When to go Autumn 2023?

Hey all,

I am looking to plan a Disneyland/Universal trip this upcoming fall with my wife and we are looking at about a weeks time. We are both huge Halloween fans and are especially looking at hitting the events and overlays here and universals Halloween Horror Nights.

We are always looking to hit as few crowds as possible and I am confused looking at the crowd calendar as it seems to contradict every other crowd calendar I’ve looked at from other sources that cover September and October 2023 respectively.

I was originally thinking of the dates of september 8-15 from looking at other calendars and having read that September can be a good time to go. I then look at touring plans crowd calendar and they are calling for those dates to be somewhat busier ( 7-6/10 on average) vs other calendars I have seen out there putting it more at like 3-4/10 on crowd levels.

I then look into the month of October and read for the most part the last few years have been very busy in October. I then look at the touring plans calendar and it gives me dates like October 22-27 that’s calling for more like 4/5-10 which surprises me. I would expect at the very least universal Halloween horror nights would be getting really busy during that time so close to Halloween. And again on other competitors calendars they say those dates of October 22-27 are more like 7/10 levels. (On a side note even though I won’t be going at that time, I was really surprised they are only calling for a 3/10 overall in the Disney parks on touring plans calendar on Halloween day. I would expect that to be a 9/10).

So basically I am confused at this point on what source to trust and long story short does anyone have any experience during these time windows? Any suggestions? Any help in advance is greatly appreciated.


Welcome! Touringplans admittedly misses more often at DLR than at WDW. Here’s a recent blog post looking back at 2022 results…

Crowds were overpredicted in September and underpredicted in October, which seems to match what you’re seeing for 2023. Any of the dates you list should be great. I agree that September (avoiding Labor Day) makes sense to be lower crowds than October. One caveat is that there will be very few passholder blackouts in September.

FWIW I had a trip Sep 24-27 2019 and the crowds were light. There was a noticeable influx of locals after about 5pm, so the choke points got a little tight at times. Most were there primarily to eat and see the night shows. The electrical parade was a big draw at the time.


My advice is to go when your schedule best allows as the crowds can be fairly unpredictable. I will say the first 1/2-2/3’s of September has less fall breaks than the end of September & all of October (there’s a reason they blocked out the Magic Key Holders weekends in October). I prefer going weekends as the hours are longer & potentially the lower Key Holder levels will be blocked.

We’ve gone for Labor Day several times, most recently last year and out of all the holiday weekends it’s the least crowded of them all so if that weekend works for you, it’s a great one. One caveat early September is some of the hottest temps we’ve ever seen in Anaheim and one of the rare times it’s actually muggy/humid. We usually arrange our day so we’re to the parks early, stay as long as we can tolerate the heat, go back to rest midday & come back when the sun isn’t trying to roast us to a perfect crisp. Anaheim stays quite warm through end of October but we just seem to always encounter the most heat when we go earlier in September vs. later October.

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Thank you both very much for the responses. It sounds like I am on the right track for September instead of October. My schedule is very flexible and I can make any time work really. I am also not overly worried about the heat as I am used to fighting extreme heat before.

Right now I am currently weighing the windows of September 5th to the 12th vs September 8 to the 15th. (Obviously Disney hasn’t announced park hours that far out yet, but if I can find a good balance of crowds vs. park hours that would be optimal as well)

Or I am interested to hear if anyone has any insight or have visited the week before Halloween still.


I’m late to this convo but agree that September is better than October for crowds, and early September after Labor Day is awesome! That’s when I’d go if I were in your shoes. Actually I am planning to go for Labor Day weekend, so I’m putting my money where my mouth is. (We might also go for our kids October break first week of October though so …)

Thank you for your response. I am definitely leaning towards September myself. It seems like October is just too inconsistent and will likely be more crowded than predicted if anything.

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