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Public holidays and crowds


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  • Public holidays and crowds


    I'm going to be in Tokyo later this week and I'm planning my first trip to TDS next weekend. I had been planning to visit the parks on consecutive days, TDS on Sunday and TDL on Monday.

    However, I just found out that Monday is Sports Day in Japan, a public holiday. And I'm now wondering whether that means school will be out and the crowds will be huge. Would I be better off switching days (TDL on Sunday and TDS on Monday)?

    Or would I be better off just going to both on weekend days (Saturday and Sunday), rather than on the Monday holiday? Unfortunately, my traveling schedule doesn't permit me to go in the middle of the week, when I assume the crowds are lighter than on the weekend or on holidays.

    Thanks in advance for any and all advice!

  • #2
    Re: Public holidays and crowds

    I hate to tell you this, but I would expect enormous crowds.


    • #3
      Re: Public holidays and crowds

      Tokyo Disneyland is always busier than Tokyo DisneySea, so on an extremely busy day, there will always be fewer people at DisneySea. On the other hand, there is much much less to do at DisneySea, so fewer people can still create long waits on busy days.

      Make sure you are online outside the gates at 45 to 60 minutes BEFORE the listed opening time at the parks. That will enable you to immediately walk to, and ride, your highest priority (Tower of Terror in DisneySea and Pooh's Honey Hunt in Disneyland).

      After you've ridden it, walk directly to your next highest priority (should be Journey to the Center of the Earth at DisneySea and Haunted Mansion Holiday Nightmare or Splash Mountain or Big Thunder Mountain at Disneyland) and get a FastPass for it if the line isn't too long.

      Then walk to and ride your third highest priority. By now your first FastPass window should be open. Do not use it yet! Go and obtain a second FastPass for either Big Thunder or Splash (depending on which you haven't seen yet), or get a FastPass for Pooh if you want to see it again. On a busy day, the FastPass line for Tower of Terror will still be very long at this point, so unless you are dying to see it again the same day, avoid that line (which is about half to one third the length of time you would spend waiting in the standby line later in the day).

      Now use your first Fastpass.

      Get on the standby line for another high-priority ride and ride it.

      If your window for a third Fastpass has opened, go get it. If not, ride something that doesn't have a particularly long line.

      Now either get a third Fastpass or use your second FastPass.

      There are Single Rider lines at both Indy and 20,000 Leagues in DisneySea on busy days. USE THEM.

      ABOUT FASTPASSES: it has been written on this board that you cannot use a FastPass in Tokyo beyond the one-hour window it has printed on it. This is simply not true. I was there last week and used numerous FastPasses at times later than stated--no castmember even blinked an eye.

      If you want to see Haunted Mansion Holiday Nightmare in the evening, the queue completely clears out during Electrical Parade Dreamlights. If you want to watch the parade, do so from within several hundred feet of the entrance to the Mansion. The second you see the last float in the parade come out from backstage next to the Mansion (it has the sponsoring company's logo on it in big lights), hightail it over to the Mansion and you will walk right into the standby line with zero wait. 10 minutes tops.

      Forgot to add: Hold the following attractions until the middle of the day when the lines are the longest:
      1) Pirates of the Caribbean
      2) Country Bear Jamboree
      3) Tiki Room
      4) Mickey Mouse Revue
      5) Star Tours
      These five attractions rarely have a line longer than 30 minutes even on the busiest days and you can, with lunch, easily fill the middle the day this way rather than waiting in line for the high-priority attractions which you should have seen in the morning.
      Last edited by The Goddess Mara; 10-03-2006, 08:45 PM. Reason: Added Additional information and changed "behind" to "beyond"


      • #4
        Re: Public holidays and crowds

        Also what will save you some time will be eating earlier in the day at 11.00 as pass 12.00 these lines are going to build.

        I'd also arrive 120 - 60 mins before parks due to open so you can pick up tickets as well as get a decent place in line.

        Another tip is to work out what times the parades are as these always gridlock areas of the park.Also recomend seeing both Scream & Shout as well as Dreamlights at TDL and Mythica and BraviSEAmo at TDS and why not give the lottery for reserved seating at the Castle Show a try.

        Good luck and Mara's info is also top info to follow
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        • #5
          Re: Public holidays and crowds

          Thanks! This is all very very helpful. I had planned to get there about half an hour before park opening, but now I will definitely get there at least an hour before. Also, I realized that the gates for TDS aren't right by the train station, so I'll want to add on a little time to take the monorail to the gates, and pick up tickets first before getting in line.

