Is it Packed?: Disneyland Crowds in August

Is Disneyland packed?  Find out how crowded Disneyland is in August
Soundsational Parade” by HarshLight licensed under CC BY 2.0

August is a great time to visit Disneyland! With the warm weather and quickly dwindling crowds as the school year starts across Southern California, it’s a good month to make the magical journey.

The biggest perks of taking a trip to Disneyland in August include enjoying the perfect climate to catch water rides and a great opportunity to beat the biggest summer crowds (especially during the week). Plus, you’ll catch the Resort in its “normal” state before all of the holiday madness begins in late September, so you’ll have classic photo ops throughout the parks!

So, ultimately, is it packed at Disneyland in August?  Well, let’s dive into what you can expect when you visit both Disneyland and California Adventure in the month of August.

August Weather at Disneyland Resort

August tends to be the warmest month in Southern California. The heat is usually dry (low humidity) and intense. Although the skies above are blue with “Toy Story” clouds on occasion, the extreme temps can be off-putting. Nonetheless, warm and sunny days make for great times to get out and play!

On average, late summer days in Anaheim will be in the high 80s. On a daily basis, you can expect the warmest hours to be close to 88°F with cool early morning and after evening hours dropping into the mid-60s (about 65°F). 

However, there will be days with extremes, including peak-highs in the triple digits. Because of the heat, you’ll want to be sure you plan your trip accordingly. Here are some quick tips to beat the heat:

-Plan your day from sunrise to well after sunset. The earlier you get to the park, the cooler it is to catch rides with longer wait times. The later you are able to stay, the cooler everything will be in the Resort.

-Aim to attend shows and hop on attractions that feature indoor seating or queues. For example, Frozen at Hyperion Theater in Disney California Adventure has multiple showtimes, including in the middle of the day when it is bound to be hottest. There are also options like Space Mountain in Disneyland Park that feature queues with shade and that have parts of it (the last third or so of the line) indoors with (hopefully) A/C.

-Don’t forget about water rides! They may have really long waits, but the result of getting drenched will keep you cool for several hours. Head toward these just before the peak of the day for slightly shorter lines and the chance to cool off as the day gets warmer.

-Take a moment to enjoy the oldies but goodies along Main Street. Indoor attractions like Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, The Disney Gallery and Main Street Cinema are the perfect places to rest, cool down and enjoy classic Disney moments.

-Get your shopping done early! Use stores as a chance to fulfill your desire for everything Disney as well as an opportunity to spend time under A/C. Plus, the store check-outs tend to have shorter lines mid-day, so you won’t have to waste time when you’re exhausted hassling to buy your favorite souvenir.

-Bring a water bottle with ice already in it and continue to fill up at beverage fountains that allow self-serve water and ice. Be sure to check the Disneyland app for the best food service options!

Anticipated August Crowds and How to Handle Them

Average Disneyland attendance is higher now than it has ever been. With globetrotters and locals alike seeking the magic of the Happiest Place on Earth, it’s amazing the parks aren’t closer to capacity all the time. Nonetheless, August has the potential of being quieter than earlier in the summer.

Because K-12 schools throughout SoCal head back to class about mid-month, the weeks are bound to clear up quickly at the parks! Plus, with big holiday weekends in May, July and September (and none in August), people are likely to wait until they can have three days instead of one or two when coming in from out of town. This will help to reduce crowd size at least a little bit.

Note that you are likely to be dealing with local college kids during August. Although some schools go back at the end of the month, others don’t start until September. 

For any who can afford it, this last hoorah of the summer is a huge appeal. Note that using a crowd index monitor like’s calendar is smart no matter when you are visiting Disneyland. 

For your trip, plan on the following park hours (always subject to change):

Weekdays (Monday-Thursday)

  • Disneyland Park
    • Opens between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m.
    • Closes between 8 p.m. and midnight
  • Disney California Adventure Park
    • Opens 10:00 a.m.
    • Closes between 8 p.m. and midnight

Weekends (Friday-Sunday)

  • Disneyland Park
    • Opens by 9:00 a.m.
    • Closes midnight
  • Disney California Adventure Park
    • Opens 10:00 a.m.
    • Closes 10:00 p.m.

When possible, check ahead of time on the app or by calling Guest Services for park hour changes. Moreover, if you are planning to be a hotel Guest in DLR, ask about additional perks like Magic Hour.

Expected Wait Times at the End of Summer

As you probably assumed, crowd size is the largest impact on whether you’ll have a chance to catch every attraction on your “must ride” list. Per the crowd index mentioned above, most of the month will be “packed” with average wait times in the half hour to hour range.

