disneyland disneyland

What is the Best Time to Go to Disneyland?

If you are a tourist or a resident, you must be aware that not only is California one of the prettiest places in the USA, but also, it is home to the famous Disneyland Resort. But, there is always the best time to go to Disneyland.

And as a tourist or a resident, you may not want to miss out on the Disneyland experience. Planning a vacation to Disneyland might be quite confusing as it is one of the major entertainment attractions in the US. There are so many events, occasions, crowded days and non-crowded days, several attractions, holidays, and opportunities to tap on.

Thereby, here is your guide on the best time to go to Disneyland.

best time to go to disneyland
Photo by InspiredPaige from Pixabay

1. Get into The Disneyland

1.1. Charming Events at Disneyland Through

Holidays at Disneyland are the epitome of charming and exciting. If you don’t mind the crowd during the holiday season, then it is the best time to go to Disneyland.

Photo by hhyunma from Pixabay

Here is an overall list of the special events scheduled throughout the year in Disneyland. It does, however, include the several unofficial events that Disneyland organizes. You may visit their official site for a detailed insight into the best time to go to Disneyland.

1. January

  • Disneyland Resort Holidays.
  • Disneyland After Dark: 80s Nite.
  • Disney Festival of Holidays.

2. February

  • Lunar New Year Celebration.
  • Valentine’s Month.
  • Disneyland After Dark: Sweethearts’ Nite.

3. March

  • Disneyland California Adventure Food and Wine Festival.
  • Mardi Gras.
  • Eggstravaganza.
  • Disneyland After Dark: Pixar Nite.

4. April

  • Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival.
  • Eggstravaganza.
  • Disneyland After Dark: Villains Nite.

5. May

  • Star Wars Day.
  • Disney Channel Fan Fest.
  • Grad Nites.

6. June

  • Grad Nites.

7. July

  • 4th of July Celebration.
  • 17th July – Disneyland’s Birthday.

8. August

  • Disneyland After Dark: Star Wars Nite.

9. September

  • Disneyland Halloween Time.
  • Plaza de la Familia.
  • Oogie Boogie Bash.

10. October

  • Disneyland Halloween Time.
  • Plaza de la Familia.
  • Oogie Boogie Bash.

11. November

  • Disneyland Resort Holidays.
  • Plaza de la Familia.
  • Disney Festival of Holidays.

12. December

  • Disneyland Resort Holidays.
  • New Year’s Eve.
  • Disney Festival of Holidays.

2. Other Attractive Events

Photo by chitoman11 from Pixabay

Do you absolutely love food and beverages? Then, the Disney California Food and Wine Festival is the best time to go to Disneyland. It is an annual festival celebrating the cuisine, wine, and beer of California.

The festival includes a number of themed kiosks, each representing food and beverage from a particular aspect of California cuisine. It was inspired by the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival and generally, takes place during spring.

The Lunar New Year Festival, originally known as the Happy Lunar New Year Celebration at Disneyland, celebrates Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean cultures. It includes Asian-inspired food items and is generally during January and/or February.

Disney Festival of Holidays is inspired by cultural traditions from holidays like Christmas, Navidad, Hanukkah, Diwali, Kwanzaa, and Three Kings Day. It is the best time to go to Disneyland if you wish to experience the multicultural and diverse cuisine at participating kiosks in the Festive Foods Marketplace. The event generally takes place from November to January.

Live performances include Frozen – Live at the Hyperion. It is an hour-long musical version of the film. The show used projections and special effects to create the kingdom of Arendelle, with Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, Olaf, and Sven.

Five and Dime is a traveling street show that features the musical talents of Dime and her five bandmates.

World of Color is a nighttime water and light show that transforms Paradise Bay into a water canvas. It is a 22-minute show that features scenes from famous Disney and Pixar movies. During the holiday seasons, it shows special holiday versions.

There are also exciting meet and greets in Disneyland. Anna and Elsa’s Royal Welcome is one of the most popular meets and greets in the park. It features the two sisters and Olaf, and occasionally Kristoff.

Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) characters like Captain America, Spiderman, Black Panther, and Captain Marvel meet guests daily at the Avengers Campus. If you are lucky, you may also be able to meet other characters like Black Widow, Hawkeye, Thor, Loki, Doctor, Strange, Groot, Star-Lord, and Gamora too.

At various locations within Pixar Pier, you may even come across Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl, and Sulley. Don’t be surprised if you see a green army man driving a jeep full of Andy’s toys, like Woody, Jessie, Bo Peep, and many more.

3. Major School Breaks in the USA

shutterstock 1155516358
By: A3pfamily/Shutterstock

Although some of the dates vary every year, these are the major school breaks that you need to look out for deciding the best time to go to Disneyland:

  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
  • George Washington’s Birthday.
  • Spring Break.
  • Memorial Day.
  • Independence Day.
  • Summer Break.
  • Labor Day.
  • Columbus Day.
  • Veterans Day.
  • Thanksgiving.
  • Winter Break.