          TDS is the higher priority for me, because I've never been. I'll plan to -walk briskly- to Tower of Terror. If the line for Fastpass is short, I might get a Fastpass and then immediately jump in the standby line -- ToT is one of the rides I'd like to do at least twice. Then, Journey to the Center of the Earth probably next. The single rider lines are definitely a must. I will probably save Indy and Raging Spirits for after I've done everything else, as I've been on the DL Indy and the DLP Temple of Peril already. (Also, Sindbad is closed, so that's one less attraction on my list... unfortunately.)

          As for TDL, I went a number of years ago (on a Wednesday prior to Pooh and Fastpass, so I don't remember the lines being all that bad), so I will focus on Pooh first (with the same strategy to immediately get a Fastpass and then get right in the standby line so I can be guaranteed to get two rides), then Haunted Mansion. The rest of the stuff is pretty much gravy. I'm just glad I had the chance to see the other unique attractions, the Mystery Tour and Meet the World, when they were around previously.

          The only other bummer is I think they might not be serving the sea salt ice cream any more... the Japanese version of the TDS site shows a different seasonal snack now... maybe it's too chilly for ice cream.

          Thanks again!


          • #6
            Re: Public holidays and crowds

            If you are in Tokyo prior to your trip to the Disney Resort, then you can buy your tickets (not vouchers that have to be redeemed, but actual tickets) at most Disney stores. That should let you have a little more sleep! I think Joe has written in another thread that the line to exchange vouchers for tickets at the Welcome Center is pretty long in the morning.


            • #7
              Re: Public holidays and crowds

              But baring in mind the Disney Stores are difficult to find in Tokyo,if your not use to the area.My advice is to get there bright and early head up to the ticket booths next to the park gates as lines are rather short and purchase a 2 day ticket and then head straight to one of the lines forming at the gates.Also if you pick up your tickets from the actual park you'll also get a guide book in English.That way your all set with minimal hassle and are ready to start the day at the parks.
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              • #8
                Re: Public holidays and crowds

                If I see a Disney Store when I'm walking around, I'll definitely get the tickets then. If not, I'll get to the park early. I think I might not have a problem getting up early, what with the jet lag and all. (Also planning to go to the fish market one of the days, and have been told that I should get there at (or before) the crack of dawn...)

                Thanks again... I'll make a report after the trip (hopefully laden with popcorn buckets and other knickknacks!)


                • #9
                  Re: Public holidays and crowds

                  I don't think Disney Stores are difficult to find in Tokyo IF and only IF you know where they are. Some of them, like the Shibuya store are prominently featured by the sidewalk, Huge building you can't miss, but other, such as the one in Shinjuku are found inside shopping buildings and on higher floors and not accessible from the ground level... However... if you show up one hour before parks' opening time, you should have no problem purchasing tickets for the actual day you are there.


                  • #10
                    Re: Public holidays and crowds

                    I'm back from Tokyo! Thanks to everyone for all the advice -- it was truly invaluable.

                    Although the parks were pretty crowded, I had the opportunity to do all the things I wanted to do -- and, in many cases, multiple times. The longest I had to wait either day was 45 minutes (for Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin), even when lines for most of what would be considered "E" or "D" ticket rides were 2 to 3 hours. As I found out, timing is everything.

                    I went to TDS on Monday, which was a public holiday. Although I got to Maihama a little before 7:00, I ended up taking the monorail to TDS and didn't get to the TDS gates until a few minutes after 7:00. Add about 15 minutes waiting in line to buy my ticket, and I didn't get in the line to enter until closer to 7:30. The line was already pretty long by then. When
                    they finally opened the gates at 8:00, I ran toward ToT. I didn't have far to run -- the end of the standby line was close to the American Waterfront/Mediterranean Harbor border. It moved briskly, though, and about 40 minutes later I was strapped into an elevator. I gotta say -- the queue and theming of TDS's ToT blew me away! When I first saw photos of the tower, I was a bit put off -- I thought it looked a little "over" detailed, a little too fussy. But, in the context of the park, it's perfect. I also loved the two-story artifact room you wait in before getting in the elevator, and the effect of Shiriki disappearing has got to be one of the most convincing anywhere. The only thing I didn't like about this version of the ToT is the 3-point safety belt -- it felt like I was getting on Test Track or something. Unnecessary. After I finished my first ride-through, I immediately went to the FastPass line, which by that point stretched all the way to Cape Cod Cook-Off. It moved pretty quickly, though, and I got a FP with a 9:05-10:00 return. (About an hour and a half after park opening, all the FPs for the day had been distributed.) Also got a Shiriki Utundu figure at the gift shop -- nifty, if a little Stitch-like (I think it's the pointy ears and toothy grin that does it). Overall, I loved this ToT. Although I like the unique aspect of the 5th Dimension room in the D-MGM version, I thought this version worked just as well, if not a little better. And all the little details, like the lightning flash in the front of the building, and the coordinating "Tower of Terror" that materializes over the Hightower Hotel marquee, are just icing on the cake.

