Visiting Disneyland in May 2023: What to Bring, What to Do, What to Expect
May is the last month before summer officially begins at Disneyland and it’s a popular month for many guests. Visiting Disneyland in May can often be the sweet spot for guests wanting to enjoy the perks of summer while also avoiding the hottest months in Southern California.
Everyone has personal preferences to consider when planning the date of their Disneyland trip. Each season will have its pros and cons and guests’ choices will vary based on those. Make sure to read our Disneyland crowd calendar to get an idea of what to expect when picking a date to visit Disneyland.
Keep reading for everything you need to know about visiting Disneyland in May including current events, what weather to expect, crowd level predictions, and what to pack!
Disneyland Events in May
Splash Mountain Closing
Splash Mountain will be rethemed at Disneyland starting on May 31st for the long awaited transformation into Tiana’s Bayou Adventure on May 31st. This will have a large impact on the popularity of this historic ride if any the Walt Disney World Splash Mountain closing date is any indicator. At Walt Disney World, the last day guests were able to ride Splash Mountain was quite the experience with multi-hour long waits and a lot of fanfare to say goodbye. I imagine we can expect the same for Disneyland. If you are visiting the last few days of May, make your park pass reservations early and they will likely run out quick for Disneyland on May 30th. If you want to avoid the fray, plan on going to California Adventure that day. Tiana’s Bayou Adventure has no reopening date quite yet but will be sometime in 2024.
May the 4th
May the 4th be with you! Enjoy Star Wars celebrations on May 4th in Tomorrowland like the transformation of Space Mountain into Hyperspace Mountain which begins May 1st and runs the entire duration of May, meet Captain Phasma and her storm troopers and enjoy Star Wars themed souvenirs and food options.
Mother’s Day is always a popular day for Disneyland as many locals and tourists decide to spend that day in the parks. Read our guide to spending Mother’s Day at Disneyland and make sure you secure your dining reservations in advance.
Memorial Day can be a popular day for Disneyland so come prepared to arrive early, use a touring plan, and reserve dining reservations.
Every year in May and June, Disneyland hosts Grad Nites for the local graduating high school students. These events bring big crowds to Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure park especially later in the evening. California Adventure will close at 9PM on the nights that grad nites are taking place. In May, grad nites takes place May 12, 14, 17, 19, 21, 24, 25, 30, or 31.
Asian American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AANHPI) Offerings at Disneyland
To celebrate AANHPI month Disneyland is offering experiences around Downtown Disney and inside the theme parks such as:
- Musical performances and colorful pageantry at the Downtown Disney Live! stage
- Artist signings at WonderGround Gallery May 21-22, featuring artists such as Jerrod Maruyama, Joey Chou, Ann Shen and others
- Nightly ukulele music and complimentary hula lessons at Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar at the Disneyland Hotel on weekends
- Sake flight and craft cocktail by Nova Brewing Co. at the Hearthstone Lounge in Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa
- Limited-time “Turning Red” photo op at California Adventure
- Children’s Day window display outside the Emporium at Disneyland
The Disney100 is taking place all year to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Walt Disney company. The celebration includes a brand new World of Color and fireworks show in honor of the anniversary plus the Magic Happens parade.
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Disneyland May Crowd Calendar
May can be a pretty popular time for guests to visit Disneyland with holidays like Cinco de Mayo and Memorial Day draws local crowds and tourists. Combine those holidays with the Grad Nites dates and some days can get pretty crowded.
Since Disneyland has a large population of Magic Key holders, it can be helpful to check the blockout date calendar on Disney’s website. Memorial Day can be especially crowded as many locals will have the day off work and some passholders aren’t blocked from that day. In May, the lower two tiers of Magic Key holders (Imagine Key & Enchant Key) are blocked on all Saturdays and most Sundays which may actually make weekdays more crowded than weekends which some guests would think the opposite would be true.
It has also been a common trend lately for Mondays to be the most crowded weekday as many guests use Tuesdays as a travel day due to the discounts airlines offer for Tuesday travel. Locals also commonly visit on Mondays since many pass tiers are blocked out Friday-Sunday and Mondays are easier to take off work. So it’s common to see a larger wave of crowds on Mondays as guests visit the parks one last day before they fly home.
Disney prepares for high crowd levels by raising their staffing levels and extending their hours of operation so they’re prepared to handle any increases to crowds. Plan on making advance dining reservations, arriving early to the parks and following our morning strategy and staying late in the evenings after the fireworks to beat the lines. You can also opt to purchase Genie+ which can be a lifesaver on crowded days as it allows you to purchase access to the Lightning Lane for select attractions which will always have a shorter wait than the typical standby line.
