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  1. #1

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    Question Large crowds or long lines?

    I am going to start planning my first trip to TDR and I have a few questions about the crowds.

    I hear people say that TDR is crowded but I am wondering about a few details. Most pictures I see from TDR the walkways and restaurants don't look that crowded, at least not compared to Disneyland. It does however seem that the lines in general are much longer. I am ok with long lines , but I hate the sardine can feeling that can be present at Disneyland.

    How hard is it to get decent spots to view parades, and shows. I am guessing at TDL you would still need to plan ahead for good spots, while TDS seems to be set up that you could find a decent spot without having to wait too far ahead of time.

    When is the "off season" and what are some of the pro's/con's of visiting at that time? Is there a fringe season when hours are still fairly long, and they still have better entertainment offering then the off season?

    Thank you for any help with these question

    P.S. Any suggestions on information for planning a trip would be welcomed as well.

  2. #2

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    Re: Large crowds or long lines?

    The only real off seasons are January after all the New Year's stuff is over with, February (sometimes, though it was crowded as hell the one time I was there at that time of year because they were selling discounted student tickets to bring people in), and April after the Japanese schools go back after spring break.

    The big negative of visiting in the off-season of January/February is the cold. It's damn freezing when the wind comes off the bay, which is most of the time. You need a heavy winter coat, a heavy sweater, scarf, hat, and gloves. It can also snow (which is fun, but odd). April is a much better bet from the point of view of weather. The other possible negative is that you're more likely to find a major attraction closed for refurbishment during the off season (true at the American parks as well). But the level of maintainance at the Tokyo Disney Resort is much higher than at any other Disney Resort (because Tokyo is not owned by the Walt Disney Company) and almost every attraction is closed for at least several weeks per year to keep it in top shape. It would be a shame for you to make the trip and miss Pooh's Hunny Hunt, Monster's Inc., Journey to the Center of the Earth, Tower of Terror, or 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, just to name the obvious examples.

    Looking at the photos on DeepDisney is often quite deceptive. Yes, the walkways and hub often look empty while the rides indeed have long long lines. The whole place is much larger than Disneyland in Anaheim, and this explains the apparent emptiness of the walkways. There are lots of people there, but the walkways at Tokyo Disney Resort and DisneySea are quite wide, and the hub at Tokyo Disneyland is enormous. The queues also holds lots of people--remember that the lines are often two to three hours long for the most popular rides. Photos of the walkways in Fantasyland in Tokyo would show a very crowded place. Tomorrowland is not nearly as crowded.

    You can always get a good view of any parade at Tokyo Disneyland without waiting a long time. The Japanese like to get as close as possible to the parade, and they're willing to sit on the ground for hours to do it. If you're happy to stand, you can just walk up behind all the people sitting about 15 minutes before the parade starts and you'll have a great view. In DisneySea, there are certainly some views that are better than others for whatever show you're watching in the harbor, but you can also walk up in the last few minutes and often find a fine spot. (I would recommend the side of the harbor to the right when you enter the park for last-minute walk-ups. Fewer people seem to congregate there.)

    Dig around here for older posts and you'll find everything you need to know to plan a trip.

  3. #3

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    Re: Large crowds or long lines?

    Thank you for that information Fukai. I live in an area that is at high elevation and snows through fall and winter. I don't mind the cold so maybe I will look in to that time year.

    Does anyone know how well TDR keeps to it's refurbishment schedule? I know that it could change at anytime, but are they usually fairly accurate?

  4. #4

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    Re: Large crowds or long lines?

    The refub schedule is usually published six months in advance and they stick to it like glue. Things rarely close or reopen early.

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    Re: Large crowds or long lines?

    Here is the link for a crowd calendar. It's in Japanese, but really, it is graphic and anyone can easily understand it. I *think* I do, and I can't read Japanese. Just try it. It'll probably take you a few moments to figure it out, but I bet you can do it.....

    ディズニーランド ディズニーシー 混雑予想カレンダー

  6. #6

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    Re: Large crowds or long lines?

    Thank you shelemm.

    That calender is very helpful, and not to hard to figure out.

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    Re: Large crowds or long lines?

    Hi! If you are planning on going during off season don't worry about crowds as the park will be fairly empty! However it will close quite early some evenings and many attractions are under maintenance. Shows and parades run normally and you can catch a front row seat even minutes before the parade which is great! Like Fukai said watch out for student days, they tend not t watch shows and go for the attractions so while the park will look empty the attraction wait times will be high.

    How hard is it to get decent spots to view parades, and shows. I am guessing at TDL you would still need to plan ahead for good spots, while TDS seems to be set up that you could find a decent spot without having to wait too far ahead of time.
    What is your idea for a decent spot? TDS is not necessarily easier anymore especially for events like Halloween and Christmas. Front row standing and sitting especially in character positions for show stops runs out fairly fast in peak times but third row sitting is not so bad and sections in between show stops are fairly easy to get. It's easier to give advice for specific events though because there are some tricks to catching certain things or getting an ok view even with a large crowd. For example 7 lights of Christmas is quite popular but on the left side even right before the show you can get a spot where you can at least see the stage then after the show run to the place where you can see behind the stage and see the characters exit and catch a photo of Eric carrying Ariel which is rare!
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    Re: Large crowds or long lines?

    Quote Originally Posted by Down with the Tide View Post
    Thank you shelemm.

    That calender is very helpful, and not to hard to figure out.
    what's the reason!
    I am traveling now.

  9. #9

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    Re: Large crowds or long lines?