                    The advice about taking advantage of the single-rider lines was PERFECT. I was able to go on Raging Spirits twice in 15 minutes. Had there not been a singler-rider line for Raging Spirits, I doubt I would have gone at all -- I'd done the Temple du Peril at DLP, and didn't think the extra theming added all that much to the overall experience. I also did 20,000 Leagues twice with the single-rider line, although it's a longer wait (approx. 30-40 minutes) because you have to wait in Standby a substantial distance before getting to the single-rider switch-off. I liked 20,000 Leagues overall, but I agree with others who have said that you get a diminished experience from the side seats. I felt like I had to double over just to look out! I'm also glad I read somewhere about using the joystick to maneuver the light -- I'm not sure that would have been obvious to someone who doesn't understand the Japanese narration.

                    I also did Indy twice with the single-rider line. At first, a CM told me that there was no single-rider, which discouraged me a bit, as I had already gotten two FPs, and the Standby wait for Indy at that point was 2 hours. When I came back later in the afternoon, I asked a different attendant,
                    who told me that there was indeed a single-rider line. Although I liked the queue, I was glad not to have to wait in it for 2-3 hours -- it seemed somewhat less interactive that the DL Indy's queue, and definitely less compelling than, say, the inside queue at the ToT.

                    Other thoughts:

                    - The gyoza sausage rolls were OK, but nothing that special. They're kind of like what you can get at your neighborhood Chinese restaurant for dim sum. Good thing I didn't wait that long for them. (The longest lines for food seemed to be for popcorn. I got a TDS 5th Anniversary popcorn bucket late in the evening without much of a wait (along with chocolate popcorn), but earlier in the day the popcorn lines were easily an hour or more at some of the locations.)

                    - Sea salt ice cream! Interesting -- kind of like slightly salty vanilla ice cream. The one I had was white, though, not blue. I also got a Marie clamshell, and regretted it when I realized that I could have gotten different ones at other locations in the park.

                    - Vulcania restaurant -- very atmospheric. I had a decent dim sum sampler, and beer.

                    - Mermaid Lagoon theatre -- kids in the audience SHRIEKED when the giant Ursula head came out. I'm glad I was prepared in advance.

                    - Aquatopia -- zippy and fun, but I was happy I didn't wait more than 30 minutes for it. I think I was in the "wet" version, although nobody I saw got very wet -- I think I got much wetter on Stormrider. And the whole queue area for Aquatopia seemed overrun with dragonflies -- they were everywhere.

                    - Stormrider -- a bit of a disappointment. I didn't like the fact that you could see the "seam" lines on the curved projection screen. (I've always had this complaint about Back to the Future at Universal.) That definitely detracted from the experience, which otherwise was compelling.

                    - Journey to the Center of the Earth -- fun overall, but also a little bit of a disappointment. I wished it had been longer, I guess. The lava monster was cool, though, as was the subterranean ocean. The big drop felt a bit smaller than it appeared from the outside. I loved the vehicles, and the feel of the queue. Definitely not for the claustrophobic.

                    All in all, I was absolutely blown away by TDS. The overall theming and attention to detail were fantastic! I can't wait for the next time I visit (which probably won't be for a while)... I'm looking forward to trying some of the sit-down restaurants (e.g., Magellan's), as well as Sindbad (which was closed for refurbishment).

                    Next up -- TDL...


                    • #11
                      Re: Public holidays and crowds

                      So what was your favorite ride at TDS?
                      ~ Tokyo DisneySea’s Arabian Coast at nighttime ~


                      • #12
                        Re: Public holidays and crowds

                        Because of my travel plans, I wasn't able to go to TDL until the following Saturday, so I couldn't take advantage of a 2-Day Passport. This time, I got to Maihama even earlier, and I had the good fortune of having bought a TDL ticket in advance -- I happened to be walking in Shibuya the previous day, and walked right by the Disney Store (which was impossible to miss!). So, I was in line to get in, with ticket in hand, about an hour and 15 minutes before park opening. By the time the gates opened, I was more than ready to go.

