January 2023 at Disneyland Crowd Calendar
Our guide to January 2023 at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure offers a free crowd calendar, days to visit & avoid, SoCal weather, seasonal events, new attraction openings, refurbishments, and more.
In a normal year, January and February are the slowest months of the year at Disneyland. It’s a bit of a chilly time in Southern California and the state’s “rainy season” (which means like 2 rainy days per month), and also a time when Disneyland focuses on refurbishments.
This results in a pronounced off-season vibe at Disneyland, one that has been tough to find at Walt Disney World in the last decade. There were two notable exceptions to this in the last several years, including the last January that Disneyland was open, which is when Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance debuted. Unfortunately, January 2022 will likely be another anomaly for reasons we’ll cover in this info and crowd calendar post…
Before we get to that, let’s quickly recap what happened last time that January was bonkers, as history could always repeat itself. First came the announcement of Main Street Electrical Parade making its homecoming at Disneyland in a limited time engagement before it’d be retired. Then came the nostalgia-drenched parade ad plus billboards plastered all over–it was quite the marketing blitz in the Los Angeles and Orange County markets.
To no one’s surprise, Main Street Electrical Parade debuted to monster crowds, and those remained steady pretty much until the summer months when the Annual Passholder blockout began. Disneyland locals love anything new, returning, limited time, and nostalgic–this made for a perfect storm. This was exacerbated by cheaper tickets for Southern California residents, coupled with a surplus of attraction refurbishments that reduced park capacity.
With that backdrop set, here’s what you can expect in January 2022 at Disneyland & Disney California Adventure in terms of the crowd calendar, weather, refurbishment, special events, closures and new attractions…
January Weather at Disneyland
January is a great time to visit Southern California from a weather perspective. Temperatures are usually in the 50s and 60s, with the average high being 67°F and the average low being 47°F.
If you’re from a cold weather state, this might seem like t-shirt and shorts weather, but most locals bundle up. This is especially true in the evening, when California’s crisp air makes it feel even colder. We’d recommend packing (at least) jeans and hooded sweatshirts, plus a light jacket.
January is also Southern California’s rainy season–to the extent that it has one. On the rare occasions when it does rain, it’s typically not just a brief or isolated shower. Nevertheless, SoCal normally sees less than 3 inches of rain in January, so days of downpours are unlikely.
It’s more likely you’ll experience near-constant sunshine, with the marine layer being less of a problem during the winter months, and most days seeing plenty of sunlight. All in all, January is a good time to visit California (and by extension, Disneyland), so long as you don’t plan on sunbathing on the beach or swimming in the ocean!
Special Events & What’s New or Closed
Although no announcement has been made, we expect the Lunar New Year Celebration to return to Disney California Adventure in mid-January 2023. This celebration of Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese traditions that usually runs through early February. It’s always a great, under-the-radar event.
In terms of January 2023 closures, there’s a fairly long list in addition to the normal ones like Haunted Mansion and it’s a small world. Consult our Disneyland Refurbishment Calendar for opening and closing dates.
January 2023 Disneyland Crowd Calendar
We’ll preface this by noting that Disneyland crowd calendars for specific dates are no longer highly reliable due to changes in attendance trends, the new Magic Key passholders, ticket promotions, and other factors. General trends are a bit easier, but it’s difficult to say a particular day will have low, moderate, or heavy crowds–which is why we’ve eliminated our color-coded Disneyland crowd calendars.
As such, our crowd calendar exists of some best & worst date ranges that should be used as an approximation for patterns—not something you rely heavily upon when booking a trip to Disneyland. While other sites offer numerical crowd calendars for specific dates months (or a year!) in advance, we’d be weary of putting too much weight on those. There are simply too many inconsistent variables for Disneyland crowd calendars to be reliable so far in advance.
With that said, 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.
While there’s the perception that holiday crowds die down after New Year’s Eve, this is only true to a degree. Post-holiday crowds will remain heavy through January 8, 2023 when local school districts go back into session following winter break. After that, they are supplanted by local Magic Key passholders who are no longer blocked out but are still on holiday break from work or school.
Magic Key blockouts for January 2023 do not perfectly coincide with Los Angeles and Orange County School District winter breaks, with one set of blockouts ending January 2, 2023 and lower-tier passes only blocked out through January 5, 2023. Expect there to be a surge that weekend (January 6-7, 2023) after blockouts end but before schools go back into session.
January 13-16, 2023 will likely be very busy due to the MLK Day holiday weekend. The following weekend, January 20-22, 2023 should also see higher crowds due to Lunar New Year. Non holiday weekdays typically will not be as bad during the month, up until January 27, 2023. That’s the day the winter “off-season” could go off the rails at Disneyland, with situations similar to those addressed above in the past.
On that date, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway opens and the 100 Years of Wonder Celebration kicks off at Disneyland Resort. That celebration brings with it new nighttime spectaculars to each park, plus character costumes, new merchandise, food & beverages, and everything else locals love. Expect the rest of the month–especially the weekend of January 28-29, 2023–to be bonkers. That’ll bleed into February 2023, too.
