Disneyland crowd calendar for 2023 to help you plan your vacation! Including tips for planning the perfect date. I must preface this post with, this is purely my opinion based on my experience over the years. There are many factors I consider including history, school calendars, holidays, blockout dates Disney has set on their Magic Key passes and special events. I’ve created a color coded calendar for each month in 2023.
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When is the best time to go to Disneyland?
I am asked this question often! Sadly, gone are the days when you could walk onto rides. There are times when it’s less busy, but Disneyland is a popular vacation destination!
Keeping that in mind there are some things that you can do to plan your visit around the crowds if your dates are flexible. But if you can’t don’t worry I have lots of tips to help you navigate the parks on a busy day!
Disney has so many events and holidays they celebrate these days. It’s important to know these time periods when planning your trip. Find out more about when each holiday season usually starts. Or when other scheduled events throughout the year like Food & Wine Festival, Grad Nites and after hours events are scheduled. If you want to know when they change the Haunted Mansion or It’s a Small World to holiday overlays that information is all found over on this post!
Here are some tips for planning dates for your vacation.
You will notice every weekend on the calendar below is red. Weekends tend to be crowded all the time no matter the time of year. People are off work, kids don’t have school and it’s most convenient. So if you can avoid the red dates, weekends and holidays that would be my suggestion. When kids are out of school you can expect the parks to be crowded! But not everyone can go during the week I realize this. And that’s why I created tips for navigating the crowds. And my number one tip, arrive at rope drop.
Tuesday and Wednesday are the best days to go with lower crowds. Keep in mind during the less crowded times you often run into shorter park hours, ride closures and less entertainment.
But really anytime you go if you have a good touring plan you will have a wonderful time, there is so much to see and do at the parks. Start your day early and use these touring plans to maximize your day at Disneyland or Disney California Adventure. If you would like a custom touring plan created by me see this post. Another way to save time is by purchasing Disney Genie+ which allows you to “skip the line” for certain attractions. Read more about Disney Genie+.
Disneyland reservations system
There’s a misconception that the reservation system at Disneyland is still around because Disney is limiting capacity. That was the case when the parks reopened but not anymore. The reservations system helps Disney plan how many employees they need for that day, how much food to order etc. The reservations system is not going anywhere get used to it. Plan ahead and use this Crowd Calendar tool to help you!
If you anticipate going at all in 2023 or 2024, I would suggest you purchase discounted tickets from Get Away Today. Tickets are good until 12/31/2024, no black out dates and the tickets are emailed immediately after purchase. This is why I use Get Away Today! Plus, you can get an additional $10 off your vacation package (tickets + hotel) when you use promo code DTG10. For 20+ hotel reviews I have personally stayed at or toured check out this post. It includes all ranges from budget hotels to 4 star hotels near Disneyland.
Crowd Calendar for 2023
Below you will find each month color coded. Here is what each color means.
- Green is GO!
- Blue is expect some crowds but not terrible
- Red is very crowded
January tends to be less crowded, but this also means hours are shorter, rides could be closed for refurbishment and entertainment is limited. For instance, fireworks are only shown on the weekend and Fantasmic! only performs on the weekends as well. Also, January 27th is the beginning of a big celebration this year, Disney100. That weekend will be very busy!
February also typically has shortened park hours, a few refurbishments and possibly less entertainment. February 20th is President’s Day and many schools have the entire week off of school.
Spring Breaks start as early as March 6 – 10 in Arizona. Then for the rest of the month and part of April schools in CA, AZ, NV, NM, TX, ID, UT, HI have spring breaks at all different times. And some even have two weeks off.
If you’re planning a Disneyland trip in May or June of 2023 you should try and avoid these days. The following dates are grad nites in 2023 at the Disneyland Resort. These days are busy in both parks even though the event takes place after hours in Disney California Adventure. Schools can opt to arrive at park opening and use park hopper tickets until the special event starts at 9 p.m! Read more about Grad Nite tips and how to navigate the parks if you’re there on a Grad Nite date.
- May 12, 14, 17, 19, 21, 24, 25, 30 and 31
- June 2, 4, 7, 9, 14 and 16
The whole month of July is busy. Summer vacations, 4th of July and kids are out of school.
In August we start to see a break in the crowds as kids go back to school and summer winds down.
September is one of my favorite times to visit the parks. Again though keep in mind there are shortened hours, some refurbishments and usually no fireworks during the week. Plus during both September and October Disney California Adventure hosts the Oogie Boogie Bash. These party dates can affect your trip because unless you have a party ticket you have to leave DCA by 6:00 p.m. We won’t know those dates until later in 2023, but you can see dates from 2022 here to give you an idea.
In October many school districts have a fall break scheduled. Most schools are off during the first or second week. But some trickle into the third week. Keep this in mind when planning an October vacation.
Usually the 2nd weekend in November is the kick off of the holiday season. And that brings the crowds back into the parks. Also many school districts have the entire week of Thanksgiving off. It’s a busy time!
The first weekend in December, on the 2nd and 3rd in 2023, is when Disneyland hosts the Candlelight Processional. The parks are very crowded for this event. Then as the month goes on and kids are let out of school you see a huge influx into the parks. It gets very crowded until kids return back to school after the New Year.
I hope you find this information useful. Another good resource to check is the Anaheim Convention Center’s calendar. When they are hosting large events that can affect the crowds at Disneyland. People will go over to Disneyland after their convention day is over.
Happy planning your magical vacation to Disneyland in 2023! I also share when new or special events are coming to the parks in my newsletter. So make sure you’re signed up so you don’t miss out on important information for planning your trip! Sign up for the newsletter, I only send emails when I need to share news or updates about Disneyland.
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