2023 Crowd Calendars for Tokyo Disneyland & DisneySea
This explains how to use the most accurate crowd calendar for Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea in 2023. Using a Tokyo Disney Resort crowd calendar is important for choosing least busy days in the parks to avoid long wait times, congested viewing areas for parades, and more.
We’ll also offer tips for avoiding crowds at Tokyo Disney Resort, and we will debunk some misconceptions about just how bad the crowds get. Tokyo Disney Resort is notorious for having the busiest theme parks in the world, but that isn’t always true.
If you’re still in the preliminary stages of thinking about a trip to Japan, start by reading our When to Visit Tokyo Disneyland in 2023 post, 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.
Before getting to that, we need to offer the important caveat that Tokyo Disney Resort still is not back to normal. The parks are still limiting attendance, with ticket sales capped below their prior levels. This is due largely to closed restaurants, retail, and temporarily unavailable entertainment. All of this still has not returned in the past ~3 years following the closure of the parks.
While individually minor, these absences significantly impact park capacity in aggregate. The end result is crowded shops and very long lines for dining options, especially at peak times. So even though park capacity is reduced and attendance is limited–which sounds good on its face–the end result is that ‘feels like’ crowds are worse than before. In short, an attendance level of 30,000 in 2023 is not equivalent to 30,000 in 2019. From a congestion and crowds perspective, 30,000 today is more like 40,000–perhaps more–in 2019.
This also impacts how theme park tickets are sold for Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea. The biggest change is that only single-day tickets are currently available, which includes a variety of late-arrival passports. All of these are date-based, with pricing that varies based upon projected demand.
Multi-day tickets are not being sold, nor are Annual Passes. There has also been a “Wakuwari” discount that runs through part of 2023–that caused a spike in demand. This is also important to take into account, as the lack of Annual Passes and multi-day tickets has disrupted the normal attendance dynamic (e.g. weekdays significantly slower than weekends) at Tokyo Disney Resort. While still true to some extent, the patterns are not nearly as consistent or predictable in 2023 as they were in 2019 or earlier.
We experienced this first hand with at Tokyo Disney Resort recently. During the holiday season, the parks were packed with some of the worst ‘feels like’ crowds we’ve ever encountered–and there was not nearly as pronounced of a difference between a random Wednesday and Saturday, for example.
This was for a handful of reasons. One was the domestic travel stimulus, which subsidized the cost of hotel stays and other expenses for domestic visitors. Along with that, there were discount tickets for vaccinated visitors that spiked attendance.
Going forward, a huge amount of pent-up demand among domestic and international visitors is expected for Tokyo Disneyland’s 40th Anniversary. Japanese people who have behaved cautiously plus tourists who been shut out of Japan for the last two years making up for lost time could result in huge crowds later this year. This was hardly a bold prediction, as Walt Disney World and Disneyland have seen this exact scenario play out in the U.S. parks. The only difference is the timeline being delayed due to Japan’s slower reopening.
Point being, you should not expect crowd calendars to be quite as accurate as in the past. Moreover, even the lower attendance levels identified on the Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea crowd calendars will feel worse than they did in pre-closure years. Keep this in mind, and don’t overly on the crowd calendar below. It’s not going to be 100% accurate–more like 75% or so.
With all of that out of the way, 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 regulars who had Annual Passes for years, but it’s still outside the scope of our knowledge to create crowd calendars for these parks.
With that said, we’ve spent enough time in Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea over the years to be able to surmise that this crowd calendar is largely accurate.
Ever since we first published our Tokyo Disneyland Planning Guide, 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.
When it comes to attraction wait times, you will notice very little difference between yellow and orange days, especially if you arrive at rope drop and utilize strong touring plans. Our 1-Day Tokyo Disneyland Itinerary and our 1-Day Tokyo DisneySea Itinerary can help with that.
Speaking of which, 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 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. Because FastPass is currently suspended and probably will not return. If it does, those priorities will be accurate. 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 7 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 few 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 Tokyo Disney Resort 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. Again, this dynamic is not as pronounced thus far in 2023 as it once was, but we expect that to change over the course of this year and in 2024.
In addition to Tokyoites, people from other major cities in Japan take the train for a weekend getaway to Tokyo Disney Resort, 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!
Planning a trip to Tokyo Disney Resort? For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Tokyo Disneyland & DisneySea Trip Planning Guide! For more specifics, our TDR Hotel Rankings & Reviews page covers accommodations. Our Restaurant Reviews detail where to dine & snack. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money post. Our What to Pack for Disney post takes a unique look at clever items to take. Venturing elsewhere in Japan? Consult our Ultimate Guide to Kyoto, Japan and City Guide to Tokyo, Japan.
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!
This post is spot on! We have been regular Tokyo Disneyland and Disney Sea goers since 2012.
First, thanks for all this great information, it is incredibly helpful. I’m a regular at Disney World, and am now planning my first trip to Tokyo Disney Resort. As well, for the first time in a long time, taking young kids with us.
I went through the 1 day Itineraries, but know they are pre-COVID. Any chance you might be tweaking them soon for those of us going in the next few months?
I keep hearing March is a bad time to visit but the calendar (both 2022/2023) says it’s not too bad. Has spring break not been accounted for yet?