Our November 2018 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. (Last updated January 2, 2018.)
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…
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 Winterpost. 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…
We’ll start with some “instructions” for the crowd calendar. These are identical to the notes above our October Disneyland Crowd Calendar, so if you’ve already read that, skip down to the calendar itself and the notes below it, which are different for November…
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 this Disneyland crowd calendar has not yet been updated for 2018. 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 the below calendar for last year can be used as an approximation for patterns in 2018. While other sites might offer crowd calendars for specific dates months (or a year!) in advance, we’d be weary of putting too much reliance in those.
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.
We’ll start with some notes about the above crowd predictions for November. Although Disneyland has only released park hours for part of November, we can surmise what crowd trends will look like based on historical data and other information that is available.
Now, you might think that outside of Thanksgiving week, the crowds don’t look 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 2018, 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 2018 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.
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’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!