Tokyo Disney Resort is notorious for having the busiest theme parks in the world. Using a Tokyo Disneyland crowd calendar is thus incredibly important for choosing your days in the parks to avoid long wait times, congested viewing areas for parades & fireworks, and more.
In this post, we’ll explain how to use the most accurate crowd calendar for Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea. We’ll also offer some tips for avoiding crowds at Tokyo Disney Resort, and we will debunk some misconceptions about just how bad the crowds get.
If you’re still in the preliminary stages of thinking about a trip to Japan, start by reading our When to Visit Tokyo Disneylandpost, which breaks down the best seasons. Tokyo Disneyland & DisneySea crowd calendars are more useful for narrowing your dates within a broad range than choosing the (qualitatively) best time to visit.
Once you’ve done that, we recommend consulting AOKSoft’s Tokyo Disney Crowd Calendar, which has attendance projections for both Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea. Note that this Tokyo Disneyland crowd calendar is not something we’ve created. While we are Tokyo Disney Resort Annual Passholders who visit with regularity, it’s simply outside the scope of our knowledge to create something.
Ever since we first published our Tokyo Disneyland Planning Guideover 5 years ago, we’ve been recommending the AOKSoft Tokyo Disneyland Crowd Calendar. Originally, it was one of two crowd calendars we recommended–and we actually listed the AOKSoft one second because it was more difficult to understand. We’ve also received a ton of questions from readers who had difficulty using the AOKSoft crowd calendar, which is only in Japanese.
For starters, you’re going to want a browser that translates webpages. Once you’ve pulled up the AOKSoft Tokyo Disneyland Crowd Calendar in that, it’s much easier to use. Thanks to the Google Translate assist, you should see a page with a graphic that looks like this:
With Google Translate, this is pretty easy. The first thing to know are that the calendar defaults to Tokyo Disneyland, but you can toggle that to Tokyo DisneySea with the blue button at the very top (spoiler: crowd numbers track between TDL to TDS; the latter is just proportionately lower most days). The buttons to the left and right of the current month navigate you to the previous (left) or next (right) month.
“Day” is Monday and “Soil” is Sunday (the names of the weekdays are a definite Google Translate fail!), but that should be obvious if you compare the blue dates on this calendar to your calendar. Next, the number in the square is the crowd projection, which represents anticipated attendance (more on this below). Finally, at the very bottom, you can toggle the weather to show how it impacts crowds. As with the TDL/TDS toggle buttons, it’s usually a proportionate change.
Above is the legend for those crowd numbers, as amusingly translated by Google. Obviously, the lower the number the better. Contrary to what the translation suggests, there is no rattle on light attendance days, nor is there violence on high attendance days. For your first visit to Tokyo Disney Resort, we recommend starting with two days that are yellow or lighter.
On orange days, the biggest difference you’ll notice is lines at restaurants and people claiming spots for parades and entertainment earlier. There are a couple of easy solutions to this: eat lunch by 11:30 a.m. (noon and after is when things really get bad) and schedule your entertainment around days that are yellow or lighter.
Speaking of FastPass, if you hover over each date on the calendar, you’ll see a flyout with a bunch of random info, at the bottom of which is this wait times and FastPass chart. (Monsters Ride & Go Seek is on the left and Haunted Mansion is on the right; the rest should be self-explanatory.)
To be honest, we don’t use this anymore, but that’s not because it’s inaccurate. It’s because once you get a feel for FastPass priority, this is unnecessary. For what it’s worth, those priorities are accurate, and this is why we always recommend grabbing a Monsters Ride & Go Seek FastPass first. The wait time info is less useful since those maximum ranges are so wide, and the minimum is not mentioned.
Another thing I really appreciate about this crowd calendar is its information density. This can be overwhelming the first time you look at it, as there’s a lot going on, but the good thing is that at its core, all you truly need are those numbers on each date in squares and the knowledge that lighter is better.
However, after you play around with dates for a bit, your comfort level should quickly grow, and you can start playing around with other features and looking at other info that’s provided. One key resources is the right sidebar (above) which lists everything from special events to refurbishment dates to national holidays in Japan that impact crowds. This can be invaluable information, and save you from juggling multiple browser windows as you plan your travel dates.
If for some reason you don’t like the AOKSoft Tokyo Disneyland Crowd Calendar, you might consider using the “DisneyReal TDR Crowd Calendar.” I haven’t used that one much, because my gut reaction is that it under-estimates crowds.
