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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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651–700 of 1633 comments
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

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

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

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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!

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

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

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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!!!

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

Your site is always so helpful when planning Disney trips!

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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!

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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!

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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!)

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May 15, 2018 at 3:57 p.m. M. McBurney Says...

Great Information! Thank You!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:56 p.m. Sheri DeOrio Says...

Thanks for the detailed info on the best (and worst) times to visit Disneyland. It's very helpful.

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May 15, 2018 at 3:56 p.m. Jayson Says...

Great blog post! Thanks for what you do...you've helped my family have tremendous vacations!! :)

Reply
May 15, 2018 at 3:56 p.m. JW Says...

This is a comment

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May 15, 2018 at 3:56 p.m. teresam Says...

Would love to visit during early March, and it looks like it is not peak times. YAY! But again, ANY TIME is a good time to be immersed in Disney. <3

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May 15, 2018 at 3:56 p.m. L. Cody Says...

Make sure to check Halloween party historical dates when planning a trip in Sept. We planned in June for a September trip and lost both evenings in DL because they were ticketed events. The schedule wasn't out until 30 days ahead and our plans were already made.

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May 15, 2018 at 3:55 p.m. Paula Erickson Says...

I love your site! I’ve used you tips to plan my last for Walt Disney World vacations and I’m currently using you site to plan our very first trip to Disneyland next March! I recommend your crowd calendar to everyone I know planning a trip!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:55 p.m. Tricia Says...

Awesome!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:54 p.m. Jenny Says...

Can’t wait to upgrade to premier passport for CA!!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:54 p.m. Stephanie Mendez Says...

Thank you so much for writing a post about this! I need all the information I can get to plan my trip!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:54 p.m. Melinda Says...

So much wonderful information! Good page to bookmark for us that live on the east coast!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:54 p.m. Liam Sullivan Says...

We visited Animal Kingdom and the Magic Kingdom on the Tuesday and Wednesday after Presidents Day last year and the crowds weren't all that bad at all (except for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, that was impossible to get on).

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May 15, 2018 at 3:54 p.m. krgmjgmama Says...

summer! No time constraints - kids on vacay!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:53 p.m. Debra Says...

Your crowd calendars are always on track.Saving this one!!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:53 p.m. Tim Keasler Says...

Great insight.

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May 15, 2018 at 3:53 p.m. Jake Says...

Awsome tips! Super excited for our trip and these are very helpful!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:53 p.m. afall Says...

can't wait for star wars land!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:53 p.m. Jessica Padilla Says...

I love that there is a Disneyland crowd calendar. It is very helpful.

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May 15, 2018 at 3:53 p.m. Kristy A Says...

Ah, having kids means we always have to travel in the worst times! But we will have a good touring plan under our belt!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:53 p.m. ALE9687 Says...

Would love to win and take my 1yr old son on his first Disneyland trip!!!!!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:53 p.m. Autism Mommy Says...

If you go during the school year it can be especially helpful when you have a child with Autism! The shorter lines makes a huge difference!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:52 p.m. The DisNerd Says...

Hoping to get back to Disneyland in the next few years! We just went in June of 2015 and it was fantastic! Our home park is WDW - we usually go there annually! Can't wait to go back :)

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May 15, 2018 at 3:51 p.m. Samantha Brown Says...

I would love to visit Disneyland especially since I've never been to California and my nephew who is a Marine is stationed there.

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May 15, 2018 at 3:51 p.m. Alisha Gravette Says...

Thanks for the info! Planning a trip out for May 2019!!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:51 p.m. Aubrey hohman Says...

i think this article is helpful in planning a trip. It will allow me to know when the crows will be.

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May 15, 2018 at 3:49 p.m. CRYSTAL Says...

Love the post

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May 15, 2018 at 3:49 p.m. Liz Says...

I love the reminders of when the best time to visit Disneyland are. I follow another blog/website that does some of the same stuff and I was find these tips to be very useful and spot on.

Reply
May 15, 2018 at 3:49 p.m. Kristin Says...

I just wanted to say that I love all of your posts, the app is such a lifesaver, and we purchased hopper passes from your website and we were thrilled to get a day for free!! Awesome job and you make vacationing at Disney so much easier!!

Reply
May 15, 2018 at 3:48 p.m. Alison Snow Says...

Great to know, thanks!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:48 p.m. Natalie Says...

This is very helpful!! I think no matter what there will be crowds so the best time to go is anytime. There is always something new to see or eat and rides are worth the wait!

Reply
May 15, 2018 at 3:48 p.m. Ivegotadream Says...

Love Undercover Tourist! Thank you!

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