Our free 2024 Disneyland crowd calendars cover best & worst dates to visit. This helps you choose when to go and days to avoid, as higher attendance means longer lines & wait times at Disney California Adventure and Disneyland. These monthly guides also offer info & tips about special events weather, prices, reservations, and more to help you save time…and your sanity! (Updated January 8, 2024.)
These Disneyland and DCA crowd calendars will help you choose when to go to the parks, based on a variety of variables: school schedules, holiday breaks, typical travel times to Southern California, Anaheim Convention Center events, and more. Suffice to say, there are a lot of little changes have an impact on attendance at Disneyland throughout 2024.
First, it’s impossible to overstate how bad crowds have been at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure the last two years. Not every day has been busy, but attendance and wait times have been high by historical standards. As compared to 2019–the last “normal” year at Disneyland–the average wait time was up by 8 minutes per ride in the last two years. That may not seem like much, but it adds up over the course of the day. On top of that, congestion has been worse. With that said, there is a silver lining that’s starting to emerge…
After a roller coaster couple of years, Disneyland crowds are starting to normalize. Pent-up demand has started to exhaust itself, and with that, crowd levels are now down as compared to the same dates last year. There have been a few spikes, but average crowd levels and wait times have decreased year over year.
That was especially noticeable during the recent Halloween and holiday seasons that just wrapped up. To be sure, there were days and weeks in October through December that were quite busy. But crowds were also surprisingly manageable for the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving and Christmas, which are usually among the worst of the year. Also notable is that the ‘sleepy’ weeks in between those breaks returned.
This means that even busier weeks in the first half of 2024–such as Presidents’ Day, Los Angeles and Orange County school district spring breaks and Easter week–likely will not be as bad as they were last year or in 2022. To be sure, all of those time frames will see elevated and above-average crowds. We’re not suggesting otherwise.
What we are predicting is that those breaks won’t be as bad as they’ve been in the last two years when pent-up demand was running hot. Both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure are still busier than pre-closure, and in-park congestion can feel even worse than wait times suggest, but crowds have now fallen back to 2019 and earlier levels.
To that point, one very important thing to keep in mind is that crowd levels are relative. They are based on aggregate posted wait times, as compared to the prior 365 days. This means that the current comparison is very tough, to a time when pent-up demand was off the charts. There have been a lot of 5/10 days in the last year, but they’re as compared to a very busy 2022.
That context about what “slowdown” at Disneyland means is important. The parks are not going to be dead or ghost towns, or even on par with Walt Disney World. Those parks saw pent-up demand earlier since Florida effectively reopened before California; because of that, Disneyland’s pent-up demand has lagged Walt Disney World by about a year.
Suffice to say, Disneyland is less by around 20%, which is a significant drop from year-to-year, but crowd levels are still very much elevated by historical standards. Hopefully this makes some degree of sense, and puts into context reports about the parks being “slow.” Because if you walk into Disneyland for the first time in a few years or ever, you’re very much going to be scratching your head about that. They don’t feel slow in absolute terms…just less busy than one year ago!
The other good news is that our Disneyland crowd calendars are becoming more accurate with each passing month. Some of the reasons for this are mentioned above–attendance normalizing, more slack in the reservations system, plus fewer capacity constraints and staffing shortages. Disneyland is still not totally back to normal and probably won’t be until mid-2024, but the monkey wrenches thrown into attendance dynamics over the last couple of years have largely worked their way out of the system.
Going forward, the monkeys might start throwing new wrenches that could disrupt crowd dynamics–everything from the economy to gas prices to household balance sheets and more. Suffice to say, if oil prices spike again or fears of a recession in 2024 grow, attendance will drop. But even economists can’t agree on what’ll happen, so don’t expect Disneyland crowd forecasters to know. (As such, the further out the Disneyland crowd calendars go, the less accurate they are.)
Guest demographics also make a big difference. Magic Key Annual Passes have gone back on sale a few times and will again in mid-January 2024, and California resident ticket deals have returned repeatedly. These two groups are both locals, but utilize the parks in different ways.
Honestly, there’s not much on there that looks like it’ll move the needle much on attendance. If you’re excited for Pixar Fest or the other offerings, that’s fantastic–we’re not suggesting that you shouldn’t be. What we are saying is that there’s nothing groundbreaking on either of those lists that’s going to pull people to the parks.
If anything, these lineups are fairly underwhelming considering that revenge travel is fading fast. Pixar Fest has been done before and wasn’t exactly beloved, the fireworks shows they’re bringing back aren’t fan favorites, Fantasmic is going to be in modified form, and there’s no night parade.
The year is still young and things could be added, but after seeing lower crowds for Halloween and Christmas, we expected Disneyland to pull out the big guns, like Paint the Night Parade or something exciting for 2024. Thus far, that has not happened. However, they have offered more ticket deals and for more than just Southern California residents, so perhaps that’ll help buoy bookings.
