September 2021 Disneyland Crowd Calendar

Our guide to September 2021 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.

Next, let’s take a look at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure crowds during the month of September…

September 2021 Disneyland Crowd Calendar

We’ll preface this section by referring you to all of the caveats in our main 2021-2022 Disneyland Crowd Calendars: Best Times to Visit & When to Avoid. That goes into extensive detail about why Disneyland crowd calendars are currently unreliable, which is why there’s no color-coded calendar or numerical scores for each day of the month here.

In a nutshell, this is due to two things. First, the post-reopening roller coaster as Americans oscillate between travel trepidations and pent-up demand. That’s largely driven by health mandates and case numbers in California and beyond; as the situation improves or worsens, so too does travel volume and, by extension, visitors to Disneyland and DCA.

Second, and more notably, Disneyland just launched the Magic Key program, which is its replacement for Annual Passes. Magic Keys already have dramatically changed the crowd dynamic at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure during that time. Thus far, it has made weekends significantly busier, driven largely by pent-up demand among Disneyland diehards who have been waiting for the return of APs.

It’s unclear how this will continue to play out. Pent-up demand among locals could fizzle out, but that could be offset by more people purchasing Magic Keys. If you’re planning a last minute visit, consult Disneyland’s Magic Key Access Calendar. This shows blockout dates and reservation availability all in one handy location. Similarly, there’s the Disneyland Theme Park Reservation Calendar for single and multiple-day tickets.

With that said, here are the best and worst times to visit Disneyland in September 2021…

Aside from the long weekend around Labor Day, which is the start of Halloween Time at Disneyland, September 2021 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 Saturdays and Sundays.

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 2021 is a pretty good time to visit Disneyland, all things considered. (And so long as you avoid weekends.)

For the most part, Mondays through Thursdays should be quite light. Typically, the best two days of the week will be Mondays and Wednesdays. This is because Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party is held other nights, including Tuesdays and Thursdays. This induces demand and causes a slight spike during both daytime and evening hours.

Still, no weekday during September is a bad time to visit–Mondays and Wednesdays are just the best of the best.

By contrast, Saturdays and Sundays will be bad. This is when locals are off work and newly-minted Magic Key passholders are most likely to visit. If we had to assign numerical scores, average weekdays would be around 3/10 in September, whereas weekends would be 8/10. We’ve visited several times on weekdays and weekends in September 2021, and the contrast is quite pronounced.

As a result of a drop off in tourist attendance, dynamic ticket prices are at “value” or “regular” prices for most of September. Likewise, Annual Passholder blockouts are minimal after the Disneyland Half Marathon weekend. Even these factors are not enough to cause a precipitous spike in attendance.

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.

As of right now, there are no special offers for Disneyland Resort on-site hotels for September. Don’t be surprised if something is released in late July or August, though. It’ll probably be meager–in the 15% to 20% range, but something is better than nothing if staying on-site is a must.

Keep in mind that “low crowds” for 2021 are still nothing compared to what “low crowds” were at Disneyland even a few years ago (it’s all relative!), so we recommend an efficient itinerary for touring Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. Failing that, arriving at rope drop is an excellent strategy this time of year. With few tourists in town, you can get more done the first 2 hours the parks are open than the last 4 hours they are open.

Overall, there’s a reason September is #2 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’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!

YOUR THOUGHTS

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!

40 Responses to “September 2021 Disneyland Crowd Calendar”
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