June 15, 2024

October 2023 Disneyland Crowd Calendar

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This guide to October 2023 at Disneyland features a free crowd calendar for choosing best & worst days to visit during Halloween season, weather, new attraction openings & closures, and more. We also cover info

This guide to October 2023 at Disneyland features a free crowd calendar for choosing best & worst days to visit during Halloween season, weather, new attraction openings & closures, and more. We also cover info & tips for what’s happening in Disney California Adventure, Disneyland, and beyond. (Updated September 27, 2023.)

The bad news is that October is a really crowded month. In fact, if you take the average wait times over the course of the entire month, it’s likely that October 2023 will be the worst month of the entire year. For those keeping score at home, that was actually not the case last year–October fell just short of June and was tied with April. However, we’re expecting heavier crowds in Fall 2023, and this summer was comparatively slow.

The big draw for October is Halloween, which you can read about in our Guide to Halloween Time at Disneyland. This annual fall event is one of the big reasons crowds have spiked during the month of October in recent years. In addition to the popularity of everything that’s included with admission, there’s also Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party, which is a hard ticket event that causes DCA to close early several nights per week. That disrupts attendance dynamics, displacing guests and leading to larger crowds in Disneyland and DCA on different days. But more on that in a bit…

The good news is that Disney California Adventure is now a much bigger draw for Halloween season thanks to attraction overlays in Cars Land’s Haul-O-Ween and Guardians of the Galaxy – Monsters After Dark. Thanks to those offerings, crowds should be better distributed between the two parks on normal days, but both will still be busy.

In general, all of the seasonal attraction overlays, decorations, and special events draw more people to the parks during Halloween Time at Disneyland Resort. Locals and tourists alike love spook season at Disney California Adventure and Disneyland…

October Weather at Disneyland

Steadily improving weather also plays a role, as October is a really pleasant month, with little fairly comfortable temperatures and not much precipitation. While it’s pretty much pleasant year-round in Anaheim, October is one of the “sweet spot” months when (generally speaking) it’s not too hot during the middle of the day and not too chilly at night.

For October, you can expect humidity to remain low even as high temperatures rarely top 80º most of the month. Low temperatures are likewise comfortable, starting at around 60º early in the month, dropping to around 55º by the end of October. This means daytime temperatures that are in the 70s, which is pretty much ideal.

Due to the drop in temperatures once the sun goes down, 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 October 2023

There are a couple of additions you’ll be able to catch in October 2023. The first is the reimagined Toontown, which includes a bunch of interactive stuff for kids, as well as the new Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway ride. If you’ve overlooked Toontown in the past as being a land for small children, you definitely won’t want to do that now.

At Disney California Adventure, San Fransokyo Square is now fully-finished. This Big Hero 6 inspired land is a reimagining of Pacific Wharf, which is essentially a food court. The full land including Baymax meet & greet, retail, and all dining has now debuted.

On a negative note, Rogers: The Musical has now finished its seasonal run in the Hyperion Theater. This Marvel-inspired stage show was pretty popular, but was only scheduled for a few months over summer, and wrapped up prior to the start of Halloween. Our guess is that it’ll return in 2024…either to Disney California Adventure or (maybe?) Disney Cruise Line.

In terms of October 2023 attraction closures, we have what’s possibly a partial list on the 2023 Disneyland Refurbishment Calendar. Thankfully, most of the major closures concluded at the end of August–but there are still a few major ones in October 2023. The most noteworthy is Space Mountain, which will be down most of the month.

The other is “it’s a small world,” which closes to add its holiday overlay towards the end of October–right as Space Mountain reopens. Other than that, it’s mostly minor transportation-type attractions that’ll be closed for portions of October.

However, there are also a couple of very significant closures that are not just isolated to October. First, Disneyland has officially paused Fantasmic until at least Spring 2024 and teased that alternative entertainment is on the way. What that entails, and the changes that might be in store for a reimagined Fantasmic, is unknown.

Second, Splash Mountain is now officially and permanently closed to be reimagined into a new ride based on The Princess and the Frog. There are already visible signs of the transformation into Tiana’s Bayou Adventure.

If you’re looking to get your Princess and the Frog fix, Tiana’s Palace Restaurant is now open in New Orleans Square. If you want to dine here–and we highly recommend it as the cuisine is fantastic–you’ll want to book a Mobile Order slot first thing in the morning. They can fill up for the entire day pretty quickly, and the walk-up line is often quite long!

