Disneyland attendance over July 4th weekend 2016

July 5, 2016, 8:35 AM

My Sister is coming for a visit from July 13 - 18. We are going to DLR on the 15th and 16th. I am a pass holder and a very frequent visitor so I never worry about maximizing my day as I prefer a more leisurely visit. Because she will only be at DLR for two days, I am working on knowing how to get the most out of her time in the parks.
In order to do so, I've been tracking the wait times every hour looking for patterns for when things are slow and busy. This last weekend was extremely slow at both parks, particularly Disney California Adventure.
Why do you guys think that is?
Were people avoiding the parks due to the new pricing plan? Were people concerned about safety based on recent world events? I don't thing this is the case based on the crowds at WDW. Did everyone just assume it was going to be chock-a-block so nobody turned out going?
What do you guys think?
When I worked at UO back in the 90's it was apparent that the day before and the day after a holiday were always busier than the holiday itself, so today may be the crazy day, but July 3rd was not busy, so I'm stumped.

Replies (8)

July 5, 2016, 2:20 PM

This past weekend was slow for a couple of factors but the main factor is that the locals were doing other things. DLR attendance is primarily fueled by local APH's. Most locals do other things besides Disneyland on the 4th. They either go out of town, to the beach, a friends BBQ, etc. etc. etc. Disneyland is not a popular destination among locals for the 4th. That's the main reason the parks were so empty this weekend. Some of the other factors you mentioned may be a concern but they are not major concerns which would see a huge drop off in attendance as you had this past weekend.

July 5, 2016, 3:21 PM

One of the reasons disneyland is less busy may possibly be because of universal hollywood. They recently added a lot of new rides and has seen an attendance increase. Maybe this is why the crowds were less busy at disneyland, because they were more attracted to universal.

July 5, 2016, 3:42 PM

In the past couple years, attendance at the Disneyland Resort has become increasingly tied to the AP blockout calendar. This is because the resort's annual attendance has grown to be about 80% AP visitors, and on most days there are more AP visitors than non-AP visitors (sometimes as many as 3 to 1). Naturally, few AP holders will visit on a blockout day. As a result, Disneyland may be the only theme park in the world where an off-season weekday has the potential to be more crowded than a holiday weekend. On days where the Southern Calfornia passes are blocked out, the parks are usually less busy than you would expect for that period. If the Deluxe pass is blocked out, crowds are almost always reasonable.

For your trip, I think you will get a better sense of crowds by checking wait times on the 8th and 9th as the crowd level should be very similar to what you will experience. My guess is that it will be busy but manageable as all the So Cal passes are blocked out. To maximize your time, I'd suggest sticking mostly with one park per day and doing everything in one area before moving on. I can try making a touring plan if you want, but if you track wait times for a couple days and use that data you'll likely get pretty good results as well.

July 5, 2016, 4:20 PM

Thanks for the offer AJ. I think I will be OK. I was really only giving that back story because I was so surprised at how slow both parks were based on wait times.

July 7, 2016, 11:40 AM

What AJ said. However, this year's Fourth was exceptionally slow at Disneyland, which I think might be a combination of

1) former Premium passholders downgrading or dropping their APs rather than buying the new Signature APs,

2) the effect of Disney's new pricing tiers for one-day tickets, and

3) Universal Studios Hollywood and Knott's Berry Farm pulling away some of the local day-trip market.

July 7, 2016, 12:20 PM

^ I fall into category 1, Robert. I've held a Premium AP for several years and I used it to enter Disneyland on the 4th of July in years past, but I let it expire a few months ago, in part because I couldn't justify the price increase to Signature. Disneyland's offerings on the 4th haven't changed much, so for me it was a case of been-there, done-that. This year it made much more sense to spend the 4th in a friend's pool and watch nearby residents launch their own pyro. Like others said above, SoCal residents have plenty of (less expensive!) options besides Disney for the 4th. Meanwhile, it was Universal Studios Hollywood that debuted their new Walking Dead attraction on that day.

July 7, 2016, 2:49 PM

I think former Disneyland APs are contributing to Six Flags's and Knotts' increased attendance.

Edited: July 8, 2016, 7:46 PM

I can make better use of the monthly payments I've been making for my family's 4 passes. The fact that Disneyland couldn't spare even 2 days during July for SoCal Select AP's just confirm's to me they don't value AP's and SoCal Select even less so. I will be dropping my passes in August when they expire. But I suspect that Disney will do just fine no matter how high their prices go, as they are great at selling. Last year I downgraded from Premium, this year from Socal Select to free agent, and will be keeping my money to spend at other nearby themeparks and attractions that value and desire my business.

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