So you’re going to Disneyland! Congrats!
First off, take me with you. (Please?)
What’s the Best Time to Go to Disneyland for You?
There’s just so much to see and do at Disneyland and its neighboring park, Disney California Adventure!
The best time to go to Disneyland really depends on what you want to get out of the experience.
So to figure out the best time to go to Disneyland...
...first you need to ask yourself a few quick questions.
What do you want to do?
When you say, “I’m going to Disneyland!” what do you imagine yourself doing?
Do you want to go on rides? Of course you do!
After all, what's a trip to Disneyland without a ride in the Teacups or It's a Small World in Disneyland’s Fantasy Land. (They are classics for a reason, after all!)
Are your kids asking to meet Queen Elsa and Princess Anna? Or maybe meet Spider-Man and Black Panther?
You can do it all in Disney California Adventure.
Maybe get something to eat at the park?
Let's face it:
no visit to Disneyland is complete without a churro or a turkey leg! (Be sure to check out the carts on Main Street and Buena Vista in Disney California Adventure!)
Also, be sure to try the Gray Stuff.
(It’s delicious! Don’t believe me? Ask the dishes!)
What do you want to see?
Is there anything that is on your absolute MUST SEE list at Disneyland?
If so, the best time to go to Disneyland for you is going to be when those MUST SEE events or characters are around.
Take for instance: Sally and Jack from Nightmare Before Christmas.
If these two characters are your must-sees, you’re only going to see them around Halloween.
Performances like Fantasmic or World of Color are incredible and should be on everyone's Disneyland list.
But these shows do not run every day, so it’s best to plan around them.
Do you have any accessibility concerns?
Disneyland is the happiest place on Earth. It does all that it can to be accessible to all of its guests.
If you or anyone in your party has accessibility concerns, it’s vital that you plan accordingly. The official Disneyland website has a comprehensive guide for guests with disabilities.
Once at the park, you can visit City Hall to get more information about accessibility concerns.
Service animal policy
While no pets are allowed in Disneyland, service dogs and mini horses can accompany their handlers.
If you bring your service animal, note that there are some rides and attractions that they cannot accompany you on.
Are there any major events?
Aside from holidays, major events like grand opening events are few and far between
If you want to be part of those major events, you have to plan way in advance.
And you do want that!
Take this for instance:
The most recent major grand opening event at Disneyland was when the Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission BREAKOUT ride opened in 2017.
In the summer of 2019, Disneyland will be openingGalaxy’s Edge, the new Star Wars themed land. This is sure to be an event that will go down in galactic history!
Researching before you go
You may be going to Disneyland to relax but to get the most out of your leisure time, you need to do some research first.
There’s plenty of information to be had from official Disneyland sources.
Also, super fans that run blogs and vlogs are some of the BEST sources to learn from!
Before you leave for Disneyland, do yourself a favor and download the official Disneyland mobile app. (It’s available for both iOS and Android.)
With the official Disneyland app, you can find maps, schedules, and wait times. You can also order food, see your PhotoPass photos, and more.
you can book your FastPass directly from the app. No more waiting in line!
How cool is that?
Disneyland bloggers and vloggers
There are plenty of Disneyland dedicated blogs and vlogs out there that can help you keep up with the latest news from the land of the Mouse.
After all, people who go there all the time have the most information to help figure out the best time to go to Disneyland!
These Disneyland fanatics regularly share insider tips that can help you make the most of your trip to Disneyland.
Rules and safety
Keep in mind that before entering the park, all guests are subject to a security check. This includes a bag check as well as a pass through the metal detector.
Not Allowed In Disneyland:
Depending on the season and time of day, the security check line can be quite lengthy so budget time into your day for it.
Best Time to Go to Disneyland: Season
One of the most significant considerations for determining the best time to go to Disneyland is the season.
While Disneyland is a great destination year-round, each season offers a unique experience.
By far, summertime is the BEST time to go to Disneyland if you want the complete park experience.
Both Disneyland and Disneyland California Adventure are open for the most extended amount of time, from morning until midnight during peak summer hours.
And that's not all:
The parks run a full schedule of programming throughout the day during the summer months. You can easily spend morning to late night in the park, just taking in all the sights and sounds!
Considerations for summer visits
If you want to go to Disneyland in the summertime, be forewarned that just about EVERYONE ELSE has the same idea.
Summer break is the most popular time for people to visit Disneyland. From Memorial Day weekend to the beginning of September, you can expect there to be lots of people all over the parks.
The newest part of the park, Galaxy’s Edge, is opening in the summer of 2019, ready to transport guests to the planet of Batuu.
While no one can be sure exactly how many people will turn out, Galaxy’s Edge is sure to be a new crowd favorite so plan accordingly!
July 17 of 2019 marks Disneyland’s opening anniversary. Expect more crowds on this day for the celebrations!
If you like warmer weather and less crowded conditions, springtime may be the best time to go to Disneyland for you!
