2023 Disneyland Crowd Calendar
Our free Disneyland crowd calendars cover best & worst dates to visit in 2023. This resource will help you choose when to go and days to avoid, since higher attendance means longer lines & wait times at Disney California Adventure and Disneyland. These monthly guides offer info & tips about special events weather, prices, reservations, and more to help you save time…and your sanity! (Updated May 10, 2023.)
These 2023 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, and more. That “and more” part is the biggest key, as there are a lot of little changes have an impact on attendance at Disneyland throughout 2023.
First, it’s impossible to overstate how bad crowds have been at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure as compared to pre-closure. 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 has been up by 8 minutes per ride. 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, household savings are decreasing and debt is rising, inflation is stinging more, consumer sentiment is souring, and the economy is starting to sputter. As those trends continue, it’s increasingly likely that Disneyland will experience its own slowdown.
In fact, this is already evident in Disneyland crowd levels. There was a slight bump from the opening of Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway and start of the Disney100 Celebration with the new World of Color – ONE and Wondrous Journeys nighttime spectaculars. However, that quickly cooled and average crowd levels and wait times have decreased year over year.
This means that even busier weeks–such as February’s “Ski Week” or Presidents’ Day, Los Angeles and Orange County school district spring breaks and Easter week–have not been as bad as they were last year. To be sure, all of those timeframes saw elevated and above-average crowds. That’s to be expected. What’s noteworthy is that only one of those weeks was as busy in 2023 as its counterpart last year. Otherwise and across the board, 2023 crowd levels are down at Disneyland.
This trend has only accelerated in the weeks after Easter. Thus far in May 2023, Disneyland has averaged crowd levels of 3/10, with most individual days ranging from 1/10 to 4/10. The most common crowd level has been 3/10, and the average wait time most days is in the range of 28-32 minutes. There has been little day-to-day movement, with the most common average posted wait time being 30 minutes post-Easter.
These same weeks last year saw crowd levels of 5/10. That may not seem all that significant, but this is the first time in the last couple of years that we’ve observed a pronounced downturn in wait time averages at Disneyland. Perhaps equally as important, it’s coming after Magic Key AP sales resumed and as park reservation availability improves.
This dynamic is likely to continue throughout “shoulder season” at Disneyland, with our expectation now being low to moderate crowds. For those unfamiliar with the term, “shoulder season” is the period between two peak tourist seasons–spring break and summer, in this case. I guess that’s because the shoulders are below the “peak” of the body, or the head. In which case, perhaps we should start referring to late August through mid-September as butt-season? It has a certain understated stupidity to it! (More on current and upcoming crowd patterns below.)
Our 2023 Disneyland crowd calendars are also becoming more accurate with each passing month. This for some of the reasons discussed 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 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 geopolitical risk to household balance sheets and more. Again, much of this is discussed above. Suffice to say, if oil prices spike again or fears of a recession grow in 2023, 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 2023 Disneyland crowd calendars go, the less accurate they are.)
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 for 2023…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.
By contrast, we are on the ground in Disneyland and Disney California Adventure every single week. 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.
Not to fixate on the shortcomings of 2023 Disneyland crowd calendars, but we want to briefly discuss why our understanding of attendance is still incomplete, despite regular visits to the parks and all of that data. First, some issues persist with staffing. Because of this, Disneyland tends to allocate more resources (e.g. Cast Members) to weekends, while also releasing more park reservations for those dates.
The end result is a lot of day-to-day variance in crowds based on staffing and park reservation refills. Both of those things are inconsistent and not easily predictable, and the end result can be random weekdays that are or “feel” busier than their adjacent dates. Likewise, some weekends have felt less busy thanks to superior staffing or more limited reservations for locals. While weekends (Saturdays, especially) tend to be busier, it’s hit or miss.
To that point, reservation availability–or rather, lack thereof–also has an impact. It stands to reason that fully booked days are equally busy and worse than ‘available’ counterparts. That’s often the case, but not always since the number of reservations released varies based on staffing, operating hours, and other variables.
Guest demographics also make a big difference. Magic Key Annual Passes have gone back on sale a few times in recent months, and the Southern California resident ticket deal is also now available. These two groups are both locals, but utilize the parks in different ways. (On average, Annual Passholders do fewer attractions; contributing to congestion but not wait times.) Out of state tourists who buy single and multi-day park tickets are even more different.
