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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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551–600 of 1613 comments
May 15, 2018 at 4:28 p.m. Deirdre clare McCafferty Says...

Best time to visit any disney park is in September. Little to no crowds due to the start of school

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May 15, 2018 at 4:27 p.m. Sarah H Says...

Have been to WDW several times and would love to visit DL one day!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:27 p.m. Daniel J Says...

Any time is a good time to go, I'd say!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:26 p.m. Gael Fulcer Says...

Thanks so much for all the wonderful information!!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:26 p.m. Victoria Says...

Would love to see on this calendar if tickets should be bought as high peak or regular. Thanks

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May 15, 2018 at 4:26 p.m. Schawn Says...

I love going in September. Perfect weather!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:26 p.m. cathyscorner Says...

This will be very helpful for our upcoming vacation, thank you!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:26 p.m. Carrie J Says...

Thanks so much for the tips. I'm thinking early March might be when I aim to visit.

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May 15, 2018 at 4:26 p.m. Amanda Hyde Says...

Appreciate this so much! We went in September of 2015 and had very low crowds and hope that a trip next year is in store!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:25 p.m. Teri Ruffino Says...

I am so thankful for Undercover Tourist to help me plan my trip with ease. Knowing when the busy times are is crucial! Plus their site is attractive, user-friendly and full of good information.

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May 15, 2018 at 4:25 p.m. VanessaWishlist Says...

Undercover Tourist is great! Super helpful I was able to take my kids to Orlando for the first time ever. We hope to visit again!!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:25 p.m. Bobbi Says...

Looks like we will be visiting at the perfect time! Thanks for your advice:)

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May 15, 2018 at 4:25 p.m. Christina L. Says...

This was such an informative page. I have always wanted to go to Disneyland. My boys and I always go to Walt Disney World because we love Animal Kingdom and Epcot so much!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:25 p.m. Tanya Egan Gibson Says...

We end up going to Disneyland on many of the "worst" times--spring break, February break, summer break, etc.--but we still find that if we use MaxPass well, we don't end up in horrible lines. (Also, we're big fans of the mid-day pool break, when the lines are the longest!)

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May 15, 2018 at 4:25 p.m. Shayla Says...

Undercover is a lifesaver for planning Disney Vacations. We've used them and bought our tickets from them twice!

Reply
May 15, 2018 at 4:24 p.m. Lyssa Says...

I'd rather go when it's not too crowded but I'll have to go in a week that fits into my husband and my work/school schedule. Great tips though! Very detailed and helpful!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:24 p.m. McKay Says...

Thanks for the info

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May 15, 2018 at 4:24 p.m. SP Says...

This is so helpful. Hoping to get to Disneyland in December!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:24 p.m. Angie b Says...

Crowds can really make a vacation frustrating!! Love these articles and the app and the calendar on the site. All helped us on our last vacation to Orlando! We would love to plan a trip to Disneyland next!!!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:23 p.m. Debbie Benson Says...

I use Undercover Tourist whenever we go to Disney! It's a tool I can't go without! Thank you!!!!!!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:23 p.m. Martha Flanagan Says...

In the spring or fall! cooler weather so can enjoy all that disneyland offers

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May 15, 2018 at 4:23 p.m. ds Says...

Thanks

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May 15, 2018 at 4:23 p.m. Vicki Says...

Great information!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:23 p.m. Danyeall Williams Says...

This would be awesome for my 6yr old son soon to be 7 come August to experience!!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:23 p.m. Bay Says...

great advice

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May 15, 2018 at 4:23 p.m. Cassandra Says...

We went in October 2017, and it was great! Our family loved seeing everything decked out for Halloween, and the lines were short or at worst reasonable. We did see a huge difference between Thursday/Friday and Saturday. Even in October, I'd suggest avoiding weekends.

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May 15, 2018 at 4:23 p.m. Kathy Noble Says...

Thanks for the tips!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:22 p.m. Stacie Jenner Says...

Thank you so much for being you! i have used you guys lots over the years and will continue to! so helpful!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:22 p.m. MissKate83 Says...

I want to say because of this website we were able to stay at the Port Orleans Riverside for a great price!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:22 p.m. Wayne Says...

Never a bad time to visit Disney. Just have to learn to live with the crowds.

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May 15, 2018 at 4:21 p.m. Mandy N Says...

This is AWESOME! We are hitting Disney World this year, but Disneyland is the plan for next year. The 2019 dates will be SUPER helpful in planning!!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:21 p.m. Nancy Says...

You guys were crucial for planning our trip to WDW last year. I'll save this post for our west coast visit!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:21 p.m. Laura Mad-dog Says...

if you use Undercover Tourist plans and arrive early, even the worse weeks are manageable.

Thanks for all the good advice.

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May 15, 2018 at 4:21 p.m. Morgan Christopher Says...

Thank you for this post, this is probably the best guide I have seen for information of what the best things are, when to go, etc.....

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May 15, 2018 at 4:20 p.m. Kara M Says...

Thanks for the helpful info! Love this blog!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:20 p.m. Yvette Says...

I am visiting Disneyland and California Adventure on May 29th and May 31st, are these high crowded days? I am going to Universal Studios on May 30th as well? any suggestions?

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May 15, 2018 at 4:19 p.m. Denise M Powell Says...

Very helpful information! Looking forward to my next trip.

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May 15, 2018 at 4:19 p.m. Tameika Says...

Great blog and great info

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May 15, 2018 at 4:19 p.m. Nancye Taylor Says...

Can’t wait to visit the place that I loved so much during my childhood!!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:18 p.m. Mary Says...

I want to go SO badly. Miss it!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:18 p.m. Maureen Says...

love the blog posts with the busy and slow times!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:18 p.m. Sharon Drapeau Says...

This post is exactly why I love Undercover Tourist.

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May 15, 2018 at 4:18 p.m. Fabs Says...

Super helpful article! I'm hoping to take my daughter to Disneyland for a graduation present!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:18 p.m. Tammy Sue Bohne Says...

Great crowd calendar! Always accurate! And of course love the ticket deals!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:18 p.m. Devra Says...

Great tips!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:17 p.m. paul lewis Says...

great resource...wonderful service

Reply
May 15, 2018 at 4:17 p.m. Vickie Glass Says...

Great information ... great company to work with!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:16 p.m. YKA Says...

Really love the planners. A lifesaver in the summer heat!!!!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:15 p.m. Heather M. Says...

Disneyland is my favorite. I want to take my husband badly. He's never been to Disneyland, let alone California!

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

Thanks for the tips! It is greatly appreciated!

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