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Best Time to Visit Disneyland in 2020 and 2021

by Leap on April 1, 2020 2593 Los Angeles

Best Time to Visit DisneylandIt’s one of the most popular questions we get. I even have friends of friends message me and ask ... "Just when is the best time to visit Disneyland?" My answer is always "whenever you can!" It’s the truth. Whenever you and your family can make the trip to The Happiest Place On Earth is the best time.

But, of course, just like at Walt Disney World, there are better times to visit Disneyland than others. In this post, we're outlining the best times to visit Disneyland in 2020 and 2021. We'd be toadally remiss if we didn't talk about the biggest unknown the theme parks have perhaps ever faced — and that is COVID-19. With the parks closed longer than they have ever been, we're now in new territory in terms of predicting crowds. While we do have years of experience and data collection under our belt, there are many more factors at play, including how long the parks are closed, the virus, the economy, unemployment and potential travel restrictions (international and domestic).

We know so many people just want to get back to normal, and with so many local passholders, who have a bigger influence on crowds than at Disney World,  we know crowds will return to Disneyland once it reopens. But the good news for park-goers is we think the rest of this year will overall see lighter crowds. Now, we will talk more below about passholders and how they influence crowds during "normal" times, but these are not "normal" times.

Let's first state that we don't know when the Disneyland parks will reopen. When the Disneyland parks do reopen, though, the majority of the visitors will be locals or those visiting from within a few hours' drive. If you can visit during the first few days and weeks of reopening, we think you will find much lower crowds as people resume "normal" life.

As of now, Disneyland has blocked the majority of its passholders from visiting the parks in June and July (and the first half of August). Typically, Disneyland does not change this, and if this holds true for this year, we'd expect this June,  July and August to overall have lighter crowds (assuming the parks are open).

Late August and September have always been some of the better times to visit Disneyland, and we expect they would stay that way this year. While October is thought of off-season, because of many Arizona schools' fall breaks, Gay Days, Columbus Day weekend and Halloween Time, the first two weeks have become increasingly busier in years' past, and we think that would still be the case this year. November and December would likely see a return to typical crowd levels, and overall these are still good times to visit (aside from the weeks of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Eve). Weekends are busier for all of these months, so if you can schedule a visit mid-week, you will generally find fewer crowds (Nov. 11, Veteran's Day, is one notable exception).

Best Time to Visit Disneyland - Los Angeles Crowd Calendar

Is It Packed at Disneyland? Here's the Easiest Way to Tell

This post is going to dive into all the nitty gritty details, and the whys and hows of crowds, but let's just cut to the chase. The easiest way to know if it will be crowded at Disneyland is to ask yourself:

  • Is it a major U.S. holiday?
  • Are most kids out of school?

If the answer is yes, to one or both of these questions, there will be bigger crowds. Another thing to be aware of is major school breaks such as when many Arizona schools have breaks about the first half of October.

Want to Know for Sure?

  • Hop straight to our Disneyland Crowd Calendar. You can view the busiest times on the Disneyland Crowd Calendar for the day, month or year.
  • If you're planning a visit, but don't see your particular dates discussed below, leap down to the comments. We frogs — and some of the hardcore Disneyland community — are hoppy to share answers.

Visiting During a Busy Time? Don't Fret!

Even during the busiest times, there are ways to skip the lines and make the most of your time. Here are our best tips to reduce waits!

Factors That Influence the Best Time to Go to Disneyland

Best Time to Visit Disneyland in - Millennium Falcon

If you’re more familiar with Cinderella Castle than Sleeping Beauty Castle, it's important to know that the best time to visit Disneyland in 2020 isn't the same as at Disney World. The biggest difference are the locals. Disney World has a good amount of locals, but not nearly as many as those in the Los Angeles/Orange County area. Many of those locals are annual passholders who think of The Happiest Place on Earth as their second home. In other words, 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 — assuming their pass isn't blocked out. They hop in on Friday nights to catch fireworks and meet up with friends for some of their favorite Disneyland snacks.

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. The Disneyland blockout calendar provides a fairly good idea of the very busiest dates of the year, because these are the times when most passholders are not allowed to enter the parks. For example, during most of June through mid-August, the Southern California Select and Deluxe passholders are typically blocked from entering at least one or both parks, a strong sign that there will be tourists! One important thing to keep in mind: Crowds are higher right after major blockout periods such as summer when the locals can get back in.

