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Best Time to Visit Disneyland in 2021 and 2022

by Leap on May 1, 2021 2633 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 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 were the first ones back through those gates!

Best Time to Visit Disneyland - Cars Land Group

Disneyland reopened April 30, 2021, to California residents. 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 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. 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.

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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501–550 of 1633 comments
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!

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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!

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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!

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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.

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

Thanks for always having the best information!

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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!

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

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

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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.

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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.

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

Super helpful! Will keep this in mind for sure.

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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!

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

Can't wait to visit Mickey in September.

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May 15, 2018 at 4:55 p.m. Paula Fleischman Says...

Anytime is a GREAT Time for DISNEY!!

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

Very informative, a must to read for anyone planning a Disney Holiday

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May 15, 2018 at 4:53 p.m. Sandra H. Says...

Never been to Disneyland, but would love to go!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:52 p.m. Linprell Says...

Is it worth flying cross country to do Disneyland with kids 4-7-9? We do Disneyworld about once a year and other Orlando parks 2-3 times a year.

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May 15, 2018 at 4:52 p.m. Andres Zelaya Says...

Man, this is a great and helpful post. Thanks so much!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:51 p.m. Michelle Says...

I would love to visit Disneyland Resort--the last time I was there was when I was 4. It would be amazing to go back now with my own family.

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May 15, 2018 at 4:51 p.m. Chrystan Hepstall Says...

These dates are so helpful. They really narrow down good times to plan your vacation!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:51 p.m. Rae Says...

Looks like my usual October trip time is still a good time to go!! Wish airfare wasn't so darn expensive.

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May 15, 2018 at 5:43 p.m. Liz Schell Says...

I love Disney in October too! Food and wine festival????

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May 15, 2018 at 4:50 p.m. DenisseLuna Says...

Thank you! I planned our trip to Disneyland last year based on this guide and it was awesome. We are planning to go again this year, again using this guide.

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May 15, 2018 at 4:50 p.m. Matt P Says...

Just got back from our trip last week and the crowd was great. The longest line we stood in was at Casey’s right before HEA

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May 15, 2018 at 4:50 p.m. Brian Says...

Looking forward to going back for the Star Wars Land opening next year. These tips will be great to beat the crowds!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:49 p.m. CHRISTINE LAROSA Says...

Best place to get tickets

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May 15, 2018 at 4:49 p.m. Chris Says...

Very helpful for planning to (hopefully) beat some crowds!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:49 p.m. Holly Says...

Love the updates.

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May 15, 2018 at 4:48 p.m. Amy Meadows Says...

Great info! Would love to visit Disneyland!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:48 p.m. Kari Says...

We spent a whole week at Disneyland two years in a row the last week of September/first week of October and it is a wonderful time to go!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:48 p.m. Curtis Cos Says...

Visit wdw end of August/beginning of September. Central Florida isn’t typically bad hurricane season but rain.

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May 15, 2018 at 4:47 p.m. Michael Keeler Says...

I know Thanksgiving is packed, but it's one of my favorite times at Disneyland.

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May 15, 2018 at 4:47 p.m. Lindsay Thompson Says...

GREAT article! Thank you!

It would be such a blessing to win the trip!

Here’s why:

My goddaughter has had a really tough time during her childhood... her mother absent so she was left to be raised by her alcoholic father during most of her childhood years. Although she is now in a better situation since she’s moved in with her grandparents, emotional scars linger (as you can imagine). She has been through WAY too much being that she’s just a child.

I want to do something super special for her but lack the financial means to do what I have in mind, which is to take her on awesome trip and give her the ultimate princess experience/treatment! It would be a perfect way to show her how loved and special she truly is!

Please consider selecting me as the winner of the trip so I can make this happen for her. She definitely deserves it! Thank you for your consideration!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:47 p.m. Paul Says...

Any idea how early to mid October is looking?

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May 15, 2018 at 4:47 p.m. Lissa Says...

We hope to visit some day soon, so this is very helpful!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:46 p.m. Christina Says...

Love Disneyland!!!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:45 p.m. Destiny Sedwick Says...

Awesome! We are going to try and go next September for our anniversary!! Thank you :)

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May 15, 2018 at 4:45 p.m. Ashley Says...

This site is always extremely helpful when it comes to planning our family trips! Always great tips and good prices!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:45 p.m. Jaslynn Says...

Thanks for all the tips! I'm hoping the park isn't too crowded around my birthday in February, I'd love to go then!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:44 p.m. Julianne Says...

Loved this post! We don't have a trip planned for 2018, but this can be helpful for a potential 2019 trip!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:44 p.m. Ryemro Says...

I really want to visit!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:43 p.m. Kerry Zanki Says...

Thanks, UT. Your crowd calendar is amazing.

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May 15, 2018 at 4:43 p.m. James B. Says...

Looks fun

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May 15, 2018 at 4:40 p.m. Nicole G Says...

Helpful article! I’m hoping we can make a trip in November to celebrate mine & my daughters birthdays. Looks like the first two days will be ok but maybe more crowded the last two. It’s just too hard to take older kids out the week before Thanksgiving.

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