In the end, there are many potential wait times for every ride depending on several factors:

  • When popular attractions are closed for the day or longer, other big-ticket rides become more packed. Moreover, less popular attractions will see a gain in wait time as Guests work to use their time most efficiently. 
  • On the most popular days, you can plan on seeing lots of families and kids. As such, you’ll notice increased entrance in rides without height restrictions, including a lot of classics. However, if the crowd population is more adult, you’ll quickly see roller coasters fill up their queues. 
  • If you see a lot of people walking around with passes or identifiable clothing for organizations, you likely are encountering a high crowd index due to a special event. Avoid following these groups as they tend to have larger parties that will extend your wait times everywhere.
  • Popularity is bound to impact attraction wait times. See the next section to anticipate rides with the longest wait times! Note that for these rides, you will want to use a FASTPASS to cut your wait in half as often as possible.

Note that you’ll want to use lulls in the day to divert away from peaks in wait times. These include meal times and show hours, especially for big parades and nighttime spectaculars. Be sure to check the daily schedule to try to gain up to an hour of reduced wait times. In particular, you will want to head to “kids’ rides” as families head to viewing areas. 

On the note of parades and shows, know that they are popular, too! If you like the parades and shows, don’t forget to block that time into your day! Arrive to viewing areas with at least five minutes to spare to ensure you are within ropes that block off viewing areas.

However, if you want “premier,” free viewing areas, you may have to arrive as early as an hour beforehand. The downside of getting to a viewing spot super early is that Cast Members may ask you to remove “spot savers” like blankets, sweaters, and bags for safety reasons, and waiting that long ultimately cuts into your day. 

Ultimately, you’ll always have to wait in a line at Disneyland. That’s just the nature of the parks! Nonetheless, you should enjoy every magical moment as much as possible and take the lines with a grain of salt! 

Picking the Best Rides

Luckily, planning your visit ahead of time (at least in terms of listing out your “must ride” attractions) will help you mitigate those crowds and still hit the most popular rides at Disneyland.

Check out these lists to identify the most popular attractions and note which ones are “must rides” for you and your crew versus some that you’d be willing to pass on for this trip.

Classic Rides

These attractions are originals from 1955 or fan favorites that have been established for at least a few decades. They are landmarks of the brand and the Disneyland Park. Plus, they feature beloved characters the whole family will recognize and adore, making them incredibly desirable.

Some of them are even on a “top ten” list, showcasing their tendency to remain en vogue — check out the full blog for a flushed out explanation of features for these attractions.

Quick Tip: Many of these classics now have FASTPASS available! Plan to head to your absolute favorite pick first thing in the morning for the shortcut to ensure you don’t miss your chance to hop on later in the day.

  • Haunted Mansion
  • Indiana Jones Adventure
  • “It’s a small world”
  • Jungle Cruise
  • Mad Tea Party
  • Matterhorn Bobsleds
  • Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Pirates of The Caribbean
  • Space Mountain
  • Splash Mountain
  • Storybook Land Canal Boats

Roller Coasters

While there are a select few high-speed roller coaster-type attractions, they all end up on the popular list! Some have height requirements, which make them more appealing to pre-teens just starting their adrenaline craze as well as adults who just enjoy a jolt of excitement. 

These rides are also more limited on space per group of riders because they are based on the number of coasters they can put on the track as opposed to small-party cars, boats, etc. Plan to wait an average of an hour on packed days. 

Quick Tip: Hit up the roller coaster attractions early in the morning or later in the evening. They are likely to be less congested during parade times and nighttime spectaculars. 

Disneyland Park

  • Big Thunder Railroad
  • Indiana Jones™ Adventure
  • Matterhorn Bobsleds
  • Space Mountain

Disney’s California Adventure

  • Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: BREAKOUT!
  • Incredicoaster
  • Radiator Springs Racers

“Just For Kids” Attractions

Designed for children of all ages, this group features classic characters and stories! Plus, they don’t necessarily have height requirements. For families in particular, these rides will likely be the essence of your Disneyland visit. As such, you’re guaranteed to encounter longer queues averaging up to an hour.

Quick Tip: If you are traveling with little ones excited to go on these rides, be sure to move their strollers into appropriate parking to help relieve line pressures and ensure the traffic in the area continues to flow easily.

Disneyland Park

  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Astro Orbitor
  • Autopia
  • Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
  • Casey Jr. Circus Train
  • Disneyland Railroad
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant
  • Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage
  • “It’s a small world”
  • Jungle Cruise
  • Mad Tea Party
  • Mickey and Minnie houses
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin
  • Splash Mountain (40-inch minimum height)
  • Star Tours  — The Adventures Continue (40-inch minimum height)
  • Storybook Land Canal Boats

Disney’s California Adventure

  • Frozen at Disneyland Resort (show)
  • The LIttle Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure
  • Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters (32-inch minimum height)
  • Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree (32-inch minimum height)
  • Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue!
  • Pixar Pal-A-Round — Non-Swinging
  • Pixar Pal-A-Round — Swinging
  • Radiator Springs Racers (40-inch minimum height)
  • Soarin’ Around the World
  • Toy Story Midway Mania!

