When to Visit Tokyo Disney Resort in 2016


Are you planning to visit Tokyo Disneyland & Tokyo DisneySea in 2016?  Trying to decide when to travel to Japan is daunting.  This guide provides you all the relevant information to help you decide the best time to visit!

The basis of this guide follows the Japanese National Holidays for 2016, which affects crowd levels.  We are also taking into consideration of the biggest event in 2016, which is the “Year of Wishes” at Tokyo DisneySea. Starting April 15th, 2016 and runs until March 17th, 2017.

Event Calendar

The official website keeps an up-to-date events calendar. Check that periodically for the latest. Here’s a quick run down of the events and shows happening in 2016.

year-of-wishes-tokyo-disneyea

 Tokyo Disneyland & Tokyo DisneySea

  • New Years Program (January 1 – January 5, 2016)
  • Disney Easter (March 25 – June 15, 2016)
  • Disney Summer (July – August, 2016)
  • Disney Halloween (September – October 31, 2016)
  • Disney Christmas (November – December 25, 2016)

Tokyo DisneySea

  • Sweet Duffy (January 12 – March 18, 2016)
  • “Year of Wishes” (April 15, 2016 – March 17, 2017)
  • Actual 15th Anniversary Date – September 4, 2016

Tokyo Disneyland

  • Anna and Elsa’s Frozen Fantasy (January 12 – March 18, 2016)
  • Disney Princess: Welcome Little Princesses (January 12 – March 18, 2016)

Closures & Refurbishment

A number of attractions, shows, and restaurants are closed various times throughout the year. The official website keeps and up-to-date list. Please check this to make sure your “must do” is not closed during your planned visit. Here are a few notable closures:

  • Storm Rider (Closes permanently on May 17, 2016)
  • Sinbad’s Storybook Adventure (March 22, 2016 – April 4, 2016)
  • Pooh’s Hunny Hunt (May 19, 2016 – June 3, 2016)
  • Happiness is Here Parade (April 6, 2016 – May 14, 2016)

Best Times

Crowds are always something to consider when deciding on a time to visit. We highly recommend the crowd calendar by TDRNavi, which is available in English. We swear by this and it is one of the best tools to help you plan (besides us of course). The “best time” to visit is subjective and depends on what you wish to carry out during your visit.

Here are a few scenarios and you can decide which is best for you!

Best Times to Visit Tokyo Disney Resort in 2016

Best Overall

If you simply wish to come to the Resort and experience “The Year of Wishes” with a lower crowd and not worry about much else, then visiting right after Golden Week (Friday, April 29, 2016 to Thursday, May 5, 2016) is the best time. Crowds are lower due to Golden Week (the biggest holiday in Japan) finishing, the weather is comfortable, Disney Easter is still happening, and you are able to celebrate the Year of Wishes!

Snow at the Resort

The chance to see Tokyo Disney Resort covered in snow is a rare and exciting experience. It does not snow very often at the Resort, and when it does it melts rather quickly. While seeing snow is more based on luck more than anything, you can increase your chances by visiting at the end of January through the beginning of March.  Be sure to bundle up, though.  It is rather cold during this time of the year.

Mickey and Minnie Snowmen in front of Cinderella's Castle

Mickey and Minnie Snowmen in front of Cinderella’s Castle

Sakura (Cherry Blossoms)

The sakura are beautiful cherry blossoms which appear typically around the end of March in the Tokyo / Chiba area. Both Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea have a few sakura trees which bloom during this time of the year. Much like the snow, this can change depending on the weather. March is the time of year when the weather begins to warm up.

Lowest Crowds

When we mention lower crowds, it is in relation to crowds at Tokyo Disney Resort and not compared to the other Disney Resorts. Even during the low season, you may find it busier than what you are used to. Keep that in mind.

  • After January 4th
  • Mid to Late April (Roughly between 11th to 28th before Golden Week)
  • After May 9th (Following Golden Week)
  • First Week of December (1st to 9th)

You may be asking why the fall is not in there. Halloween is a rather popular event, especially with the Halloween Costume Days.  This makes the resort rather busy during the duration of Halloween.

Best Weather

Don’t want to freeze or become a sweaty puddle? Coming during the spring or fall brings the most comfortable weather.  It also gives you the best chance to see parades and outdoor shows without being altered due to weather!  This includes the fantastic (and, problematic-in-the-rain) Electrical Parade Dreamlights!