As discussed above, pent-up demand is already fizzling out and “revenge travel” among tourists is declining. It seems increasingly likely that Disneyland is already experiencing a slowdown in visitors from out of state. As this continues to happen, the balance of attendance in the parks will shift away from tourists and towards locals.
Again, tourists prioritize rides, whereas locals and Magic Keyholders do more eating, wandering, and shopping. With the guest distribution skewed towards locals, a common scenario is that congestion is worse but wait times are lower. (Although the name suggests otherwise, crowd calendars measure wait times and not congestion; only one of those two things is easily quantifiable. We’re able to compile wait time data, whereas ‘feels like’ crowds are anecdotal guesswork that are impossible to measure credibly.)
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 in 2023. 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.
Now, let’s discuss more specifics on when to visit California and offer some 2023 Disneyland crowd calendar advice. For more on this, and some of the less-intuitive times that might be busy, consult our resources and tips below…
Dates to Avoid Disneyland in Summer 2023
With that in mind–and given that I’ve subjected you to a long and rambling preface–I want to “reward” you with a few quick-hit predictions for the near-term. If you simply want a list of dates in May and June 2023 that are likely to have the worst crowds, here’s when we’d avoid visiting Disneyland:
- May 22-25, 2023
- May 27-29, 2023
- June 5-15, 2023
- June 30 to July 4, 2023
Between now and Memorial Day 2023, those are the biggest red flags. Actually, they’d be more like ‘light yellow flags’ if we were using the stoplight system for crowd forecasting. Even the dates listed above are nothing as compared to the peak of spring break, which is now over. Many of the highlighted dates above will still only see crowd levels of around 5/10–they’re only listed because they’re likely to be worse than the days and weeks around them. (It’s all relative!)
As for explanations, the reason to avoid the first set of dates is because that’s the end of the SoCal resident ticket deal, and locals will be scrambling to use those tickets before they expire. Without fail, that happens every single year; the final days those promotional tickets are valid sees somewhat-elevated crowds.
The next set of dates is Memorial Day weekend, which should be self-explanatory. Even then, this is not bad by holiday weekend standards. Last year, the crowd level was 7/10 for that weekend; this year, it’s likely to be better.
The next set of dates is two things. First, it’s when several attractions will be down for refurbishment, which will worsen wait times elsewhere. Second, it’s expected to be the start of summer season in full force. The final set of dates is also self-explanatory. Not only is that the weekend before Independence Day, but it’s also the debut of Rogers: The Musical at DCA.
Outside of those dates, we’re expecting a quiet shoulder season and start to summer at Disneyland. As noted above, crowd levels have been 3/10 on average for the last few weeks. During the same weeks last year, the average was 5/10. If wait times follow historical precedent, they’ll increase heading into the end of this month, decrease slightly the first week of June 2023, and then gradually rise over the course of the summer season. There are a lot of wildcards beyond that, especially with pent-up demand and the cost of summer travel, gas, etc.
In fact, we’re hesitant to make confident predictions for mid-June through late July 2023, as Disneyland hasn’t had a “normal” summer since 2018. Last year, pent-up demand collided with soaring gas prices. The year before that, the post reopening rush hit a wall due to the delta variant. The year before that, the parks were closed. Even back in 2019, there was the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, which was surprisingly slow due to fears of a “crowdpocalypse.”
Summer 2023 is shaping up to be normal (knock on wood), but it’s been so long that Disneyland has had a normal summer that we’re not completely sure what that means in terms of wait times and attendance dynamics!
Monthly 2023 Crowd Calendars for Disneyland
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:
- January Disneyland Crowd Calendar
- February Disneyland Crowd Calendar
- March Disneyland Crowd Calendar
- April Disneyland Crowd Calendar
- May 2023 Disneyland Crowd Calendar
- June 2023 Disneyland Crowd Calendar
- July 2023 Disneyland Crowd Calendar
- August 2023 Disneyland Crowd Calendar
- September 2023 Disneyland Crowd Calendar
- October 2023 Disneyland Crowd Calendar
- November 2023 Disneyland Crowd Calendar
- December 2023 Disneyland Crowd Calendar
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 in 2023
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. Disneyland and Disney California Adventure crowds are always worse on weekends. Fridays are especially bad due to the combination of people taking long weekends and the SoCal ticket deal not being blocked out. Sunday nights are not as bad as the rest of the weekend–crowds tend to die down as tourists from within California start heading home about midday, but the parks remain open later than on weekdays.
