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Disneyland Resort
Are Disney Crowd Calendars Accurate?
March 13, 2024

UPDATED MARCH 2024: Are Disneyland crowd calendars accurate? We're going to look at what factors go into creating crowd calendars to help you decide for yourself.

Many of the most frequently asked questions we get about Disneyland are based on when the best time to go to Disneyland is. When is it the least crowded? Will it be busy on such and such weekend? When is spring break? When is fall break? To answer these questions many people turn to a Disney crowd calendar. But are they accurate? It's a great question!

Are Disneyland Crowd Calendars Accurate?

A few years ago Disney crowd calendars were all the rage. You would simply pick a general time of year you wanted to go to Disneyland, consult a Disney crowd calendar quickly and book your dates for when the crowds were lowest.

But over the last couple of years, Disneyland Crowd Calendars have not seemed to be as reliable. We have some ideas as to why. First, we're going to look at a few of the factors that go into creating a Disney crowd calendar and why they may or may not be accurate.

For an overview of crowd expectations at Disneyland this year keep reading.

Disney Crowd Calendars - School Breaks

School breaks are one of the more obvious factors that are considered when making crowd calendars. But, it's important to remember that there are so many variables when it comes to school breaks.

School districts within the same states don't even have the same spring and fall breaks. Consider that more school districts are going to rotating year-round schedules, home school popularity is increasing and many charter schools may or may not follow a traditional school break schedule as well.

Remember, just because your kids are having their school break doesn't mean that everyone else is. The reverse is also true. Just because your kids are in school doesn't mean that everyone else is in session.

Disney Crowd Calendars - Special Events

One thing that has affected the reliability of Disney crowd calendars is Disneyland special events. Because Disney crowd calendars tend to go off past data, when Disney announces a new event or changes the dates of an existing special event, it shifts crowds.

Over the last few years, the Disneyland Resort has added a number of seasonal events so that there's almost never a "down" time in the parks. In the past, many of these celebrations and events were announced shortly before they began, which made it impossible to add into current crowd calendars.

But in 2024 Disneyland Resort has already announced many special and seasonal events: …and more!

When you look at this list, you can easily see that there is so much going on at the Resort. More offerings bring more people. Because the seasonal offerings have been expanded, it makes current and future crowds difficult to predict.

Additionally, some things were unprecedented like when Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge opened in 2019, we expected completely unpredictable crowd patterns. As the single largest expansion to Disneyland ever, Galaxy's Edge crowds certainly surprised us.

When we visited the new Star Wars Land for ourselves on opening weekend, we noted unprecedented LOW crowds compared to what we expected. While we're not exactly sure why crowds were so unpredictable in 2019, we feel that many guests were waiting to visit until Rise of the Resistance, the E-ticket attraction for Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, opened in early 2020.

Disney Crowd Calendars - Magic Key Calendars

Another factor that is used to make Disney crowd calendars is the blockout dates for different types of Magic Key Passholders. This is unpredictable as well. There are blockout dates depending on which type of pass and passholders are also limited to holding a number of reservations at one time.

So, just because a date or day of the week was blocked out last year, does not mean it will be the same this year or next year. Or even next month for that matter!

Disney Crowd Calendars - Conventions

Conventions are another impacting factor for crowds at Disneyland. Each year there are a few major conventions at the Anaheim Convention Center that greatly affect crowds at the Disneyland Resort.

For example, January used to typically be a slower time of year for Disneyland, but guests were always surprised when they tried to visit in late January if their dates fell over the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Convention. That convention alone brings approximately 100,000 attendees. Imagine how many of them are also going to Disneyland!

Also, many cheer and sports competitions happen in the spring in Anaheim. These events are typically included in crowd calendars, but if families choose to turn these competition trips into family vacations, they can also skew the numbers.

Disney Crowd Calendars - New Attractions/Lands

While it's no surprise that the opening of a new ride or land at Disneyland will increase crowd levels at Disneyland, sometimes the dates can be a surprise. For many years it was uncommon for a new land or attraction to be opened regularly.

However, over the last few years, there seems to have been at least one new ride, major show or even a land open annually. But that doesn't always make things predictable when forecasting crowds. For example, in 2017, Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: BREAKOUT! opened for Memorial Day weekend. However, in 2019, Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge opened on May 31, 2019, surprising everyone who thought it wouldn't debut until late summer or fall.

Should I use a Disney Crowd Calendar?

Now that we've covered what goes into creating Disney crowd calendars and why they may not be as accurate as they have been in the past, let's talk about the value of crowd calendars. You may be asking why you would even want to use a crowd calendar in your planning. With all of the above said, we still think there is value in Disney crowd calendars.

As long as you remember that crowd predictions are not a hard science and guaranteed to be accurate, you can use them to your advantage.

For example, if you are looking at one week over another week in a month, you can get an idea of which week or month may potentially be less busy than another by using a crowd calendar. One thing to keep in mind when checking crowd calendars is to recheck those same calendars. As events get announced, crowd calendars get updated to try to keep up.

One way to check how accurate a Disneyland crowd calendar is by checking hotel rates for your desired travel dates. When hotels near Disneyland have higher rates, it is usually because they expect more guests for those dates. So, the higher a hotel room rate, the more crowded Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park may be.

Also, if there is bad weather that suddenly pops up on your Disneyland vacation, a crowd calendar may not have time to make adjustments. Therefore, the change in expected crowds is not noted when in reality many locals will forgo their planned visit and avoid Disneyland in the rain. That can be a big benefit for someone visiting Disneyland from out of town, because that person will not be canceling their vacation simply because of rain.

Whether or not you use a Disneyland crowd calendar, we always recommend having as many days in the Disneyland Resort as possible. With our Extra Day Free tickets, you can get 5-day Park Hopper or 5-day 1-Park per Day Tickets for the price of just four days! That means you will have five whole days to visit the parks, giving you more flexibility in the event the weather or the crowds influence your original plans.
Overall, even with inconsistencies, we still think using a Disney crowd calendar can be a useful planning tool. With that said, we also think it's wise to prepare for any crowd level. No matter the time of year you travel, a trip to Disneyland can be absolutely magical with the right attitude and proper planning.

If you do find yourself at Disneyland on a day that is more crowded than you expected, here are some tips for making the most of it: When you're ready to book your Disneyland vacation, no matter which Disney crowd calendar you use, we're here to help. Our Disneyland vacation packages ensure you are getting the best value on hotels near Disneyland and Disneyland tickets. You can find our packages online, or you can call any of our Disney experts at 855-GET-AWAY.

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