Disneyland in September: Visiting for the Start of the Halloween Season

Disneyland in September is the first official month of Fall at Disneyland which for some folks can be pretty exciting as they look forward to seeing the Halloween decorations, entertainment, and attraction overlays.

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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 September including current events, what weather to expect, crowd level predictions, and what to pack!

Disneyland Events in SeptemberHaunted Mansion Holiday at night

Here are all the current events to know about impacting Disneyland in September!

Halloween at Disneyland

Halloween at Disneyland has become a large event at the parks and as increased in popularity each year. This year the Halloween festivities at Disneyland officially start on September 6th and run until October 31st. So if you're coming to the parks in September, chances are you will be there for the Halloween fun. The entire Disneyland Resort is decorated for Halloween including special park decorations and overlayed attractions with Disneyland Halloween themes. Disney's California Adventure Park has also caught up with the fun over the past few years and you can expect to see the same amount of Halloween decorations and themed attractions.

Halloween Screams- Firework and Project Show

And for the first time in nearly a decade, the special projection and fireworks show Halloween Screams will be available nightly for all guests since this year California Adventure will host the Halloween party and not Disneyland.

Oogie Boogie Bash at California Adventure

Towards the end of the month the Halloween party called Oogie Boogie Bash at Disney's California Adventure will begin. The event consists of Halloween entertainment, opportunities to wear costumes in the parks, meet and greets, and more.

  • This is an important point for all guests visiting during September: If you don’t have a park hopper ticket then you will be forced to leave California Adventure early in the evening and have nowhere to go but back to your hotel or home. Disney will close California Adventure early for the party and force any non-party guests to exit at least an hour before the party begins around 5pm. Make sure to get a park hopper ticket if you don’t plan on attending the ticketed event so you can hop over to Disneyland when the party starts!

Oogie Boogie's Bash takes place on September 17, 19, 22, 24, 26, and 29. Read more about how to purchase tickets and plan for the event here.

Universal Studios Hollywood's Halloween Horror Nights

While this isn't strictly Disneyland related, it's worthwhile to mention that Universal Studios Hollywood also begins their Halloween celebrations mid-September. For guests that are looking to take a break from Disneyland and spend a day at Universal Studios, it's important to be aware of these Halloween Horror Nights which are much more adult focused than the Halloween festivities at Disneyland.

Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge

Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge opened to the public without reservations this past summer. This new land is still popular and Disney will utilize their Boarding Pass option when the crowds get heavy. Once the land hits capacity, Disney then implements a virtual queue system (Boarding Passes!) that guests can book through their Disneyland app or at kiosks inside the park. The virtual system works in the same way FastPass does. Once enough guests leave the land, you will get a notification that it's time to enter and you will have two hours to claim your spot. Make sure to read our guide to Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge for land reviews, tips and tracks, and everything you need to know.

Disneyland September Crowd CalendarMickey and Minnie halloween costumes

This is the first Halloween season since Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge opened at Disneyland, it's hard to say how the crowds will behave this time of year. Since many guests decided to postpone their trips to Disneyland this past summer once they heard the opening date of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, it's possible they may have planned their trips for the Fall instead.

Halloween season at Disneyland always begins at the start of September and the popularity of this time of year has grown immensely over the past couple years. It's safe to say you can expect high crowd levels during this month but maybe not quite as high during October as it gets closer to the actual date of Halloween.

As always, it's good to look at the Annual Pass Blockout Date calendar here on Disney's website. Most, if not all, of the APs become unblocked for the month of September after a long summer of block out dates. Due to this it's expected that the locals will visit the park in droves to see the new Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge and the start of Halloween time at Disneyland. The blockout dates that still remain for lower tiered passholders are Fridays-Sundays which means that weekends may actually be less busy than weekdays. This will have a large impact on the crowds later in the month as local passholders make up a significant part of Disneyland's guest population.

Guests visiting Disneyland in September also have the extra hurdle of Oogie Boogie Bash at California Adventure. If you don't have a party ticket, you will be asked to leave the park around 5pm. It's important to plan ahead for those dates so you have a plan in place for once the party starts. In the past the first start of the day before the Halloween party is actually low in crowd levels as many party goers don't enter the parks until later in the day when their Halloween party ticket allows saving them the cost of a full day ticket. It can actually be a wise decision to start off the day early at the park hosting the Halloween party to beat some of those crowds. Just make sure you leave in time to head over to Disneyland!

You can still have a great vacation even if Disneyland is crowded as long as you plan ahead. Make dining reservations, consider booking a dining package for anticipated nighttime shows, learn how to use MaxPass along with FastPass, and arrive early to the parks every day. Even on an extremely crowded day, being there 30 minutes before the park officially opens allows you to experience the park with smaller crowds. Those two or three hours before 11AM are the best- don't miss out. Read our full guide on handling crowds to prepare yourself for visiting Disneyland in September.

