Planning a Disneyland trip can be challenging, especially if you want to avoid crowds. In this guide, we’ll show you the best time to visit Disneyland and Disney California Adventure so that you can enjoy seasonal events, pleasant weather, and reasonable pricing without worrying about long lines and large crowds. We will also advise you on the busiest and least favorable weeks and months to visit. By following our tips, you can choose the best dates that suit your preferences and make the most of your Disneyland vacation.

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Factors to Consider Before Selecting Your Dates

Best time to visit Disneyland: A boat sails into the entrance of "it's a small world" at Disneyland on early evening in February

The best time to visit Disneyland depends on your preferences and what you hope to get out of your trip. Here are some factors to consider:

Crowds: Crowd levels can have a major impact on your overall experience at Disneyland. Long lines can ruin the trip for some people, so is critical to know when the theme parks are less crowded. Check our Disneyland crowd calendar before you decide when to go. Mid-week days are usually less crowded than weekends and some times of year are significantly better than others.

Weather: Southern California weather is generally pleasant, but rain and extreme heat can negatively impact your experience.

Events & Festivals: Disneyland’s seasonal events offer unique experiences but also attract larger crowds. Decide whether you want to attend these special events or visit during non-event days to avoid the crowds.

Availability & Costs: During peak times, tickets and lodging are limited. Disneyland uses dynamic pricing – rates climb for tickets and hotels during busy holidays and events. Special events often require separate ticket purchases. While off-peak visits may mean lower prices, you may miss out on seasonal offerings.

Top 3 Best Times to Visit Disneyland Resort

If you’re looking for a balance between low crowd levels and favorable weather, cost, and events, these are the three best times to visit Disneyland.

1. Mid-September to Mid-November

Additional decorations are added outside of Haunted Mansion in a Nightmare before Christmas overlay

Additional decorations are added outside of Haunted Mansion

Fall brings Halloween magic to Disneyland Resort with special events, mild weather, and noticeably lighter weekday crowds. From late September through October 31st, the parks transform with pumpkin décor, themed parades, costume meet-and-greets, and a Nightmare Before Christmas Haunted Mansion overlay.

Pros:

  • Unique Halloween-themed attractions and experiences.
  • Relatively fewer crowds than in peak seasons, especially during weekdays.
  • Wider availability of dining reservations and Genie+ options.
  • Dry and pleasant weather, with temperatures in the 70s or 80s.

Cons:

  • Weekends around Halloween tend to be more crowded.
  • Some attractions may close early or briefly for refurbishments.
  • Evening weather can be cooler, with lows in the 50s. Wear layers.

2. Mid-January to Mid-March

The excitement of the holidays has passed, leaving behind a quieter ambiance. Cool temperatures in the 60s to low 70s make for pleasant park exploring. Sparse crowds provide a relaxed pace.

Pros:

  • Dramatically fewer guests and shorter wait times. On weekdays, lines may be walk-ons.
  • More relaxed atmosphere, ideal for leisurely exploration.
  • Low crowds provide more opportunities for character interactions.
  • Winter-themed foods like soups, hot chocolate, and baked goods.
  • Lower hotel rates than peak periods.

Cons:

  • Some attractions may undergo refurbishment after the holidays.
  • Shorter park hours due to earlier sunsets. Typical hours are 9 am to 8 pm.
  • Weather can be rainy in January and February. Bring rain gear.

Being from Boston, my wife Jaimie and I always look for a warmer place to vacation around January or February. The cold winters back home drive us to find places that offer both entertainment and respite from the chilly winds. Several years ago, we decided to try Disneyland in early February, and it turned out to be one of our best vacation decisions!

3. Weekdays in Winter and Spring

Large Pink Heart Decorations in the square, with Emporium in the background

Love is in bloom at Disneyland

The park is invigorating in the crisp air and clear skies of winter and spring mornings. As the day goes on, the park becomes more crowded, but there is still a relaxed atmosphere as the schools are in session during the mid-week.

Pros:

  • Significantly reduced crowds compared to weekends. Short to non-existent lines.
  • More opportunities for spontaneous decisions and alterations in plans.
  • Lower crowds allow time to notice subtle details in the theming and take photos.
  • Pleasant weather with highs in the 60s and 70s.

Cons:

  • Some seasonal shows and parades might only be held on weekends, not weekdays.
  • There is a higher chance of rain from November to April.

Speak With a Disneyland Expert To Plan Your Trip!

Worst Times to Visit Disneyland

If crowded parks and higher prices aren’t your thing, consider avoiding these peak periods:

1. Holiday Weeks and School Breaks

The singing dolls of the

Beautiful decorations abound, but crowds can be worse then usual.