Best Time to Visit Disneyland in 2019 and 2020 - Mickey in Red Car Trolley

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 generally not necessary to rearrange your vacation based on a convention, but there might be one 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. We expect D23 Expo to return to Anaheim in 2021, although that is not yet confirmed.

Keep in mind that special events and holidays also influence crowds. Many people visit during Disneyland Halloween Time or the holidays to experience the magic of these seasons, and there are special events at different times throughout the year. This is yet another reason to review our Disneyland crowd calendar — we list the holidays and special events!

Best Time to Visit Disneyland in 2019 and 2020 - Main Street USA

Disneyland's tiered pricing for one-day tickets also has some impact on crowds since more people make one-day visits to Disneyland than they do to Disney World. Now each day is has a different price based on expected crowd level. During the off-seasons, Tuesdays through Thursdays are generally value priced. Saturdays and holiday periods have the highest peak prices. If you add a one-day ticket to your cart, you can view Disneyland's pricing calendar, which gives you a hint of how busy the parks may be! Generally, the higher the price, the higher the expected crowds!

Disneyland 1-Day Pricing Tells You the Busiest Days at Disneyland

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 of the year at Disneyland. But there are variables.

Expected Busiest Days at Disneyland in 2020

  • Jan. 1-6, 2020
  • Opening of Rise of the Resistance - Jan. 17, 2020
  • MLK Jr. Day - Jan. 18-20, 2020
  • President's Day - Feb. 14-24, 2020
  • Magic Happens Parade opening and start of Food & Wine Festival - Feb 28, 2020
  • Spring break and Easter - March 14-April 13, 2020 (elevated crowds March 7-April 20, 2020)
  • Weekends and Grad Nites dates in May
  • June 3-Aug. 11, 2020
  • The week of Thanksgiving - Nov. 20-Dec. 1, 2020
  • Christmas week through the second week of the New Year - Dec. 20, 2020-Jan. 10, 2021

Expected Busiest Days at Disneyland in 2021

  • Jan. 1-5, 2021
  • MLK Jr. Day - Jan. 16-24, 2021
  • President's Day - Feb. 13-21, 2021
  • Spring break and Easter - March 13-April 4, 2021 (elevated crowds March 6-April 11, 2021)
  • Weekends and Grad Nites in May
  • June 3-Aug. 11, 2021
  • The week of Thanksgiving - Nov. 21-28, 2021
  • Christmas week through the second week of the New Year - Dec. 18, 2021-Jan. 4, 2022

*The fall of Easter impacts Disneyland crowds in the spring. Some school districts base their spring break around Easter; others do not. When Easter falls earlier in the season, March or early April, it has the effect of making a more intense, but shorter spring break season. When Easter falls later, as it does in 2019, the effect is a longer but less intense spring break season. Many California universities consistently have spring break at the end of March, which can affect crowds then.

Best Time to Visit Disneyland in 2019 and 2020 - GotG: Mission - Breakout

Other Dates That Will Likely 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.

  • Aug. 17-20 and 24-28, 2020 - Many annual passholders are back in after summer blackouts
  • Labor Day - Sept. 7, 2020
  • Yom Kippur (when it falls on a week day) - Sept. 28, 2020
  • Columbus Day (elevated crowds that week) - Oct. 12, 2020 (expect crowds Oct. 3-12, 2020)
  • Utah Fall Breaks about mid-Oct.*
  • Veteran's Day (and Veteran's Day Observed) -  Nov. 11, 2020
  • Memorial Day - May 27, 2019; May 25, 2020
  • Disneyland's anniversary - July 17, 2020

*The Utah Education Association Board will no longer hold its annual convention, although Utah school districts may elect to hold a fall recess about mid-Oct.

