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Best Time to Visit Disneyland in 2021 and 2022

by Leap on May 1, 2021 2631 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 2021 and 2022. 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 continued travel restrictions (international and domestic).

We know so many people just want to get back to normal, and with so many locals, who have a bigger influence on crowds than at Disney World, we know crowds will return to Disneyland after its recent reopening. Now, we will talk more below about passholders and how they influence crowds during "normal" times, but these are not "normal" times ... and because of this huge local following, Disneyland actually canceled their annual pass program, as there was no way to safely welcome everyone back at will. That means even Legacy passholders are having to learn a whole new system before returning to the magic. Even so, Californians are going to be the first ones back through those gates!

Best Time to Visit Disneyland - Cars Land Group

Disneyland reopened April 30, 2021, to California residents. That means that most of the visitors are locals or those visiting from within a few hours' drive (and probably a few taking a flight back to the magic from farther away in the state). Based on pent-up demand for all things Disneyland, including how people have reacted to the reopening of Downtown Disney and the limited-time Touch of Disney event, we expect Disneyland parks will be steadily busy for some time. As of June 15, 2021, out-of-state residents are welcome back to Disneyland (and can book their trips now!). Lower capacity limits are in place using a reservation system, likely for some time, and that will curb crowds, but it will also make getting into the parks more challenging.

While capacity is lower in the parks, capacity is also be lower on rides, in restaurants and in shops — so while overall capacity is low, it may feel higher than it actually is. And let us tell you from our experience on the opposite coast at the Most Magical Place on Earth: Those spaced out lines can make things seem waaaay longer than they actually are, and they can make for some traffic jams that only add to things feeling crowded, especially in areas that are tight already. All of this to say: All of the precautions in place may add to a feeling of things being busier than they actually are, and we've taken that into account when adjusting our Crowd Calendar. Keep hopping back, because we will continue to update both this post and our Crowd Calendar as we learn more!

Best Time to Visit Disneyland - Avengers Campus

Because Disneyland reopened just before summer break, we are expecting things to stay pretty consistently busy through the summer, especially once summer break hits in early June. With Avengers Campus making its epic debut June 4, 2021, and out-of-state residents able to visit once again as of June 15, we are not expecting things to slow down any time soon. In fact, Disneyland Park reservations are almost completely booked in the second half of May for Park Hoppers (and are completely booked for 1 Park Per Day Ticket holders). Both parks have several dates completely booked in June, especially Saturdays and Sundays, which we expect will continue to fill up first.

If you are making a visit before the opening of Avengers Campus, expect that Disney California Adventure will be slower than Disneyland Park, especially on weekdays — and dates are still available to reserve your DCA day! Purchase your Disneyland tickets and get your Theme Park Reservation as soon as you're able to lock in your spot!

Is It Packed at Disneyland During Normal Times? 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, and not just in California, and not just for spring or summer break. Many Arizona schools have breaks in the first half of October. Utah schools also have a fall break in mid-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! (During Disneyland's reopening period, know that some traditional time-savers such as FASTPASS, MaxPass and Magic Morning are temporarily unavailable.) Again, our best advice is to purchase your tickets and make your Disneyland theme park reservations as soon as possible to secure your spot. Reservation availability is released 60 days in advance.

Factors That Influence the Best Time to Go to Disneyland

Best Time to Visit Disneyland - Family in Front of Disney California Adventure

If you’re more familiar with Cinderella Castle than Sleeping Beauty Castle, it's important to know that the best time to visit Disneyland isn't 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 area. Many of those Disneyland locals were annual passholders.

One of the biggest changes to occur during the Disneyland closure was the cancellation of all annual passes. That means that during the Disneyland reopening period, all guests will have to purchase tickets. That may change the way even locals visit the parks. For some time, the annual passholders have thought of the Happiest Place on Earth as their second home. In other words, they would 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 wasn't blocked out. They'd hop in on Friday nights to catch fireworks and meet up with friends for some of their favorite Disneyland snacks.

Disneyland will eventually release a new type of membership offering, so eventually these guests will once again affect the crowds. In the past, 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 provided a fairly good idea of the very busiest dates of the year, because those were the times when most passholders were not allowed to enter the parks. For example, during most of June through mid-August, the Southern California Select and Deluxe passholders were typically blocked from entering at least one or both parks, a strong sign that there would be tourists! One important thing to keep in mind in the future: Crowds are higher right after major blockout periods.

A more recent crowd forecaster is Disneyland's 1-Day Ticket Availablity Calendar. Disneyland's 1-Day tickets are sold in tiers based on projected crowd levels, giving us a sneak peek at when Disney is expecting things to be busiest. Keep hopping back for updates on the annual passholder situation, because knowing their patterns can help you plan your trip.

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 playing in the parks. The next D23 Expo has been postponed until September 2022.

Best Time to Visit Disneyland - Halloween Time

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! (We are so frogcited to get special event dates for 2021 and 2022 on the calendar — you'll see those reflected on the Crowd Calendar as soon as they are announced, so keep hopping back!)

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, as you probably guessed, there are some variables.

