Our May 2018 Disneyland preview offers a free crowd calendar for choosing the best days to visit Disney California Adventure and Disneyland. With May falling between spring break and summer vacation during a time when schools are largely back in session throughout the country, it’s a potentiallygood time to visit.
Well, early May is a good time of year to visit, particularly on weekdays when Grad Nites are not occurring. Mid to late May can be a different story as the parks start to get more crowded, but not unbearably so. Along with our crowd predictions for Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, in this post we’ll offer other thoughts on what to expect during this month at Disneyland Resort.
We’ll start with a look at weather. This section of these posts should just be titled “Another Day of Sun” because this is pretty much just a thinly-veiled opportunity to remark on how Southern California’s weather is perpetually nice. For May, you can expect humidity to be low as high temperatures hover around 75º most of the month. Lows will be around 55º early in the month, rising to around 60º by the end of May.
As you can see by the second graph on this page, May in Anaheim is comfortable for most hours of the between noon and 8 p.m. Temperatures are cooler in the morning and drop once the sun goes down, so we recommend packing a sweater or thin jacket for the evening hours. Spring can chilly outside the middle of the day, 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 May, starting with “instructions” for the crowd calendar. These are identical to the notes above our April Disneyland CrowdCalendar, so if you’ve already read that, skip down to the calendar itself and the notes below it, which are different for May.
Crowd Calendar “Instructions” – This is a simplistic 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 the above predictions. The beginning of May should be relatively uncrowded, as we’re in a relative lull between spring break and summer vacation. We also anticipate some of the hype for Pixar Fest dying down by early May. Aside from the fireworks, Pixar Fest doesn’t offer much that’s new or with repeatability at Disneyland.
As always, Grad Nites throw a monkey wrench into these crowd predictions. These events for graduating seniors occur Friday and Saturday nights throughout the month, and Tuesdays and Wednesdays starting May 15. Across the board, Grad Nites will see a spike in crowds at both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. In the past, this was particularly pronounced at Disneyland during the day, followed by DCA at night.
However, new ticket options have been introduced for 2018 Grad Nites (along with a pretty big price increase), and the two lower tiers do not include access to Disneyland. We’re anticipating that most grads will choose one of the two lower tiers of tickets, meaning the bulk of the Grad Nite presence will be confined to Disney California Adventure.
On the weekends, crowd levels will be fairly high regardless, but if you want the best chance at more moderate crowd levels during Grad Nites this year, we’d recommend doing Disneyland on Grad Nite days. The Bats Day events will also occur May 5 & 6, 2018, which will cause a slight spike in crowds on those days.
We expect crowds to spike towards the end of the month, not because we’re drawing closer to the summer months and traditional vacation season, but because tickets purchased via the SoCal Resident Deal expire on May 24, 2018.
Every year, the last couple weeks of this promo see a surge in attendance as locals want to take advantage of the offer before it ends, or use days on tickets they already purchased. We would expect this year to be no different.
This explains the longer park hours the last two weeks of May. The second half of the month, Disneyland closes at midnight almost every day, including weekdays. Most school districts in Southern California are not out of session until mid-June, which is around the time Disneyland starts seeing an influx of tourists.
Note that these expire before Memorial Day weekend. While holiday weekends always draw in guests, Memorial Day is not exactly an insanely crowded holiday. It’s before summer vacation for most school districts, and while many people will have the day itself off from work, it’s not a terrible time to visit. (Annual Pass blockouts and Peak Season ticket pricing also help with this.)
In terms of what’s going on at the parks, Pixar Fest is in full swing during the month of May. The good news here is that it’s been going on for several weeks now, meaning that the initial surge of Annual Passholders is over by early May. Expect Paint the Night Parade and Together Forever – A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular to still both draw crowds, but that’s about it.
For most of the month, dynamic ticket prices are at “value” or “regular” prices. Likewise, Annual Passholder blockouts are minimal outside of normal weekend blockouts, as well as Memorial Day. Even these factors are not enough to cause a precipitous spike in attendance.
Read our Tips for Saving Money on Disneyland Tickets post for multi-day ticket recommendations to avoid having to deal with seasonal pricing. On the plus side, there are some multi-day ticket discounts currently available for all guests.
Overall, we rank May as the #8 month on our Best and Worst Months to Visit Disneyland. The main reason for this is due to the chaos that has historically been caused by Grad Nite weekends, as well as locals taking advantage of the SoCal ticket offer at the last minute. If you can visit earlier in the month on one of those green weekdays (or even the yellow ones), you are going to have a far better experience–if we only factored in those days, May would be one of the best months of the year to visit!
If you’ve visited Disneyland during May, what did you think of the experience? Did you find the crowd levels to be manageable? Have any problems with Grad Nites? What about the weather? If you’ve visited in May, do you have any tips to add? Are you heading to Disneyland Resort during the month of May? Share any questions, tips, or additional thoughts you have in the comments!