Suffice to say, there are unique and evolving variables that influence attendance and crowds at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. We’ll be blunt with you: we cannot perfectly predict crowds…and no one can. Any other Disneyland crowd calendar that claims clairvoyance is lying. Many of them don’t even try–they’re simply automated calendars based on school schedules and years-old historical data that is not even remotely relevant anymore.
What we can tell you is that we’re on the ground in Disneyland and Disney California Adventure every single week. As soon as we notice changing trends, we report on them here. We pair our observations and knowledge of surrounding circumstances with things like Los Angeles and Orange County school schedules, holidays, airport travel stats, Disney’s reservation calendars, and more. With that, we have a better–but still incomplete–understanding of when Disneyland will be more and less crowded.
While we cannot quantify ‘feels like’ crowd levels, our recommendation for those who want to look at the general ‘crowd contours’ or base their decision on “vibes” and other qualitative factors, instead consult our Best & Worst Months to Visit Disneyland. That will help you choose the right dates to visit; all of that takes wait time data into account, but isn’t as beholden to it as these crowd calendars.
As we’ve gained experience visiting Disneyland and Disney California Adventure throughout the years as Annual Passholders–and now Magic Keyholders–including multiple trips per week now as locals, we’ve noticed trends in crowds and analyzed patterns in wait time data.
Disneyland crowd calendars change regularly due to a variety of factors, including marketing, discounts, park hours, new attraction openings, special events, Anaheim Convention Center events, and even weather (good or bad). We strive to keep our Disneyland crowd calendars updated to reflect changes in attendance trends.
Note that Disneyland crowd calendars are most accurate inside 3 months. Beyond that, generalized predictions can be made on the basis of holidays, school breaks, special events, and past precedent. However, Disneyland park hours are only released a few months in advance, park reservation availability is unknown further out, and other variables like promotions, discounts, conventions, etc. all are not (fully) known far in advance.
You can access our Disneyland crowd calendars and monthly guides via the links below, each of which will open in a new browser tab:
Each month is updated with final forecasts approximately 30 to 60 days before the start of that month. Predictions prior to then are less accurate, and don’t include current trends, park reservations, and recent wait time data.
Below is additional advice about avoiding crowds at Disneyland, as well as days to visit and avoid. These general attendance trends for Disneyland can make ‘at a glance’ trip planning and choosing your dates to visit easier…
Attendance Trends for Disneyland
Disneyland attendance and wait times are largely dependent upon tourist vacationing habits (which are largely dependent upon school breaks and California travel trends), park hours (historical data exists for that), Anaheim Convention Center events, Los Angeles & Orange County School District calendars, and a few other variables.
With that said, the biggest factor of all is local visitor habits. Historically, Disneyland and Disney California Adventure crowds are usually worse on weekends. However, even that is not always the case for the reasons discussed above–it wasn’t true for most of last summer, but weekends did get worse over the Halloween and Christmas seasons. We’d expect a similar trend in 2024.
There are definitely other wildcards that make it more difficult for Disneyland crowd calendars to predict attendance or wait times on specific dates with accuracy far in advance. However, the variables above are knowable fairly far in advance, and make forecasting general seasonal trends much easier. As such, that’s what we’re presenting here:
January and February, minus holidays or school breaks
Early through mid-May
Late August through late September
First week of November
School schedules, weather, special events, park hours, and more may all affect when you want to visit Disneyland. Obviously, these variables will also influence crowds.
If school schedules are something around which you must plan, chances are you’re going to go during one of the busier (or at least not one of the least busy) times of the year, as that’s the paramount consideration for many other families planning trips, too. It may seem like a convenient time to visit during one of the ‘holidays’ your kids have off from school, but it’s important to consider whether other schools have these same times off, as well.
Specifically, here are the school districts that have the biggest impact on Disneyland attendance:
Los Angeles Unified (CA)
Orange County – All Districts (CA)
San Diego Unified (CA)
Clark County (NV)
Long Beach Unified (CA)
Riverside Unified (CA)
San Bernardino City Unified (CA)
Fresno Unified (CA)
Elk Grove (CA)
San Francisco Unified (CA)
Phoenix Unified – All Districts (AZ)
Mesa Unified (AZ)
Washoe County (NV)
Tuscon Unified (AZ)
Our crowd calendars take all of these districts into account, as their academic breaks and school schedules can have a significant impact on Disneyland attendance. There’s typically overlap among the top 3 districts in Southern California, which means their breaks are very bad, but confined to a small portion of the overall calendar.
Major districts in Northern California, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona all can have a noticeable impact on crowds, as well. (For example, most districts in Utah share a common fall break, and that long weekend gets really bad.) By contrast, we’ve never observed much of an impact from Oregon, Washington, or any other states. Texas and anything east of it are all pretty much Walt Disney World’s market.