Best Time to Visit Disneyland in 2019 and 2020 - Small World Exterior

Best Time to Visit Disneyland in 2020

  • Weekdays in January (minus the week of New Year's Day and the days around MLK Day)
  • Weekdays in February (minus the days around President's Day)
  • The first few days in March (until March 7, 2020)
  • April 20-30; May 1, 2020
  • Weekdays in May
  • Weekends during the last two weeks of August (Mondays through Thursdays see higher crowds with passholders expected to be back in)
  • The first half of September; Tuesdays through Thursdays for the remainder of September and the second half of October
  • Mondays through Thursdays in November (minus the week of Thanksgiving)
  • Mondays through Thursdays during the first half of December

Best Time to Visit Disneyland in 2021

  • Weekdays in January starting Jan. 6 (minus the the days around MLK Day)
  • Weekdays in February (minus the days around President's Day)
  • The first few days in March (until March 6, 2021)
  • April 12-30
  • Weekdays in May
  • Weekends during the last two weeks of August (Mondays through Thursdays see higher crowds with passholders expected to be back in)
  • The first half of September; Tuesdays through Thursdays for the remainder of September and the second half of October
  • Mondays through Thursdays in November (minus the week of Thanksgiving)
  • Mondays through Thursdays during the first half of December

Ta-da! There it is — the best time to visit Disneyland in 2020 and 2021! Don't froget 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! Here are more tips to skip the lines at the theme parks.

Related: The Ins and Outs of Disney's Maxpass

Related: 36 Tips to Maximize Your Time at Disneyland

Keep hopping!

Keep hopping, Leap!
View Comments
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451–500 of 1613 comments
May 15, 2018 at 5:26 p.m. Abby M Says...

I want to go!

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May 15, 2018 at 5:25 p.m. FrogFansAndDisneyFreaks Says...

We travel often and would not think of getting our tickets from anywhere else but the coolest frog on earth. We love Undercover Tourist!!

The Loupe Family

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May 15, 2018 at 5:23 p.m. Laura Ugueto Says...

I would love to visit Disneyland, never been there before. Would love to take my boys ;)

Reply
May 15, 2018 at 5:22 p.m. Nicole Says...

Early December is my favorite time to visit!

Reply
May 15, 2018 at 5:22 p.m. Andrea Says...

Love Undercover Tourist!! ❤❤ Use you guys all the time for my WDW tickets! Havent been to Disneyland yet, excited about your contest!!

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May 15, 2018 at 5:22 p.m. Kristen K Says...

We'll plan on going in October, then!

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May 15, 2018 at 5:21 p.m. Jenny Backster Says...

All this information is so helpful thank you so much!!!

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May 15, 2018 at 5:21 p.m. Renata Says...

Thank you for this! I can’t wait to see Disneyland, I’ve never been!

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May 15, 2018 at 5:21 p.m. Tricia F Says...

I have to assume any time of the year is great to visit Disneyland. Never been, from Ohio, been to Disney World 3 times, but would love to visit the original park someday soon.

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May 18, 2018 at 1:45 a.m. Charlotte Says...

Yep, then you can go to Disneyland Paris, Disneyland Tokyo, Disneyland Spain. You can tell everyone that you have been to every Disney in the world! Tokyo was great, Paris pick your dates carefully because it snows, and I still have to get to Spain. Wonder if Undercover Tourist can get discount tickets internationally?

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May 15, 2018 at 5:20 p.m. Shawn Turkopp Says...

Thanks for all the info!!!

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May 15, 2018 at 5:19 p.m. DJHeath Says...

This is so useful!

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May 15, 2018 at 5:19 p.m. Emily Says...

Yes!

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May 15, 2018 at 5:18 p.m. Shanté Dorrell Says...

Thanks for all the info!

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May 15, 2018 at 5:17 p.m. Christina s Says...

Cant wait to go this October!

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May 15, 2018 at 5:16 p.m. Marcus Franklin Says...

Traveled to Universal Orlando back in April and Undercover Tourist saved us a bunch of money on admission tickets! Great website!

Reply
May 15, 2018 at 5:16 p.m. Cassidy Says...

This is really helpful. Thanks!

Reply
May 15, 2018 at 5:16 p.m. Jose Martino Says...

Thank you for the information! Been to WDW but never Disneyland - looking forward to it!

Reply
May 15, 2018 at 5:14 p.m. Melanie Jackson Says...

September is my favorite time to visit!! I love Halloween in Disney! It's also usually not extremely crowded either, but you run the risk of hurricane season.

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May 15, 2018 at 5:14 p.m. Desiree Says...

Love me some Disney!!!

Reply
May 15, 2018 at 5:13 p.m. jenn Says...

Never been to California, so this would be AWESOME!

Reply
May 15, 2018 at 5:11 p.m. Corie Says...

We absolutely love undercover tourist website and blog. Great savings and spot on tips for Disney lovers like us!!

Reply
May 15, 2018 at 5:11 p.m. Amy W Says...

