Our guide to September 2024 at Disneyland offers a free crowd calendar, when to visit, weather to avoid, new attraction openings & closures, plus Halloween & fall events. We also cover info & tips for what’s happening in Disney California Adventure, Disneyland, and beyond.
Good news! There are a lot of lightly crowded days this month. With schools back in session throughout the country and tourist season over, there’s a low-crowd window between Labor Day and the start of Halloween Time at Disneyland. Historically, late August through mid-September has the lowest crowd levels of the year at Disneyland.
This is flat-out one of the best times of the year to visit Disneyland Resort, and Southern California, in general. 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…
September Weather at Disneyland
Let’s start with a look at weather. September is a turning point for Southern California, although we probably shouldn’t overemphasis that. Abnormal weather aside, it’s pretty much pleasant year-round in Anaheim. For September, you can expect humidity to remain low even as high temperatures break 80º most of the month. Expect lows of around 65º early in the month, dropping to around 60º by the end of September.
As you can see by the, various graphs on this page, September in Anaheim is fairly comfortable. Humidity and precipitation is low, the hours per day that are “comfortable” is high, and other variables are favorable. Not really all that different from most of the year. This is why people pay the “Sunshine Tax” to live in California. With lows in the 60s in the evening, 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.
What’s New & NOT Open in September 2024
Disneyland hasn’t yet announced what’ll be happening in September 2024. It’s safe to say that whatever spring or summer celebration happens (and we do expect one) will end around August 31, 2024. That’s because Halloween Time at Disneyland starts in early September (around Labor Day weekend) and that’s always given the spotlight.
In terms of September 2024 attraction closures, we have what’s possibly a partial list on the 2024 Disneyland Refurbishment Calendar. Thankfully, most of the major closures will conclude at the end of August.
On big wildcard is whether Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will open by September 2024. To bring you up to speed, Splash Mountain closed last year, to be reimagined into a new ride based on The Princess and the Frog.
There have been some rumblings that the attraction will have a fast turnaround time, but the current opening ‘season’ according to Disneyland is “Late 2024.” Typically, that means October through December. Kind of a weird time to open a water ride, but whatever. If you’re looking to get your Princess and the Frog fix, Tiana’s Palace Restaurant is now open.
Next, let’s take a look at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure crowds during the month of September…
This is a trend that began prior to the opening summer of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and has continued the last two summers as post-reopening crowds have been more unpredictable. None of the crowd calendar sites can boast a strong track record for the last two years that Disneyland has been open–and that includes us. That’s the bad news. The good news is that attendance is starting to normalize and falling back into pre-closure patterns.
Aside from the long weekend around Labor Day, which is the start of Halloween Time at Disneyland, September 2024 should not be too bad. It’ll still have some spikes in crowds, particularly Friday night (the worst evening of the week to visit) and Mondays through Wednesdays. This is actually a huge change as compared to last year, when weekends were worse than weekdays.
For September 2024, we’re anticipating that weekends (after Labor Day) won’t be as busy as weekdays, with Saturdays and Sundays seldom having crowd levels above 3/10. Keep in mind that these are numerical scores based on wait times and relative to last year. Crowd levels are not in absolute terms–September 2024 will be less busy than last year, and more on par with 2019 or earlier.
This dynamic with weekdays being busier than weekends is almost entirely the result of blockouts for Magic Key Annual Passes and higher ticket prices for weekends. Disneyland’s expectation is that visitors buying regular tickets would offset those blockouts, but that often is not the case because people can save a lot of money by visiting on Monday through Thursday instead of Friday through Sunday.
Our expectation is that this trend continues for the start of Halloween season, but it remains to be seen when the tides start to turn on that trend. Disneyland diehards love Halloween and Christmas, and they may turn out in large enough numbers on Saturday and Sunday to cause a ‘reset’ to recent trends. But we doubt it. The AP blockouts and higher prices on weekends are a lot to overcome–it really looks like Disneyland overcorrected when creating the blockout calendars and ticket price points for Fall 2024.
