There’s a mid-October storm brewing at Disneyland, and it’s not related to the weather!
While October at Disneyland might be considered “low-crowd” season by some, I’m actually concerned about the potential crowds next week, with something of a “perfect storm” set to peak on Friday, October 15th.
To see why I’m concerned, consider the following:
- Columbus Day is Monday, October 11th.
- Canadian Thanksgiving is also observed on Monday, October 11th. While perhaps not a huge factor, I’m expecting Canadians out of school to add to the crowds next week.
- Some school districts in Arizona are out on “Fall Break” next week. With the state’s close proximity to California, this has the potential to add to the crowds.
- The Utah Education Association (UEA) is holding it’s annual convention next week, with many (most?) of the state’s schools closed Thursday and Friday. I’m expect a large influx of visitors from Utah at the end of the week as a result.
So, why the extra concern for Friday, October 15th?
- Friday falls in the middle of the UEA break, so I’d expect the Utah crowds to peak on Friday.
- Friday is an OPEN day (i.e., not a blackout day) for ALL varieties of annual passholders, including Deluxe, Southern California, and Southern California Select. With local visitors coming to the park to take in Disneyland’s fall atmosphere, including enhanced versions of the Haunted Mansion and Space Mountain, this has the potential for a HUGE impact on crowds, especially Friday evening as the locals get off work and head for the park.
- Perhaps most significantly, Disneyland is hosting it’s Halloween party Friday evening, with the park scheduled to close at 7:oopm.
- Visitors moving over to Disney California Adventure (DCA) after Disneyland closes at 7:00pm may not get much relief either, as the attractions around the Paradise Pier area close early to accomodate the World of Color show. This leaves just two major attractions available in the evening hours at DCA, Soarin’ Over California, and Tower of Terror. (Grizzly River Run doesn’t count, as it tends to not be as popular during the cool evening hours.)
Perhaps my fears are overblown, but I think Disney may end up with something of a “revolt” on their hands from the locals who arrive after work, unaware of the early closing at Disneyland, and then have themselves herded over to DCA only to find all of the FastPasses gone for the World of Color show. This also has a strong potential to put a huge damper on the plans of those out-of-state visitors who weren’t prepared for the early closing. (I should note that Disney IS setting up a Tron-themed “party atmosphere” at DCA to help absorb the crowds. Time will tell if this is enough.)
I don’t want to sound too pessimistic. After all, a crowded day at Disneyland is still better than another day at the office, right? So if you ARE visiting next week, just being aware of the situation might help prepare you. (And for RideMax subscribers, we also offer a few suggestions for next week in the RideMax “Tips & Hints.” Nothing amazing, but perhaps some ideas you hadn’t considered. )
If you DO visit Disneyland next weekend, please leave us a comment below on how the crowds turned out, and how it affected you. What advice would you give to someone visiting at the same time next year?