If you’re looking at the crowd calendar for the best dates in January 2023 to visit Disneyland, we’d recommend January 9-12, 2023 or January 23-26, 2023. These weeks gets you far enough outside the holiday season, with the post-blockout crowd wave having subsided, and local schools being back in session.
It’s important to underscore that these crowd calendar predictions are our best guesses, and lean heavily on the above assumptions. One of the greatest difficulties with forecasting Disneyland crowds is that so much of the audience lives in Los Angeles and Orange Counties, meaning they are not planning their trips to Disneyland months in advance. Many people are visiting on a whim, and can make last-minute trips if enticed by marketing, deals, or special entertainment.
With all of that said, there are a few sure things for January at Disneyland. Already mentioned are the chilly (but pleasant) weather and refurbishments. The other is that it’s still Southern California’s off-season in terms of tourism. Even if Disneyland and Disney California Adventure end up being busy, they’ll be busy with locals.
January Pricing & Discounts
Because its primarily a local audience, January is one of the cheapest months of the year in terms of off-site hotel prices. We rank our favorite (and least favorite) hotels in the area in our Disneyland Area Hotel Rankings & Reviews post. Check out discounted hotel + ticket vacation packages on Get Away Today to save money on off-site hotels.
Even if our moderate crowd predictions for January turn out to be accurate, we still recommend an efficient itinerary for touring Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. 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.
Overall, January and February have fallen from their high-ranking slots that they previously occupied on our Best and Worst Months to Visit Disneyland, but they probably deserve to see their standing elevated once again.
If you’re an out-of-state visitor considering a Disneyland vacation at some point in 2023, and are looking for a low-crowd time of year that will also have cool weather, we would recommend taking a hard look at January 2023. While we only presented a limited number of good dates, those should be really good–with true off-season crowd levels. That’s something we haven’t seen at Disneyland in a while, and probably won’t throughout Winter and Spring 2023 due to the 100 Years of Wonder Celebration.
If you’re a local or can wait longer to book a trip, we’d advise taking a wait-and-see approach. Once Disneyland releases its SoCal ticket offer, we should have a much better idea of what crowds will look like. At that point, we’ll return to this post with a fresh look at the crowd calendar.
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!
Have you visited Disneyland in January? Any predictions of your own to offer in terms of crowds in winter/spring 2023 at Disneyland? 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!
I had a horrible time this week in the rain. There was absolutely nowhere to sit all day. I ate my lunch with one hand while holding an umbrella standing up. Never going back.
The hours and events calendar just released the dates for my trip in January and I’m sad to see they don’t have any parades or nighttime shows/fireworks or any shows at all during the day. Is this normal for January? Have you ever seen them add parades/shows to the calendar closer to the date?
Do you have any insights on January 2023? Thanks!
Hi, we have plans for Monday Jan 9th. Fantastic, regular parade or fireworks are still on?
We just returned. January 9-12. It was beyond crowded!! We’re very anxious to see if we’ve contracted Omicron. Most people were masked, but many didn’t wear masks appropriately and many went without outside. We decided to wear them at all times unless eating. But we were shocked to see so many people when all articles re attendance chose this as one of the slowest weeks in Disneyland. I’m sure everyone is anxious to get back to Dland as we were with the closures and reservations, etc. it’s still magical. And Genie Plus helped!!!
Is there an actual calendar that for some reason I’m not able to see, or just the commentary in the article?
We actually just booked our trip for January 10-15, 2022 and was happily surprised that you recommended those dates! If I remember to, I’ll share crowd and weather observations afterward. Thanks!
Ugh, I wish I had had looked ahead about the new Star Wars ride opening before booking our trip. We’ll be there the week of Jan 20th, as this is our usual time for a disney trip. Probably going to just stick to Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday that week, but I was anticipating the same low-mod crowds we’re used to for a Jan Disney trip. Crossing my fingers that it’s not too heinous…
“Probably going to just stick to Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday that week”
You should still be fine those dates for doing Rise of the Resistance–just avoid Monday, and keep in mind that crowds (the rest of the day) that week will likely be elevated. Arrive early, beat the bag check line, and hopefully you’ll be good!
Tom, do you think personalized touring plans would be beneficial Jan 29-30 and have already factored in RotR into plans? Or is it too hard to predict based on not knowing what the loading process will be at that point?
Too hard to predict at this point.
Love your blog! We go EVERY Jan. as it’s my birthday. We aren’t local but have Deluxe passes which suit us just fine. We don’t want to be there during hectic crowds either, so it’s like a heads up with those black out dates.
