Disneyland is a dream destination for every kid — and every kid at heart. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the state of California and in the United States as a whole. Nearly 20 million people visit the park each year.
To this day, Disneyland is a world of adventure to visit. The park is packed with amazing rides such as Space Mountain, It’s A Small World, and the Indiana Jones Adventure.
Whether you love cartoon characters or some of Disney’s more adult properties, want an adrenaline-pushing ride or just a gentle turn, there is a ride for you. However, Disneyland can be quite complicated to navigate.
The park receives thousands of visitors daily, and you need to plan ahead a lot to ensure that you make the most of your journey and don’t spend your day waiting in line.
Some of that planning ahead includes timing your visit properly. Here is the best time to visit Disneyland depending on what type of visitor you are!
The Best Time to Visit Disneyland
The best time to visit Disneyland for rides is during the fall, when the weather is pleasant, but the crowds are not as bad. For the peak park experience, the best time to visit Disneyland is during the holiday season, when the park has special decorations and events.
For visitors that are flexible with their traveling dates (usually adults) or may live nearby, the most important factor when deciding when to visit Disneyland is visitor numbers.
Disneyland was built in the 1950s and not quite designed for modern visitor numbers, so very crowded days can get oppressive. The park itself recommends that the best time to visit is mid-September to mid-November, when the crowds aren’t as bad but all the attractions are still open.
That way, you can see the most during your visit without spending all of your time in line. During the fall, you also get fairly good weather in Anaheim, the city where Disneyland is located.
The average temperature between late September and early November is a pleasant 82 degrees, with not that much precipitation.
Since you’ll be spending a lot of time walking around when visiting the park, making sure that you have good weather is a very important factor when timing your visit. If you have children that are in school, then time time you’ll go off from school.
Disneyland tends to get very crowded during this time since most families have the same idea of taking their kids to the most magical place on Earth.
However, there are some benefits to going during peak times. That is when you get the peak park experience, with special events, parades, more character visits, and even fireworks shows!
The holidays are a special time to visit. From early November to early January, Disneyland Christmas includes special light shows such as the World of Color – Season of Light, cultural festivals such as Viva Navidad!, and a special Christmas Fantasy Parade.
Halloween is also a great holiday to visit Disneyland, although it can also get crowded in the park during this time. The park gets decorated for Halloween and even organizes trick-or-treat for little ones.
Special Halloween events include the Halloween Screams event, the Haunted Mansion Holiday special event, and special after-hours events for adults such as the Oogie Boogie Bash.
Summer is another peak time to visit the park since many families have time off from school and time their trip during this time. The park marks this occasion with nightly fireworks shows and other special events. In addition to the best time of year to visit Disneyland, there is also a best time of day to visit the park.
Try to be at the park for rope drop, which is the opening hours (we recommend getting to the park about an hour before the park formally opens so you have time to pass security and the entry tickets).
If you don’t have young children, you can also stay late, past 9 p.m. That way, you can minimize the crowds even during peak visitor times.
Cheapest Time to Visit Disneyland
The cheapest time to visit Disneyland is during January and February. The prices of tickets and other amenities tend to decline during this time. It’s also cheaper to visit Disneyland during the week (especially Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday) than on the weekends.
Ticket prices fluctuate depending on the day. The park actually has tiered pricing based on calculated demand. Tier 0 days have the lowest crowds and are the least expensive, at around $104.
Tier 1 to Tier 6 days are ranked in order of increased demand and also increased price. The park recently increased prices for the highest tiers to try and manage the crowds a bit more.
Tier 0 days, which are the most affordable, are usually Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays (never weekends). They are available on less popular visitor months such as early-mid November, mid-late January, and February.
The park helpfully has a tier calendar where it lists which days are more affordable. Besides thinking about the price of park entry, you also need to think about the cost of other things you have to pay for to visit Disneyland, such as hotels, flights, and parking.
Hotels and flights in the Anaheim area tend to be the most affordable during weekdays in January (after the New Year’s holidays are over) and in February.
Just make sure to avoid popular events at the park, such as the Half Marathon. The prices of other costs, such as the Genie+ reservation system, parking, and food, tend to be consistent throughout the year.
Least Busy Time to Visit Disneyland
The least busy time to visit Disneyland is January and February during the weekdays. Since crowds are a big factor in what your visit will be like, trying to time your visit for the least busy times is a great idea.
The price of visiting Disneyland tends to go up as crowds increase, especially since the park has a tiered pricing system to try and discourage people from visiting during the most crowded times of the year.
As a result, the most affordable times to visit the park are also the least crowded. January and February tend to be the least crowded because there are fewer special events and holidays.
Plus, most kids around the United States are in school during this time, meaning that there are fewer families in the park. You can gauge how crowded the park will be during your planned travel dates ahead of time.
Many agencies that specialize in planning Disneyland travel have calendars on their website that estimate what the crowds will be like.
If you have a Magic Key Annual Pass, the park will usually block off the most crowded dates for reservations, while leaving less crowded ones open. There are some tradeoffs to visiting during the off-season.
The park tends to close much earlier during the winter, giving you less time to explore. You can check planned opening hours on the official park website, as well as check if any rides will be closed since they sometimes shut down in the off-season for maintenance.
The weather in California during the winter is also much cooler than it is during the spring or fall. However, if you bundle up, you can still have a good day at the park. Winter days can get cold, with some rain, but they are much milder than in other parts of the country.
Worst Time to Visit Disneyland
The worst time to visit Disneyland is during the peak summer months, which are June, July, and August. The crowds get unbearable, and the weather is no joke either.
The worst part about visiting in the summer is the crowds. The summer months tend to be the most crowded at Disneyland because most kids are off from school. Expect to wait in line to get into the park, get food, and ride on your favorite rides, sometimes for several hours.
Although the crowds are the worst part about visiting Disneyland, the weather is a close second. Summers in California can get very hot.
Walking around the park all day gets unpleasant quickly with the sun beating down, and sunburns and heat stroke are common. If you can only visit during the summer, try to minimize the effect of all these problems on your trip.
Use the park’s reservation system such as Genie+ to reserve entry as well as fast pass entry to your first choice of rides. Try to come early in the day or stay late to beat the crowds (and the heat).
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some additional tips to help you pick the best time to visit Disneyland:
What time of year is Disneyland least crowded?
Disneyland is the least crowded during the winter (outside of the holidays). Time your visit for January or February to avoid crowds.
What is the best month to go to Disneyland?
The best month to go to Disneyland is November. The crowds are lower at the beginning of the month, but the weather is still mild, and you catch the beginning of Disneyland Christmas.
What month is Disneyland most crowded?
Disneyland is most crowded during July. Not only is this the time of summer vacation, but many people want to come for the 4th of July holiday.
What time is Disneyland most crowded?
Disneyland is usually the most crowded in the middle of the day, between noon and 3 P.M. Expect the longest waits for rides, food, and even bathrooms then.
What is the hottest month in Disneyland?
The hottest months in Disneyland are usually July and August. These are also the most crowded months, making them a bad choice for a visit.
So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Disneyland?
The best time to visit Disneyland is in the fall, when crowds go down somewhat but rides are still open. Time your visit properly, and you may even catch the beginning of Christmas in the park in November. To avoid crowds and save money, the best time to visit is January.