Disneyland (CA)

This Month at Disneyland Resort: September 2012

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All photos copyright Disney.

The summer tourists have gone home, and the local kids are back in school, making September a spectacular time to visit the Disneyland Resort if you desire short lines. Mid-week visitors can expect the smallest crowds seen since before the June relaunch of Disney California Adventure. Beware, however, that seasonal installations and long-delayed refurbishments will result in several favorite Disneyland attractions being declared off-limits over the next month. Be sure to check the refurbishment list when planning a visit to the parks, so that you aren’t unpleasantly surprised upon arrival.

Crowd Calendar

Quietest Day: Most Mondays through Thursdays this month sport wait times in the bottom third of the year. The day after Labor Day is traditionally dead quiet, with Tuesday 8/30 predicted at only 1.1 out of 10 at Disneyland, and 1.8 at DCA.

Busiest Day: Saturdays and Sundays will be moderately busy once the Halloween decor is in full effect. Saturday 9/22 should hit a predicted peak of 6.3 out of 10 in Disneyland, and 6.6 at DCA.

Subscribe to the Touring Plans Disneyland Crowd Calendar for full details on predicted attendance for the next 30 days.

Special Events

  • The Disneyland Half-Marathon on September 2 wraps up a weekend of fitness events that attracts 17,000 runners. Due to races, there will be no early entry at DCA on September 1, and none at Disneyland on September 2.
  • Halloween Time, Disneyland’s annual trick-or-treat-themed decor treatment, officially runs September 14 through October 31, though merchandise is already available in the park.
  • Disney’s Happiest Haunts VIP guided tours run every night starting September 14 through October 31
  • The season’s first Mickey’s Halloween Party will be held after hours in Disneyland on September 28. Parties continue on select nights through October.
  • Disneyland will close early at 5pm on September 6 for an employee recognition event. DCA will remain open until 8pm.
  • “Sneak peak” dining events at the the Paradise Pier Hotel of the PCH Grill’s new menu are being offered to Annual Passholders during September 2-20.

Openings, Closings, and Refurbishments

  • The final performance of The Magic, The Memories, and You will be held on Labor Day. The version in Florida is being replaced with a new projections show, but there are no plans for the Disneyland version to return after the seasonal lighting display on it’s a small world.
  • Haunted Mansion: Closed since 8/27/12 through 9/13/12 for installation of the Nightmare Before Christmas-themed Hauntend Mansion Holiday overlay.
  • Indiana Jones Adventure: Closed 9/4/12 through 12/7/12 for a much needed refurbishment.
  • Storybook Land Canal Boats and Casey Jr. Circus Train: Closed 9/4/12 through 11/15/12.
  • Big Thunder Ranch: Closed 9/10/12 through 9/13/12 to install Halloweentime decor.
  • Space Mountain: Closed 9/10/12 through 9/13/12 to install the Ghost Galaxy seasonal overlay.
  • Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes: Closed 9/17/12 and 9/18/12.
  • Sailing Ship Columbia: Closed 9/18/12 through 9/20/12.
  • Mark Twain Riverboat: Closed 9/25/12 through 9/28/12.
  • Construction continues through 2013 on the new Princess Fantasy Faire and Fantasyland Theatre.
Disney California Adventure
  • Soarin’ will run at 50% capacity on September 18 and 19 as its two theaters are each serviced on successive days.
  • Toy Story Midway Mania! is closed on 9/5/12.
  • Muppet*Vision 3D is closed 9/10/12 through 9/13/12.
  • The Art of Animation lobby will be closed 9/10/13 through 9/13/13 to install a Frankenweenie exhibit, but the other attractions inside will remain open.
Downtown Disney
  • Construction continues on Earl of Sandwich, with no opening date announced yet.


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Seth Kubersky

Author of The Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando. Co-author of The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland and Beyond Disney. Contributor to Unofficial Guides to WDW and Las Vegas. Live Active Cultures columnist for the Orlando Weekly. Travel and arts journalist. Theatrical director and producer.

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