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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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751–800 of 1614 comments
May 15, 2018 at 3:32 p.m. Sandy Says...

Thank you - this is very helpful. We have gone to WDW many times, but going to DL is on our to-do list. Very interesting to hear about annual passholders and day trips. thanks!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:32 p.m. Margaret S Says...

My daughter would be so excited if we won this! Have relatives there too! Some I haven’t seen in over 30 years! My daughters nickname is Micki????????

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May 15, 2018 at 3:32 p.m. Joy Says...

Anytime would be an awesome time to visit Disneyland for me!!!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:31 p.m. Brian Says...

Great info, thank you!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:31 p.m. Michelle G. Says...

Great information ... it's so helpful!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:31 p.m. Michelle Sanna Says...

We are having Disney withdrawals! Can't wait to go back.

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May 15, 2018 at 3:31 p.m. Nikki Says...

I've never been to Disneyland. I hope to visit there very soon!!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:31 p.m. Veronica Says...

Looks like a lot of the crowded times are still similar to Orlando. No matter how you slice it, kids' being in school really messes with our fun:)

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May 15, 2018 at 3:30 p.m. Kendle R. Says...

We’re hoping (or “hopping”... Can I get away with that?) to take our daughter for her birthday next year. I’m so glad that her birthdate made the “Best Time to Visit” cut!!! Wahoo! I’m going to go do a cartwheel now! ????‍♀️

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May 15, 2018 at 3:30 p.m. Courtney Says...

Great tips

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May 15, 2018 at 3:30 p.m. cynjea Says...

You guys were pretty spot on with the prediction for the trip I just got back from.

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May 15, 2018 at 3:30 p.m. Sue M Says...

Help! Link not working for contest entry in email I recieved. Tried then to go to FB page but entry still not working.

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May 15, 2018 at 3:30 p.m. wakkatidus1234 Says...

So excited to try and visit Disneyland for the first time with my family. My wife is from abroad and has never had the opportunity and my little boy is so crazy about cars. I would be hard pressed just to get him out of cars land XD lol.

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May 15, 2018 at 3:30 p.m. Katherine hollander Says...

Thanks for the tips!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:29 p.m. Margaret S Says...

My daughter would be so excited if we won this!!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:29 p.m. Heidi Lau Says...

Yours is the only crowd calendar I trust! Thanks for putting this out there so we can make the most of our trips. We love you guys!!!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:29 p.m. Emily GC Says...

So looking forward to planning my first Disneyland trip with my sister! Disney World was our childhood, but we’re ready to keep exploring!!!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:29 p.m. Jillian B Says...

We love Disney!!!!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:29 p.m. Kathy Ponder Says...

Love all of your tips and discounts!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:28 p.m. MikeN Says...

Very Helpful post - definitely bookmarking. Thank you!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:28 p.m. =j Says...

Sometimes timing is entirely constrained by external constraints. Of course, I might modify my plans if I have a leasurly four night stay instead of a shorter two night. Nod wink

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May 15, 2018 at 3:27 p.m. Sean Overton Says...

I can vouch for the Christmas holidays being horrible. We made that mistake in 2017. January is my birthday and we have gone middle to end of the month and not had lines.

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May 15, 2018 at 3:27 p.m. Dan C Says...

So glad I discovered Undercover Tourist. The only place to buy WDW tickets!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:27 p.m. Rachel Lytle Says...

I've never been to Disneyland, but my husband and I are talking about doing that for our 15th wedding anniversary!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:27 p.m. Ashlee Says...

Thank you for all of the information on how busy parks are during certain times of the year.

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May 15, 2018 at 3:27 p.m. A Swinson Says...

We adore the FL parks, but have not made it to the CA ones, yet. Thanks for the information. It will help us to plan.

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May 15, 2018 at 3:27 p.m. Tiffany Hix Says...

Great info in this post! I can’t wait to go back to Disneyland! I’ll be using this info in my trip planning!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:27 p.m. sulu Says...

can't wait to spend a few days in Disneyland

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May 15, 2018 at 3:26 p.m. Stephanie R Says...

Great article! We travelled to both Disney world and Disneyland at all times of year and the crowds have been manageable! The only times we make sure not to go is over Christmas break and Easter break! Haha

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May 15, 2018 at 3:26 p.m. Marsha Says...

I’ve never been to Disneyland! How many days would you need to stay to get the most out of your visit?

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May 16, 2018 at 4:03 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Marsha,

We recommend at least 2 days! It also depends on the time of year you'll be going.

Keep hopping!

Leap

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May 15, 2018 at 3:26 p.m. April H Says...

Thanks for the tips! Good information!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:26 p.m. Tracie Says...

Love all the great tips!!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:26 p.m. Geoff Deleplanque Says...

Great resource for Disney!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:26 p.m. Sheena McKibben Says...

I cannot wait to visit Disneyland. Only been to WDW!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:26 p.m. Paul Spence Says...

Easter holidays in the UK next year is April 6th for 2 weeks - that didn't appear to be the period for the expected highest volumes of visitors so I'm going then!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:26 p.m. Sharon Says...

I would love to go whenever....

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May 15, 2018 at 3:26 p.m. AllyB Says...

Good info! Would love to visit Disneyland

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May 15, 2018 at 3:25 p.m. Irene Says...

I have been receiving your newsletter for a few years and it has helped me immensely in planning our visits. Always great info. Keep up the great work.

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May 15, 2018 at 3:25 p.m. Russ Says...

The crowd calendar is super useful, we have been to orlando loads, but this is our first time at LA - thanks!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:25 p.m. Nicole Ench Says...

Thanks for this ❤️

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May 15, 2018 at 3:25 p.m. Sailer Family Says...

This is so much great information! We are planning a trip to Disneyland for the first time ever for our family of 6. 5 adults and 1 child, age 7 when we go. We'd like to go when its not so hot and avoid the rainy season if there is one. Best time to go?

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May 15, 2018 at 3:25 p.m. Erica Hodges Says...

Thanks for the information!! Very helpful!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:24 p.m. CG Says...

This is so helpful. For us midwesterners, we're finding it harder to plan a DL trip than our normal WDW trips. Different experience! But this helps a lot. Thanks! :)

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May 15, 2018 at 3:24 p.m. Samantha V Saunders Says...

It's hard to figure out travel days now that I have a child starting school. I like going during slower times!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:24 p.m. MOONRAYVIN Says...

Anytime would be good for me lol ???? I live on the East Coast and have never been to California - some day I will though and I can't wait to use the info I've learned here ????

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May 15, 2018 at 3:24 p.m. Tiffany A Says...

Hoping to make my first trip to Disneyland in 2019. Can’t wait!!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:23 p.m. Erin B Says...

Love all your tips and info - have saved me a lot of time and frustration over the years!!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:23 p.m. kidsfirst81 Says...

We always went the weekend after Thanksgiving and it wasn't as crowded growing up. I personally find it a little hard to predict. One year we went for Columbus Day weekend and it was crowded and the next year it wasn't as bad. We go this weekend because of school vacations and work schedules and know that it's going to be more crowded than other weeks we could pick

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May 15, 2018 at 3:22 p.m. sbgorman Says...

Thank you for the great info!!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:22 p.m. Neha Vanscoy Says...

I have gone to Walt Disney World my whole life. I think it's time to take a trip to where it all began!

Reply
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