                        I ran to Pooh... and was surprised to see CMs standing at the entrance, saying that the Standby line was closed -- everyone had to get a FastPass. So I went right over to the FP line, and got one with a 9:15-10:15 return time. Has anyone else experienced this before -- where they don't open the Standby line until some time after the park opening? I'm wondering if they did it to prevent people from going through once, and then immediately getting a FP (which is what I had planned to do).

                        Anyway, after getting my Pooh FP, I quickly did Pinocchio (a walk-on), then *walked briskly* to the Haunted Mansion "Holiday Nightmare," and got in after a brief, 15-minute wait. Very nice! I've only done the DL HM Holiday once, and don't remember it that well, but this one seemed more thoroughly made-over, if that makes any sense. I think there were more new animatronics. Anyway, it was a lot of fun. When I came out of the Mansion, the Standby line was already 90 minutes! I then *walked briskly* over to Big Thunder, and got on after waiting in Standby for 20 minutes. When I got off, the Standby there had grown to 90 minutes as well.

                        After getting a quick snack, I went to get a 2nd Pooh FP. The line for the FPs was now very, very long -- it took me 25 minutes to get to the machines! After collecting my 2nd Pooh FP, it was time to use the first one. Anyway, I LOVED Pooh's Hunny Hunt. Even though I'd read a lot about it, the experience was truly something else. I don't think I'll be able to go on "The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh" at WDW ever again. I especially liked the very detailed first room, where there is so much going on, and some of the little touches in the dream sequence (like the cannon that shoots smoke at your vehicle -- shades of the Crystal Skull)...

                        The rest of the day, I used FP for Splash Mountain and Space Mountain, and filled up the afternoon going on things like Pirates, Western River Railroad, Mickey Mouse Revue, etc. I had lunch and dinner very early (10:30 and 4:30) to avoid the crowds. Although I'd been to TDL once before, many years ago (right after Splash Mountain opened, I think), I had a number of new observations:

                        - Loved the attention to detail everywhere. I had dinner at China Voyager -- both the room where you place your orders, and the adjoining dining room (in "Typhoon Saloon") really took me by surprise -- hyper-themed, down to the last detail.

                        - Everything looked so clean and fresh. Even the older attractions, like Mickey Mouse Revue, looked brand-spanking new.

                        - I like honey-flavored things, and I like lemon-flavored things, and I like churros. I do not, however, like honey-lemon churros. Go figure.

                        - However, the blueberry pastry in Fantasyland is really tasty. And the Unbirthday Cake is a real treat -- not too sweet, and just big enough that eating it all by yourself makes you feel slightly (but not too) guilty.

                        - Starjets! I'd forgotten how much I missed the "old" look. I did the Starjets just for old times' sake, later in the evening when the line was only 25 minutes.

                        - Splash Mountain -- probably my favorite queue from among all the Splash Mountains. I really like the cozy, interior feel (although, as with many of the TDS queues, really not good for claustrophobes). I'm not crazy about the lap bars, though -- they just don't fit in with the idea of "flume" for me.

                        - Also very nostalgic to see the Main Street Electrical Parade, albeit in the guise of "Dreamlights." Speaking of which... one of the single most valuable pieces of advice was the one to see HM Holiday Nightmare during/right after the parade. Right before the parade started, the Standby line was 140 minutes. I waited until about 12 minutes into the parade (the Beauty and the Beast float), then went straight into the HM queue. It was a 5 minute wait at that point. When I got out, the parade had ended and the wait was already up to 110 minutes!! I then went directly to Splash Mountain, where I was able to get in a second ride on the Standby line with only a 20 minute wait. Again, by the time I came out, the line had already grown to 90 minutes.

                        - I saved my last ride of the night for my third Pooh ride-through. By 9:30, the Standby line was only 30 minutes, and I finished just as the park officially closed. A perfect end to a perfect day.

