It’s one of the most popular questions we get. I’ve even had people recognize me in the coffee shop line and ask ... "So, when is the best time to visit Disneyland?" My answer? "Whenever you can!"
It’s the truth. Whenever you can spend time with friends and family at The Happiest Place On Earth, then that is the best time. Of course, just like at Disney World, there are times where it’s better to visit than others. With the months flying off the calendar, there is still prime time to visit the Disneyland Resort in 2017. For those of you looking to get a hop on next year's vacation planning, our 2018 dates and tips will help out as well.
If you're planning a visit, but don't see your particular dates listed here, jump down to the comments below. We frogs—and the hardcore Disneyland community—will be hoppy to find answers. Also, our Disneyland Crowd Calendar is a helpful tool to help you get a month-by-month idea of the expected crowds.
Walt Disney’s vision for Disneyland was a place where families could spend time together. His guiding spirit is felt in attractions such as Peter Pan's Flight, Matterhorn Bobsleds, Pirates of the Caribbean and the World Famous Jungle Cruise. These gems perfectly pair with modern classics such as Space Mountain, Splash Mountain and The Indiana Jones Adventure. Across the way, the spectacular Cars Land and attractions such as California Screamin', Toy Story Midway Mania, Soarin' Around the World and Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission — BREAKOUT! have made Disney California Adventure just as popular as Disneyland Park! Don’t fret. Even during the busiest times, there are tips and park plans you can follow, like using our Disneyland Crowd Calendar, to reduce waits and make it a blast for the whole family!
With that in mind, let's look at the best time to visit Disneyland in 2017 & 2018!
If you’re more familiar with Cinderella Castle than Sleeping Beauty Castle, know that there are some differences with crowds. The best time to visit Disneyland in 2017 and 2018 isn't necessarily the same as at Disney World. The biggest difference is the locals. Disney World has a good amount of locals, but not nearly as many as those in the Los Angeles/Orange County regional area. Many of those locals are annual passholders, who think of the Happiest Place on Earth as their second home. They pop in for a few hours here or there—maybe on a weekday, or on a spring or fall Sunday morning before heading to the beach. Life is good in the OC.
Dropping in on Main Street U.S.A. for a quick bite sounds cool, but it's not always possible for local passholders. Depending on the passport, a passholder might find himself or herself blocked out of the park on certain days or weeks, particularly those times that are especially popular with tourists—namely summer, spring break and holidays. Looking at the Disneyland blockout calendar gives you a fairly good idea of when the very busiest dates of the year are because these are the times when most of the passholders are not allowed to enter the parks. During the summer, for most of June through mid-August, the Southern California passholders are blocked from entering the park entirely, a sure sign that there will be tourists!
Another factor that has more influence on crowds at Disneyland than at Disney World are the conventioneers. The Anaheim Convention Center is right across the street. What out-of-town visitor wouldn’t enjoy popping over in the afternoon and early evening for some Disney magic? It’s not necessary to rearrange a vacation based on a convention—with one BIG exception. Disney’s own D23 Expo, held every other year, brings flocks of fans. Those folks will plan to spend some of their hours before, during and after the Expo to play in the parks. Note that the next D23 Expo will take place in 2019. Based on all of this information and historical crowd levels during holidays and other data, we have a pretty good idea of the very busiest dates this year.
Keep in mind that what's going on in the parks when you visit also influences crowds. 2017 saw the brief return of the Main Street Electrical Parade to Disneyland and the addition of Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout to Disney California Adventure. We will also see an uptick in guests during the RunDisney races. This is yet another reason to review the Disneyland crowd calendar, because we have all of the runs listed!
Disneyland's introduction of tiered pricing on one-day tickets has more of an impact on crowds than at Disney World. Think about it—more people make one-day visits to Disneyland than they do at Disney World. With tiered pricing, each day is categorized as either value, regular or peak pricing. During the off seasons, generally Mondays through Thursdays or Tuesdays through Thursdays are getting the value pricing. If you add a one-day ticket to your cart, you can view Disneyland's pricing calendar—which is yet another indicator of the best and worst days to visit.
Worst Time to Visit Disneyland in 2017 & 2018:
• Around Christmas through the second week of the New Year - Dec. 21, 2017-Jan. 7, 2018
• MLK Jr. Day - Jan. 13-15, 2018
• President's Day - Feb. 16-19, 2018
• Spring Break and Easter - March 10 - April 6, 2018
• June 9-Aug. 11, 2018
• Thanksgiving week - Nov. 17-25, 2018
• Christmas week through the second week of the New Year - Dec. 21, 2018-Jan. 6, 2019
Other Dates That Might See Higher Crowds
Here are other days that see higher crowds, but not as high as the absolute worst days. Some of the dates listed are isolated, with the days around them generally fine, but they do bring in more locals. July 17 is the exception to this, as it is already a busy time. Know of other dates that are popular with locals? Share in comments below!
• Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend - Jan. 12-15, 2018
• Memorial Day - May 28, 2018
• Disneyland's anniversary - July 17
• Aug. 21-31, 2017 - marked as value, but passholders are back in after summer blockouts
• Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend - Aug. 31-Sept. 4, 2017
• Labor Day - Sept. 4, 2017; Sept. 3, 2018
• Columbus Day (elevated crowds that week) - Oct. 9, 2017; Oct. 8, 2018
• Utah Education Association Convention - Oct. 19-20, 2017; Oct. 18-19, 2018
• Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend Nov. 9-12, 2017
• Veteran's Day - Nov. 11
Best Time to Visit Disneyland in 2017 & 2018:
• Weekdays in January (minus the week of New Year's Day, the days around MLK Day and the days of Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend - Jan. 12-15, 2018)
• Weekdays in February (minus the days around President's Day)
• The first few days in March (until March 4, 2018)
• Weekdays in the second half of April 2018
• Weekdays in May
• Mondays through Thursdays the last two weeks of August
• The first half of September (except the days of Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend through Labor Day, Aug 31-Sept. 4, 2017); Mondays through Thursdays for the remainder of September and October
• Mondays through Thursdays in November (minus the weekend of Avengers Super Hero Half-Marathon Nov. 10-13, 2017, and the week of Thanksgiving)
•Mondays through Thursdays during the first half of December
Tah dah! There it is — our ideas on the best time to visit Disneyland in 2017 and 2018. Don't forget that a solid park plan can be almost as good as traveling on a low crowd day. Check out our Disneyland Plans and Disney California Adventure Plans before your visit!
Related: The Ins And Outs Of Disney's Maxpass