4. Crowd Levels at Disneyland

shutterstock 2212409651
Editorial credit: Adam McCullough / Shutterstock.com

Crowds are a fun killer, aren’t they? They make you wait for long wait times, sweat, push and shove, and all in all, they make you go through an overall tiring experience. You can have a look at the Disneyland crowd calendar to develop an insight into the crowd level in Disneyland.

The Disneyland crowd calendar takes into account everything from conferences, special events, holidays, school breaks, and other crowd data into an integrated calendar. The crowd calendar will guide you on the best time to go to Disneyland and, will make it much easier for you to plan your next Disneyland trip.

In short, the best time to go to Disneyland and experience fewer crowds can be summed up as:

  • Mid-January to mid-March (except for President’s day weekend).
  • Mid-April to mid-May (except during spring break).
  • Mid-September to mid-November.

4.1. Busiest Days of Disneyland

Especially weekends, in general, are quite a busy time at Disneyland as it is a regular attraction for locals of the Los Angeles or Orange County area. Many of those Disneyland locals are now Magic key holders (previously annual pass holders).

Magic key holders can select the park they want to start their day at Disneyland with, and they can switch between the theme parks. Switching, however, is subject to capacity and crowd levels.

shutterstock 1103260901
Editorial credit: Simone Hogan / Shutterstock.com

The Anaheim convention center right across the street attracts lots of out-of-town visitors. More than any other convention, Disney’s own D23 Expo attracts flocks of fans intending to attend the convention, as well as spend time at Disneyland.

Special events and holidays also attract masses of the crowd. Many visit Disneyland during Christmas and Halloween time to experience the charming decorations and special exciting events scheduled during this time. people

At times, Disneyland also offers special limited-time ticketing promotions for Californian residents or the residents of South California. These promotions lead to a surge in crowd levels as people rush to avail the special offers and low ticket prices.

Thus, if you are looking for a quieter, relaxing vacation, this might not be the best time to go to Disneyland.

4.1.1. Expected Busy Days

  • New Year’s week (January 1-8).
  • MLK Jr. Day (Jan 13-17).
  • President’s day weekend.
  • Spring break season and Easter.
  • Labor Day.
  • Grad Nite Dates in May.
  • Memorial Day weekend.
  • June to mid-August.
  • Beginning to mid-October.
  • Thanksgiving week.
  • Christmas week.

4.2. The Busiest Time of The Day for Disneyland

The busiest time in Disneyland is during the afternoon. The afternoon sees huge peaks in the crowd levels, but it generally wanes off by late afternoon or early evening unless there is already some planned event in the resort.

In times when extended p.m. hours offers are given, crowds stay on during the evening, but most generally leave by dinner time. Since the crowded afternoons are not the best time to go to Disneyland, you can make use of the early mornings and evenings.

5. 14 Major Attractions of the Disneyland

5.1. Disneyland Resort

Disneyland Hotel Resort & Room Tour

Disneyland resort is a pleasurable resort in Anaheim, California. Owned and operated by The Walt Disney Company, it is home to two theme parks (Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park), three hotels, and, a shopping, dining, and entertainment district – Downtown Disney.

It is located several miles south of downtown Anaheim, and the official address of the resort is 1313 South Harbor Boulevard. The official address number of the Disneyland resort is Hidden Mickey. You may also enjoy some of the following featured entertainment areas of Walt Disney World during your visit.

5.2. Disney California Adventure Park

california adventure
Photo by mjimages from Pixabay

Disney California Adventure Park or California Adventure is a theme park at the Disneyland resort in California. It is owned and operated by The Walt Disney Company through its Parks, entertainment, and products divisions.

The park is built on California’s history and culture. It is divided into eight themed lands – Buena Vista Street, The Pixar Pier, The Paradise Gardens, The Pacific Wharf, The Grizzly Peak, The Hollywood Land, The Avengers Campus, and The Cars Land.

5.3. The Buena Vista Street

Buena Vista Street represents Los Angeles in the 1920s. At this time Walt Disney had arrived here. Just like Main Street, U.S.A, it has shops, restaurants, and a transportation system. In the hub’s center is the replica of Carthay Circle Theatre, where Disney’s Snow White and The Seven Dwarves debuted in 1935.

5.4. The Pixar Pier

[4K] FULL Pixar Pier Tour - Evening Walkthrough - A Touch of Disney Opening Day - Disneyland 2021

The Pixar Pier is based on some of the major films produced by Pixar Animation Studios. It is divided into four districts – Pixar Promenade, Incredibles Park, Inside Out Headquarters, and Toy Story Boardwalk.

