Disneyland turns into the Most Crowded Place on Earth in December.

The month of December at the Disneyland Resort is the busiest time of the year. The holiday season is in full swing this month, drawing massive crowds and ridiculously long lines. Simply put, it doesn’t get anymore crowded than this.

It’s no secret that December isn’t the best time to go to Disneyland if you’re looking for a little breathing room. You’re not completely out of luck, though. Some days are certainly better than others this month, and if you go at the right time, a somewhat manageable experience at the parks is still possible — even in the middle of the busy holiday season.

Let’s take a closer look at what to expect at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure in December.

Expect big crowds like this around Christmas. tretzen

Here are the Best and Worst Days to Go to Disneyland in December:

Best & Worst Days Crowd Forecast
TUESDAYS (on first two weeks) Weekdays on the first two weeks of the month (earlier is better) are most manageable. Crowds tend to get worse toward Christmas
WEDNESDAYS (on first two weeks) Check Calendar for best dates
THURSDAYS (on first two weeks) Check Calendar for best dates
WEEKS BEFORE/OF CHRISTMAS The weeks before and of Christmas have some of the most crowded days of the year
DECEMBER 26-30 The days between Christmas and New Year’s are historically the busiest days of the year

Disneyland Crowd Calendar

We recommend going on weekdays early in the month for the most manageable crowds. It’s also better to go on weekends earlier in the month rather than later.

Be sure to check the Crowd Calendar for the exact best days of the week to go. Mid-week is generally most manageable.

Crowds/Attendance in December

The holiday season crowds are out in full swing in most of December, so you won’t find any “Ghost Town” days this month. Crowds are moderate to high, with the lowest attendance levels early in the month and some of the highest levels of the year on weekends and around Christmas. Here are some things to keep in mind when visiting Disneyland in December:

1.  The earlier you go in December, the better
Christmas Day gridlock at Disneyland. brilippy

Most schools don’t get out of session until the week before Christmas, so early December is traditionally the best time go. In general, the closer to Christmas, the more crowded it will be.

We recommend going during the first week of the month. It’s historically one of the last chances to enjoy a somewhat manageable experience at Disneyland during the holidays before the crowds really start to pick up.

2. Avoid the week before/of Christmas
This is how bad the crowds are after Christmas. kuabatty

The week before and of Christmas is the busiest time of the year. It’s peak holiday season, with all schools out of session and families on winter vacation. If you’re planning on visiting around then, be prepared for huge crowds and long lines. It’s not uncommon for Disneyland to reach maximum capacity this time of the year.

The days between Christmas and New Year’s Eve (December 26-30) in particular tend to be especially bad. Disneyland just about always nears or hits capacity on those days. When that happens, ticket sales are suspended and admission to the park is restricted — or even halted altogether. Yeah, it gets that bad.

If you must go anytime around Christmas, arriving to the parks early is a must (Disneyland usually reaches capacity by noon). New Year’s Eve also tends to be one of the more manageable days to go during the day.

3. Avoid Saturdays and Sundays

The best general advice about visiting Disneyland in the month of December is to go during the middle of the week. The holiday season crowds are just about always worse on the weekends, so Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Thursdays are generally your best bet. Be sure to check the Crowd Calendar for the exact dates.

Lines/Wait Times in December

Crazy long lines are the norm at Disneyland in December. Br3wst3r3

December has some of the longest lines of the year at Disneyland, so days of short waits are very rare. If you’re looking for moderate waits (around 30-40min), your best bet would be to go on weekdays during the first week of the month. The earlier you go in December, the shorter the lines tend to be. By mid-December, around 60min waits is the norm on weekdays.

Expect around 60-90min waits on most weekends this month. If you go on the days around Christmas and before New Year’s Eve, be prepared for 90-120min waits.

No matter what day you go on in December, we highly recommend arriving at Disneyland early (before park opening if you can). There will be long waits for parking, at the security lines, and just to enter the parks — so try to get there as early as you can to stay ahead of the gridlock. The lines inside the parks are just about always shorter in the morning. By noon, crowds peak and that’s when Disneyland tends to run into capacity issues in late December.

Weather in December

Rain brings out the ponchos, but keeps the big crowds away. albertoreyes

The weather in December in Southern California is on the cool side. It’s actually the coldest month of the year at Disneyland. Temperatures during the day are in the 60°s to low 70°s on average. Evenings can get a little cold, with temperatures dropping to the low 50°s at night.

Wet weather is also very possible in the month of December, but that’s a good thing! Rain just about always scares the big crowds away. So, if you’re lucky enough to see rain in the forecast around Christmas, it’s possible to enjoy an “off-season” experience during the busiest time of the year. Pray for rain!

Have you been to Disneyland in December? What was your experience like? Be sure to let us know in the comments below!

Image: brettkiger

Best & Worst Days to Go to Disneyland:

  1. How comparatively busy is Disneyland on Dec 25?

  2. It honestly varies every year. Sometimes Disneyland reaches capacity on Christmas Day, other times it’s just a little better. I’d just plan on it being very crowded around then no matter what day you go.

  3. Never go to Disneyland on the week before Christmas. It is ridiculously crowded! You won’t be able to get anything done.

  4. Go on the first two weeks of December. I would never even think about going to Disneyland around Christmas, it’s just not worth it. You won’t be able to get much done!

  5. We went on New Year’s Eve one year and it wasn’t that crowded during the day. We were able to get on all the rides no problem. California Adventure was not crowded at all too.

  6. I went Christmas Eve three yrs ago and it was dead. Hardly any lines at all! So I am surprised y’all say it is busy.

  7. Still hoping the annual pass blackouts continue to help. We had friends who went Thanksgiving weekend last year and wait times were 15 minutes. Here’s hoping because we are crazy enough to be coming Dec 26 – 31 this year.

  8. A few years ago we renewed our annual passes on December 30th. On the day you renew they grant you access even it would normally be a blackout day. We went into California Adventure, walked into ‘Cars Land’ and saw an absolute sea of humanity! Literally the entire street was people, shoulder to shoulder, with no gaps of empty space. We heard that Disneyland had reached capacity and they had stopped allowing people admittance. We immediately turned around and went home. Anyone who attends between Christmas and New Year’s is completely insane.

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