Of the traditional school holidays, summer break is probably the best time to visit, as it is the longest school break so you don’t have the concentration of guests all visiting during the same week of other holidays. Since summer break is largely blocked out to SoCal passholders, you can expect to see more tourists in the parks this time of year.
Most schools have the week before Christmas until the shortly after New Year’s off, making this week-plus an especially busy time. The same is true for President’s Day weekend, Easter week, Memorial Day weekend, the Fourth of July holiday, and Thanksgiving week. Although schools do vary their Spring Break schedules, don’t expect the parks to be any less busy because of somewhat-staggered Spring Breaks. Mid-March through mid-April are busy times at Disneyland.
This isn’t to say you shouldn’t visit during these times, as some people don’t have many other options, but if you do go, at least bring your patience with you, or at least a good plan for touring the parks!
Unlike Florida, Southern California has a pretty temperate climate. The typical hot seasons are hot, but humidity isn’t nearly as bad as it is in Florida. It can get colder at night, and in the winter months, but the weather isn’t nearly as much of a roller coaster ride like it is in Florida. Blue skies and puffy clouds are more rare in California, but overall the weather is much more favorable for vacationing than it is in Walt Disney World.
Rain isn’t as common in Disneyland as it is in Walt Disney World. It does rain in the fall months at Disneyland, but torrential downpours in SoCal aren’t too common. In fact, if you’re a Southern Californian trying to plan the best time to schedule a 1-day visit to the park, the absolute best time to go is while it’s raining.
The parks generally clear out (there are usually long lines at City Hall of people requesting refunds), and significantly shorter waits are common. So, if you have a poncho or umbrella and want lower than normal crowds, a rainy day is the perfect time to go. (By contrast, the day after it rains will be considerably worse than normal, as locals will postpone their visits.)
Make sure to pack some jeans, sweatshirts, and maybe even coats if traveling during the months of October through March. It won’t necessarily be cold during your trip, but the weather can drop below 50 degrees during these months. Consider your tolerance to cold, and weather you’re willing to purchase countless $70 Mickey Mouse sweatshirts during your trip when, inevitably, members of your family get cold!
Not considering park hours when planning your trip is a huge mistake. Usually less busy days have shorter park hours and busier days have longer park hours. Thus, many feel they can basically get the same amount done in a shorter day during a less busy time of year than they could during peak season. With good plans for touring the parks or strategic use of Genie+ and Lightning Lanes, this isn’t true. By strategizing well, you can accomplish more during a busy day with longer hours than during a shorter day with light crowds.
Also important to note is that on days with longer hours, Disneyland will have more entertainment scheduled. Even during short days and slow times of the year, Fantasmic and World of Color play to packed houses. However, on days that offer multiple showings of these entertainment offerings, the later showings are almost always less crowded. If you want to avoid waiting multiple hours for a good view of Fantasmic, go on a longer day with multiple showings!
Similarly, your sleep habits make a difference here. If you’re a night owl, days with shorter hours may be a bad idea, as by the time you roll out of bed, you may find that you only have a few hours to enjoy the parks. Conversely, if you rise early and generally want to leave the parks by 7 pm or so, the shorter/less busy days are great times for you to visit. Make sure you check Disneyland’s park hours calendar when planning your trip. While this calendar is subject to change, it doesn’t change nearly as much as Walt Disney World’s calendar, which is almost never accurate when first posted.
Disneyland doesn’t have nearly as many special events as Walt Disney World, but there are some events worth planning for or around. Basically, these events are the D23 Expo (every other year, towards the end of summer or early fall), Gay Days (fall), HalloweenTime at Disneyland (late summer and fall), CHOC walk (fall), Holidays at Disneyland (fall and winter), and Grad Nites (spring).
During Disneyland’s slower seasons, expect a lot of attractions to be closed for refurbishments and other construction to be occurring. Not only is maintenance and upkeep better at Disneyland than Walt Disney World, but Disneyland also has a few seasonal attraction overlays, which lead to popular attractions like it’s a small world, Haunted Mansion, and Space Mountain being closed for a few weeks each in the fall (and late-winter in the case of it’s a small world and Haunted Mansion).
Traditionally, January and February have been the biggest months for attraction downtime, as those are the low-season for crowds. However, it’s always smart to consult refurbishment calendars to make sure your favorite attractions are operational no matter when you visit. See our 2024 Disneyland Refurbishment Calendar for specific dates that attractions will be closed.
If you must visit Disneyland when it’s busy (as is the case for many with kids in school), it’s important to have a good plan of attack when you visit the parks. Determine which attractions are best and the ones to experience, figure out where you want to eat in advance and dine at hours when the parks are busiest, and most importantly, arrive at the park before it opens and get as much done as you can in the first few hours of operation when lines are much shorter than they will be later in the day.
Do you have any favorite times of year to visit Disneyland? Which special events do you think are best? Do you agree or disagree with our advice about Disneyland crowd calendars, California weather, special events, school schedules, or anything else here? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!