July is tourist and summer vacation in SoCal, meaning many people are taking vacations to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. This could mean a huge spike on our free crowd calendar, but it does not for the most part because the increase in visitors is offset by Annual Passholder blockouts. In this post, we’ll cover what to expect if you’re visiting Disneyland during July 2018, in terms of crowds, weather, and everything else. (Last updated January 2, 2018.)
For starters, there’s the weather. If you’re used to visiting Walt Disney World, you’re in for a treat, because California does not have “sweat-through-your-shirt” humidity. While July is the hottest month of the year in Los Angeles with average high temperatures above 80 degrees every single day of the month, it’s typically still comfortable.
Average lows and highs range from the mid-60s to low 80s. As demonstrated by the “comfortable” band on this page for July in Anaheim, California, the weather is in “muggy” territory less than 9% of the time during the entire month of July. For the most part, you’re looking at days that are a bit on the hot side, followed by cool evenings. Even during the summer, it might make sense to pack a light sweat or at least a long sleeve shirt for evenings at Disneyland. Next, let’s take a look at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure crowds during the month of July…
Instructions: A few notes about our free Disneyland crowd calendar before we present it. First, this is a very simplistic Disneyland crowd calendar based upon historic wait time information, anecdotal observations, special events, school schedules, dynamic ticket prices, and more. We’ll get to all of that in the notes below the Disneyland crowd calendar. Second, expect Disney California Adventure crowds to almost always track Disneyland crowds–with a few exceptions–albeit with a proportionately lower number of guests.
Note that this Disneyland crowd calendar has not yet been updated for 2018. Disneyland crowds for specific dates cannot be predicted with a high degree of certainty more than a couple of months in advance. General crowd trends and patterns are a bit easier, and the below calendar for last year can be used as an approximation for patterns in 2018. While other sites might offer crowd calendars for specific dates months (or a year!) in advance, we’d be weary of putting too much reliance in those.
Finally, we do not recommend using this as a proxy for crowds at other Los Angeles attractions or theme parks, like Universal Studios Hollywood, Knott’s Berry Farm, or Six Flags Magic Mountain. Disneyland Resort crowds are unique; they are artificially manipulated by Disney and also impacted by extraneous variables that do not impact the aforementioned theme parks to nearly the same degree.
Okay, now some notes about the above predictions. This may come as a surprise, but the Independence Day holiday weekend should not be too bad. A number of variables, including high ticket prices and Annual Pass blockouts should contribute to lower than average crowds. This bucks historical trends, but we expect it to be true. In fact, don’t be surprised if July 4, 2018 has tumbleweeds in the walkways at Disney California Adventure.
Crowds levels are likely to spike on July 17, 2018, and that’s because this is the anniversary of Disneyland. There’s usually a special moment acknowledging the date, plus special merchandise, buttons, and food. This date should also roughly coincide with a nature rise in crowds as the summer tourist season peaks. There will be another spike coming August 20, 2018 when summer Annual Passholder blockouts expire. You can read more about that in our August Disneyland Crowd Calendar post.
Thanks to dynamic ticket prices and aggressive Annual Passholder blockouts, summer is not nearly as busy at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure as it was even 2 years ago. The D23 Expo, Fantasmic, and Rivers of America ‘events’ should all cause spikes, but overall, July should prove to be less crowded than the spring, which is quite the change of pace.
One thing to note is that these moderate crowd levels will not be reflected in hotel prices. These crowds are a byproduct of fewer visitors from Los Angeles and Orange County visiting Disneyland. Locals do not need hotel rooms. By contrast, July is the single busiest month of the year in terms of tourism to Southern California.
That, coupled with Anaheim’s hotel room shortage leads to the absolute highest prices of the year for hotel rooms, which is especially the case with off-site hotels. If you wait until the last minute to book a room, be prepared to encounter exorbitant prices for basic “budget” hotel accommodations. If you’re planning for July 2018, the same applies–we highly recommend booking as early as possible, as hotel prices will go up.
In both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, July is also a month when park hours are (typically) longer. Both parks regularly open at 8 a.m., with Extra Magic Hours and/or Magic Mornings as early as 7 a.m. for on-site resort guests.
Disneyland regularly closes at midnight, with Disney California Adventure regularly closing at 10 p.m. These are the “maximum” operating hours for each park–the longest either are open any day of the year, aside from New Year’s Eve and other outliers.
In terms of new attractions, Paint the Night will be back at Disney California Adventure, and the newly-reimagined “Pixar Pier” will debut for the summer and those attractions should remain popular. Over at Disneyland, Pixar Festival should be ongoing (which will include fireworks) and the park celebrates its 62nd Anniversary on July 17, 2018.
In terms of seasonal events, there’s obviously Independence Day at the beginning of the month. “Disney’s Celebrate America! – A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky” is the special Independence Day weekend fireworks show, which is shown July 1 to 4, 2018 (weather permitting).
This fireworks spectacular gets guests in the star-spangled spirit with brilliant fireworks in the night sky to the sounds of patriotic songs. Check out our Tips for Photographing Fireworks post to take your great photos of this show! There is also a special patriotic Flag Retreat ceremony on July 4.
Over at Disney California Adventure, a special patriotic pre-show runs before both World of Color showings on July 4 only. Because of this, we typically recommend doing the Independence Day fireworks at Disneyland on July 3, and visiting Disney California Adventure on July 4. This is also the best approach in terms of crowds.
Aside from Independence Day, there really is not much in the way of special events during July at Disneyland Resort. On the plus side, Grad Nites at Disney California Adventure conclude in mid-June, so those will not impact July visits to Disneyland Resort. Aside from Independence Day, there’s not much in the way of special entertainment during July at Disneyland or Disney California Adventure.
Special offers for Disneyland Resort on-site hotels are usually weak for summer, with few (if any) discounts available. There are also no ticket promotions for Southern California Residents, which is good news for out-of-town tourists. The last of the resident ticket offers expired in May.
In terms of pricing, July has higher than average rates. One-day park tickets are most expensive during this month, with Friday – Sunday in July being “peak” season and weekdays being “regular” season. Read our Tips for Saving Money on Disneyland Tickets post for multi-day ticket recommendations to avoid having to deal with seasonal pricing. On the plus side, there are some multi-day ticket discounts currently available for all guests.
Even with below-average crowds, you’ll still want a solid itinerary for touring the parks. The downside to visiting during a more touristy season is that guests are more likely to arrive early in the day, and prioritize attractions. By contrast, locals tend to spend more time hanging out, and focus on attractions to a lesser degree. This can mean higher wait times despite the parks “feeling” less crowded.
Overall, we consider July a fairly average month in terms of our Best and Worst Months to Visit Disneyland. On the plus side, it’s not nearly as bad as it used to be. Crowds are relatively moderate, which is nice. The downside is higher hotel prices, spikes in out-of-town tourists, and worse weather (although still fairly pleasant). If you can avoid the busier dates and don’t mind higher prices, July is a solid month to visit.
If you’re preparing for a Disneyland trip, check out our other planning posts, including how to save money on Disneyland tickets, our Disney packing tips, tips for booking a hotel (off-site or on-site), where to dine, and a number of other things, check out our comprehensive Disneyland Vacation Planning Guide!
If you’ve visited Disneyland during the month of July, what did you think of the experience? Did you find the crowd levels to be manageable? What about the weather? Do you feel you paid a fair price for your hotel? Are you visiting this July? If you’ve visited in July, do you have any tips to add? Share any questions, tips, or additional thoughts you have in the comments!