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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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601–650 of 1614 comments
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!

Reply
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!

Reply
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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May 15, 2018 at 4:04 p.m. Laura Getto Says...

Thanks for the tips! We can’t wait to go!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:04 p.m. SherriEsco Says...

We are thinking about early or late October...which would be best?

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May 16, 2018 at 4:01 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi there,

According to our Crowd Calendar, it's pretty consistent throughout the month of October. Choose a time that works best for you!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
May 15, 2018 at 4:04 p.m. Tasiarae76 Says...

Love all the info, it helped us so much on our trip to Florida!

Reply
May 15, 2018 at 4:03 p.m. Ada Ho Says...

This blog was very useful, the Packing List, Crowd Suggestion, Fast Fast rides, and popular rides. I will definitely use bookmark this when i go a few years later!

Reply
May 15, 2018 at 4:03 p.m. Brianna Brown Says...

I would love to take the kids here within the next couple years!

Reply
May 15, 2018 at 4:03 p.m. Tony Schermetzler Says...

Great tips ????

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May 15, 2018 at 4:02 p.m. Sara Anne Says...

I really want to go to disneyland this summer. Any tips

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May 15, 2018 at 4:01 p.m. Ginjer Says...

Great info. Been using your site for years and has been super useful!

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May 15, 2018 at 4:01 p.m. Amy Crafts Says...

Love all of your information and advice! You guys are awesome!

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May 15, 2018 at 4 p.m. Amber Says...

We always go the first week of December. Crowds are low and weather is perfect!

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May 15, 2018 at 4 p.m. Cher Says...

Very useful for planning - thank you

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May 15, 2018 at 4 p.m. Chris Truax Says...

I normally visit Disney World because we have lived closer to the East coast, but since Disneyland was the location of my parents' first date, I definitely need to get there soon. Thanks for the crowds info!

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May 15, 2018 at 4 p.m. Ed Romero Says...

This website is a great resource !

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May 15, 2018 at 3:59 p.m. Rebecca Goble Says...

This is very helpful! Hopefully planning a trip soon and it's good to know when the crowds will be low so we can enjoy our trip more!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:59 p.m. Kendra Williams Says...

I love your site!! I have used it both when we visited Disney World and Universal!! It made a huge difference in planning when we actually took our trips and what to do when we got there! Thanks for all the tips!!!

Reply
May 15, 2018 at 3:58 p.m. Misty Werley Says...

Your site is always so helpful when planning Disney trips!

Reply
May 15, 2018 at 3:58 p.m. Rachele B Says...

This is such a great post! I loved reading about all the times that are best to go and which times are busiest. Turns out, the time we plan on going will actually be a good time!

Reply
May 15, 2018 at 3:57 p.m. Denise McChesney Says...

I love all the info and help you guys provide! heading to Disney in Jan 2019!!! Can't wait!

Reply
May 15, 2018 at 3:57 p.m. KYLIE Says...

This info was perfect for our trip in October. We used the crowd calendar to plan our park days, and it totally helped! I got engaged at Magic Kingdom! (The last sentence is celebratory for only me, but I tell the world at every opportunity!)

Reply
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