The Best Time To Visit Tokyo Disney Resort

Discussion in 'Tokyo Disneyland' started by dagobert, Jun 17, 2017.

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  1. dagobert

    dagobert Well-Known Member

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    My wife and I are currently thinking about a trip to Japan next year and of course we want to visit Tokyo Disney Resort as well. We know that TDR is always packed, but is there a time, when the parks might be less crowded?

    What's the best time to visit Japan in general?

    Thanks!
     
  2. FerretAfros

    FerretAfros Active Member

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    The big time to avoid is Golden Week, which is at the end of April through the start of May. There are several major holidays at that time, and much of the country goes on holiday, so the parks and other tourist sites will be packed.

    From what I recall, Japanese schools take their summer break later than US schools, usually mid/late-July through August, so earlier in the summer is actually a decent time to go. When I was there a couple years ago it was early July (and the launch of their summer promotion) which we expected to be packed, but crowds were pretty reasonable. A previous visit in mid-June 2006 was practically deserted, while one in August (I think?) 1998 was as crowded as TDR's reputation would suggest

    There are also individual holidays sprinkled throughout the year that could increase crowds for a day or weekend, but I'm not sure they're enough to completely change vacation plans. That said, there are lots of unique historic cultural events that can be a lot of fun for visitors, like the festival/parade in Kyoto in July full of massive human-pulled floats. While Tokyo is an amazing city that could easily keep you busy for a month or more, it's definitely worth venturing out to other parts of Japan too if you have some time

    The climate in Tokyo is pretty similar to Washington DC, with hot humid summers and cold winters with occasional snow. In both cities, the cherry blossoms in late March and early April are popular with visitors and photographers, but could bring an increase in crowds at other tourist attractions too.

    And of course, whatever time of year you decide on, weekdays are probably better bets for low crowds at the parks than weekends
     
  3. dagobert

    dagobert Well-Known Member

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    @FerretAfros thanks for the answer.

    We are considering either June or September.

    Any suggestions for must see sights in Japan?
     
  4. FerretAfros

    FerretAfros Active Member

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    Outside of the Tokyo area, the main place I'd recommend is Kyoto, which was the capitol of Japan until around 1870, so there are a lot of historic buildings, temples (Buddhist), and shrines (Shinto) surrounding the city. It's one of the few parts of Japan that wasn't damaged during WWII, so there's a lot of history there that can't be found elsewhere. Most of the shrines are on the edges of the city, blending into the mountains, so the bus system (or taxi) is more helpful than the subway. The Giant Buddha shrine in Nara makes for a good day trip from there, and the deer that wander through the shrine are a lot of fun to feed; you can also tie it in with a trip to the Inari shrine on the outskirts of Kyoto, with it's long walkways covered in tori arches
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    If you have time, I think Hiroshima is an important place to visit. The Peace Museum was a really impactful experience for me (though they said they had plans to redo it to reduce the amount of text, so I'm not sure if it's changed yet) and the surrounding park has memorials to various groups impacted by the war. As a city it's also an interesting contrast to Kyoto and Tokyo, since everything was built after the war, mostly on an American-style street grid. You can also do a day trip to Miyajima island, which has the "floating" tori arch that inspired the one in Epcot, other shrines, and lots of fun trails for hiking
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    I spent a little bit of time in Osaka, which was nice but didn't have a ton for tourists to see. Osaka is home to Universal Studios Japan, if you're interested in that; the city is less than an hour from Kyoto on the bullet train, so you could potentially do it as a day trip

    We visited Nagano the summer after the Olympics were held there, which was fun to see all the then-new facilities. Most of them are still standing and used for training and competition, but there's probably not a lot of activity in the summer. There are lots of Onsens (hot springs) and Ryokans (traditional spa-like hotels) in the area, but there are also some near Kyoto if that's easier

    If you're doing some extensive train travel, you should look into getting a rail pass. You have to buy it before you arrive, but it will likely save you some money on travel and adds a lot of flexibility (I think it also includes the Miyajima ferry). I know Europe has plenty of high-speed trains of it's own, but the Shinkansen is the original bullet train and still provides an incredible experience

    If you're a fan of Miyazaki's movies, the Ghibli Museum in the Tokyo area is a lot of fun. You'll need to book tickets 3-4 months in advance through a travel agent, since it's pretty small and has a lot of interactive elements that require small crowds

    There are tons of great things to do/see in the Tokyo/Yokohama area, but those are easy to find on any tourist site/book. It's a big metropolitan area with lots of pockets of interesting locations, so there's really no single "best" place to stay. The train network is incredibly reliable and easy to use (though intimidating at first with its size), but the large size of the city means you could spend 30-60 minutes traveling each way
     
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  5. u k fan

    u k fan Active Member

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    One of my favourite songs...

