2017 has been crowded but especially the last three weeks!

Of the last 43 days at Disneyland Park, 28 have been a crowd level ’10’ on the Disneyland Crowd Calendar. That is remarkable – and not good news for guests of Disneyland Resort.

2017 has been crowded but especially the last three weeks!

The last update to the Disneyland Crowd Calendar was March 16, 2017 and we published a blog article about the changes, which you can read here. We mentioned that there were some signs that Disneyland crowds were beginning to return to normal but after a few weeks of observing crowds, that does not appear to be the case. In fact, it may even be getting worse.

So, we need to adjust the crowd levels to reflect the new reality for crowds at Disneyland Resort. That means we have to shift down the 1 to 10 scale to have more days in the middle and fewer days at the top. What it means for you is that you may see some changes to the crowd levels for your travel dates. What used to be ‘6’s and ‘7’s may now be ‘4’s and ‘5’s. What used to be ‘9’s and ’10’s will now be ‘7’s and ‘8’s. The good news is that your touring plans probably won’t change that much. The scale we use for the crowd calendar is based on what we have observed at Disney parks for the previous 6 months. Usually, we do not see a big change. This year is different.

Why is it different? That is the big question. There are no economic factors that indicate travel is trending up. In fact, there is evidence that international travel has dropped significantly. Disneyland Resort continues to offer a juicy buy-one-get-three ticket promotion which is likely a factor but that doesn’t explain the ridiculous crowds at a time of year that should be moderate to busy. Operational cut-backs are likely a large factor as well. Whenever park operations are understaffed, wait times go up.

We monitor the wait times at every Disneyland Resort attraction daily. Check the blog in a few weeks to see if the trend has continued. As for planning your trip to Disneyland Resort, a touring plan is your best friend! It will work wonders to save you time in line, no matter how crowded it is.


  1. It amazes me that they would understaff the parks that way. They must know that people in line can’t buy anything, right? And that people are less inclined to want souvenirs to remember their trip, when they spent most of that trip standing in line?

  2. I’m no where close to being a statistician, so perhaps that’s why this doesn’t make sense. The way I figure it, what you’re really doing is saying that what once was a 10 is now an 8. So if I didn’t know you changed them I’d go to the park expecting an 8, but getting the same crowd that used to be a 10. Yes? If this is the case, then the crowd level isn’t really a value associated with a specific number of people or a specific wait time, but with that feel as compared to all other days. Yes? I’m glad you all do this so I don’t have too! I’m just trying to figure it out.

    • That is exactly right, Rob. We have to adjust the 1 – 10 scale every now and then to make comparisons between days meaningful. Without adjusting, every day would be a ’10’ and that isn’t very helpful for planning purposes.

  3. Thinking about the upcoming 10s like Easter really makes me nauseous now… Thanks for all the research that goes into Touring Plans!

  4. I’m confused. Crowds are higher yet your going to call a 10 crowd an 8 now? So if I see it’s going to be a 5 and I decide to go I’m supposed to expect it to be more crowded than average? Why would you shift everything up and admit there’s no 2 and 3’s anymore?

    • They have to periodically readjust the definition of each crowd level because the lines continue to get longer every year. So they are comparing days in a year to each other, and not comparing different years. Can it be frustrating thinking crowds are going to be the same as your previous trip? Yes. But there really is no longer a “slow season”. Practically everyday is busy now. if they had kept crowd levels the same over the years, at this point, most days would be a crowd level 10. The only other option they have is to keep adding more numbers to the scale – crowds of 1-15 or 1-20. They would have to add a number or two every year because of the increased crowds; at what point does that scale get too big? Said another way, Disney is more busy than ever, and that trend is only going to continue.

      • Thanks Melinda, couldn’t have said it better. Think about what would happen if we never adjusted the crowd levels since 2006. Every day would be a ‘9’ or a ’10’ on the calendar and that wouldn’t be very useful for planning. We like to have about have the days on the calendar at a level ‘5’ or ‘6’. Periodic adjustments are necessary to do that. The fact is, the golden era of empty parks in the 80s and 90s are long behind us.

        • Hi Touring Plans team,

          Can you clarify, is the problem that there are more “10” days or that the crowd levels are actually getting higher, requiring us to rethink what a “10” is?

          Thinking of it another way, can we equate a point on the 1-10 scale to a total number of people in the park? Let’s say for illustration purposes that a “10” today is equivalent to 50,000 people in the park. Is the issue that now we have lots more days of 50,000 people in the park or that we now have upwards of 80,000 people in the park and a “10” doesn’t represent the predicted crowd level?

          Bottom line I am trying to get at is that I suspect Disneyland is just more crowded all the time. Not that a “packed” day is getting more packed (more people), but rather we have more packed days. No more slow days. If this is true, wouldn’t your distribution of crowd levels be skewed to the right? And shouldn’t your 1-10 scale be skewed to the right to match it? It’s okay to have more “10” days if that level of people are regularly in the parks.

          Thank you! And thank you for taking the time to explain it to us.

          • Thanks Brian, you make a good point. Yes, the distribution of days at Disneyland Resort is skewed to the right (although statisticians are weird, we actually call that left-skewed) but that has always been the case. What we think is happening now is that park operations has changed in a way that is making the wait times higher with the same sized crowd. So in your example, in 2017, those same 50,000 people are now waiting longer than they would have waited in say, 2014. It this is the new reality then we have to adjust the scale to make it meaningful.

  5. I’ll be visiting May 11-21 (Tinkerbell Half and Mother’s Day). The update I received today had several parks and the resort generally going up not down. So, would going up to a 6 be more like going up to an 8 on the previous scale? Sounds like bad news. Thanks for all the valuable help.

  6. Thank you for this update. I am known for my love of Disneyland and people always ask about crowds. I always point them to you. My fear is what will happen to our beloved park when tens of thousands of extra people arrive for Star Wars land. Breaks my heart to think that your 10 now will be a 5 then.

  7. My own trip to DLR is coming up in the last full week of August. Not having visited since 1984, I’m not sure what to expect. I’m following a plan I’ve used for years for WDW based on the hope/pipe dream that enough kids will have returned to school to bring the crowd levels down. That probably will not have much application to SoCal, though.

  8. Why is 4/29/17 projected to be a 9/10, but the Saturdays during peak Spring Break weekends are mostly rated 8/10? I thought the weekend a couple weeks after Easter would be a less crowded time to go than Easter weekend. I guess there is just no good time to go there anymore. Bummer.

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