Read our full guide on handling crowds to prepare yourself for visiting Disneyland in May in case you experience crowded days on your visit.
Disneyland Weather in May
The Disneyland weather in May can be quite pleasant with an average high temperature of 75 degrees and an average low temperature of 66 degrees.
As Spring begins to come to a close in Anaheim, the chance for expected rainfall is highly diminished with rain happening rarely throughout the month of May.
The sunshine begins to stick around longer in May with the longest day in May allowing guests to enjoy 14 hours of sun at the parks.
May can be muggy at Disneyland with higher humidity levels steadily increasing as the month goes on and gets closer to the summer months.
Tips for Visiting Disneyland in May
When it comes to visiting Disneyland in May, we have some tried and true hacks for having a magical time when you visit the parks this time of the year.
What to Wear
One of the most frequently asked guest questions is: what should I wear to Disneyland? The first thing to do is to take into account the weather for your visit. As you get closer to your trip date, you can see the forecast for the days that you will be in Anaheim and plan accordingly.
Generally speaking, May brings hotter and humid days than you experience in the Spring so it’s good to be prepared for warmer weather. Plan on shorts, tank tops, and cooler clothes that you find comfortable for warm weather. It’s also a good idea to dress in light layers as the mornings and evenings can cool off once the sun goes down mixed with the humidity from the ocean. The weather can be much more moderate in May than the summer months so dressing in layers is the key to staying comfortable.
What to Pack
Guests should pack for summer weather as Southern California will be moving right into those sunny and warm days in the month of May. Bring weather appropriate clothes that are comfortable and cool in warmer weather. You can never go wrong with layers!
Make sure to pack necessities so you’re well prepared for your vacation. Items like sunscreen, portable fans, cooling towels, and other favorite hot weather items will help keep you cool in the parks if the days do get hot. If you find yourself without these items you will pay a hefty penny for them in the parks or local area hotels.
You can read our giant packing list here to make sure you show up prepared for literally anything you might need while you’re visiting Disneyland.
What to Expect
There are a few things you should expect when choosing May as your month to visit Disneyland:
- Prepare for possible refurbishments and ride closures- May is the last month before the official summer season begins so there may still be some attractions under refurbishment. Spring is a typical time for ride and entertainment refurbishments at Disneyland and some may still be finishing up in May. Check Disneyland’s website prior to your visit so you know in advance of any refurbishments.
- Look out for any ticket or hotel specials- Disney will often offer ticket discounts in the Spring months to entice guests to travel during what used to be known as an ‘off season.’ Many of these promotions sometimes will run through May so it’s good to watch for any special ticket deals you can find. Check our our discount Disneyland ticket page to save money on your tickets.
- Check your hotel dates- hotel prices will likely be higher on popular weekends like Memorial Day or Cinco de Mayo- play around with your dates if you have flexibility to secure the best deal.
- Reservations Required- Reservations are required along with a park ticket to visit Disneyland for each day of your visit and park hopping is available starting at 1PM. You can read more about how to make a reservation in our Disneyland reservation guide.
- Genie+ Replaced FastPass- the new Genie+ system is what permanently replaced FastPass at Disneyland. This paid access allows you to virtually reserve your spot in line for many popular attractions and skip the longer standby line.
But most of all, make sure you plan in advance so your trip goes as smoothly as possible at the Happiest Place on Earth!
Plan Your Disneyland Vacation!
Keep reading our blog to keep you updated on everything you need to know to prepare for a Disney Parks vacation! We have a team of writers working hard to keep you updated weekly on events in the parks and tips for navigating the magic. Subscribe to our free deals newsletter to receive helpful planning information, exclusive Disney deals, and access to the lowest priced Disney tickets anywhere. You can find more information on planning your vacation here:
- Discount Disneyland Ticket Guide
- Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Guide
- Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
- Guide to Genie+ at Disneyland
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Do we really need a reservation to sit and watch the Light Parade?
Not at all! I recommend getting a spot in front of its a small world about 90 minutes before parade time and you will have a great view!
4 days (May 15-18), 2 adults + 11yo with park hopper. We are not planning on purchasing Genie+ or any lightening lane. We did WDW in December 2019 and spent over a year planning, just to have Disney change everything at the last minute. Here’s hoping for a better trip to DL. So far your comments are the best up-to-date I’ve found.