This guide to November 2023 at Disneyland offers a free crowd calendar for picking the best days to visit and avoiding the busiest ones during the start of Christmas at Disney California Adventure and Disneyland. Plus, info about weather, new attraction openings & closures, and more.
The holiday season is really a ‘tale of two seasons’ at Disneyland 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 2023 at Disneyland. This two-month seasonal event is one of the biggest draws for locals, 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 2023, as will other Christmas entertainment. 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.
There are many reasons for this, with weather playing a major role. Let’s start with a look at that…
November Weather at Disneyland
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…
Suffice to say, Disneyland crowd calendars for specific dates are no longer highly reliable due to changes in attendance trends, reservation availability for 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–or how one day of the week will compare to days around it.
As such, our crowd calendar offers the best & worst date ranges. This should be used as an approximation for patterns and how certain windows of dates compare to others around them. 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.
With that said, here are the best and worst times to visit Disneyland in November 2023…
We’ll start predictions here with high-level advice and narrow it from there. As a general matter, earlier in November is better than later in the month, with the exception of the Veterans Day long weekend.
Additionally, weekdays are all better than weekends. Saturdays and Sundays will be the two busiest days of the week despite the lower tier Magic Key passholders being blocked out.
For the most part, Mondays through Thursdays are going to be the best overall days of the week to visit in November 2023. Tuesdays and Wednesdays will be your absolute best bets, but there’s not a huge difference among Monday through Thursday.
Turning to specific dates in November 2023, the biggest red flags are Veterans Day and Thanksgiving. In the case of the former, expect November 10-12, 2023 to have elevated crowds. Veterans Day catches Disney visitors by surprise since it’s not a “high profile” holiday, but it’s always a busy one.
Thanksgiving is more obvious, and it’ll cause colossal crowds November 17-26, 2023. This is typically one of the busiest stretches of the entire year at Disneyland–one of the 5 worst weeks.
While there are some Magic Key blockouts around Thanksgiving, the higher tier of pass is not blocked out at all, and the next tier is only blocked for November 23-25, 2023. The lowest tiers are blocked out November 18-26, 2023. It’s difficult to predict the degree to which these blockouts will offset crowds.
Last year, Thanksgiving was the busiest day of the week. Normally, the Wednesday beforehand, plus the Friday and Saturday after would be busiest, followed closely by Thanksgiving Day. (We’d expect a return to that normal trend.) November 17, 2023 should also be surprisingly busy due to the lack of blockouts for lower-tier passes.
Historically, outside of Fridays through Sundays during early November (and again after Thanksgiving), November has been a fairly ‘moderate’ month in terms of crowds. The emphasis there is on “historically” and “in the past.” In terms of what will occur in November 2023, we are not entirely sure.
Last year, November was busier than normal, but that was also a different scenario as the parks weren’t operating at full capacity or efficiency. On top of that, there was pent-up demand due to Disneyland being closed the previous holiday season. All of that combined for feels like crowds that were worse than normal. Whether that trend continues for Christmas 2023 or Disneyland works to redistribute crowds remains to be seen.
In terms of new offerings that could impact crowds, the major thing is Holiday Time at Disneyland—in particular the parade, and nights when the Believe in Holiday Magic nighttime spectacular features fireworks (mostly Friday through Sunday nights, but see the official entertainment schedule to confirm).
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 Magic Keys 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 likely no hard ticket party for Christmas 2023 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 2023 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? Do you agree or disagree with our predicted November 2023 crowds at Disneyland? 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!