When to Visit Tokyo Disneyland

mickey-minnie-disneysea-christmas-display copy

To avoid crowds, there are good times to visit Tokyo Disneyland & DisneySea, and really bad times to visit. This will be especially true in 2018 when the 35th Anniversary “Happiest Celebration!” begins. Some days have low wait times, while others have 45 minute waits for popcorn. Additionally, seasonal entertainment, weather, and day of the week are all important factors to consider when thinking about when to plan your vacation to Tokyo Disney Resort. (Last updated August 6, 2017.)

We’ve now visited Tokyo Disney Resort during every season of the year, spending a total of over a month in Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea. Yeah, we might have a slight addiction. Each time when we start to plan our next visit to Japan, we start by contemplating what we want to see and accomplish–both at the parks and generally, in Japan.

Narrowing things down to the season during which you want to visit is a crucial first step from our perspective. This isn’t California or even Florida. The differences between January and April, for example, are significant. In January, you will certainly find cold weather and might even be greeted by snow in different parts of Japan, including Tokyo Disneyland, which will be (appropriately enough) celebrating Frozen Fantasy. In April, weather is mild, the cherry blossoms start blooming, and the parks are celebrating Easter.

To that end, let’s start by taking a month-by-month look at what you can encounter in terms of seasonal offerings, crowds, and weather…

cape-cod-sunset-disneysea-pink-sky

  • January
    • Seasonal Event: Anna & Elsa’s Frozen Fantasy at Tokyo Disneyland
    • Seasonal Event: Sweet Duffy at Tokyo DisneySea
    • Weather: 35-50° F with mostly sunny days and little precipitation.
    • Crowds: Low after New Year’s week.
  • February
    • Seasonal Event: Anna & Elsa’s Frozen Fantasy at Tokyo Disneyland
    • Seasonal Event: Sweet Duffy at Tokyo DisneySea
    • Weather: 35-50° F with mostly sunny days and little precipitation.
    • Crowds: Moderate to heavy, increasing towards the end of the month.
  • March
    • Special Event: Anna & Elsa’s Frozen Fantasy at Tokyo Disneyland
    • Seasonal Event: Sweet Duffy at Tokyo DisneySea
    • Seasonal Event: Disney’s Easter at both parks
    • Weather: 40-55° F with mostly sunny days and light precipitation.
    • Crowds: Heavy crowds the entire month getting worse towards the end, both in Tokyo Disneyland and Japan in general (blossom season).
  • April
    • Seasonal Event: Disney’s Easter at both parks
    • Weather: 50-65° F with moderate sunny days and light precipitation
    • Crowds: Low outside of potential holidays at the end of the month (avoid days around Golden Week).
  • May
    • Seasonal Event: Disney’s Easter at both parks
    • Weather: 60-75° F with moderate sunny days and light precipitation.
    • Crowds: Low outside of Golden Week.
  • June
    • Special Event: Disney’s Easter at Tokyo Disneyland
    • Weather: 65-75° F with some sunny days and moderate precipitation.
    • Crowds: Low.
  • July
    • Seasonal Event: Summer events at both parks
    • Weather: 75-85° F with some sunny days, some precipitation, and high humidity.
    • Crowds: Low until the last week, which is heavy.
  • August
    • Seasonal Event: Summer events at both parks
    • Weather: 75-90° F with moderate sunny days, light precipitation, and high humidity.
    • Crowds: Heavy.
  • September
    • Special Event: Halloween in both parks
    • Weather: 70-80° F with moderate sunny days and some precipitation.
    • Crowds: Low at the beginning of the month, increasing to heavy at the end.
  • October
    • Special Event: Halloween in both parks
    • Weather: 60-70° F with moderate sunny days and light precipitation.
    • Crowds: Heavy.
  • November
    • Special Event: Christmas in both parks
    • Weather: 50-65° F with mostly sunny days and light precipitation.
    • Crowds: Moderate.
  • December
    • Special Event: Christmas in both parks
    • Weather: 40-55° F with mostly sunny days and light precipitation.
    • Crowds: Low until Christmas week; heavy thereafter.

Note that this month by month look is a high level overview, and makes generalizations about crowds and weather. In terms of weather, it gets cold in the winter and then increasingly warmer until peaking during the spring months. Late-June through early-August are the worst times to visit from a weather perspective terms of both precipitation and debilitating humidity. It then starts to cool again in the fall leading to colder weather again in the winter.

For exact dates of Tokyo Disney Resort seasonal events, consult their official monthly calendar. In addition to the events on this calendar and that official one, the Tokyo Disney Resort 35th Anniversary ‘Happiest Celebration!’ starts April 15, 2018 and will run until March 25, 2019. This celebration will primarily occur in Tokyo Disneyland.

girl-minnie-mouse-plush-rain-tokyo-disneyland copy

As for crowds, you definitely want to consult something more precise than our overview. Things like Japanese national holidays can have a considerable impact on certain dates, and crowds can turn on a dime from being light to heavy when school is out of session. For a bit more precision, we recommend consulting these two crowd calendars: TDR Navi (in English) and this one, which Google Translate calls “Congestion Forecast,” so we’re going to roll with that name. While there are some slight variations between the two, they (collectively) have never steered us wrong.