Of course, there are also the seasonal additions for Halloween. In Cars Land at Disney California Adventure, Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree becomes Mater’s Graveyard JamBOOree and Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters transforms into Luigi’s Honkin’ Haul-O-Ween. Over in Avengers Campus, there’s Guardians of the Galaxy – Monsters After Dark!

Next, let’s take a look at the Disneyland and Disney California Adventure crowd calendar for the month of October…

October 2023 DISNEYLAND CROWD CALENDAR

Before consulting this or any crowd calendars for Disneyland, it’s worth reading our main 2023 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.

Even only a few days out, there’s some uncertainty about October 2023 crowds at Disneyland. The degree to which pent-up demand persists, along with staffing shortages, entertainment cutbacks, and park reservation availability (or lack thereof) will all significantly impact attendance and wait times in October 2023.

It’s unclear how this will continue to play out. For much of the summer, pent-up demand among locals and tourists has been fizzling out, so the natural and logical conclusion would be that this trend would continue or even be accelerated. After all, there should be less pent-up demand over time–that’s the nature of pent-up demand! However, we actually think the opposite will be true, and there will be a bit of a bounce for Halloween and the holidays, as there’s still ‘localized’ pent-up demand for those seasonal offerings.

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. (Those are unreliable on short notice–dates only fill up a couple weeks in advance, at most.)

With that said, here are the best and worst times to visit Disneyland in October 2023…

For October 2023, there are two things you should expect: heavy crowds and the unexpected. Let’s first discuss the heavy crowds. As mentioned, this might be a surprise to anyone who has not visited Disneyland the last few Octobers. The month used to be relatively quiet, aside from weekends leading up to Halloween.

That is no longer the case. Due to Oogie Boogie Bash and fall breaks for schools in the West (Utah and Nevada in addition to California), typically pleasant weather, and the growing popularity of the Halloween Time at Disneyland seasonal overlays, October is now one of the busier months of the year in terms of sustained crowds at Disneyland.

No, you won’t see any dates as bad as New Year’s Eve or Easter week in October 2023, but generally speaking, the entire month is busier. Holidays like Nevada Day, Columbus Day, and more cause spikes to crowds. Other fall breaks in school districts in the region cause similar swells in attendance.

As a general rule, crowds get progressively worse throughout October. Earlier in the month is better than later in the month, and weekdays are usually better than weekends. However, it is worth noting that sometimes even weekday crowds unexpectedly spike–but usually there’s a reason (fall break!) for this.

Oogie Boogie Bash — A Disney Halloween Party does not help either, as it artificially manipulates attendance patterns. This event at Disney California Adventure replaced Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland as the resort’s annual Halloween event several years ago. Moving across the Esplanade to DCA has made crowds more predictable and eases the burden on Disneyland.

Nevertheless, because of fluctuating attendance trends during the day, we highly recommend getting Park Hopper tickets and starting your day out at Disney California Adventure on Oogie Boogie Bash party nights before hopping over to Disneyland in the evening. Crowds will be lower in the morning at DCA on party dates, so you’ll really benefit there.

Beyond that, you have some of the normal trends. Friday night during Halloween season is the worst evening of the week to visit. Saturdays and Sundays will be the two busiest days of the week despite the lower tier Magic Key passholders being blocked out. The weekends being busier is actually the opposite of what’s been happening for most of 2023.

Our expectation is that Wednesdays and Thursdays followed by Tuesdays will be the best overall full days of the week to visit in October 2023. Other times we like are Friday mornings and Sunday evenings. Monday has been busy all year long, and we don’t expect that to change in October 2023.

Again, despite year-to-date trends suggesting otherwise, we expect Saturdays and Sundays to be busy in October. Since Halloween Screams includes fireworks on Friday nights, that’s also worse, but the lack of included parking in most Magic Keys means many locals no longer show up after work for only a few hours.

When it comes to specific dates to avoid, there are a couple of big red flags. First and most obvious: holiday weekends. This means the long weekend around Columbus Day or Indigenous Peoples’ Day (October 6-9, 2023) and Halloween weekend (October 27-29, 2023) should be avoided if at all possible.

Second, school breaks. We haven’t gone county by county to look at when major districts are on break, but the most common time frames in the past have been around the Columbus Day long weekend and the following Friday through Monday. That would also mean that, in all likelihood, many Southern California schools will be out of session October 13-16, 2023.

Last year, many other West Coast (Utah especially) school districts had a break that same weekend, but it appears many will move to October 19-20, 2023. Regardless, that week should be particularly bad with fall breaks bookending it. Nevada Day on October 27, 2023 will result in another long weekend coinciding with Halloween. If at all possible, avoid these dates.