                        Overall, I had a great time, and it was made possible in large part by the helpful advice I got on this board! Had I not made strategic decisions about what to see when, and in what order, I could easily have spent hours and hours waiting in line, only to end up seeing just a few attractions. This was particularly true at TDL, where the crowds were really gruesome. I'd never seen so many people at a Disney park before! At some points, you literally could not move because there were so many people -- there were choke points throughout the day, especially in Fantasyland in front of Pooh. (Mermaid Lagoon in TDS was also PACKED to the point that you had difficulty even moving.) There were even humongous lines for the restrooms -- men's and women's both -- at every location besides the one tucked far back in Critter Country. I was very grateful that I had to chance to do so much in both parks, and really to avoid waiting very long at all.

                        I had a terrific time and can't wait to go back again!


                        • #13
                          Re: Public holidays and crowds

                          Originally posted by TDR_Fan View Post
                          So what was your favorite ride at TDS?
                          Probably a toss-up up between ToT and Journey to the Center of the Earth. Although I said that I was a bit disappointed in JTTCOTE, that disappointment was due primarily to some nit-picking with the attraction's execution -- i.e., a bit too short, etc. As an original concept, I loved JTTCOTE and still do. I would be excited if they ever brought it to the States someday.

                          ToT's queue and overall theming really, really impressed me, but in a sense JTTCOTE probably has a slight edge to ToT because the latter is, technically, something that's already been done before, although arguably not as well. Although I'm a big Twilight Zone fan and thought I would miss the Twilight Zone theming, I really didn't. I liked the original story they came up with for the TDS Tower, as well as the effects in Hightower's office -- the stained glass and Shiriki disappearing were top-notch. You could tell a lot of care (and money!) went into this version of the Tower.


                          • #14
                            Re: Public holidays and crowds

                            Originally posted by Kuhio View Post
                            Probably a toss-up up between ToT and Journey to the Center of the Earth. Although I said that I was a bit disappointed in JTTCOTE, that disappointment was due primarily to some nit-picking with the attraction's execution -- i.e., a bit too short, etc. As an original concept, I loved JTTCOTE and still do. I would be excited if they ever brought it to the States someday.

                            ToT's queue and overall theming really, really impressed me, but in a sense JTTCOTE probably has a slight edge to ToT because the latter is, technically, something that's already been done before, although arguably not as well. Although I'm a big Twilight Zone fan and thought I would miss the Twilight Zone theming, I really didn't. I liked the original story they came up with for the TDS Tower, as well as the effects in Hightower's office -- the stained glass and Shiriki disappearing were top-notch. You could tell a lot of care (and money!) went into this version of the Tower.

                            How did the actual "ride" portion of Tower of Terror compare to the other Tower of Terror's? I was never impressed with the 5th dimension room in WDW's Tower of Terror, so I have always favored the mirror scene at DCA's. Something about rolling through a pitch black room just doesn't jump off the page for me as compared to seeing our images disappear and turn into plamsa bolts...

                            Since TDS's Tower of Terror is basically DCA's ride system + superb theming and attention to detail + a phenomenal preshow, I'm thinking it will be my favorite version out of the three current ones.

                            Any comments on the ride itself for TDS's Tower of Terror? Did it feel too short at all?
                            ~ Tokyo DisneySea’s Arabian Coast at nighttime ~


                            • #15
                              Re: Public holidays and crowds

                              I haven't been on the DCA ToT, but I thought the ride itself at TDS was comparable to WDW's. Other than going through the 5th Dimension room, which takes up some time, the amount of time actually spent in the shaft rising up and then, later, falling seemed to me to be roughly about the same in both. I think maybe some of the more recent drop profiles at WDW are a bit longer (i.e., drop you a greater number of times), but it didn't seem like a huge disparity to me. (If there are indeed fewer drops at TDS currently, I'm sure they'll re-profile the drops at some point in the future to keep the attraction fresh.) At this point, the appeal of the 5th Dimension room for me is solely its uniqueness -- the fact that your elevator actually rolls forward some distance into another shaft. I never found its effect that convincing, and in fact for the longest time thought it was supposed to be some sort of weird attic with knickknacks in it...

                              One other note about the TDS Tower's queue -- the outside queue, though relatively simple, is still pretty compelling. It's kind of like a mash-up of the Haunted Mansion and Indy queues. It's in a garden with exotic statuary and plants. Some of the placards for the plants were hilarious (example: "standing within 10 feet induces madness," or something similar), all the more so because most of the people in line didn't bother to look at them! Plus, you're standing literally in the shadow of the Tower for most of the queue, and get to see all the intricate detail work on the outside of the building.


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