Our November 2020 Disneyland preview offers a free crowd calendar for picking the best days to visit, and avoiding the busiest ones during the start of Christmas season at Disney California Adventure and Disneyland. The holiday season is really a ‘tale of two seasons,’ with some quiet periods followed by really intense stretches of crowds.
There are two main reasons you can expect heavy crowds during November. The official start of Disneyland’s Christmas season, and school breaks in Los Angeles and Orange Counties that also coincide with Thanksgiving week, which is always a big draw for out-of-town tourists.
You can read more about what to expect during the holidays in our Ultimate Guide to Christmas at Disneyland. This two-month seasonal event is one of the biggest draws for locals and Annual Passholders, which causes an annual spike in crowds starting in mid-November…
To better distribute crowds between Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, Festival of the Holidays will return again for 2020, as will other Christmas entertainment, including World of Color – Season of Light. With that said, it will still be really busy in both parks. Locals and tourists alike love spending time at Disneyland Resort during the holiday season.
Mild weather also plays a role, as November is one of the mildest, most pleasant months of the year in Southern California. As we mention in all of our Disneyland crowd calendar posts, it’s pleasant year-round in Anaheim as humidity tends to be low and there’s not much precipitation, but November is one of the best of the best months in terms of weather. If anything, it’s too cold in November.
Due to the potential for frigid temperatures in the evening (or even during the day if it gets unseasonably cold), we recommend consulting our What to Pack for Disney in Winter post. That might seem like overkill since this is California, land of eternal sunshine and endless summer, but it gets surprisingly chilly during the winter months, especially at night. Better to be over-prepared than under-prepared. Trust me, I’ve dropped a ton of money on gift shop sweatshirts on past visits when under-estimating the potential for cold weather.
With that said, let’s take a look at the Disneyland crowd calendar for November…
Important Note: November 2020 Disneyland Crowd Calendar
As you may know, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance opens in early 2020. This new attraction has the potential to totally upend Disneyland crowd calendars, have no impact at all, or fall somewhere in between. Read our Why Are Star Wars Land Crowds So Low? post from last year to understand just how unpredictable this opening could be.
Additionally, Disneyland has not yet released park hours for November 2020. They typically only release park hours less than three in advance, which means the reliability of crowd calendars is lower further out from any given month. Because of these two factors, we are not releasing our 2020 crowd calendars for later in the year until after the dust settles post-Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance opening and trends in hours emerge.
Anyone planning a trip later in the year can consult our When to Visit Disneyland in 2020 or our 2020 Best & Worst Months to Visit Disneyland posts. However, we’d caution you against over-reliance on crowd calendar predictions for specific dates. While other sites do have 2020 Disneyland crowd calendars posted for later in the year already, the credibility of those predictions is dubious.
Suffice to say, stay tuned for our more comprehensive November 2020 Disneyland crowd calendar. In the meantime, here are some general predictions…
Outside of the weeks of Veterans Day and Thanksgiving (the entire weeks, not just the holidays themselves), crowds shouldn’t be too bad. Historically, outside of Fridays through Sundays during early November (and again after Thanksgiving), that has been the case. In the past, November has been a fairly ‘moderate’ month in terms of crowds outside of those dates.
The emphasis there is on “historically” and “in the past.” In terms of what will occur in November 2020, we are not entirely sure. Last year’s Christmas season was busy, but November still managed to be relatively uncrowded. Whether that trend continues in 2020 or Disneyland works to redistribute crowds remains to be seen.
You’ll notice for the first half of November, Mondays through Thursdays have Value Season pricing for 1-day park tickets. Normally, this induces more visits from locals, but for November, we do not anticipate it causing a large spike in crowds.
Most locals will delay their visits until the heart of the Christmas season later in the month (around Thanksgiving) or just prior to Christmas. One-day ticket pricing should have a negligible impact on crowds during both November and December.
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.
Beyond that, you have some of the normal trends. Friday night during Christmas season is the worst evening of the week to visit, and Saturdays will be busy despite the lower tier Annual Passes being blocked out. For the most part, Mondays through Thursdays are going to be the best overall days of any week to visit.
Tourists with Park Hopper tickets should strongly consider mornings at Disneyland before Park Hopping to DCA. Locals from Los Angeles and Orange County who arrive after work tend to make Disneyland more crowded in the evenings.
It is worth noting that there is no hard ticket party like Mickey’s Halloween Party during the Christmas season at Disneyland. This is great news in terms of crowds, as those events tend to create pent-up demand on non-party nights and lead to surges at Disney California Adventure. So, there’s at least one positive if you’re visiting in November rather than October. (Well, two. November should have lower crowds overall than October.)
The other bit of good news if you’re visiting anytime in November outside of Thanksgiving week is that it’s still Southern California’s off-season in terms of tourism. Even though Disneyland and Disney California Adventure can be busy, it’s primarily with Californians. In other words, people who drive home from the parks and don’t need hotels. As such, off-season occupancy rates will be reflected in hotel prices.
If you check out our Current Disneyland Discounts post, you’ll see that there are some good discounts for Disneyland Hotel and Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa for November. You can also find deals on off-site hotels, too. 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 November 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. Failing that, arrive at rope drop and try to get as much done as possible before 4 p.m.
Overall, there’s a reason November is #1 on our Best and Worst Months to Visit Disneyland. Even though we’re a little apprehensive that crowds will spike beyond our predictions, our current belief is that they will be fairly manageable. That, plus perfect weather, reasonable hotel prices, and Disneyland Resort’s incredible Christmas season makes November our absolute favorite month of the year at Disneyland. Holiday entertainment plus the low crowds of one of those ‘sweet spot’ days in mid-November is pure perfection!
If you’re preparing for a Disneyland trip, check out our other planning posts, including how to save money on Disneyland tickets, our Disney packing tips, tips for booking a hotel (off-site or on-site), where to dine, and a number of other things, check out our comprehensive Disneyland Vacation Planning Guide!
If you’ve visited Disneyland during the month of November, what did you think of the experience? Did you experience Festival of the Holidays at DCA or the Christmas attraction overlays? What are your thoughts on Holiday Time at Disneyland? If you’ve visited Southern California in November, do you have any tips to add? Share any questions, tips, or additional thoughts you have in the comments!