Earlier in the post, we mentioned that the AOKSoft Tokyo Disneyland Crowd Calendar used to be our secondary recommendation. Our favorite crowd calendar was by TDRNavi, which you still might find referenced on older pages on this site. (Now, their old crowd calendar page redirects to a “Disney Countermeasure Congestion Guide.”) That Tokyo Disneyland crowd calendar was more intuitive and easier to read, and equally accurate.
I’m not sure why TDRNavi stopped publishing it, but I have a guess: reliability. Around 5 years ago, we found that both crowd calendars were right on the money. I mean, I obviously can’t speak to the precise attendance numbers being forecast, but the relative crowd levels from day to day were always accurate.
Over the last couple years, we’ve seen a gradual erosion of accuracy on the AOKSoft Tokyo Disneyland Crowd Calendar. Even though we aren’t skilled enough to create our crowd calendar, we visit during all different times of the year for several-day stretches, and have first-hand experiences with different crowds.
There have been several times when we’d plan visits around their “Pretty Vacant” (blue) dates, and found a couple of days that were on par with their “Somewhat Painful” (orange) dates. It’s impossible to attribute this to any one variable. There are a number of possible explanations, from Tokyo Disney Resort marketing off-season dates more heavily to undeniable demographic shifts that have occurred as Japan has seen a surge in overseas tourism.
Whatever the explanation, we should reiterate that the AOKSoft Tokyo Disneyland Crowd Calendar is still pretty reliable and should definitely be consulted. We’d say it was about 95% accurate 5 years ago, and 75% accurate today, which is still pretty good (and better than any crowd calendars we’ve seen for Walt Disney World or Disneyland–including our own!). Suffice to say, none of this is to knock the TDR crowd calendar; as we’ve seen with the U.S. parks, it’s simply more difficult to predict crowds now with so many complex variables at play.
Finally, a note on those infamous crowds at Tokyo Disneyland. “Thanks” to social media, images have circulated of huge lines to enter the park, heavy crowds waiting for entertainment, and long wait times for popcorn. There’s no denying that Tokyo Disney Resort can have some of the worst crowds in the world.
What is not accurate is the suggestion or belief that this is an everyday occurrence. Yes, guests arrive to enter the parks early every morning, causing huge pre-park opening lines to form that are photographed from the monorail and circulated on social media for shock value. Punctuality is a cultural thing, and it’s absolutely true that people line up early to enter the parks in Japan. Every. Single. Day.
The other half of the story, though, is that those ostensibly huge crowds outside are easily absorbed by the large parks once they open. In fact, so long as you’re not in the neighborhood of Toy Story Mania, Monsters Ride & Go Seek, or Pooh’s Hunny Hunt, the parks will feel uncrowded for the first 30-60 minutes of operation.
There’s also a sharp divide between weekend and weekday crowds. Think of weekends as being akin to holidays at Walt Disney World or Disneyland. Japan’s parks are less tourist destinations and draw more of a local audience, which means people visit when their normal lives allow for it, e.g. weekends. Add that to the fact that these two parks are a short train ride away from one of the most populous cities on earth.
It thus should be zero surprise that AOKSoft Tokyo Disneyland Crowd Calendar shows attendance numbers that are often 25,000 to 30,000 guests higher on Saturdays than Fridays. Anyone who has visited Tokyo Disney Resort on a weekend and a weekday can probably attest to their weekday experience being noticeably less crowded and more pleasant.
In addition to Tokyoites, people from other major cities in Japan also descend upon Tokyo Disney Resort for the weekends, which is why hotel rates are often double the cost for Friday and Saturday nights than any other day of the week. (This is why we almost always book hotels arriving Sunday and checking out Friday morning.) As we’ve stressed elsewhere, avoid the weekends at Tokyo Disney Resort unless you have no other choice.
Ultimately, the AOKSoft Tokyo Disneyland Crowd Calendar is an invaluable planning resource, but you shouldn’t feel beholden to it. Choosing a season that works best for you, has the most appealing entertainment, and has more favorable weather might be more important to you than +/- 10,000 people in the park. Plus, at the end of the day, avoiding weekends and visiting exclusively on weekdays will have the largest impact on the crowds you experience. Nevertheless, all else being equal, it never hurts to choose a week that’s projected to be less-crowded!
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.
Have you used the AOKSoft Tokyo Disneyland Crowd Calendar to plan your travel dates in Japan? Did you find it relatively accurate? Do you agree or disagree with our take on Tokyo Disney Resort crowd levels? Any questions? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!