This question came from Michael:
I found a great post from April about the best time to go to Disney World based on crowds, price, weather and special events. Is there a similar article for Disneyland? I’m not as concerned about the weather given the SoCal climate, but would like to avoid the bigger crowds. Thank you.
The times of year with bigger crowds are going to be similar to Walt Disney World- this summer is especially higher crowds with the new Cars Land opening, highest levels are expected now through about August 20th.
Another crowd factor is the weekends- there are many who drive in for a long weekend and come in early on a Friday or stay through a Monday so they don’t have to take off too much time for work. Disneyland is easier to do in a few days than WDW (although I recommend 3-4 days). Holiday weekends are also higher because of this reason. We enjoy weekday traveling for the smaller crowds, but during off-seasons it’s good to have a weekend night because that is when Fantasmic! and fireworks will be running, not always does it run on the weeknights especially during the slow times.
Thanksgiving week is another one to avoid. Families come in earlier in the week and spend some time there before celebrating another long weekend nearby. The week before or after isn’t bad- and they have the Holiday decor up for that season already, getting you into the holidays!
The 2 week period around Christmas (starting a week before and a week after) are also busier times of year just like at WDW and the parks close to visitors once they fill to capacity.
Spring break season starts about a week into March until Easter weekend. This is because all schools have differing Spring Breaks, so you have about a 3-4 week period where kids are out of school.
If you come around the winter, you may want to have some layers- mornings and evenings are chilly (we’ve had 40’s while there and gets cold with the spray of World of Color) but the day time warms up. You won’t have the humidity in the summer like Florida, but it does get hot!
Disneyland doesn’t really hold the events like Pop Warner, Flower and Garden Festival, or Star Wars Weekends and there used to be a Food and Wine but not on the calendar this year. Conventions of other kinds may be going on, but it doesn’t affect the crowd level in the way those events do. The only thing similar to “Jersey Week” is a break in mid-October for all Utah schools where a teacher convention is held and many families choose those days to travel.
Costs will be lower on the off-season from these dates. Some of these dates would hopefully line up to your dream vacation (still avoiding holiday weekends):
- January- February
- April- May (after Easter)
- September– mid-November
- Tips For Battling The Peak Season Crowds at Disney World (chipandco.com)
- Best and Worst Times to go to Walt Disney World (tipsfromthedisneydiva.com)