Our October 2020 Disneyland preview offers a free crowd calendar for choosing the best and worst days to visit during Halloween season at Disney California Adventure and Disneyland. The bad news is that October is a really crowded month.
The big draw for October is Halloween, which you can read about in our Guide to Halloween Time at Disneyland. This annual fall event is one of the big reasons crowds have spiked during the month of October in recent years.
With new Halloween decorations and attraction overlays in Disney California, crowds should be (slightly) better distributed between the two parks, but both will still be busy. These new Nightmare Before Christmas decorations and Cars Land overlays will also draw more people to the parks. Locals and tourists alike love the Halloween season at Disneyland Resort…
Steadily improving weather also plays a role, as October is a really pleasant month, with little fairly comfortable temperatures and not much precipitation. While it’s pretty much pleasant year-round in Anaheim, October is one of the “sweet spot” months when (generally speaking) it’s not too hot during the middle of the day and not too chilly at night.
For October, you can expect humidity to remain low even as high temperatures rarely top 80º most of the month. Low temperatures are likewise comfortable, starting at around 60º early in the month, dropping to around 55º by the end of October. This means daytime temperatures that are in the 70s, which is pretty much ideal.
Due to the drop in temperatures once the sun goes down, we recommend packing a light sweater or a long sleeve shirt. Most people overlook this, assuming California equals sunshine and palm trees, but the nights can get chilly.
Next, let’s take a look at the Disneyland and Disney California Adventure crowd calendar for the month of October…
IMPORTANT NOTE: October 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 October 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 October 2020 Disneyland crowd calendar for more comprehensive predictions. For now, here are some preliminary thoughts…
For October, there are two things you should expect: heavy crowds and the unexpected. Let’s first discuss the heavy crowds. As mentioned, this might be a surprise to anyone who has not visited Disneyland the last few Octobers. The month used to be relatively quiet, aside from weekends leading up to Halloween.
That is no longer the case. Due to the Halloween Party and an abundance of Value Season pricing for 1-day park tickets, fall breaks for schools in the West, typically pleasant weather, and the growing popularity of the Halloween Time at Disneyland seasonal overlays, October is now one of the busiest months of the year in terms of sustained crowds at Disneyland. No, you won’t see any dates as bad as New Year’s Eve or Easter week in October, but generally speaking, the entire month is busier.
Then there’s the unpredictability. Things like Gay Days, Nevada Day, Columbus Day, and more cause spikes to crowds. Other fall breaks in school districts in the region cause similar swells in attendance. Mickey’s Halloween Party does not help, either.
The good news is that Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party will return for 2020. This event at Disney California Adventure replaced Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland as the resort’s annual Halloween Party. Moving across the Esplanade to DCA has made crowds more predictable and eases the burden on Disneyland. Event attendees may not like it being in DCA, but everyone else benefits tremendously.
Nevertheless, because of fluctuating attendance trends during the day, we highly recommend getting Park Hopper tickets and starting your day out at Disney California Adventure on Oogie Boogie Bash party nights before hopping over to Disneyland in the evening. Crowds will be lower in the morning at DCA on party dates, so you’ll really benefit there.
Beyond that, you have some of the normal trends. Friday night during Halloween 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, Wednesdays, and Thursdays are going to be the best overall days of any week to visit.
Even though Disneyland and Disney California Adventure have been packed the last two Octobers, dynamic prices for 1-day tickets are at “value” or “regular” prices for most of October. Likewise, Annual Passholder blockouts are minimal.
Honestly, neither of these things make a whole lot of sense, and are likely exacerbating the problem of higher crowds in October. It’s as if Disneyland itself has not caught up to shifting visitation trends, and is basing its pricing and AP blockouts for October on crowd patterns from a few years ago.
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.
In terms of attractions, the big draws for October will be all things Halloween. In Cars Land at Disney California Adventure, Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree becomes Mater’s Graveyard JamBOOree and Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters transforms into Luigi’s Honkin’ Haul-O-Ween. This will be the first year for each of these overlays, and we expect them to be popular even if they are basic.
Overall, there’s a reason October is #9 on our Best and Worst Months to Visit Disneyland (despite September being #2!). It’s all about the crowds. The weather is perfect, the Halloween seasonal entertainment is exceptional, and hotel prices are attractive. If we were making this crowd calendar ~5 years ago, a good case could be made for putting October #1. For a variety of reasons, that has changed, and high/unpredictable crowds are a huge reason why. You can still have a great time at Disneyland in October, but just have reasonable expectations and a good plan. October is most definitely not off-season at Disneyland.
If you’ve visited Disneyland during the month of October, what did you think of the experience? Did you visit in the last two years, or before in the “good ole days” when October was not as busy? What are your thoughts on Halloween Time at Disneyland? If you’ve visited in October, do you have any tips to add? Share any questions, tips, or additional thoughts you have in the comments!