Best Time to Visit Disneyland - Cars Land Holidays

Expected Busiest Days at Disneyland in 2021

  • Most of May
  • June 3 to Aug. 11, 2021
  • Oct. 1-16, 2021
  • The week of Thanksgiving - Nov. 21-28, 2021
  • Christmas week through the second week of the New Year - Dec. 18, 2021, to Jan. 4, 2022

Expected Busiest Days at Disneyland in 2022

  • Jan. 1-9, 2022
  • MLK Jr. Day - Jan. 14-27, 2022
  • Presidents' Day - Feb. 18-21, 2022
  • Spring break and Easter - March 13 to April 17, 2022 (elevated crowds March 5 to April 24, 2022)
  • Weekends and Grad Nite dates in May
  • June 3 - Aug. 21, 2022
  • The week of Thanksgiving - Nov. 19-28, 2022
  • Christmas week through the second week of the New Year - Dec. 17, 2022 - Jan. 8, 2023

*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 2022, 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.

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 the comments below.

  • Labor Day - Sept. 6, 2021, and Sept. 5, 2022
  • Yom Kippur (when it falls on a weekday) - Sept. 16, 2021, and Oct. 5, 2022
  • Columbus Day (elevated crowds that week) - Oct. 11, 2021, and Oct. 10, 2022
  • Utah and Arizona fall breaks from late September through mid-October
  • Veterans Day (and Veterans Day Observed) -  Nov. 11, 2021, and Nov. 11, 2022
  • Memorial Day - May 31, 2021, and May 30, 2022
  • Disneyland's anniversary - July 17, 2021, and July 17, 2022

Best Time to Visit Disneyland in 2021 and 2022 - Small World Exterior

Best Time to Visit Disneyland in 2021

While these are traditionally the best times to visit, we expect higher crowds than usual around these times now that the parks will be open!

  • May 10-13
  • Weekends during the last two weeks of August
  • 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 2022

  • Weekdays in January (minus the week of New Year's Day and the days around MLK Day)
  • Weekdays in February (minus the days around Presidents' Day)
  • The first few days in March (until March 4, 2022)
  • April 25-29, 2022
  • Weekdays in May
  • Weekends during the last two weeks of August
  • 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 2021 and 2022! Don't froget that you can purchase discount Disneyland tickets from your favorite frogs! Ribbit!

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 1632 comments
May 15, 2018 at 5:40 p.m. Cheri Says...

Thank you for all the information you provide to make a vacation perfect!

Reply
May 15, 2018 at 5:39 p.m. J Doty Says...

ANY TIME is a GREAT time to visit Disneyland, but I’d probably go during school vacation

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May 15, 2018 at 5:39 p.m. Susan Higgins Says...

Can't wait to plan our next trip!

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May 15, 2018 at 5:39 p.m. Erika Says...

These are great tips. I have found them to be very accurate for DisneyWorld, but am glad for the explanations between WDW and DisneyLand.

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May 15, 2018 at 5:38 p.m. Jamie Says...

Can't wait to get back to Disneyland, been way too long!

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May 15, 2018 at 5:36 p.m. Libbie Dollinger Says...

Love your calendar! So helpful!

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May 15, 2018 at 5:36 p.m. CB Says...

Want to go soon. Great schedule

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May 15, 2018 at 5:36 p.m. Melissa Says...

So helpful! Our family loves Undercover Tourist!

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May 15, 2018 at 5:35 p.m. Mary Deshauteurs Says...

Our next family vaca will be to Disneyland California. Hubby says no to Orlando again (been twice now).

Reply
May 15, 2018 at 5:35 p.m. Holly R. Says...

Love Disney World...Have never made it to Disney Land. Bucket list item...

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May 15, 2018 at 5:34 p.m. Alicia Says...

Helpful! Thanks!

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May 15, 2018 at 5:34 p.m. Dawn Says...

Crowd levels can make or break a Disney vacay so thanks for the tips!

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May 15, 2018 at 5:34 p.m. deeanna baldwin Says...

I want to take my family to Disneyland. My 4 kids and my fiancé have never been.. We wanted to get married out there.!! :) We have been together 10 years as of March. We have 3 kids together , our girls are 6 and 8 and our baby boy is 1.. We are super excited to make a trip out there eventually.

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May 15, 2018 at 5:33 p.m. Sonia Sullivan Says...

LOVE all your information + updates. And when I go to WDW I always buy our tickets from you.

Reply
May 15, 2018 at 5:30 p.m. Christi + S Says...

I would love to visit Disneyland one day, it seems like such a magical place!

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May 15, 2018 at 5:29 p.m. Jillian Says...

Very helpful in planning!

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May 15, 2018 at 5:29 p.m. Mickeymomtx Says...

We love Disneyland. Thanks for the info!

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May 15, 2018 at 5:29 p.m. Ashley Says...

Can’t wait for our trip in December!! Very helpful information here :)

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May 15, 2018 at 5:26 p.m. Heather Says...

Thanks for the helpful tips!

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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

Reply
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 ;)

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

Early December is my favorite time to visit!

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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!!

Reply
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!

Reply
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!

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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!!!

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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!! ????????????

Reply
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!

Reply
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.

Reply
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!

Reply
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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