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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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501–550 of 1613 comments
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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May 15, 2018 at 4:40 p.m. Mary Says...

Love it!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:40 p.m. MaryBeth Schepper Says...

This giveaway will be a great vacation for a family - thank you

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May 15, 2018 at 4:38 p.m. Heide Says...

My family visited a few years ago during the week of July 4 and even though it was a peak time, it was WAY more manageable than the crowds I'm accustomed to at WDW! I wish DL were as easy for me to get to as WDW, I'd love to go every year!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:38 p.m. Sara H Says...

The crowd calendar was definitely helpful when planning our trip this past March & we will definitely use it again for our next visit!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:38 p.m. Amber Jones Says...

I love that you post the best and worst date to visit. Thank you!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:37 p.m. Ariana Huerta Carnes Says...

It’s good to know that at least in Labor Day it’s not too busy to take the family when we’re all off school/work.

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May 15, 2018 at 4:36 p.m. Sarah Juneau Says...

Wow! Looks amazing :)

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May 15, 2018 at 4:36 p.m. lcichon1224 Says...

Extremely helpful!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:36 p.m. Alyssa Anderson Says...

So helpful-thanks!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:34 p.m. Danielle Fuller Says...

I haven’t been to Disneyland in years and would love to go again!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:34 p.m. Steve Noggle Says...

This is super helpful I always go during spring break and it’s horribly busy.

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May 15, 2018 at 4:34 p.m. b Says...

Very helpful and interesting!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:33 p.m. Stephanie Says...

Well, we're going during one of the worst times to visit, but with high school aged kids we really can't go at other times!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:33 p.m. Staci Baustad Says...

Your information for Disneyland is very useful, we've been several times to both Disneyland and Disneyworld, but find it harder to plan a Disneyland trip when it's not too busy. Your information will definitely help.

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May 15, 2018 at 4:33 p.m. Ryan L Says...

Anytime is a good time to visit Disney! You just have to set your expectations right before you go!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:33 p.m. Kimberly S Says...

Great tips for planning around crowded times! So much of our planning is around school schedules and it seems to be the same for most others!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:29 p.m. Amber F. Says...

Great info...we are hoping to make a trip there in 2019. Love WDW and your site/app! :)

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May 15, 2018 at 4:29 p.m. Bwilde Says...

Super helpful! Thank you!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:29 p.m. Jim Says...

My family and I would love to visit in December of 2019. Trying to figure it all out.

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May 15, 2018 at 4:28 p.m. Crista L. W. Says...

I want to bring my daughter for her 3rd birthday.

Reply
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