Disneyland is particularly magical during the holidays, especially leading up to Christmas, with festive activities such as carolers, themed decorations, and a variety of holiday treats. However, this enchantment comes at the price of large crowds. This is also true during Thanksgiving and Easter weeks. If you don’t like crowds, it’s best to avoid holiday weeks and any time when schools are out of session.

Here’s a tip if you decide to go: Book your theme park reservations months in advance. On the day of your visit, arrive early to avoid the crowds, use Genie+ and Lightning Lane passes to your advantage, but manage your expectations because you will still have to wait in long lines.

2. Summer: June to Mid-August

Summer is the most lively time to visit Disneyland. The park has extended hours and a full schedule of activities. However, the combination of hot summer days – which can reach temperatures of 90 degrees Fahrenheit – and large crowds can lead to long queues and exhaustion. It is important to keep in mind that the summer season also brings higher ticket and accommodation prices. Of course, there are also some benefits, such as being able to add on some fun in the sun at one of the beaches near Disneyland.

3. Other Significant Holidays & Extended Weekends

Major national holidays like Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day always draw huge crowds to Disneyland Resort. The parks often have special parades and entertainment to celebrate these holidays, further driving up attendance. It can be quite busy throughout the entire long weekend and even into the weekdays following the holiday.

To make the most of your day, arrive early, take a break during the afternoon (during peak crowds), and then stay until closing time.

Dates to Avoid Disneyland in 2024

To avoid long waits and crowds, avoid planning your Disneyland trip during these peak dates:

  • January: 1-7, 10-15
  • February: 16-19
  • March: 9 – April 30
  • May: All weekends, Grad Nite dates, Memorial Day
  • June: 14 – July 7
  • August: 30 – September 2
  • October: 2-20
  • November: 22-30
  • December: 21-31

By steering clear of these periods, you’re better positioned for a more relaxed Disneyland experience.

Can’t Change Your Dates?

If work, school, or other considerations are locking you into a less-than-ideal time of year, don’t fret!

One of the best things you can do to give yourself an advantage is to entrust your plans to an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner.

As an Earmarked Diamond level planner, The Vacationeer has the know-how to help make your trip run smoothly no matter the time of year.

Their agents provide free help planning your trip, including making all of your hotel, dining, theme park ticket, and ground transportation arrangements.

You’ll have a single, dedicated travel agent to handle your plans — no need to waste time waiting on hold to speak to a Cast Member.

And thanks to The Vacationeer‘s extensive knowledge of Disney theme parks, they’ll give you great itinerary advice to minimize your time spent waiting in line.

Get your free, no-obligation quote today!

A Month-by-Month Guide to Visiting Disneyland in 2024

Here’s a 2024 breakdown of Disneyland crowds and seasonal events to help you plan your trip.

January:

  • Crowds: Lighter, but New Year’s Day and MLK Day (coinciding with runDisney events) see a spike.
  • Events: Lunar New Year Festival, featuring Mulan, Asian cuisine, and live performances.

February:

  • Crowds: Valentine’s Day and President’s Day draw crowds, but the rest of the month is quieter.

March:

  • Crowds: Spring break influx; aim for after the first week for fewer crowds.
  • Events: Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival kicks off with special menus and culinary showcases.

April:

  • Crowds: Generally mild, with an uptick around Easter.
  • Events: Food & Wine Festival continues.

May:

  • Crowds: Memorial Day weekend is busy; post-holiday sees fewer crowds.

June:

  • Crowds: A surge due to summer vacations.
  • Events: Summertime fireworks and seasonal foods.

July:

  • Crowds: Peak summer crowds, especially around the Fourth of July.

August:

  • Crowds: Gradual thinning as summer winds down.

September:

  • Crowds: Reduced, as schools are back in session.
  • Events: Halloween Time begins, introducing pumpkins, villains, and the Nightmare Before Christmas overlay at the Haunted Mansion.

October:

  • Crowds: Busy around Halloween weekend; aim for other times for fewer crowds.
  • Events: Halloween Time continues its spooky celebrations.

November:

  • Crowds: Quieter, with a significant uptick during Thanksgiving week.
  • Events: The holiday season commences, transforming Disneyland with festive splendor.

December:

  • Crowds: The most crowded month, especially the latter half.
  • Events: Holiday magic is everywhere – Sleeping Beauty’s Castle dons a snowy facade while carolers, parades, and special treats enhance the festive atmosphere.

FAQs: Disneyland Crowd Levels and Timing

Q: What are the best months and seasons to visit Disneyland?

