Disneyland (CA)

Five Experiences to Have During Disneyland’s Off-Season

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If your main concern when traveling to Disneyland is crowds, then visiting Disneyland during the off-season (January-February, Mid-September, and after Thanksgiving-the week before Christmas) is a blessing. To put it into numbers (using TouringPlans’ data), during Disneyland’s off-season the crowd levels are around 6 out of 10 (give-or-take a bit). This is perfect if you want to experience Disneyland without bumping into people or dealing with long lines. But (there is always a “but”) even though you will not have to deal with crowds, you will unfortunately have to deal with another issue: closed attractions.

Because attendance levels are low, Disneyland decides to do a lot of maintenance on many of their attractions during this time. So even though you are going to the park with less crowds, you might miss out on your favorite attractions. However, that does not mean that your visit is ruined. That just means that you will have to make adjustments to your plans and have more time to experience different things you normally would not.

For example, I was fortunate enough to take a trip to Disneyland this Valentine’s day weekend and many Disneyland attractions were closed (7 in all; including Critter Country). Because more than handful of attractions were closed, I had a chance to experience different attractions that I tend to skip or overlook. Below I break down 5 of the best attractions that every guest should experience during Disneyland’s off-season.

Enjoy a Ride on a Main Street U.S.A. Vehicle

Main Street VeichleMain Street U.S.A. vehicles never get enough love (unless your name is Guy Selga). Even though walking down Main Street is faster, it does not mean that it is the best way. Taking the time to grab a ride on a Main Street vehicle will give you a different perspective of Disneyland and a little more appreciation for it. It will also make other guests jealous that you are rolling down the street in style.

Explore the Rivers of America on Mark Twain Riverboat 

Mark TwainAhh….the Mark Twain Riverboat. One of my favorite attractions in all of Disneyland. There is nothing more relaxing and special than experiencing it. Even though the Mark Twain Riverboat only travels around the Rivers of America that does not mean that it is not worth trip. My favorite time to venture  is during sunset. There is nothing more amazing and romantic than a Southern California sunset while on this beautiful steamboat.

Discover Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer’s Island 

Pirates Lair Tom Sawyer IslandIn the past I have written off visiting Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island but when your favorite attractions are closed this is a great substitute to put into your touring plans; especially if you have children. Tom Sawyer Island is an excellent place for adults and children to run around and discover a different part of Disneyland. But if you are not in the mood in running around, then this it is a splendid place to get away from the sun and take a little break. There are restrooms and water fountains on the island so you do not need to sweat it. Just go ahead and discover what Tom Sawyers Island has to offer.

Explore New Orleans Square

New OrleansEven though this is not an attraction it is something that should be done if you find yourself looking for something entertaining to do. Walking through New Orleans Square is breathtaking and is one of the best lands in all of Disneyland. And, for Walt Disney World veterans, this is a land you’re not going to find in Florida. The decorations are perfect and you feel as if you are not even in a theme park anymore. There are stores, portrait illustrators, and unique boutiques (like a dedicated perfume shop) that you will not find anywhere else in Disneyland.

Rest and Catch a Show at the Golden Horseshoe Saloon

Golden HorseshoeThe Golden Horseshoe Saloon is a superb place to take a break from the outside world for a spell. They serve food downstairs (which is pretty tasty) and there are live shows that take place inside (showtimes are posted in front of the saloon). Also, there are outlets everywhere inside so if you are looking to charge your smartphone – or any other electronic device – this is a great destination to charge your and your gadgets’ batteries.

As you can see, just because a favorite attraction might be closed, there’s still so many things to try out at Disneyland. I would suggest – if possible – for everyone to try to visit Disneyland during the off-season at least once. There is such a different atmosphere during this time and things tend to move a little slower; which is nice. And, hey, if you did not get to experience the attraction you wanted then you have another excuse to come back to Disneyland. Just make sure to check that the attractions you want to experience will be operating during your next visit.

Question: What are some of your favorite things to do when your favorite Disneyland attraction is closed?

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Growing up Southern California, it was hard for Ray not want to go to Disneyland everyday. He was a passholder for over 10 years until he left to teach English in Korea and now lives in Seattle. Even though he lives in the Pacific Northwest, he always has Disney on the mind. Ray is channeling his Disney passion to write for TouringPlans.

2 thoughts on “Five Experiences to Have During Disneyland’s Off-Season

  • Done all of those except Tom Sawyer’s Island. Been trying to get the family over the last couple trips but we never seem to find the time. I will say though I’ve never been in the Golden Horseshoe when it wasn’t packed. I swear people must live in there!

    • It does take some time to get over to Tom Sawyer’s Island. Hopefully you’ll get to make it over there soon. But you are so correct about the Golden Horseshoe. Many passholders hang out there a lot of the time because it’s nice and relaxing.


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