warm up and the temperatures are comfortable. Not only is the Easter Events happening at both parks, there is a chance you will see Sakura (cherry blossoms) blooming.

Summer

Mickey and Minnie Greeting Tanabata Days 2015 Tokyo Disneyland

  • Timeframe: June to August
  • Average Temperature: 24°C (75°F)
  • Average High: 27°C (81°F)
  • Average Low: 21°C (70°F)

The Japanese summer in Tokyo from June to August is unpleasant if you’re not used to humidity. It’s similar to Florida in August, but worse (If you can believe that). The hot weather does not keep the crowds away.

The month of June is the rainy season. Visiting on the weekdays or rainy days are your best bet. The summer festival and Tanabata Days at both parks is something every Disney fan needs to experience.

Fall

Ghost in Pop N Live Parade Tokyo Disneyland Halloween 2016

  • Timeframe: September to November
  • Average Temperature: 18°C (64°F)
  • Average High: 20°C (68°F)
  • Average Low: 15°C (59°F)

After a hot and humid summer, the weather and crowds begin to calm down — crowds pick up at various times so check the crowd calendar. For some people, the weather is still hot, so shorts and a t-shirt are acceptable attire. The months of September and October are the most comfortable in terms of weather, while November it begins to cool off with the change to winter.

Not only can you enjoy lower crowds (for the most part) but experience one of my favourite seasons at the Parks — Halloween! Dress up in your best Halloween costume and take part in the Halloween Costume Days! In late October, you may see the leaves start turning to the beautiful fall colours — which are stunningly beautiful.

Winter

Mickey Minnie Kimono Tokyo DisneySea New Years

 

  • Timeframe: December to February
  • Average Temperature: 7°C (45°F)
  • Average High: 10°C (50°F)
  • Average Low: 3°C (37°F)

Christmas at Tokyo Disney Resort is a spectacle in itself and you won’t feel too homesick if you were to spend Christmas Day in the Parks. Just take note that the decorations come down after December 25. It does get rather cold in the winter, so make sure to follow our guide to keeping warm! January and February are the coldest months on average.

After Christmas is New Years, which is one of the major holidays in Japan. While the event is short (only a week), it is worth experiencing to see Mickey and Minnie in traditional Japanese Kimonos at both parks.

Are There Any Slow Times?

Slow times do exist, but keep in mind “slow” for Tokyo is still considered busy for most. January (after New Years) and February are the slowest times.

In January, after the New Year’s rush, the crowds slow down and continue into February. The weather is the coldest in the year and it may even snow — which is a rare occurrence. If you can handle the cold, then this is an excellent time to visit.

Even if it is crowded, you might be able to find a quiet corner of the park - like the lighthouse that divides Port Discovery and American Waterfront at Tokyo DisneySea.

Even when crowded, you might be able to find a quiet corner of the park – like the lighthouse that divides Port Discovery and American Waterfront at Tokyo DisneySea.

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Some photos provided by Duy Phan Photography.

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