Another thing to keep in mind is that most of the Southern California locals visiting on weekdays have jobs, so the worst of these crowds will be in the afternoon and, especially, evening hours. If you arrive at rope drop and leave by 2 p.m., your perspective on crowds will be dramatically different from someone who arrives at 4 p.m. (By contrast, more locals can arrive early on weekends.)
Regardless, post-Labor Day should see a drop-off in crowds. If you’re debating between an early or late September visit, we’d suggest early September 2024. Crowds will get gradually busier towards the end of the month.
Speaking of locals and the end of the month, another wildcard is the California resident ticket deal. Last year, this was offered until September 28, and locals scrambled to use their remaining dates on these tickets that last week. There’s often a ‘use it or lose it’ rush to take advantage of these tickets before they expire. This can mean diminished reservation availability and crowds…or not, it all depends upon the degree to which locals purchase this discounted ticket.
(The same thing always happens the week before Memorial Day, when the winter/spring offer ends. The difference is we don’t know whether another ticket deal is offered in Summer 2024 and, if so, when it’ll expire. It’s less predictable than the winter/spring sales.)
Most people aren’t ready for Halloween season in early September, which is why crowds tend to be lower earlier in the month rather than later. Nevertheless, the entirety of September 2024 is a pretty good time to visit Disneyland, all things considered.
Another thing to keep in mind is Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party. On dates when this event is held, Disney California Adventure closes early, which causes DCA to be less busy during the daytime hours and Disneyland to be busier on those same dates. As a result, we’d recommend having Park Hopper tickets and using that strategically to your advantage. Failing that, your best bet is doing Disneyland on days when Oogie Boogie Bash is not being held at DCA.
Still, very few days during September are truly a bad time to visit.
If we had to assign numerical scores, average days during the first half of September would be around 2/10 to 3/10, whereas the second half of the month would be 4/10 to 5/10. For now, we’d recommend avoiding Mondays and trying to visit on Fridays through Sundays, with the big caveat that it’s important to arrive early. Locals are late arrivers, so use that to your advantage!
Speaking of tickets, dynamic ticket prices are at “value” or “regular” prices for most of September because school has gone back into session and out of state tourism slows. Likewise, Annual Passholder blockouts are minimal. Even these factors are not enough to cause a precipitous spike in attendance, though.
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. Barring an aggressive (and unprecedented for this time of year) ticket promotion or the unveiling of some special, big draw, attendance in September will be fairly light.
In addition to fall being Disneyland’s off-season, it’s also very much Southern California’s off-season. This will be reflected in hotel prices. If you’re checking in after Labor Day, you can expect some of the lowest hotel rates of the year. At some hotels, you can reasonably expect prices that are about half of what they would be during peak season (or even during the Disneyland Half Marathon).
The downside of this is shorter operating hours during the weekdays in September. Outside of weekends, you can expect regular closings of 10 p.m. or earlier. While the earlier closing time might be a bummer, you will easily encounter 2 hours less in terms of lines during the course of the day.
If you’re looking to stay on-site, there’s usually a Fall Resort Deal for Disneyland. Last year, this offered up to 25% off stays at the Hotels of the Disneyland Resort—valid through September 30.
Overall, there’s a reason September ranks highly on our Best and Worst Months to Visit Disneyland. To be perfectly honest, it could be #1 if not for our bias towards Christmas, and preference for November’s weather. Weekday visits are a pure joy during September, and the parks are a veritable ghost town on many of these days.
Halloween Time causes a spike, and Mickey’s Halloween Party throws a monkey wrench into things, but not to nearly the same degree as October, when everyone starts actually caring about Halloween. If you can’t get bring yourself to get excited about Halloween in early September, get excited by the crowds that will come with experiencing the season early.
If you’ve visited Disneyland during the month of September, what did you think of the experience? Did you find the crowd levels to be manageable? What about the weather? What about crowds during Halloween Time at Disneyland? Are you participating in the Disneyland Half Marathon? If you’ve visited in September, do you have any tips to add? Share any questions, tips, or additional thoughts you have in the comments!