     
  6. Flora John

    Flora John Member

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    There are tons of great things to do/see in the Tokyo/Yokohama area, but those are easy to find on any tourist site/book. It's a big metropolitan area with lots of pockets of interesting locations, so there's really no single "best" place to stay. The train network is incredibly reliable and easy to use (though intimidating at first with its size), but the large size of the city means you could spend 30-60 minutes traveling each way
     
  7. dagobert

    dagobert Well-Known Member

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    @FerretAfros and @Flora John thanks for the great information.

    Currently it looks like that we will be going in September instead of May/June.
     
  8. Mr. X

    Mr. X Active Member

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    It's too far out to check on exact dates, but judging from this year's event calendar the Halloween event should start (in both parks) on or around September 8th. This means a few things - you can expect big crowds on opening day and/or opening weekend (particularly if guests are allowed to come in costume), but that's offset by the fact that you've got fun event stuff to enjoy, and the atmosphere will be festive, to put it mildly. If you really want to get a lot of attention, bring a park-specific costume and watch fellow guests flock to you for impromptu photos. ;)

    If you happen to be in town a bit earlier, the week BEFORE events is usually pretty dead in the parks, so that might work to your advantage as well.

    Happy planning! :)
     
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  9. dagobert

    dagobert Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for your input!
     
  10. dagobert

    dagobert Well-Known Member

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    Do you guys have any recommendations about hotels near TDR? The Disney branded hotels look great, but they are also very pricey and since TDR will be part of a longer Japan vacation we have to consider our budget.
     
  11. FerretAfros

    FerretAfros Active Member

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    We stayed at the Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay, which is right on the monorail line and had surprisingly affordable rates. It's a standard business hotel, so it isn't terribly exciting, but it's easy to access and there's plenty of English-speaking staff. The Bayside monorail station is directly across the street from the hotel (about a 3 minute walk) or you can take the free Tokyo Disney Resort Cruiser shuttle bus to save your feet (the Cruisers are really neat, and definitely worth checking out at least once). The Resort Gateway Station is easily accessed from the Maihama train station on the Keiyo Line (from Tokyo Station)

    Unlike the US parks, they charge for the monorail due to Japanese regulations on transportation systems (the same reason why TDL's railroad was built with only 1 station). I think a 3-day pass costs around 1500 yen (roughly 15USD/Euro)

    There are also several other large international hotels near Bayside station that could be worth checking out
     
  12. dagobert

    dagobert Well-Known Member

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    @FerretAfros

    Thanks!

    Friends of ours booked the Mystays Hotel Maihama for an upcoming trip. It's a rather cheap hotel near TDS. I'm curious what they will say about the hotel.
     
  13. FerretAfros

    FerretAfros Active Member

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    I also looked into the Mystays when we were booking our trip a few years ago. It seemed like it was pretty nice, but I think the price was about the same as the Sheraton and we preferred the easy transportation from that location (we also ended up in a huge corner room with 2 queens and 2 single beds, which was great). Everything I read about Mystays made it seem like a very good option as well
     
  14. Mr. X

    Mr. X Active Member

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    You know it's funny...I've heard this many times and have even repeated it on a number of occasions, but someone recently brought up the fact that the DisneySea railway has TWO stations.

    I tried to figure out if it was different because it's only 1 track or whatever (though you'd think since the trains actually PASS each other and move on the same track in opposite directions it'd be even more heavily regulated, if Japanese regs are so strict), but really I have no idea.

    I wonder if this is all just urban-legend stuff lol.
     
  15. FerretAfros

    FerretAfros Active Member

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    Yah, that's a good point, and theoretically the old Skyway in TDL would have had similar issues. I've also wondered about attractions that load and unload in separate places, like the Haunted Mansion. It may be splitting hairs, but it seems like that could be considered "transportation" in a certain context; then again, when the park was using ticket books, perhaps those covered the associated fees

    I also have to wonder if perhaps the rules have been loosened up since the early 80's. It may just be because of the initial culture shock and confusion, but ticketing for the trains on my more recent trips seemed much more streamlined than I remember it during my first visit to Japan in the 90's. I recall having to get different tickets from different locations depending which lines you were taking, often requiring multiple tickets and maps from different railways for a single one-way trip; these days you may pass through fare gates a couple times, but it's all done on one ticket and the maps are all consolidated into one place

    It could very well be an urban legend, but that still makes me wonder why the railroad didn't go all the way around the park. It seems like an odd creative decision, which makes me think there was another reason for it (Side note: was the railroad an opening day attraction? what was there before Big Thunder opened? I assumed it closed for a year or two during construction?)
     

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