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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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801–850 of 1633 comments
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!

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

So helpful! Me and my husband visited Disney World in Florida last year for our honeymoon in December. It was gorgeous, and we loved the Christmas time at the park, but man was it crowded!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:21 p.m. Alexandra Kalber Says...

Hopefully planning a trip next Spring!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:20 p.m. Ann Says...

The struggle is finding a balance between wanting decent crowds but also wanting all the entertainment to be available! We went during a week day in November and the crowds were fantastic but several shows weren’t running and there were some refurbs.

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May 15, 2018 at 3:20 p.m. GVL Says...

The best time that we visited Disneyland was in March a week before schools got their Spring Break. Great weather, no lines, didn't feel rushed or stressed.

Having said that, anytime is a good time, we always enjoy our visits to the parks. We've been to Disneyland, Disney World and Shanghai Disney.

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May 15, 2018 at 3:19 p.m. Marlana Says...

Love all your tips, especially the CROWD CALENDAR! Headed to WDW this fall, and hopefully DL next year!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:19 p.m. Karen Says...

I love Disney World but have never been to Disneyland! This needs to be corrected!! ;)

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May 15, 2018 at 3:19 p.m. Samantha Says...

Hello!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:19 p.m. Jordan Slagle Says...

So ready to go in September!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:19 p.m. Julie Mastrogiacomo Says...

We went the end of April and I wasn't expecting it to be as crowded as it was, from what I've heard November is the best time to go!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:18 p.m. ssh68 Says...

Used crowd dates to plan my Disney vacay and it worked out great! We had great weather, moderate crowds, and the best time ever!!!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:18 p.m. Jeremy Welch Says...

Looks like a lot of fun.

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May 15, 2018 at 3:18 p.m. LynnL Says...

Thanks for the great pointers. Looking at a trip for 2019 as a graduation gift so need all the help we can get picking the right time to go!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:18 p.m. Ilene Says...

Great tips, glad I read it before our next trip!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:18 p.m. Amanda Says...

Thank you for all you do to keep us informed on all of the latest tips and guides!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:18 p.m. Desiree Says...

This is exactly what I needed to make my decision on when to go this year! Thanks for all you do!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:18 p.m. Anne E Says...

This is super helpful, thanks!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:17 p.m. CQ Says...

Thank you for all the information you provide. It is very helpful in planning a great family vacation.

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May 15, 2018 at 3:17 p.m. Laurie Pennington Says...

We would love to go this summer! Nothing like Disneyland!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:17 p.m. Stephanie Says...

This is such great information, looking forward to our time to go to Disneyland and glad it’s not one of the busiest.

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May 15, 2018 at 3:17 p.m. Ctagg Says...

Man I wish I didn't have to abide by a school calendar! Someday!!!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:17 p.m. Brittany Rumgay Says...

Great article!!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:17 p.m. Laura Buffit Says...

What a great article! Thank you for sharing so much valuable & detailed information!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:16 p.m. Greg P. Says...

Thanks for the info.

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May 15, 2018 at 3:16 p.m. brigitte Says...

great info! We love going in the fall.

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May 15, 2018 at 3:16 p.m. Pamela Manley Says...

Anytime is a great time to visit Disney :)

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May 15, 2018 at 3:16 p.m. Sue Bryan Says...

Any day is a good day with Disney!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:16 p.m. Lauren Says...

My favorite time of year to go to Disney is Halloween time! I’m surprised the week of October 31st isn’t one of the worst times to visit, and at the same time, relieved! ????

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May 15, 2018 at 3:16 p.m. Rosalie Says...

I haven't been to Disneyland in over 10 years! I can't wait to visit in the near future.

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May 15, 2018 at 3:15 p.m. Melissa Says...

Thank you for doing the work to help plan a good time to visit!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:15 p.m. Kyra Says...

I've only ever been to Disney World, but would love to go to Disneyland some day. The last trip to WDW had been a bit crazy. We had gone in October and unfortunately during the Wine and Food Festival (totally didn't realize), and every single park was packed. My brother and sister-in-law (who had never been before) didn't get to see and enjoy as much as I had hoped. But perhaps we could attempt another siblings trip again soon! Anyway, thanks for this post! I would definitely recommend taking a look at crowd calendars before booking!

Reply
May 15, 2018 at 3:15 p.m. Mrs. Guerrero Says...

Wonderful every time!

Reply
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