Water Rides

Whether you’re looking to get soaked, splashed or just enjoy time on the Rivers of America, these attractions are ideal for hot summer days in August. For those that get you soaked, you’re likely to encounter intense wait times that will often surpass an hour. However, for water rides that just allow you to enjoy the moment without getting wet, you may not wait more than five minutes.

Quick Tip: Even though mid-day might mean peak wait times, it’s an ideal time to get drenched so you have time to dry before the day cools down. However, if you are able to get in line before noon, you’ll likely encounter just slightly shorter queues and still have plenty of time to dry off!

Disneyland Park

  • Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes (slight splashing)
  • Jungle Cruise (slight splashing)
  • Mark Twain Riverboat
  • Pirates of the Caribbean (slight splashing)
  • Sailing Ship Columbia
  • Splash Mountain (get soaked!)

Disney’s California Adventure

  • Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage
  • Grizzly River Run (get soaked!)
  • Misters at the Rocket in front of Soarin’ Around the World

New and Updated Attractions

Disneyland frequently grows and improves. As such, there are piques in interest and wait times for the latest additions. Often, even refurbished classic rides get special, increased attention! Before your August visit, be sure to check for grand openings and special events to identify  your priorities based on park updates.

Rides with Shorter Wait Times

Now that you are sufficiently nervous to spend hundreds of dollars for a trip spent in numerous lines, here are some interactive, engaging, fun attractions with shorter queues to check out! 

Disneyland Park

  • Disneyland Monorail
  • Donald’s Boat
  • Frontierland Shootin’ Exposition
  • Gadget’s Go Coaster
  • Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln and feature exhibit
  • Goofy’s Playhouse
  • King Arthur Carrousel
  • Main Street Cinema
  • Main Street Vehicles
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh
  • Mark Twain Riverboat
  • Pinocchio’s Daring Journey
  • Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island
  • Sailing Ship Columbia
  • Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough 
  • Snow White’s Scary Adventures
  • Star Wars Launch Bay
  • Tarzan’s Treehouse
  • Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room

Disney’s California Adventure

  • Animation Academy
  • The Bakery Tour
  • Games of Pixar Pier
  • Golden Zephyr
  • Jumpin’ Jellyfish
  • Red Car Trolley
  • Redwood Creek Challenge Trail
  • Silly Symphony Swings
  • Sorcerer’s Workshop
  • Turtle Talk with Crush

Note that attractions are subject to change as DLR. For the latest list of attractions as well as list of those that are closed for refurbishment or not currently scheduled to run, visit the official Disneyland site or check out the Disneyland App.

Disneyland Tech for Every Itinerary 

No matter what time of year you are making your way to the parks, there are several staples to have in your pocket. Namely, you’ll want to download the Disneyland App for the best features in the parks.

About the Disneyland Resort Mobile Application

The app, compatible with Apple and Android products, prepares you for anything of interest at Disneyland Resort from attraction locations and wait times to food options and mobile orders.

Check the most up-to-the-minute wait times, show times and character visits! The app is a one-click answer to everything Disneyland. 

Use the digital map of the parks and downtown region to easily navigate your visit. The filters on the app include attractions, events, food, restrooms and park services.

Save time by skipping the ticket queues! Use the app to buy tickets and view any ticket purchases linked to the account. Update or purchase Annual Passports for Disneyland! Note that special offers may not be accommodated in this forum.

Mobile Order food and beverages from several fast-service dining options in both parks. You can even select the best pick-up time to suit your itinerary. Plus, being able to Mobile Order will allow everyone in the party to pick their favorite cuisine without hassling extra waits!

Keep track of your FASTPASS collection throughout the day, and use the app as your ticket access to get to the front of the queue!

Other App-Based Magic

Play Disney Parks is a separate mobile application from the Disneyland app that features fun games at specific rides in both parks. It is the best perk yet when you bring phones and tablets to the Resort. Especially with youngsters, this app will save everyone from the boredom of long queues. At select attractions, look for “Play Disney” signs. Then, simply open the app, touch play, and enjoy ride-based games!

One of the latest and greatest innovations to hit the Disney parks is MaxPass. Although you can get about one FASTPASS per hour throughout the parks, and you can use the mobile app to track them, you cannot pick up or purchase these shortcuts without MaxPass. When you opt for this program, it will display in connection with your ticket (separate per ticket in the party) on the Disneyland app. Note that MaxPass is an additional cost to your regular admission ticket.

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