One thing to note is that crowds fluctuate more at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea more than any other parks in the world. We’ve been on “low” days in the middle of the weeks that are lighter than mid-January at Disneyland, and we’ve been on weekends that feel like New Year’s Eve in Magic Kingdom.

A lot of people of apprehensive about visiting Tokyo Disneyland due to photos that circulate of humungous lines to get into the park and crazy congestion, and while the former is true every day (the Japanese like to show up early!) the latter is only true on the busiest days of the year. I want to underscore this because the perception of crowds in these parks has taken on a life of its own and is, frankly, overblown.

big-al-jingle-bell-jamboree-country-bears

With that said, it is very important to choose your travel dates wisely to avoid weekends and holidays, otherwise you risk being caught in one of these ‘crazy congestion’ times. Our 3 favorite times to visit are mid-May, early to mid-September, and early-December.

If you go in mid-May, you avoid the the Golden Week crowds, get better weather than earlier in the year, and will be able to see both Disney’s Easter (which is awesome!) and Tokyo Disneyland’s 35th Anniversary. While this event will begin on April 15, 2018, which is normally a fairly uncrowded time of the year, we recommend waiting a couple of weeks to let the local crowds die down.

If you visit in early to mid-September, you’ll be able again have milder weather and you will beat the Halloween crowds (which get bad!) while still being able to enjoy the Halloween festivities.

In early-December, temperatures are lower but that is partially offset by sunnier days. Plus, it’s not bad crowd-wise, and you get to see the incredible Christmas decor and entertainment, as well as Japanese couples dressed elegantly for date nights (Christmas is a dating holiday in Japan). The vibe is reminiscent of old EPCOT Center concept art–it’s great.

We love Tokyo Disney Resort, but we think it would be sort of extreme (and not EXTREME! in a good way, like chugging a bunch of Mountain Dew and hanging out with Chuck Norris) to visit Japan without seeing other parts of Japan, so you should definitely consult a calendar of happenings around the country before finalizing your dates.

Tokyo-Disney-Resort-0036

Once you’ve determined what time of year you want to visit, it’s important to plan the particular days you will be visiting. The most important takeaway you can glean from this article is do not visit Tokyo Disneyland or DisneySea on weekends. That’s really important, so let me reiterate with some dramatic emphasis: DO NOT VISIT TOKYO DISNEY RESORT ON WEEKENDS!!! 

This is true no matter what time of year you visit, even during the lowest seasons, weekend crowds are bad. Like Times Square on New Year’s Eve (minus the B.O. and vomit) bad. This is because Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea are locals parks more than even Disneyland in California, meaning they get crowded with Annual Passholders on the weekends when they are off school and work.

Saturday is the absolute worst day of the week, with Sunday a close second (until around 5 p.m. when locals start heading home). Friday is the third worst day, especially in the afternoon and evening, as people head to the parks to kick off their weekends.

In terms of the rest of the week, we can’t really say we’ve noticed a significant difference among Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, save for Monday arguably being slightly busier with a few locals doing long weekends and tourists kicking off the start of their vacation head to the parks. This difference is negligible at best, and we would not recommend avoiding Monday as a result.

iPhone-5-mickey-mouse-easter

One final thing to consider is the strength of the yen as compared to the dollar. Last summer, the dollar was the strongest it has been against the yen in ages, and the purchasing power we had on our summer trip was wonderful. Cheaper meals, tickets, and hotels helped offset the higher airfare costs for the international flight.

Since then, the yen has strengthened a bit, but is still weak (historically speaking) as compared to the dollar. Consult conversion charts while planning your trip to see where things stand prior to your visit.

If you’re thinking of visiting Japan for the first time and are overwhelmed with planning, definitely check out our Tokyo Disney Resort Planning Guide. It covers much more than the parks, from getting there to WiFi to currency and much, much more. For more photos and an idea of what we did day-by-day during our first visit, read our Tokyo Disney Resort Trip Report.

Your Thoughts

If you’ve been to Tokyo Disneyland or Tokyo DisneySea, what did you think were the best or worst times to visit? Thinking about visiting at any particular times of year? Other thoughts on avoiding crowds at Tokyo Disneyland? Share your thoughts or questions in the comments below!


25 Responses to “When to Visit Tokyo Disneyland”
  1. Luke Henderson February 11, 2016
    • Allie February 11, 2016
      • Scott February 12, 2016
  2. Mikey February 11, 2016
  3. Tim February 11, 2016
    • Brad March 2, 2016
  4. Jay February 12, 2016
    • Brad March 2, 2016
  5. JustEllenIGuess February 12, 2016
  6. WDW1974 February 12, 2016
    • Brad March 2, 2016
  7. Emily February 12, 2016
  8. Ed February 12, 2016
    • Mikey February 13, 2016
    • JustEllenIGuess February 16, 2016
    • Brad March 2, 2016
  9. Lina February 15, 2016
    • Tom Bricker February 17, 2016
      • Brad March 2, 2016
  10. George February 16, 2016
  11. LizCatMom February 19, 2016
  12. Ektaa March 5, 2016
  13. Rob March 30, 2016
  14. DP December 27, 2016
  15. Lauren Newton December 29, 2016

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *