Planning a trip to Disneyland and trying to determine the best month to visit in 2024? We analyze crowds, weather, seasonal events, park hours, and other factors to rank every month of the year for Disneyland in this post, plus our 3 favorite weeks to visit.
It’s been a wild ride since Disneyland and DCA reopened. There have been waves of pent-up demand made for a busy summer, followed by attendance fizzling out, and that process repeating itself multiple times. The debut and subsequent suspensions of Magic Key Annual Pass sales has further complicated crowd predictions, as have ticket deals for Southern California residents.
The good news is that things have started getting back to normal in the last 8 months. Looking forward to 2024, this should be the first normal year at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure since 2018. (Due to the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, 2019 was anything but normal. Ditto the following two-plus years, for obvious reasons.) Pent-up demand is already starting to exhaust itself, and it’s forecast to slow even further in 2024.
With that said, there’s no such thing as a totally normal year at Disneyland Resort. While we are fully expecting familiar patterns to return to the attendance dynamic over the course of the entire year, there are some monkey wrenches thrown into the mix due to differences in the the Full 2024 Calendar of Events at Disneyland as compared to last year and the exhaustion of pent-up demand.
Accordingly, we’re ranking all months of the year. Even if our expectations about crowds are slightly off, weather, seasonal events, and other factors are consistent from year to year, making this resource equally useful for planning a trip to Disneyland in 2024 or 2025.
A lot of resources already exist to help planners choose the best time to visit Disneyland, but they do so from an objective, statistical perspective. While crowd calendars are a great resource, we believe in a more holistic approach to planning a Disneyland visit.
To be sure, everyone loves low crowds, but those low crowds don’t tell the whole story. When it comes to Disneyland, low crowd levels are sometimes accompanied by shorter operating hours, poor weather, additional refurbishments, and a lack of seasonal events. Few people evaluate their vacation’s success by some statistical ‘fun quotient’, so we feel it only makes sense to approach the best months to visit Disneyland from a similar qualitative approach.
That’s our belief, at least, and one that has proven popular with readers of our Disneyland Crowd Calendars: When to Visit & Avoid. We’ve had a lot of questions for greater guidance in that post, so we thought we’d provide that here. In this, we provide the pros & cons of every month at Disneyland and rank the best and worst times to visit accordingly.
As such, the point of this post is to rank every month of the year for visiting Disneyland in light of all relevant considerations. After ranking each month with accompanying analysis (so you can determine whether you’d weigh the factors differently) we also cut to the chase and choose our 3 favorite weeks of the year for visiting Disneyland.
In order of worst to best, here’s how every month of the year at Disneyland ranks…
12. June – Due to the summer tourist season mixed with pent-up demand (people making up for lost time and taking trips), June has become one of the busiest months of the year. It has been busier than July, which used to be the busier summer vacation month.
June being busier than July actually makes sense for one big reason: lower tier Magic Key passholders are not blocked out earlier in June, causing them to descend upon the park. That means there’s a dynamic with both tourists and locals in June, whereas July has fewer of the latter.
The only other major consideration for the summer months is weather. While June is one of the hottest months of the year in California, it’s typically not as hot and humid as Florida. Beyond that, it comes down (mostly) to luck whether June, July, or August will have the “worst” weather. Click here to view our June Disneyland Crowd Calendar.
11. July – Pretty much the same story with July. This is often the peak of California’s summer tourist season, but it has more narrowly-tailored Magic Key blockouts. With pent-up demand exhausting itself, we expect to see June and July 2024 crowds die down quite a bit, making the summer far less busy than a lot of other months.
We could end up being “wrong” and misjudging the new crowd dynamic, but it doesn’t really matter. Regardless of what happens with summer crowds, we’d pick a different month if visiting Disneyland as tourists. There’s too much downside and not enough potential upside. The summer just doesn’t have enough selling points, even if you set aside crowds for some reason.
In general, July is not as bad at Disneyland as Walt Disney World. You still have the potential for hot weather, but it’s not nearly as humid. There’s also an influx of summer tourists, but far fewer than Florida. The days around Independence Day are an exception, as they are exceptionally busy despite the blockouts. The upside to July 4th at Disneyland is added entertainment and special fireworks. Click here to view our July Disneyland Crowd Calendar.
10. October – As Halloween becomes increasingly popular, October has become–on average–the second-busiest month of the year. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, as October had become increasingly chaotic in “normal” years. In large part, this can be attributed to Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party at Disney California Adventure and more demand for all things Halloween at both parks.
On top of that, October has a surplus of “crazy” holidays–half of which I think Utah and Nevada are making up just to mess with Disneyland crowd levels. Nevada, you don’t get your own holiday. I’ll sooner recognize “Whacking Day” as an official holiday. Aside from this nonsense Utah and Nevada are celebrating, there’s also Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples Day. While not major holidays on their own, many school districts use that as a proxy for fall breaks. And the schools that don’t typically have their breaks scattered throughout other long weekends in October.
9. March – This month will be much worse than last year due to Easter falling on March 31, 2024 (as opposed to in April). Due to that, Los Angeles County and most Orange County school districts both have their Spring Break in the last couple weeks of the month, and out of state schools will be scattered throughout the month.
Nevertheless, the first ~3 weeks of the months should not be that bad. Then there’s weather, which is starting to improve in March. It’s also the first full month of Disney California Adventure’s Food & Wine Festival, which usually runs through April. It’s an enjoyable event that does not really draw crowds, but provides a nice way to get a taste of California’s diverse cuisine.
8. April – Even though Easter isn’t in April 2024, there are still a ton of school districts throughout California and other western states that have spring break during the month. That means you’ll have a mix of locals and tourists who are on vacation descending upon the parks during the first half of the month.
This makes for the first couple weeks of April one of the busier times of year, and also most expensive dates of the year at hotels near Disneyland Resort. This is especially frustrating at Disneyland, a park that was simply not built to accommodate as many guests as cram into the parks during the month of April.
Normally, there would be two silver linings. First, that the last two weeks of April should be quieter as Spring Break winds down. Second, April weather in Southern California is great, with little precipitation and warmer temperatures–but not too warm. Click here to view our April Disneyland Crowd Calendar.
7. February – Crowds in February 2024 shouldn’t be as bad as they were last year. This year, there’s no ‘100 Years of Wonder’ celebration, new nighttime spectaculars in both parks, or a new ride. All of that elevated crowd levels in February last year.
However, there’s still the week of Presidents’ Day, which will significantly spike crowds (avoid that entire week). Even before that, there’s an uptick earlier in the month due to the Lunar New Year celebration…causing increased crowds the first half of the month.
6. August – This month has seen its stock soar in the last two years, driven largely by the new dynamic of summer vacation crowds dropping precipitously towards the start of August, rather than halfway through. There’s no reason to expect this trend to change for August 2024. This year, the added wrinkle is that the D23 Expo will run August 9-11, 2024–and it’ll spike crowds in the lead-up to that event.
The biggest downside is the potential for really hot weather, but you still have that reprieve from locals. The additional upside to August is that you don’t have the Independence Day spike. While the entirety of August has improved, crowds get really good mid-month, as that’s when schools start going back into session.
While it didn’t make the cut for our best weeks of the year, there’s a fourth “sweet spot” in the exact middle of the month that has long operating hours, reduced crowds, and Magic Key passholder blockouts. Strongly consider this week if you’re thinking of doing a late Summer 2024 vacation at Disneyland. Click here to view our August Disneyland Crowd Calendar.
5. December – This month slips a bit for our Disneyland rankings for one reason and one only: crowds. Everything else about December at Disneyland is great: cool weather, beautiful decorations, wonderful entertainment, and great food. (See our Ultimate Guide to Christmas at Disneylandfor more on why this is the greatest time of year at the parks.)
We spend a lot of time at Disneyland in December, and love every minute of it. If we had no choice but to visit during this month, we absolutely would. So don’t let that ranking discourage you too much–it’s mostly that November is superior to December. Even this comes with an asterisk, as the first week of December is typically the least-busy of the holiday season. (That’s a relative term–it’s still usually around 5/10 on the crowd calendar.)
That ‘confluence of greatness’ at Disneyland in December means that a lot of Magic Key passholders prioritize visiting in December, as do locals who are not passholders but visit once or twice per year. Add to that tourists, who are drawn to the parks this time of year, and it’s a recipe for heavy attendance. About the only times that are not chaotic are the couple of days after most blockouts take effect–but before Christmas vacation crowds arrive–and any day that it rains. Click here to view our December Disneyland Crowd Calendar.
4. January – The first month of the year ranks highly and is once again the winter doldrums, filled with refurbishments and low crowds. With that said, there are some important caveats to that, as January 2024 will most definitely be a month of high highs and low lows.
First, you do not want to visit in the first week of the new year. That’s because Los Angeles and Orange County schools do not go back into session following their winter breaks until January 8, 2024. Up until then, it’s still the holiday season at Disneyland–especially since ALL Magic Keys were blocked out for (at least) the 12 days before that. Expect crowd levels on par with the worst of Christmas as a result.
Second, the Disneyland Half Marathon returns for January 11-14, 2024. As a result, we’re expecting the week leading up to this to have elevated crowds, as the runDisney crowd tends to travel for events. So in other words, the low crowds won’t really arrive until January 15, 2024. The first half of the month will range from slightly elevated to very busy.
However, just about everything after should have low crowds. After January 15, it’ll feel like the true off-season at Disneyland. The only other things to be mindful of are the Martin Luther King holiday weekend (which mostly coincides with the Disneyland Half Marathon) and Southern California ticket specials typically converge to spike crowds a bit in mid-January. There’s also the start of the Lunar New Year Celebration at Disney California Adventure, which causes a spike to attendance at DCA. It still will be one of the best months of the entire year when all is said and done. Click here to view our January Disneyland Crowd Calendar.