  • April to May
  • October to November

Lowest Wait Times

Are you someone who loves to ride just attractions but dislikes the thought of waiting? Visit during these times of the year and you’ll practically get to walk on to a lot of the attractions! Keep in mind that the weather is not ideal during this time, which is reason for lower wait times. We recommend you stay on Resort so you do not get stranded due to public transportation being delayed or suspended – and, if you stay at a Disney-owned hotel, you can get Fastpasses in advance!

  • Late January to Late February
  • October to November

During the winter months, snow storms or rain can deter many guests from staying at the parks long. Pack your warmest fleece and ride everything with lower wait times. Typhoon season brings high winds and rain, and as a result the parks can become almost empty. Again, this means most of the attractions are close to walk on!

There is no guarantee these weather conditions will happen during your visit. This is the timeframe which in which it typically occurs.

Pooh Hunny Hunt Wait Time Tokyo Disneyland

Worst Times

These are the worst times to visit the resort based on crowd levels and weather. Once again, these are subjective – and based on an assumption that large crowds or bad weather are something you can’t deal with while visiting a Disney park. We have a few scenarios so you can decide what works best for you.

Golden Week in Japan and Tokyo Disney Resort

Golden Week is one of the biggest holidays in Japan. Avoid this time of year at the end of April and beginning of May. Photo by Hector.

Weather

In the middle of winter the temperature is known to go as low as 35F (2C) some evenings. Pairing that with rain/snow and wind makes for an unpleasant experience. On the other end of the spectrum, the middle of the summer is hot and humid. If you do not handle cold or hot humidity, you are best to avoid these times.

  • January to Mid-March
  • July to Mid-September

Crowd Levels

Guest attendance peaks during most weekends and national holidays (see list at the end of the post). However, there are a few times of the year where crowd levels are extremely high. More often than not parks can reach capacity or close to it. If you are not a fan of massive crowds, you are best to avoid these times.

  • Golden Week 2016 (April 29th to May 8th, 2016)
  • New Years (December 23rd, 2016 to January 3rd, 2017)
  • Summer Vacation (Mid-July and entire month of August)

Expansion Construction

No official word has been announced yet about when construction begins for the expansion at both Tokyo Disneyland or Tokyo DisneySea, or which areas of the parks are affected.  Once OLC has officially announced these plans, check back with us and we will have an update on how it affects the times of year to visit.

Japanese Public Holidays 2016

Public Holidays bring out the crowds at the resort, no matter what the weather conditions are.  Here is a list of all the public holidays for 2016. Notable is a new public holiday named “Mountain Day” in August.

1 JanFriNew Year's Day
11 JanMonComing of Age Day
11 FebThuNational Foundation Day
21 MarMonVernal Equinox Day
29 AprFriShōwa Day
3 MayTueConstitution Memorial Day
4 MayWedGreenery Day
5 MayThuChildren's Day
18 JulMonMarine Day
11 AugThuMountain Day
19 SepMonRespect-for-the-Aged Day
22 SepThuAutumnal Equinox Day
10 OctMonHealth and Sports Day
3 NovThuCulture Day
23 NovWedLabour Thanksgiving Day
23 DecFriThe Emperor's Birthday

(We’ve gathered our information from publicholidays.jp. Here’s a full calendar view to make it easier to visualize.)

While 2016 is not bringing much new to Tokyo Disneyland, over at Tokyo DisneySea the start of their 15th Anniversary gives you plenty of reasons to visit this next year.

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11 Comments

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  1. L Heybridge

    How about warning your followers about visiting during the Chinese Lunar New Year? Anyone planning a trip to the parks early/mid February expecting low wait times is going to be in for a shock. The whole of February typically USED to be a quiet time, but no more (TDR hotel prices were insane in 2015 during this period).
    Love your site! We are usually in Tokyo for Easter (British school holidays) and, as we don’t read Japanese, we rely on you to figure out what’s actually going on. Really appreciate your work, thank you!

  2. Howard Co

    Hi! I notice you mentione Halloween is a busy month, but that ends in October. Our family will be visiting end of November, is that normally still busy? the weekend of Nov 26-27.

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