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We’re approaching big crowds at Disneyland with the addition of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and today we’re talking about how to deal with maximum crowd levels at The Disneyland Resort when it’s super packed.
Disney doesn’t release official crowd and capacity numbers but various sources put the cap at around 80,000 for Disneyland Park alone. Let’s put that into perspective for a minute. During an October visit with fall break crowds in full force, my sister waited in the FASTPASS line for Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters for 35 minutes.
She said the park was packed! When she asked a Cast Member about the crowds he gave her the inside scoop: a typical Tuesday has about 15,000 guests and that day there were 48,000 guests. 48,000 guests feels packed to a frequent park visitor and the capacity is around 80,000? Yikes!
Crowds at Disneyland Predictions
Looking into Madame Leota’s crystal ball gives us a quick glimpse into the spring break, summer and holiday crowd forecasts at Disneyland. It’s packed! See our yearly planning calendar here.
Over spring break in March and April expect large crowds during the week and on weekends. Summer is crowded but the crowds don’t all come at once (except maybe during the D23 Expo). And the two weeks during the holiday season that every school has its break is bound to push Disneyland into capacity-crowd range.
Christmas day in 2015 and the days following in 2017, Disneyland temporarily shut the gates to new visitors because the park had become too full. Days like that happen mostly in the two week window leading up to Christmas and New Years Day, or on other super packed days like the 4th of July and during 24-hour celebrations.
Crowds at Disneyland Solutions
1. Download the official Disneyland Resort app for free wait time and other awesome insights for your trip. Then check out some of our ready-to-go itineraries or book a VIP Custom Park Plan for major time-saving tricks.
2. Get up early to enjoy lower crowds at Disneyland, then retreat to your hotel bed, pool or spa during the mid-day madness. Head to the parks at rope drop to enjoy less Disneyland crowds and more rides, then take a break just as everyone else is making their way to the Resort. Typically the most crowded time of day is between 1:00 and 4:00 pm. The exception to leaving mid-day: do not leave the parks when crowds are expected to reach capacity like on Christmas Day or other peak holidays or events.
3. Accept that your pace isn’t everyone else’s pace. The sooner I realized that my husband doesn’t enjoy big crowds at Disneyland or waiting in line, the sooner we had more fun together at Disneyland. When he would rather sit on a park bench and people watch, that was cool with me. When he wanted to ride the Disneyland Railroad around the park just to relax, we rode the train together.
Slow down the pace, pick a spot to people watch or unwind while the rest of your group goes on a ride or two. Allow yourself that option.
One of my favorite spots to rest my feet in the shade is the bottom level of Hungry Bear Restaurant. It sits right on the Rivers of America and has plenty of seating during non-peak meal hours. Head all the way to the back and unwind. Here’s my view last time I stopped there.
4. Waiting in line doesn’t have to be boring. We bring this awesome R2 D2 Bop It. It fits in the palm of your hand and makes authentic Star Wars sounds to the classic Bop It game you know. Play solo or as a group. Hidden Mickey books, Mad Libs and playing cards are all things you can easily pack and play in line. For more things you can do while waiting in line, check out this post.
5. Just because you don’t like crowds at Disneyland, doesn’t mean you don’t like rides and shows. Here are a few of my favorite attractions with less wait times than most and a laid back atmosphere at Disneyland:
- The Disney Gallery (on Main Street)
- Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln (on Main Street)
- Disneyland Railroad (head to the Main Street station as the park opens to secure a return time for a seat in the coveted Lilly Belle train car)
- Enchanted Tiki Room
- Main Street Cinema
- Main Street Vehicles
- Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Jungle Cruise
- Mark Twain Riverboat
- Sailing Ship Columbia
- Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island (let the kids run around while you chill out)
- Red Car Trolley
- Animation Academy
- Sorcerer’s Workshop
- Turtle Talk with Crush
- Frozen – Live at the Hyperion
- The Bakery Tour
- The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure
6. Consider a Tour. For an additional fee, you can enjoy a variety of tours offered by the Disneyland Resort. Tours start at about $90 and go up from there, but can give you an inside look at the park’s history, special details about Walt Disney and more. Tours are a great option to see the parks in a new way and learn about all the details that makes Disneyland magical.
Get your Disneyland discount tickets from our partner, Get Away Today before heading over to Disneyland Resort.
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Crowds at Disneyland aren’t dying down any time soon—what are your favorite things to do to avoid the crowds, even when it’s super busy?
Disneyland expert who loves the beach, flip flops and pink nail polish.