The weather is perfect for visiting during March, April, and May. With high temps averaging in the upper 70-degree range and lows in the mid-50-degree range, you are good to go with just a jacket.
Considerations for spring
Smaller crowds mean shorter lines!
But that also means that some rides and attractions may be down for maintenance.
And there may be fewer scheduled shows available.
While spring usually has lower crowds, spring break is when you’ll see an uptick of people in Disneyland. Spring break varies for different schools but tends to be either the week before or the week after Easter.
Disneyland tends to have had more events and less maintenance during peak spring break times.
If you’re a foodie, Disney California Adventure is the place to be! The Disney California Adventure Food and Wine Festival is an annual event that runs every March and April.
There are exclusive food treats available in the park during this time. You can also check out different themed food experiences at the Festival Marketplaces.
And, there's more!
Also during the spring is the Disneyland Eggstravaganza, the best egg hunt out there!
Summer may be the peak season, but winter at Disneyland also has its charm.
Disneyland turns into a winter themed Christmas wonderland at the end of November. The holiday decor lasts through December through the New Year.
Considerations for winter
Weatherwise, winter is an okay time to visit.
If you're not a Californian, it can be downright balmy in the winter in Anaheim.
December temperatures range from a high of 70-degrees with lows in the upper 40-degree range.
Keep in mind:
Southern California winters are known for their rain. Being caught in cold rain is no fun!
If you decide to visit Disneyland in the winter, dress in layers to quickly adjust to the changeable weather. Also, be sure to pack a rain poncho or prepare to buy one in at the park.
If you are dead-set on going on some of the most popular rides, January and February may not be the best time to go to Disneyland for you.
Major rides may go into maintenance mode after the holidays.
January and February are similar though you may only see lows in the mid-50-degree range.
If you love Christmas and Disney, this is the BEST time to go to Disneyland, hands down.
Christmas time at Disneyland is magic!
The parks are decked out in their holiday finery.
Sleeping Beauty’s Castle transforms at night into a wintery, magical wonderland.
Buena Vista Street in California Adventure is a nostalgic look at holidays in the 1930s.
There are holiday-themed eats, shows, and events throughout December.
After the holiday rush, January and February are typically slow months for Disneyland.
Compared to December, there are fewer people and in general, less available entertainment.
However, Disneyland does hold a Lunar New Year event to help celebrate the New Year as its celebrated in countries like China and Vietnam.
This month-long event celebrates Asian cultures with themed merchandise and activities.
The highlight of the Lunar New Year event at Disneyland is the Mulan’s Lunar New Year Procession parade, hosted by Mulan and Mushu.
If you want to enjoy the park with a little less hassle, autumn may be the best time to go to Disneyland.
While autumn may be a bit slower than summer, there is still plenty to do and see!
Considerations for autumn
Weatherwise, autumn is a great time to visit Disneyland.
Septembers in Anaheim still tend to be on the warm side, with highs averaging in the high 80-degree range and lows in the mid to low 60-degree range.
October is similar but gets colder at night, dipping into the high 50-degree range.
November sees highs in the high 70-degree range and lows dipping into the low 50-degrees.
If you love Halloween and Disneyland, you owe it to yourself to check it out!
While not as big of a to-do as the Christmas holiday, there are plenty of Halloween themed events and decorations around the parks.
This is the best time to visit New Orleans Square if you love Nightmare Before Christmas. (The Haunted House gets a Nightmare Before Christmas themed makeover inside!)
A word about holidays
Holidays are the most popular time to go to Disneyland!
Peak Holidays at Disneyland
4th of July
September through October sees Disneyland at its spooky best. This is the best time to go to Disneyland if you’re a fan of all things creepy.
From late November through Christmas, the park is done up in its holiday best. It’s truly magical to behold.
On Independence Day, Disneyland holds a spectacular fireworks display.
You need to know this, though:
If you’re not into crowds, this is the time to avoid Disneyland!
Disneyland is often at its peak capacity during the holidays.
- Here are the peak times that you may want to plan around:
- Weekends before and day of Halloween
- Thanksgiving week
- Week before Christmas
- Christmas to New Year’s Day
Best Time to Go to Disneyland: Day of the Week
Weekdays: Less crowded but fewer events
Weekends: More crowded but more events
The day of the week you choose to visit the parks is critical.
Here's what we found:
During the off-season, weekdays are the best time to visit Disneyland if you want a leisurely, non-crowded day at the park.
Considerations when visiting on a weekday
Disneyland and Disney California Adventure tend to save the most popular events for peak times. This is especially true for the big crowd shows like Fantasmic.
If there are any events that you absolutely MUST SEE while at the parks...
check on the app or official website to see if it is available during the weekdays!
It may not be, and we don't want you disappointed.
During the offseason, Disneyland and Disney California Adventure close earlier on weekdays than on weekends. Expect the park to close around 9 PM on weekdays.
Disney California Adventure often closes an hour before Disneyland.
Since most people have weekends off, crowds are naturally more massive at Disneyland on Saturday and Sunday.
