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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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751–800 of 1633 comments
May 15, 2018 at 3:34 p.m. Demaris Says...

Thanks for the Tips! We have hit Disney World and are now looking into heading out West to Disneyland!

Reply
May 15, 2018 at 3:34 p.m. Mark P. Says...

I really appreciate all of the tips, suggestions and discounts provided on this site. Makes planning trips so much easier!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:34 p.m. Malinda Says...

Love using your site to help plan our trips!!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:34 p.m. C Mitchell Says...

Yeah!! See you in September!!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:34 p.m. Scott C Says...

Go go go when the crowds are low!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:34 p.m. Andrew Cunningham Says...

Very informative.

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May 15, 2018 at 3:33 p.m. Tiffany Says...

I’m visiting in 2021! So excited

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May 15, 2018 at 3:33 p.m. Angie Says...

Love Disneyland! Thanks for the tips.

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May 15, 2018 at 3:33 p.m. Amber lee Kolb Says...

This is very informative and helped me a lot. Thank you for putting it together!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:33 p.m. Valmun Says...

I will definitely put this into practice!!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:33 p.m. Laya Schwartz Says...

Thanks you! We just ❤️❤️❤️ Disney!!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:33 p.m. Lincoln Says...

Disneyland is great!!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:33 p.m. Stacey Brewer Hoffpauir Says...

My family and I just took a trip to Disneyland in fall of 2017. We usually go to Disneyworld bc it’s a lot closer to us, but the kids wanted to experience Disneyland. We all had such a great time & can’t wait to go back! It’s so much less stressful than Disneyworld!!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:33 p.m. Mark K. Says...

Makes me want to go!

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

I’m going in 3 days.

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

Thanks for the info, would love to visit Disneyland with y'all!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:32 p.m. Disney family of 5 Says...

Always utilize this site when planning Disney vacation and never fails us!

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

I check this calendar every time i want a plan a trip to disney parks it has been a great help for both US parks. Helped make trips less stressful and a lot more fun. Thanks

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

Thank you so much for this post! Any time I'm planning a vacation, I always want to know the best (and worst) times to travel. It only makes the experience slightly less enjoyable when you have to wait in longer-than-usual lines and bump into people nonstop! Thanks again, I hope I can make Disneyland happen in 2019!

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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

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

Thanks for the tips! Good information!

Reply
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