Nevertheless, the single-biggest and most important piece of advice is avoid weekends if at all possible. If you learn literally nothing else away from our crowd calendars, have it be that. Visit Los Angeles, museums, beaches, or whatever on weekends–traffic will be better, but crowds at those spots will also be worse. (Not as bad as Disneyland, though!)
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:
- Winter Break
- Ski Week
- Martin Luther King Day weekend
- Presidents’ Day weekend
- Orange County Spring Break
- Los Angeles Spring Break
- Easter Week
- Mid-March through mid-April (Spring Break season)
- Thanksgiving week
- Christmas and New Year’s weeks
- Memorial Day weekend
- Mid-June to early July
- Veterans Day week
- During weekends of large conventions at the Anaheim Convention Center (click for schedule)
- During Disneyland events: D23 Expo, Dapper Days, Gay Days, etc.
- Christmas season in mid-December with weekends busier (read our Ultimate Guide to Christmas at Disneyland)
- Entirety of Halloween season from mid-September through the end of October, with weekends busier (read our Ultimate Guide to HalloweenTime at Disneyland)
- Early March
- Mid to late May
- Late July through mid-August
- Third week of November
- First week of December
- Most of January and February, except holidays
- Late April
- Early through mid-May
- Late August through mid-September
- First week of November
Overall, we are expecting Disneyland “feels like” crowds to be heavier throughout at least the first quarter of 2023. If you’re planning to visit for Summer 2023, you should prepare for higher crowd levels. That’ll be especially true for weekends, holidays, and school breaks for local districts and nearby states.
Speaking of which, 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)
- Alpine (UT)
- Fresno Unified (CA)
- Davis (UT)
- Elk Grove (CA)
- San Francisco Unified (CA)
- Phoenix Unified – All Districts (AZ)
- Mesa Unified (AZ)
- Washoe County (NV)
- Granite (UT)
- 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).
On a personal note, our absolute favorite time to visit is during Christmas-time at Disneyland. The parks look gorgeous, there are special attraction-overlays, and lots of seasonal foods available. You can read more about Christmas-time at Disneyland in our in-depth guide.
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 2023 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.
Planning a Southern California vacation? For park admission deals, read Tips for Saving Money on Disneyland Tickets. Learn about on-site and off-site hotels in our Anaheim Hotel Reviews & Rankings. For where to eat, check out our Disneyland Restaurant Reviews. For unique ideas of things that’ll improve your trip, check out What to Pack for Disney. For comprehensive advice, consult our Disneyland Vacation Planning Guide. Finally, for guides beyond Disney, check out our Southern California Itineraries for day trips to Los Angeles, Laguna Beach, and tons of other places!
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!
When you say MLK weekend is insanely busy, what does that look like? I’m doing the runDisney weekend next year, so what would it look like with school schedules plus a runDisney weekend on top of that? I’m flying in mid-afternoon Wednesday and flying home MLK day itself. I’m not going to be hitting the parks from open to close since I have to be up early two days that weekend.
Hi Tom, thanks for updating this guide.
What do you think are the odds of DL doing something extra on Oct 16th ?
Wow, if this week is a 4, I can’t imagine a busy week. We’re veteran WDW visitors and have seen level 9 days that were more manageable than this. Our first trip to the west coast parks has been crowded and frustrating. After 3 1/2 days in the parks, we’ve hit most of the headliners that we can’t do in FL. We’re doing some rerides now and will hit the mountains in our last couple days, but the waits have been LONG. Perhaps we’ll only do a couple days next time and spring for Genie+.
You mention Veterans Day week as being very busy. Veterans Day this year is on a Saturday and observed on a Monday. Is it the week leading up to Veterans Day or the week following it (including the Monday that it is observed) that will be busy. We’re on the east coast but our kids have the Monday off and then Wednesday off for a professional development day so are considering a quick trip. This is about the lowest flights ever are. Thanks!
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