Not only will you see more foot traffic in Disneyland and Disney California Adventure but you’ll probably see more people milling about the Downtown Disney area as well.
Considerations when visiting on a weekend
Weekends are the best time to visit Disneyland during the off-peak season if you want to catch more shows and entertainment.
Best Time to Go to Disneyland: Time of Day
Figuring out the best time of the day to visit the parks depends on what you are there to do and see.
Traffic patterns in the park
Before you get to the park, study the traffic patterns.
No kidding: you may be thinking "park," but when it comes to Disney, it's better to think "magic city."
Knoing traffic patterns will help you get around the park efficiently so you can make the most out of your day!
When the park initially opens:
The majority of the traffic will be on Main Street in Disneyland and Buena Vista Street through Carthay Circle in Disney California Adventure.
As crowds disperse, traffic patterns may ease. According to Touring Plans, Sleeping Beauty’s Castle and Fantasy Land tend to be the first stops for new visitors to the park.
Disneyland is known for its parades and special events, usually in the afternoon and evening hours.
Major throughways around Main Street in Disneyland or Performance Corridor in Disney California Adventure may be blocked to accommodate parades or crowd seating.
Knowing what’s likely to be blocked when will keep you walking through to your favorite Disney destination!
If you are staying at an official Disneyland Resort hotel, take advantage of Magic Morning for Disneyland and Extra Magic Hour at Disney California Adventure.
Official Disneyland Resort hotels include:
Paradise Pier and
Good Neighbor Hotels
Magic Morning and Extra Magic Hour is a perk for Disneyland Resort guests that allows you into the park an hour before general admission. This is a great way to beat the crowds!
Guests at the Disneyland Grand Californian have direct access to Disneyland California Adventure!
Even better, you can start reserving Fast Passes using the Disneyland app as soon as you get in the gate.
Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure alternate Magic Morning admissions. Check with your resort hotel to see which park is open early.
Every guest over the age of three will need a valid hotel key card as well as a paid park admission to get in early for Magic Morning.
Do not forget:
Be sure to get to to the park at least fifteen minutes before Magic Morning begins. This will give you ample time to pass through the security check.
Morning is a favorite time to visit in the summer. Late spring and early autumn can still get up there in temp, morning is always a good bet.
If you want to wait out the morning crowds and have the time, have breakfast in the park! Disneyland has the Carnation Cafe and Plaza Inn.
A memory like breakfast at the Carnation Cafe lasts a lifetime.
For Starbucks addicts, there’s a Starbucks on Buena Vista Street in Disney California Adventure.
Noon to late afternoon is a peak time for foot traffic at the park. Expect lines for attractions as well as general crowds to be at their highest for the day during any season.
Remember: afternoons in the peak summer months can get HOT in Anaheim! This may be the time to avoid if you are sensitive to heat.
The afternoon is a good time to duck out and cool off with a drink in a shady spot of the park.
New Orleans Square is a favorite, shady spot filled with some great food spots and comfortable seating.
When the sun goes down is when things get exciting in Disneyland!
The entire park lights up, and it’s a sight to behold.
On many weekend evenings, particularly in the peak seasons, there are fireworks and parades to look forward to.
Of course that's just a tiny bit of the allure of this magic land:
For big shows like Fantasmic and World of Color, seating starts about an hour or two before the performance.
If you don’t care much about catching the big shows, this is often the best time to get in line for the favorite rides like Pirates of the Caribbean or Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout.
Park hopping considerations
If you plan to hop between Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, you should consider the walking time to and fro.
The reality of the walk:
From Sleeping Beauty’s Castle in Disneyland to Pixar Pier in Disney California Adventure is about a half mile walk. Under light foot traffic conditions, this will only take the average person about 13 minutes to walk. But during really crowded times at Disneyland, this can take a lot longer.
(And that’s not including the inevitable detour through Main Street and Buena Vista shops! #NoJudgement)
Disneyland can reach capacity
Disneyland may close the park to new entry when it reaches peak capacity.
In 2017 and 2018, this happened on December 27 and 28.
That means you can arrive at the gates to be turned away.
When Disneyland closes, no new tickets are available. If you entered the park earlier in the day, you could usually get back in.
There is one more thing that can get you in even when closed to new entry:
If you have confirmed dining reservations for the park, you will still be allowed in even if it is closed to new entry.
You're Going to Disneyland!
If you want to see absolutely everything that Disneyland has to offer, summer weekends are the best time to go to Disneyland.
It may be hot, and a bit crowded. But there’s no denying that from morning until night, there is a ton of magic to be had.
But if you prefer more mild weather and fewer crowds, hit up Disneyland on a weekday in mid-spring or mid-autumn.
You may not get the full summertime experience, but you are sure to have a fun time nonetheless.
(I mean, it’s Disneyland. Is there any way you can NOT have fun?)
So there you have it, everything you need to know to figure out when the best time to go to Disneyland!
Let us know down in the comments what your favorite time of day or year is at the park!