5.5. The Paradise Gardens

Paradise Gardens has the greatest arena in Disneyland or California Adventure. It is at the park’s center with direct entrances to the Pixar Pier, Pacific Wharf, and Grizzly Peak. The five main attractions of The Paradise Gardens include Golden Zephyr, Silly Symphony Swings, Jumpin’ Jellyfish, Goofy’s Sky School, and The Little Mermaid – Ariel’s Undersea Adventure.

The Paradise Gardens Park area in front of The Little Mermaid is a prominent place to watch the World of Color water show. Most of the parades and cavalcades running through the park, begin in Paradise Gardens and travel north towards Buena Vista Street.

5.6. The Pacific Wharf

Disneyland This Week! Pacific Wharf, Tianas Palace & More

The Pacific Wharf is located between the Pixar Pier and the Avengers Campus. It is a tribute to California’s fishing industry and resembles the old waterfront of Monterey, California. It is primarily an outdoor food court and its attractions are The Bakery Tour and the Walt Disney Imagineering Blue Sky Cellar.

5.7. The Grizzly Peak

The Grizzly Park is based on California’s wilderness and national parks, especially, the Yosemite and Redwood national parks.

Its main attractions are Grizzly River Run, a Gold Rush ride around the area’s summit, and Redwood Creek Challenge Trail (with elements from Disney’s Brother Bear and Disney Pixar’s Up).

Grizzly Peak Airfield or the Condor Flats is a sub-land themed around California’s High Sierras. This area’s main attraction is Soarin’ around The World. It is a simulated hang glider tour of the locations, landscapes, and landmarks of six of the world’s continents.

5.8. The Hollywood Land

The Future of HOLLYWOOD LAND at DCA!  Empty Soundstages!

The Hollywood Land is inspired by the Universal Studios Hollywood and the Golden Age of Hollywood in the 1930s.

In its subsection called Hollywood Studios (designed to appear as an active studio backlot), area attractions like the 3D film Mickey’s PhilharMagic and the Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue!, and a dark ride based on the characters of Disney Pixar’s Monsters, Inc.

The Disney Junior Dance Party in the Disney Theatre features productions like Mickey and the Roadster Racers, Doc McStuffins, Vampirina, and The Lion Guard. Next to the Disney Theatre is the Animation Building.

The Animation Building hosts a couple of programs like the Sorcerer’s Workshop which is a walk-through exhibit on basic animation and also for the fun activity of finding out which Disney character matches your personality. Other programs hosted in The Animation Building are Turtle Talk with Crush, Elsa and Anna meet and greet, and, Animation Academy, which is a workshop teaching the guests how to draw popular Disney characters.

5.9. The Avengers Campus

The Avengers Campus is themed on the Marvel Cinematic Universe and its attractions feature characters from Marvel Comics and MCU media.

It is anchored around a campus located on the former restricted grounds of a Stark Industries and Strategic Scientific Reserve complex and its attractions include the Pym Test Kitchen, the Ancient Sanctum, the Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure, and the Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout!.

5.10. The Cars Land

cars land
Photo by JamesHills from Pixabay

The Cars Land is inspired by the Disney Pixar franchise, Cars. This zone spanning 12 acres of land is a life-size model and a nearly exact replica of the town of Radiator Springs from the Cars films.

The largest attraction is a dark ride, Radiator Springs Racers. The other attractions include Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree and Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters. There are also several dining and shopping venues in this area.

5.11. Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa

Disney’s Grand Californian hotel and spa in the hotel at the Disneyland resort was constructed as a part of its major expansion project. Its design depicts the early 20th Century Arts and Crafts era, and it also features a Disney Vacation Club wing.

5.12. Downtown Disney

Downtown Disney is the outdoor shopping center located at the Disneyland Resort. It was a component of the Disneyland Resort Expansion project.

Downtown Disney connects the two Disney theme parks with the three hotels in the resort. It had several shops and restaurants ranging from retail brands to other Disney-operated shops like the World of Disney.

5.13. The Sleeping Beauty Castle

Photo by janeb13 from Pixabay

The Sleeping Beauty Castle is a fairy tale castle located at the center of Disneyland, California. Its design and construction are based on the late-19th century Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany. Tourists can experience a walkthrough of the castle, giving a realistic yet fairy tale feel.

5.14. Space Mountain

The Space Mountain is an indoor space-themed roller coaster at Tomorrow-land. It has an exterior mountain structure that serves as one of the park’s landmarks.

Every September and October during Halloween Time at Disneyland, the dome of the space mountain is given projections for the Ghost Galaxy event.

6. Best Time to Go to Disneyland

6.1. Halloween Time

Halloween time is perhaps the best time to go to Disneyland. The fall break attracts students as well as families and Disneyland is decorated for the occasion.