We just got back yesterday from 3 days of torrential rain! We went out and bought extra ponchos and umbrellas, even though we didn’t use them (umbrellas) in the park. We did make the mistake of staying at your worst recommended motel, Anaheim Maingate Inn on Ball Rd. I think we got the refurbished laundry room makeover, as the door to the room had a big window and the only room window ( about 10″ x 18″ ) was the old school louvered glass that had a 3/8″ gap in it and would not close all the way!! It beat camping and we’ve done that too. So we had to laugh. I bring Tile EX to kill everything but had to park too far and forgot to bring it in and didn’t with all the rain. Found a fake eyelash on the shower floor. We brought our own towels, they had 3 thread bare ones hanging up. No wash clothes or hand towels. You know what I’m talking about, just want to warn others!
Hey Tom, thanks for all your work on these posts. Looking to visit Disneyland in your #3 best week of the year (end of Jan/beg of Feb) in 2019. Can you let me know how January and February of 2018 turned out? Did crowd levels return to lower or did they stay higher as in 2017? Lower crowds are my #1 priority so wanting to check in and see how Jan/Feb 2018 were to make a decision on Jan/Feb 2019. Thanks in advance for your help.
Hi, Thank you so muchfor the most comprehensive information on DL ever! We are a NZ family planning a trip to DL at the end of January 2019 as part of a 6 week trip to the USA. My kids are young, 5 yrs and 6 yrs so we won’t be doing any big rides, however i am concerned about January being the refurbishment month! I am trying to ascertain just how many things may be out of action. Am i right in assuming that we won’t know much until closer to the time? My friend went in April and Grizzly river run was closed even then! This is literally a dream about to come true for my kids, and whilst they will take what they get and be over the moon i do want to understand the amount of closure to be expected., to avoid disappointment. Can we expect parades? Fireworks? To see a good range of characters? I have been through your list of best rides and have a good idea about the lower key rides that they will like. Thanks 🙂
Awesome post! Love your insights. We went Saturday, February 4, 2017 and I was not prepared for how crowded it was! At the time I blamed it on the fact that we SoCal residents were coming out of an historically rainy January and it was a gorgeous day…but I’m sure the “gorgeous day” excuse doesn’t work when it’s beautiful here 360 days a year! We are planning on going again on Thursday, January 11, 2018, and I’m cautiously optimistic. My only hesitation is restaurants seem to be pretty booked and I’m worried people are going to flock there after the rain stops again! Fingers crossed, but I know we will have a wonderful time regardless!
I’m looking at the entertainment schedule for mid-January. After the 9th, I’m not seeing any listing for fireworks or parades. It shows Fantasmic and WOC, but that is it. Additionally, the Frozen show is not appearing after the 14th. We have a trip planned the 21st-25th. Should I be worried or will some of those start appearing closer to the date. Right now, the calendar is showing through early February.
I’m guessing that’s accurate. This would suggest (to me) that Disneyland is preparing to return its off-season to normal, and that has meant–historically–reduced entertainment and increased refurbishments.
The upside is that it’s also likely to mean much lower crowds. Perhaps even lower than we’re forecasting.
I messaged Disneyland when I saw the no fireworks or parades (we go Jan 21-24) and they confirmed that nothing is scheduled. I did see today that Frozen was scheduled over at DCA again. I’m a little bummed about no parades, but it gives us a chance to see Fantasmic and WOC, neither of which we’ve done with our kids. I think the low crowds will help improve my mood about it
I’ve asked on my other reliable source and the experts there agree with Tom, that during the “off-season” there were historically no parades and only fireworks on the weekends (which don’t appear to be scheduled, agreed). The latter had something to do with disturbing the local neighborhoods when school was in session (first I heard of that). Having said that, they also said to wait as January schedule is historically done last minute, which again agrees with Tom’s take on last year.
I am going Jan 15-19 and while I was initially bummed about missing those things (plus the entirety of Paradise Pier, Splash Mountain and Grizzly Run), I’m hoping the crowd level prediction will hold. Another helpful article. Thanks, Tom!
Any thoughts about the best time to go to just the Disneyland Park between this Dec. 29th and January 3rd? Trying to decide between the best week day and perhaps it wont even make a difference. Definitely don’t want to miss Christmas decor or The Nightmare before Christmas themed ride.
January 1-3 should be about equally good. Definitely those dates over December.
I long for the early months of the year when I lived out that way and they were absolutely an off-season. Parks, even with scores of AP buyers (many at $99, what is that pass today? $400? … The Weatherman has to pay for FOX with someone’s money, right?) were often empty.
We aren’t even talking ancient history. 2008 was my last out there in February and the parks were both empty beyond upticks on Friday nights and Sundays.
I loved DCA especially in the winters of 2001-2003 when you could be one of a couple of thousand guests in the place during the day. Ah, memories …
Oh, and I think you can look at the upcoming uncharge events as a sign that TDA expects a very slow start to 2018.
I am a “foreverDisney” fan. So excited about FOX21 acquisitions’ futures. Years ago I was excited to think of streaming subscription to “D” movies and literature. Oh my goodness it has been a few years back when I read your blog. Very aware of my Disney Ness from my early fabric covered 45rpm book of Cinderella in the later 50s.