Our September 2020 Disneyland preview offers a free crowd calendar for choosing the best days to visit, and–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, this window between Labor Day and Halloween 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.
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…
Important Note: September 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 September 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 September 2020 Disneyland crowd calendar for more comprehensive predictions. For now, here are some preliminary thoughts…
Aside from the long weekend around Labor Day (September 7, 2020) which is likely the start of Halloween Time at Disneyland, September 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. For the most part, Mondays through Thursdays, particularly daytime hours, should be quite light.
An announcement of Halloween Time at Disneyland offerings should be coming in a few months. Even in the absence of that, we have a pretty good idea of what to expect. As indicate in our Guide to Halloween Time at Disneyland, the Halloween season will begin in mid-September (likely September 4, 2020). Most people aren’t ready for Halloween season that early, but Disneyland fans love new stuff, so expect a spike in crowds Friday evening and Saturday as a result.
It’s also likely that the first Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party will occur earlier in 2020, but still not until around mid-September. Thankfully (from a crowd calendar perspective, at least) Disneyland Resort’s annual Halloween Party has been moved over to DCA, which makes crowds more predictable and eases the burden on Disneyland.
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.
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’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!