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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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601–650 of 1633 comments
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

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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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May 15, 2018 at 4:15 p.m. danivent Says...

Thanks for posting! We love Disney World but hope to make the jump over to Disneyland soon!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:14 p.m. Bryan F Says...

????????Frog on! ????????

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May 15, 2018 at 4:14 p.m. htepaige Says...

very helpful, thank you!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:14 p.m. Angelika Pienkowska Says...

Wow, thank you for such an insightful blog post! I reply on your content to dream plan my future first Disneyland trip :-)

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May 15, 2018 at 4:14 p.m. Laura Says...

We've been going over New Year's the past few years (not the best idea, I know), but we plan it so we know what to fast pass and what to knock out while we wait. For the most part, we end up missing most of the crowds and since it's just my boyfriend and I with no kids, we usually finish everything in a decent amount of time, or can spend the rest of the day hanging out around the park. But it's always a good time, crowds or not

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May 15, 2018 at 4:13 p.m. Nicole Says...

I'm a little nervous to be going mid-June this year with the crowds, but you're right, anytime you can go is the best time to go and that is the time we could get away for an adult only trip!! I think one of the best times to go is when it is raining. :) We were there over spring break in March and it had poured the day we arrived and rained our first day in the park and it was empty! We walked on practically every ride. So much fun!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:12 p.m. Sahil Says...

Great article. Very helpful tips for my family's plan next month!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:12 p.m. Erika Says...

This blog is how i get my orlando fix while im stuck at work.

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May 15, 2018 at 4:12 p.m. Jin Says...

Got lots of great tips when going to Disney world. Saving this for later.

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May 15, 2018 at 4:12 p.m. Mandy Says...

Thank you for all the helpful tips and tricks! It helped my boyfriend's family and I plan our vacation!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:12 p.m. PKS Says...

Love this site! Super helpful when planning a trip to either Disneyland or Disney World! I’ve been referring to them for the crowd calendar and ride refurbishments/closure schedules for years.

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May 15, 2018 at 4:12 p.m. Luisa Mejicanos Says...

I love all these tips for Disney and it will help whenever we are able to go on a Disney vcay! I'll make sure I'llkeep checking for more info.

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May 15, 2018 at 4:11 p.m. Rachel Masten Says...

Hoping to do a quick visit in two weeks when we’re in California!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:11 p.m. Lisa Ziegler Says...

Had a great experience ordering through your company!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:11 p.m. Janet Says...

Was there last summer and would like to return around Christmas time some day.

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May 15, 2018 at 4:11 p.m. Kelsey Brown Says...

May was busier than we expected, but we still had a great time at Pixar Fest!!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:10 p.m. Monica Clower Says...

Any time is a great time to visit!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:10 p.m. Rob Says...

Tips are fantastic, but if you are in too much of rush you will definitely miss the beauty. There is lots of people trying to do the exact same thing as you - Enjoy!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:09 p.m. darlenemc326 Says...

So looking forward to our next trip!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:09 p.m. Kim Pascale Says...

We are going in mid-September and we can't wait!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:09 p.m. marianne Says...

Glad to have the info about best times to visit!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:09 p.m. Vanessa Vargas Says...

Love all the Disney tips!!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:09 p.m. Brittany Says...

I hope to go in May so we can celebrate our anniversary there!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:09 p.m. Mary M. Says...

We went mid March and it was great! Much less crowded than summer visits!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:08 p.m. Nichole McAllister Says...

Love all things Disney! Would love to see the new Pixar Pier at Disneyland.

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May 15, 2018 at 4:08 p.m. Timothy S Says...

My wife and I really love the Disneyland Parks better than the Florida parks (the parks themselves). I think it has to do with both being so close together and walking back and forth multiple times in a single day. As far as the time of year, we LOVE Christmas season, and always can be found in either Orlando or Anaheim the first week of December to celebrate our anniversary. And, Disneyland has the added bonus of no hard ticket event for Christmas!

That early December is great... all the crowds from Thanksgiving are gone and the level is pretty low. Weather is hit and miss (been in very cold rain and also very nice 70's!). Love the overlays in Anaheim too!

Just can't go wrong. Next we are going to finally try a Halloween in Anaheim. Looking forward to the Cars Land area for that holiday!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:08 p.m. Debbie Parnell Castelin Says...

I’ve never been to DisneyLand and would love to have the opportunity!!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:06 p.m. Alexandra Salesman Says...

We used your calendar in 2016 (and bought tickets!) and it was practically spot on. Planning another trip this year for my nephew's 4th birthday surprise and I constantly refer here for dates in late November-early December just to see which is best. Honestly couldn't do without the website, thank you so much Frog Family!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:06 p.m. Clayton S. Russell Says...

So much fun!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:05 p.m. layalons schwartz Says...

can't wait to use these tips!

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