Fall festivities include the Pumpkin Festival on Main Street USA, the cheery autumn decorations, seasonal treats, seasonal Halloween overlays on attractions, Disney characters in their costumes, and many more.

Halloween time typically begins mid-September and continues through October 31st. (If you want to beat the crowds and still enjoy the holiday fun then September is the best time).

The Oogie Boogie BASH – A Disney Halloween Party is a special event during Halloween time. It is a separately ticketed event on selected nights during the occasion. The party ticket includes an entry to the Oogie Boogie Bash, as well as three hours of park access before the party time. The Oogie Boogie Bash Halloween Party takes place instead of Mickey’s Halloween Party.

6.2. Christmas Time

things to do for christmas
By: Yuganov Konstantin/Shutterstock

The Disneyland Resort modifies into a ‘winter wonderland’ during Christmas. Special treats and Christmas decorations attract tourists to Disneyland from all over the world.

Beloved traditions include a breathtaking view of Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle, ‘A Christmas Fantasy Parade’, and the snow-covered Main Street USA. Disney California Adventure Park comes alive with the Disney Festival of Holidays, ‘Disney Viva Navidad’ Street Party, and ride overlays in Cars land.

If you don’t mind crowds and love Christmas time, for you, this might just be the best time to go to Disneyland.

6.3. Weekend Time

Crowds can be a fun killer indeed, but you can’t deny that there are certain perks with visiting Disneyland during the peak seasons.

If you are looking for the most fun and exciting time to visit Disneyland, including planned activities and entertainment opportunities like fireworks, nighttime shows, and extra parades, the weekends and school breaks are your friends.

This might be the best time to go to Disneyland, as, knowing that parks will be busier, Disneyland keeps most of the exciting rides and experiences open during this time too.

6.4. Longer Hours

Longer park hours are another perk of the peak season in Disneyland. This is the best time to go to Disneyland, as park hours are maximized during these times and you can enjoy them to the fullest extent by taking advantage of the Magic Morning early entry opportunity.

If you stay at one of the Disney resort hotels, you can also avail of the Extra Magic Hour opportunity. The Extra Magic Hour gives an exclusive early admission to the Disney California Adventure Park. The Extra Magic Hours are available on alternate days (days opposite the Magic Mornings).

6.5. The Best Time of The Day

shutterstock 1360097162
By: rifqa.j/Shutterstock

Are you an early bird? If yes, then rise and shine because the best time to go to Disneyland is in the early morning. Wake up and arrive early, as reaching Disneyland early in the morning gives a major advantage even on crowded days.

Being one of the first arrivers, you can walk up to a point in Disneyland Park or the Disneyland California Adventure Park where the Cast Members monitor ropes to prevent tourists from going further in before the opening of park hours.

As the opening time draws near, people queue up in front of the ropes, waiting to be let in. Needless to say, being in front of the huge line will give you a greater advantage as you will be much deeper into the parks than the people who are at the far end of the line.

7. Ticket Prices at Disneyland

The best time to go to Disneyland and experience the lowest ticket prices is during the non-peak travel seasons. Hotels near Disneyland offer their best deals like extra night free specials, and several tourism agents also give huge discounts on Disneyland ticket prices.

Another way to get lower-priced tickets is to book in advance. Since the best special offers sell out first, it will benefit you to be early to the booking sites and grab the deals fast.

The Layaway Plan by ‘Get Away Today’ gives an insight into some of the best offers and plans for the best time to go to Disneyland.

8. Other Factors to Look Upon

8.1. Local Fans

Disneyland has a far larger local fan base than Disney World and the locals make up for a significant amount of traffic each day. It is also advisable to consider schedules and break times for the local schools as that would also give insight into the crowd levels on a given day.

8.2. Blockout Dates

Blockout Dates are those days that prohibit Magic Key reservations. This gives a clue to the probable peak visitation days.

8.3. Reservation Availability

shutterstock 1771935086
By: Prostock-studio/Shutterstock

The reservation calendar might give you an insight into the best time to go to Disneyland. If the calendar shows that only one park is available, it is likely that both parks will be very busy that day. In case you wish to use a Park Hopper Ticket, you will need to choose a park first. You may then switch after 1 pm.

The recommended length of stay in Disneyland varies between one and a half days, and, three full days. More than three days is not really necessary.

The benefit of staying longer is that you will be able to experience each and every attraction and do everything on your list at quite a leisurely pace. You will also be able to return to your favorite activities if you have more time on hand.

10. Your Personalized Plan

At the end of the day, you should choose the plan that is ideal for you. Consider all the points on the best time to go to Disneyland, make your plans, and decide exactly what you want during your Disneyland vacation. The best time to go to Disneyland might be different for each person as their plans differ in various aspects.


Last Updated on March 28, 2023 by jyoti