3. May – Normally, May is a “sweet spot” for Disneyland. It’s before schools are out for summer and also before Magic Key passholders who are blocked out for the summer start making their “last visits.” As such, May normally sees a lull in demand before the arrival of summer tourist season, and everything that brings with it.
This year, the only things to be mindful of are the return of Fantasmic (May 24, 2024) and the approximately two weeks leading up to the expiration of the Southern California resident ticket deal (ends June 2, 2024). Basically, the last couple weeks of the month will see elevated crowds as people rush to race their unused days before those tickets expire, and try to see Fantasmic for the first time in about a year.
The first half of the month will once again be the sweet spot between spring break and summer seasons. This was one of the very best times of the year last year, and that should be true again in May 2024. On top of that, May is also usually a strong month weather-wise, with mild temperatures. The downside is that Grad Nites can throw a wrench into crowd levels on any particular evening. Click here to view our May Disneyland Crowd Calendar.
2. September – Disneyland in September shares the same low crowd levels as Walt Disney World, but what it doesn’t share is humidity and hot weather. September has been getting busier, but still typically has the lowest or second-lowest average wait times of the year. It also helps that the D23 Expo will not occur in September this year.
Halloween Time will run for the entirety of September 2024, and that’ll cause a bit of a bump to crowds. However, that’s mostly a plus as the added seasonal entertainment far outweighs the increased attendance. Moreover, the spook season crowds shouldn’t show up in full force until October. September is reliably off-season, as school has just gone back into session and California’s summer tourist season has come to an end. Weekends can still see higher crowds, but weekdays tend to be great. We expect the same for September 2024.
As an added bonus, September is typically warm but totally bearable in Anaheim. On top of the crowds and pleasant weather, you have the Halloween entertainment, special food, and attraction overlays, which we highly recommend seeing. Click here to view our September Disneyland Crowd Calendar.
1. November – Christmas is the absolute best time of the year at Disneyland from a qualitative perspective. The sweet spot for enjoying the holiday season entertainment is the beginning of November and right after the popular Veterans Day holiday in mid-November until Thanksgiving.
With that said, it’s important to note that from a quantitative perspective, November 2024 is not #1. Average wait times will almost certainly be lower in January, May, August, September, plus maybe February and April. If this were purely a crowd calendar ranking, November 2024 would be middle of the pack.
However, the elevated attendance is not that pronounced until Thanksgiving week (one of the very worst weeks of the year), and early November (minus Veterans Day weekend) can be relatively relaxed. Moreover, this is not a simply a ranking of the months based on crowds–it’s qualitative, and no month is better than November from that perspective.
Unlike the Florida parks, the holiday season all starts in Disneyland and Disney California Adventure on the same day, so there’s no disadvantage in going early. This entertainment is exceptional, and makes the higher crowd levels totally worth it. The festive atmosphere, attraction overlays, decorations, and seasonal foods–plus typically good weather make mid-November an unbeatable time to visit, even with only so-so crowds. Click here to view our November Disneyland Crowd Calendar.
Want to cut past all of those rankings and simply looking for a point-blank recommendation as to when you should visit Disneyland? Here are our 3 favorite weeks of the year, followed by some explanation:
Thanksgiving “Bookends” (November 12-22, 2024 or December 1-7, 2024)
Last week of August or first week of September (August 25 through September 7, 2024)
Early May (May 1-12, 2024)
Our first (and favorite) times to visit are the weeks before and after Thanksgiving week. Typically, Christmas season at Disneyland starts the weekend before this, meaning you have a week gap between the start of Disneyland’s holiday season and the start of actual holiday travel. This is a ‘sweet spot’ for low crowds, perfect weather, and seasonal entertainment.
The early Fall 2024 offseason is trickier because Halloween is starting earlier (August 23, 2024) and there are a couple of holiday weeks in the second half of the month. While those don’t have a major impact on crowds, we’d still skew towards late August and early September 2024 as a result. We’d definitely opt for the earlier window here, as Halloween Time at Disneyland will be fully kicked off by then.
Finally, we like just about any dates in late April or May 2024 up until the end of the month, when locals will be scrambling to use the remainder of their SoCal tickets, which expire on June 2, 2024. This is after the madness of Spring Break and Easter, but before summer tourist season. It’s also before locals try to get their last visits in before the summer blockouts. With nothing new of import debuting in May 2024, it should be a great month to visit.
All in all, this should be a useful guide to strategically plan your visit (or visits) to Disneyland Resort in 2024 or even 2025. While some of the dates will shift–and any impact of things debuting or returning in 2024 won’t be relevant, the general contours of these rankings remain (mostly) consistent from year to year. Even if you only follow this guide loosely, we think you’re bound to choose a good time to head to Disneyland!
What do you think about the best and worst months to visit Disneyland and Disney California Adventure in 2024? Any specific ideal months/weeks of your own that you’d recommend people visit Disneyland? Do you think weather plays any factor when it comes to the SoCal parks? Do you think crowds have increased over the last couple of years, across the board? Any questions? Hearing from you is half the fun, so please share your thoughts in the comments below!