Our top recommendations for optimal Disneyland experiences are September, October, and mid-January through March. These months strike a balance between pleasant weather and manageable crowds. In particular, September and October offer the warmth of summer without its peak visitor numbers. Meanwhile, the months after the holidays, until March, promise a cooler atmosphere with fewer guests.

Q: What are the least crowded days of the week at Disneyland?

A: Weekdays, especially Tuesdays and Wednesdays, tend to be less crowded than weekends at Disneyland. Visiting on a Tuesday or Wednesday will likely mean shorter lines and wait times.

Q: What’s the best time of day to avoid crowds?

A: The morning right at the park open typically has the lowest crowds. Arrive early to experience short lines before crowds build later.

Q: When is the slowest season for crowds?

A: The slowest season is generally January through March, after the holidays. September and early November also see lower attendance before Thanksgiving picks up.

Q: What if I can only visit during a peak crowded season?

A: Navigating peak seasons can be easier with the right strategy:

  • Disney Genie: Use this tool to streamline your visit.
  • Early Entry: If you’re staying at one of the Disneyland hotels, capitalize on this perk offering extra time at one of the two parks.
  • Arrival Time: Aim to be at the park 60 minutes prior to its opening. This lets you clear security before the rush.
  • Morning Plan: Identify and visit your top attractions right as the park opens.
  • Genie+/Lightning Lanes: To avoid longer lines, use these premium options in the afternoon and evening.
  • Late-Night Strategy: Stick around until the park closes, as ride lines often decrease later at night.

With careful planning, even the busiest days can be filled with magic!.

Q: When is the cheapest time to visit Disneyland?

A: The cheapest time of year to visit Disneyland is typically early January through early March. Hotel rates (including Disneyland hotels) are at their lowest following the holiday season. You can also find discounted park tickets and cheaper airfare during these months.

Q: What is the hottest month at Disneyland?

A: July and August are usually the hottest, with average highs around 85°F. For milder weather, plan a trip in spring or fall, when temperatures reach the 70s.

Q: When is the best time to visit Disneyland if I want to avoid the rain?

A: The wettest time of year in Anaheim is January and February, with Disneyland experiencing an average of five rainy days. To avoid rain, plan your visit in summer or early fall.

Plan an Unforgettable Disneyland Vacation with The Vacationeer

Planning a memorable Disneyland vacation requires a great deal of effort and expertise. Fortunately, The Vacationeer is here to help you out. As a top Disney travel agency and an exclusive Platinum Level Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, The Vacationeer has the knowledge and experience to design a perfect and personalized trip for your family.

The Vacationeer Advantage:

  • One-on-One Service: A dedicated Disney specialist will get to know your family’s interests, budget, and vision for your perfect vacation. They handle every detail from start to finish.
  • Insider Access: The Vacationeer agents have in-depth knowledge of the parks. They can give you advice, uncover VIP experiences, discounts, and deals that you might otherwise miss out on.
  • Simplicity and Savings: The Vacationeer makes planning and booking Disneyland easy and stress-free. And best of all, their services are completely free!

As huge Disney fans, my wife Jaimie and I have learned to always trust The Vacationeer for our Disney getaways. Though we know Disney parks inside and out, The Vacationeer still impresses us with their attention to detail and little touches of extra magic. I highly recommend connecting with their team of specialists for an unforgettable, seamless Disneyland vacation.

Get personalized advice and a free, no-obligation quote from The Vacationeer!

Closing Thoughts

Just like any great adventure, a bit of preparation can take that Disneyland experience from good to unforgettable. Here’s a simple tip from our playbook: Study a Disneyland map ahead of time. Get a good grasp of the layout to help you navigate the park easily, allowing you to hit those must-see attractions without a hitch. And, if you love a good story like us, learning about Disneyland’s rich history before you go can make every corner of the park come alive in a whole new way.

As I’ve just mentioned, a Disney travel agent can be a valuable resource, as it has been for my family. They can provide advice on everything from the best age for Disneyland visits to helping you select the ideal travel dates to ensure that you find the perfect accommodations. Whether it’s the premier on-site Disneyland hotels or the best Disneyland Good Neighbor hotels nearby, they can help you make the best decision to match your dream vacation. And if you’re torn between Disneyland and Disney World, their expertise can guide you in making the best decision.

My family loves visiting Disneyland in September, October, and from mid-January to March for the mild weather and fewer crowds. However, keep in mind that the ideal Disneyland trip varies based on personal preferences.

No matter when you choose to visit, Disneyland’s enchantment is a guarantee!