Our April 2018 Disneyland Resort preview offers information about what’s happening the parks, tips choosing the best days to visit, and more. In terms of low crowd levels at Disney California Adventure and Disneyland, expect April to be one of the year’s busier months, first due to Easter and Spring Break, then due to Pixar Fest.
Before we get to all of that, let’s start on an upbeat note: weather. Okay, so perhaps that’s a bit lame because the weather in Southern California is pretty much always nice, but April is especially strong. During April, temperatures in Anaheim tend to range from lows in the mid-50s to highs in the mid-70s.
Due to the drop in temperatures once the sun goes down, we recommend packing a sweater or thin jacket for the evening hours. Many visitors overlook this, assuming California equals sunshine and palm trees. Spring evenings can chilly, and the “feels like” tends to be cooler due to the lack of humidity. Now, let’s take a look at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure crowds during the month of April…
Generally speaking, crowds will not be good during April 2018. As mentioned, Easter and Spring Break will create heavy crowds at the beginning of the month, and while that spike in tourists and locals who are out of school will dissipate later in the month, the SoCal Resident Ticket deal remains ongoing until May 24, 2018, so that will keep crowd levels in the moderate range for most of the month.
April is also the start of Pixar Fest, which means there won’t be much of a respite from the crowds after Spring Break, as both the new Pixar fireworks will begin at Disneyland and Paint the Night will resume at Disney California Adventure on April 13, 2018. Expect both of these to be huge draws for locals after work. Thankfully, these nighttime entertainment offerings will be in different parks, so that will at least spread crowds out a bit.
Few refurbishments typically occur during April, but you should be cognizant of the fact that several attractions, shops, etc., will be closed for Pixar Pier construction. While the rest of Pixar Fest begins on April 13, Pixar Pier will not debut until June 23, 2018.
Now, let’s take a look at the April 2018 Disneyland Crowd Calendar. We’ll start with some “instructions” for the crowd calendar. These are identical to the notes above our previous crowd calendars, so if you’ve already read any of those, you know the gist of this.
Crowd Calendar Instructions – This is a simplified Disneyland crowd calendar with a “stop light” system. Our methodology is based upon historic wait time information, anecdotal observations, special events, school schedules, dynamic ticket prices, and more. 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 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 as such, this should be used as an approximation for patterns–not something you rely heavily upon when booking a trip to Disneyland. While other sites offer crowd calendars for specific dates months (or a year!) in advance, we’d be weary of putting too much reliance in those. There are simply too many inconsistent variables for such calendars to be reliable so far in advance.
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.
Now some notes about our predictions. First, you’ll notice a lot of at of red at the beginning of the month. This is due to Orange County School District (among other schools) having its Spring Break this week, and it should prove busy despite the lowest tier of Annual Passes being blocked out all week.
In addition to locals flocking to the parks, there will be a lot of tourists visiting due to the Easter holiday and other school districts in the Western U.S. having spring break this week. Expect the last week of March and first week of April to be two of the busiet weeks of the year at Disneyland Resort.
Crowds should get progressively better in the second half of April, but other schools having spring break and the start of Pixar Fest will likely mean that true “low crowd” days are almost non-existent at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure in April. Your best bet for low crowds will be the last week of April early in the day on weekdays, or on Saturdays when Deluxe APs are blocked out.
However, even the days we have as green are in between green and yellow, and will skew more towards red in the evenings due to locals arriving after work to see “Together Forever – A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular.” Anything new is always a big draw for locals, and that’s especially true with fireworks. While this means larger crowds on Main Street, that won’t necessarily to proportionately longer attraction wait times.
Another local draw will be the DCA Food & Wine Festival. This ends on April 12–the day before Pixar Fest starts–and is another popular event. Read our Guide to the Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival if you’re thinking of attending. Even though portion sizes are small and prices are high, it’s fun.
Finally, April 22 is Dapper Day, which is an unofficial event. Unless you’re into this sort of thing, it’s an incredibly unpleasant day to visit Disneyland. While it started as something neat (even for non-participants) as a throwback of sorts, it has blown up and now draws a lot of mainstream fashionistas, pin-up fans, Instagram “models,” etc.
Another great option is the Park Hopper ticket, which allows you to weave between the parks. Failing that, arrive at rope drop and try to get as much done as possible before 4 p.m. Read our Tips for Saving Money on Disneyland Tickets post for full ticket recommendations.
Overall, April ranks poorly on our Best and Worst Months to Visit Disneyland. With that said, that’s in large part due to Easter and Spring Break. Later in the month, things won’t be nearly as bad–especially if you arrive early in the day and beat the locals who show up in droves for Pixar Fest. Construction projects will be starting to wrap up and the weather is improving, making late April a potentially tempting time to visit. Just don’t go in expecting any truly low-crowd days. The absolute best you’re going to get is in the lemon-lime range of the color wheel.
Have you visited Disneyland in April? Have you visited for Easter or Spring Break? Any thoughts on what Pixar Fest will do to crowds? Do you recommend attending Dapper Day? Any questions? Hearing feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts or questions below in the comments!