Disneyland fans are finding themselves waiting in an even longer line for a ride on Space Mountain. New attractions and promotions are attracting bigger crowds to the “Happiest Place on Earth,” and the park is now bracing for higher wait times as the summer season approaches.
Park-goers at Disneyland are certainly no stranger to long lines, but wait times for popular attractions have surged in recent days thanks to a spike in attendance from big Spring Break season crowds. Last week, the average wait time at the park climbed to as high as 45 minutes — crowded enough to earn a “Forget About It” rating on the Disneyland Crowd Tracker. Park favorites like Space Mountain and Indiana Jones Adventure averaged at least 90-minute waits throughout the day. As usual, Star Wars attractions commanded the longest wait times at the Disneyland Resort, with the lines for Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run and Rise of the Resistance pushing two hours at times.
Guests over at Disney California Adventure didn’t find any relief from the Spring Break-induced lines either — the average wait there stretched to 55 minutes on most afternoons.
“We always go to Disneyland around the first week of April and it feels like it’s as crowded as ever,” longtime Disneyland fan Susan Choi told us, who visited Disneyland from Utah on Monday. “It seems like the lines are crazy long now and move way slower compared to our past trips,” she said.
It’s not unusual for Disneyland to see bigger crowds this time of the year. Out-of-session schools for Spring Break traditionally boost attendance in much of March and April from the lows of the “off-season” early in the year. Weekdays through mid-April are expected to be some of the most crowded days to visit the parks this season, but attendance is anticipated to calm down toward the end of the month, according to the Disneyland Crowd Calendar. Still, a combination of new offerings, events, and promotions could make lines even longer heading into the summer.
It’s not just seasonal attendance that’s fueling the longer lines. New attractions, shows, and an anniversary event are drawing more crowds to the parks, too. Mickey’s Toontown reopened at Disneyland last month, part of the resort’s Disney100 Celebration event. The reimagined land, which features a brand new ride — Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway — is proving to be a hit with fans. Attractions at Toontown now have some of the longest wait times at Disneyland, routinely climbing over 60 minutes long.
Park officials are also counting on the debuts of nighttime shows, a new fireworks spectacular at Disneyland and a refreshed World of Color at California Adventure, to keep the crowds coming as the Disney100 event heads into the summer season.
If new park offerings aren’t enough to entice more crowds, Disneyland is hoping cheaper tickets will. A popular ticket promotion for locals is also driving the park’s attendance numbers higher. The Southern California Resident Weekday Ticket offer has been going on since January, pricing park admission at $73/day for a 3-day, 1-park per day ticket. The deal has lifted attendance on weekdays during what’s normally the “off-season,” but has also made peak times like Spring Break even more crowded.
There is a positive side effect of the ticket promotion: more manageable weekends. Since the ticket deal is only valid on Monday-Friday, lines are sometimes shorter on Saturdays and Sundays as higher-priced admission and annual pass blockouts keep the big crowds away. This past weekend, wait times for high-demand attractions at Disneyland were as much as 50 percent shorter compared to during the week.
The special ticket promotion is set to end on May 25, but Disneyland typically offers a new deal for the summer season.
Disneyland isn’t the only theme park seeing an uptick in attendance. The Spring Break season is driving many locals and vacationers out to theme parks, and it could be a preview of things to come this summer. Visitors at nearby Knott’s Berry Farm are dealing with much longer lines for their favorite rides, waiting upwards of two hours. Thrill-seekers at Six Flags Magic Mountain are standing in line for 50 minutes on average. Universal Studios Hollywood is also drawing massive crowds of its own following the opening of Super Nintendo World, sending the average wait time there to a whopping 70 minutes last week.
Weeee crowded Knotts today! pic.twitter.com/D3w5HoCckr
— Sammyland (@Sammyland6) April 3, 2023
If you’re planning on visiting Disneyland soon, here are some tips to help you get the most out of your trip:
1. Go on weekends
Unlike other theme parks, Saturdays and Sundays are often the best days of the week to visit Disneyland since discounted local tickets and many annual passes aren’t valid on weekends. Check the Disneyland Crowd Calendar first to make sure, though.
2. Get there early… or stay late
Take advantage of the shorter lines in the morning (before 11:00am), especially for the popular rides. Crowds at Disneyland tend to peak at around noon before settling down at around 3:00pm. The evening (after 6:00pm) is when you’ll typically start to see shorter waits, but the lines for the most popular attractions usually don’t drop until after 10:00pm at night.
3. Genie+ is a must sometimes
The line-cutting Genie+ service is simply a lifesaver on crowded days. Dropping more money on an already pricey Disneyland trip is certainly not ideal, but for those days when line after line is well over an hour, Genie+ is worth the extra cash. We recommend splurging on the service on “Yup, It’s Packed” and “Forget About It” days on the Disneyland Crowd Calendar.
Are you planning on visiting Disneyland soon? Have you been to the parks recently? What were the crowds and lines like? Be sure to let us know in the comments below!