Disneyland Weather in September

Disneyland in September can actually be just as hot as days in the summer which can take many guests by surprise. The average high this time of year is 84 degrees and the average low at 63. You also have the bonus factor of all the concrete in the parks reflecting the sun back at you when you're there.

Even though you're visiting in the Fall, this time of year can be just as hot as the hottest days of summer so it's important to pack accordingly. The good news about the hot weather sticking around is the long days of sunshine also stick around with the average day lasting around 14 hours.

Tips for Visiting Disneyland in September

Guardians of the Galaxy against a blue sky

When it comes to visiting Disneyland in September, we have some tried and true hacks for having a magical time on your vacation.

What to Wear 

One of the most frequently asked guest questions is: what should I wear to Disneyland? Always check the weather leading up to your trip. One big mistake guests can make this time of year is assuming that visiting during the Fall means the weather will be cooler. Not exactly the case, as you saw above when we looked at average high temperatures. Plan for hot weather and bring light layers in case the nights do cool down. Bring clothes that are comfortable for you and your kids when the weather gets hot. Avoid sandals unless they're ones you know you can walk at least 7 miles a day and be comfortable!

What to Pack 

Considering the high average temperature for the month of September, plan on packing summer attire for the parks and the pool at your hotel.

Always bring the hot weather necessities like sunscreen, portable fans, cooling towels, and other items all aimed at keeping you cool on hot days. If you find yourself wanting one of these while you're there, you'll end up paying a high price in the parks or at your hotel. And if you're planning on hitting the beach, don't bother bringing towels and just use the ones from your hotel.

If you plan on attending the Halloween party at California Adventure, adults and children can wear costumes! It's best to buy your costume in advance and bring it with you. Buying one on the fly in the parks or nearby stores could be time consuming and expensive. People go all out with their costumes for the Halloween parties, consider dressing up so you can join in the fun.

You can read our giant packing list here to make sure you show up prepared for literally anything you need while you're visiting Disneyland.

What to Expect

There are a few things you should expect when choosing September as your month to visit Disneyland:

  • Be Prepared for Halloween Themes- some guests don't realize how early Halloween season begins at Disneyland. This can be a welcome surprise or not- depending on personal preference. If you're not a fan of Halloween, you may want to rethink visiting during this month as the parks begin kicking off the Halloween fun with themed entertainment, food, and attraction themes early in the month.
  • Plan for Halloween Themed Attractions- the attraction theme that gets the most attention is the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland. If you want to see this attraction in its classic form, you may want to rethink visiting this month. If you're excited to see these Halloween overlays, then you picked a great time. Haunted Mansion receives a Nightmare Before Christmas theme and some guests actually find it better than the original. Over in California Adventure, you will see Halloween themes on the smaller Cars land rides but the big theme takes place in the Guardians of the Galaxy- Mission: BREAKOUT! ride. Once evening falls, the ride is transformed into a monster hunt to save baby Groot.
  • Know the Halloween Party Dates- being prepared for Oogie Boogie Bash at Disney's California Adventure is essential halfway in the month once the party dates begins. You should plan on park hopper tickets so you can hop over to Disneyland when the party starts if you don't have a ticket. If you plan on attending, we recommend not buying a park ticket that day as your party ticket will allow you into California Adventure a few hours before official party time.
  • Be prepared for hot weather- a common misconception about visiting Disneyland in September is that the weather will be cooler. That's not usually the case as hot weather continues well into September. If you don't handle heat well, it's so necessary to wake up early and get to the parks at least 45 minutes before they open the gates. The hot weather won't really start making an impact until 11am-12pm depending on the day so getting there early will make all the difference. If you follow our awesome morning strategy for Disneyland here and California Adventure here you can be done with the major rides by lunchtime and go back to your hotel for a swim at the hottest part of the day. And like I said before, bring cooling towels, misting fans, and any other gear you like to have when it's hot. With some advance planning, you can handle the heat!
  • Tips for Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge- if you're planning on visiting Batuu, then make sure to read our guide on the new Star Wars themed land! There are a few experiences that have been extremely popular aside from the Millennium Falcon ride and it's good to show up prepared so you know where to go first. If you have your heart set on meeting DJ Rex then go straight to Oga's Cantina in the morning. Or are you ready to become a Jedi and build a lightsaber? Then head right for Savi's Workshop! If you're not too interested in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, the good news is that it does ‘eat up crowds' so to speak for the rest of the park. But still make the time to at least walk through, you won't be disappointed. Disneyland has done an amazing job on this newest addition to the parks that even the most casual Star Wars fan will appreciate.

But most of all, remember to enjoy your time at the happiest place on earth!

Plan Your Disneyland Vacation!

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