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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!
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551–600 of 1633 comments
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.

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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!

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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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