    Quote Originally Posted by ichigopara View Post
    Hi! If you are planning on going during off season don't worry about crowds as the park will be fairly empty! However it will close quite early some evenings and many attractions are under maintenance. Shows and parades run normally and you can catch a front row seat even minutes before the parade which is great! Like Fukai said watch out for student days, they tend not t watch shows and go for the attractions so while the park will look empty the attraction wait times will be high.
    Thanks for the information ichigopara.

    I don't mind waiting in lines too much, I have a good amount of patience.
    However, I really dislike overcrowded walkways, and eating areas. So it makes me happy to hear that it isn't too bad at TDR.



    What is your idea for a decent spot? TDS is not necessarily easier anymore especially for events like Halloween and Christmas. Front row standing and sitting especially in character positions for show stops runs out fairly fast in peak times but third row sitting is not so bad and sections in between show stops are fairly easy to get. It's easier to give advice for specific events though because there are some tricks to catching certain things or getting an ok view even with a large crowd.
    I am not too picky when it comes to spots for watching shows. I like a decent view, but I am not one to wait hours for a spot. I am use to going to Disneyland, and sometimes it can be really hard to get a view for shows if you don't wait long ahead of time.

    Thank you again, you have been very helpful.

  10. #10

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    Re: Large crowds or long lines?

    I've found the walkways and the food areas to be insanely crowded during peak times. Some lines at food carts were longer than rides when we were there for the Easter event this year. Personally, I was stunned by the lines at Christmas last year - Christmas Eve was crazy at TDS and we finally ended up eating in the hotel as we could not get into any restaurant with less than an hour wait, the food carts had long lines, and I was starving (and a bit cranky by then lol) because we had just flown in and went straight to the Parks. Just for a point of reference, we waited in line over 20 minutes for a bottle of water that night.

    I think TDS can be worse to get good spots for shows because it seems like people camp out even sooner than TDL. We've never had a problem getting a spot at a parade in TDL (with an hour wait) but have run into issues at TDS. Again, may just be because we visit during peak seasonal times.

    I liked it when it was cold there - I cannot stand the heat, which is ironic given I lived in Las Vegas for a number of years and now live in Taiwan, which is quite similar to Tokyo during the summer.

    If you go during the week, there is a noticeable difference in the crowds. I vowed I will never go on a weekend again after my last trip for the Halloween festivities. Thursday was perfect at TDS, but Saturday was chaos.

    April is probably a good time to visit, but depending on where you are coming from, airfare could be a lot higher. Flights tripled for us (3 hours away) in April last year due to the Cherry Blossom Festival.

    Like Fukai said, it would be a shame to miss some of the best attractions if you come during an off-peak time. When we were there in the middle of the Easter event in June this year, JTTCOTE was closed for maintenance, which surprised me a bit. We'd been on it before, so I wasn't that upset, but something to consider in your plans. Personally, I think if you had to only pick one time of year to come, come out for the Halloween festivities. It is still rather hot, but worth it imo. It's a whole different experience than the US Parks!
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  11. #11

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    Re: Large crowds or long lines?

    June is not a peak period at the Tokyo Disney Resort. It's the rainy season and the kids are still in school.

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    Re: Large crowds or long lines?

    I've found the walkways and the food areas to be insanely crowded during peak times. Some lines at food carts were longer than rides when we were there for the Easter event this year. Personally, I was stunned by the lines at Christmas last year - Christmas Eve was crazy at TDS and we finally ended up eating in the hotel as we could not get into any restaurant with less than an hour wait, the food carts had long lines, and I was starving (and a bit cranky by then lol) because we had just flown in and went straight to the Parks. Just for a point of reference, we waited in line over 20 minutes for a bottle of water that night.
    The best thing to do when it's like that is to go to TDLH and have lunch at the Sherwood Garden Cafe. The price is good and they have a deli set that comes with soup and a drink and it also has cute and delicious desserts. There is hardly ever a line there even on busy days or if you don't mind conbini food there is the hotel conbini too. It's so not worth the time you would be in line at the park. If you want a bottle of water or tea there are vending machines in Westernland, Fantasyland, and Tomorrowland!
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    Re: Large crowds or long lines?

    I hate those vending machines.. they are so WDW.

  14. #14

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    Re: Large crowds or long lines?

    Thanks to everyone for all the info. I think we are going to shoot for a trip at the beginning of 2012.

    We have decided the off season will be best for us due to the smaller crowds. We can make up the shorter operating hours with more days at the resort. As far as refurbishment downtime, we will just have to choose a schedule that is least objectionable, and then make up for it on future trips.

    It is a long way off, but I am already getting excited

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    Re: Large crowds or long lines?

    I have no idea if my experience is typical or not. I went the first week of August, 2009. On Thursday, I would say that TDS did not seem crowded at all. Whatever crowd there is disperses easily in the park. Our big mistake was getting an FP for 20,000 Leagues instead of the Magic Lamp Theatre. MLT was our biggest wait, and it is out in the sun, which makes it doubly hard. The show does not accommodate as many people as you'd think.

    Fantasyland was choked with people on Friday. Not so much the rest of TDL. Huge wait times, and maneuvering was not always easy. There is definitely a 'Fantasyland inbalance'. But the FP systems works so well, that enormous lines did not have too bad an effect on us. While Fantasyland was choked, you could pretty much waltz your way around Toontown and Adventureland. Even the are around Space Mountain was clear. Our smartest move was eating at the Queen of Hearts early. This is the only inefficient part of TDL. That line was slow as molasses even when nobody was there.

    If I could go anytime I wanted, I might be inclined to go midweek the last week of June, 2011 or the third week of July. I would be less interested in going when major attractions are closed.

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