Can’t wait to start planning my first Disneyland vacation for my family!! Thank you for all the helpful information and advice!

Reply
May 15, 2018 at 5:09 p.m. Hospitality Princess Says...

I’ve never been to Disneyland before, but know I feel super prepared! Thanks for all the great info!! ????????????

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May 15, 2018 at 5:09 p.m. Kristine18 Says...

Thanks for all of the useful tips. We used your site many times while planning our last Disneyland/US vacation!

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May 15, 2018 at 5:09 p.m. Morgan Deakin Says...

Thank you so much for all the helpful info! It makes it a lot easier to pick travel dates for future vacations.

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May 15, 2018 at 5:08 p.m. Amina Says...

The best n worse time tips r great! Personally we like to go to Disney world during the last two weeks of August when there is usually free dining plan package offer. Done that 3 times already!

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May 15, 2018 at 5:08 p.m. Christopher L Says...

Can't wait for our next Disney vacation!

Reply
May 15, 2018 at 5:07 p.m. Nas Says...

Awesome!

Reply
May 15, 2018 at 5:06 p.m. Candace Seymour Says...

Such an amazing site. I'm so excited to plan my upcoming trip and I think your site will be one of the main places that I will get information from. Thanks guys!! <3 <3

Reply
May 15, 2018 at 5:05 p.m. Sarah Says...

We went to Disneyland just before their 60th anniversary, and so many attractions were down for refurbishment to get ready for the big celebration. We want to make our way back and experience everything again, or for the first time!

Reply
May 15, 2018 at 5:05 p.m. Jrowens Says...

I love all of your tips! We visited Disneyland the past 2 years and are currently looking forward to our first Disney World vacation this year!

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May 15, 2018 at 5:04 p.m. Emily R. Says...

Awesome info! Thank you :)

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May 15, 2018 at 5:04 p.m. SNLmom Says...

We are planning to visit Disney World in June and Disneyland in January. It's going to be a fun year; and this information is super helpful for planning! Thank you!

Reply
May 15, 2018 at 5:04 p.m. Alexia Says...

What a helpful post! Really helps to start vacation planning for Disney!!!

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May 15, 2018 at 5:03 p.m. Sasha Vlasyuk Says...

Thanks for the awesome information! Your posts are always so helpful!

Reply
May 15, 2018 at 5:03 p.m. Kavanaughsmom Says...

This is great information! I’m thinking of planning a Disneyland trip and this helps me decide when to start looking at our schedules! Thank you for keeping us up to date with valuable info!

Reply
May 15, 2018 at 5:02 p.m. Preston Says...

This is awesome

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May 15, 2018 at 5:02 p.m. Eileen Says...

Love going during October for Halloween. That is my favorite time of year at Disney Land. Thanks for the info above.

Reply
May 15, 2018 at 5:02 p.m. Misti Says...

Thanks for always having the best information!

Reply
May 15, 2018 at 5:02 p.m. Rachel Says...

We're going for our honeymoon in the first half of December 2018. Hopefully the crowds won't be too bad!

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May 15, 2018 at 5:02 p.m. Josh Says...

We just came back from a trip to Disneyland May 9-11. The crowds were fantastic and we're strongly considering the same timeframe for next year!

Reply
May 15, 2018 at 5:01 p.m. Becky Says...

Thanks for having all the information on your site. Truly one stop shopping.

Reply
May 15, 2018 at 5 p.m. John Huseby Says...

Love Undercover Tourist. You saved my family a bunch of money on our upcoming trip to Universal this summer.

Reply
May 15, 2018 at 4:58 p.m. marie mc Says...

I have been to Disney World many times but never to Disney Land-- it would be so fun to see it!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:57 p.m. Fidel Says...

Looking forward to being there soon

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May 15, 2018 at 4:57 p.m. Jennifer Says...

Commenting to enter!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:57 p.m. Kim Says...

Would love to visit Disneyland again. We have some great memories from there when our daughter was little.

Reply
May 15, 2018 at 4:56 p.m. Jennifer Says...

Super helpful! Will keep this in mind for sure.

Reply
May 15, 2018 at 4:56 p.m. Laura G Says...

Reading about the new Pixar Pier and the different foods and rides in DL makes me want to plan a trip!

Reply
May 15, 2018 at 4:55 p.m. Laura Says...

Can't wait to visit Mickey in September.

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