You might notice that this is most of October 2023–every single weekend. You would be correct. Our expectation is that, due to fall breaks and holiday weekends, all of the aforementioned dates end up being at least 8/10 on the crowd calendar, if not higher. Weekdays could be a bit lower, with 6/10 and 7/10 days throughout the month.

Disneyland has not had a single 9/10 or 10/10 day since Easter. Expect that to change in October 2023, as several dates once again hit the highest of highs on the crowd calendar. Also keep in mind that crowd levels are based upon wait times (an objective measure) as opposed to in-park congestion (subjective and impossible to measure). In our experience, congestion tends to be worse around the Halloween and holiday seasons because a lot of locals visit the parks for atmosphere instead of rides. So expect even worse ‘feels like’ conditions than wait times suggest.

If you’re looking for lower (relative term) crowds, your best bet is really October 1-5, 2023. Even that will not be uncrowded, it’ll just be less crowded than the dates that follow. If you absolutely must visit in October, the last full week is the other best option. Statistically speaking, last year the first week was 6/10 and the last week was 7/10. We were in the parks during both of those time frames, and our assessment would be that the ‘feels like’ crowds were way worse, even if wait times were in the 6/10 to 7/10 range.

The bottom line is that if you’re concerned about low crowd levels, October 2023 is the wrong month to visit. If you can delay your visit until the first week of November 2023–before the Christmas season officially gets underway–you’ll be rewarded with significantly lower attendance and wait times.

In terms of new offerings that could impact crowds, the major thing is Halloween Time at Disneyland–in particular Oogie Boogie Bash and nights when Halloween Screams features fireworks (mostly Friday through Sunday nights, but see the official entertainment schedule to confirm).

Due to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure being absolutely packed the last few Octobers, date-based prices for tickets have absolutely skyrocketed for October 2023. Every single date now has 1-day ticket prices costing either $169 or $179. To put that into perspective, single-day prices were $104 for most weekdays in September and once again fall back to $104 on November 1, 2023.

Keep in mind that ticket prices are based on demand forecasts, meaning that those $104 days are when Disneyland expects the lowest crowds. Opposite goes for those $169 and $179 dates. Those are when Disneyland anticipates the worst crowds of the entire year. On average, October 2023 has the highest ticket prices of the year–and other $179 dates include the weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas!

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.

The one bit of good news in all of this is that October is still Southern California’s off-season in terms of tourism. Even though the parks are busy, the hotels often are not (outside of fall breaks–which are bonkers!). Off-season occupancy rates will be reflected in hotel prices. Check out discounted hotel + ticket vacation packages on Get Away Today to save money on off-site hotels.

Given the likelihood of high-to-insane crowds for pretty much the entire month of October, we recommend an efficient itinerary for touring Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. Another great option is the Park Hopper ticket. We always recommend these, but even more so than normal in October due to Mickey’s Halloween Party. Failing that, arrive at rope drop and try to get as much done as possible before 4 p.m.

Overall, there’s a reason October 2023 is #9 on our Best and Worst Months to Visit Disneyland in 2023 (despite September being #2!). It’s all about the crowds. The weather is perfect, the Halloween seasonal entertainment is exceptional, and hotel prices are attractive. If we were making this crowd calendar ~5 years ago, a good case could be made for putting October #1.

For a variety of reasons, that has changed, and high/unpredictable crowds are a huge reason why. You can still have a great time at Disneyland in October, but just have reasonable expectations and a good plan. October 2023 is most definitely not off-season at Disneyland. Quite the opposite, in fact, as pretty much the entire month is now peak season, or close to it.

Planning a Southern California vacation? For park admission deals, read Tips for Saving Money on Disneyland Tickets. Learn about on-site and off-site hotels in our Anaheim Hotel Reviews & Rankings. For where to eat, check out our Disneyland Restaurant Reviews. For unique ideas of things that’ll improve your trip, check out What to Pack for Disney. For comprehensive advice, consult our Disneyland Vacation Planning Guide. Finally, for guides beyond Disney, check out our Southern California Itineraries for day trips to Los Angeles, Laguna Beach, and many other SoCal cities!

YOUR THOUGHTS

If you’ve visited Disneyland during the month of October, what did you think of the experience? Did you visit in the last two years, or before in the “good ole days” when October was not as busy? What are your thoughts on Halloween Time at Disneyland? If you’ve visited in October, do you have any tips to add? Share any questions, tips, or additional thoughts you have in the comments!

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