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Best Time to Visit Disneyland in 2020 and 2021

by Leap on April 1, 2020 2595 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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801–850 of 1614 comments
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!

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

Wonderful every time!

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

This would be AWESOME! Disney is my Happy Place!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:15 p.m. Heather Mc Says...

I have yet to pick a time that isn't good to visit Disney!!! Love this blog!! Thanks for all the goodies that Undercover Tourist provides!

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

Thanks for the info

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

I hope to get back to Disneyland one day - I visited in 1993!

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

Thank you for this awesome information! We unfortunately do not have much of choice and have to come during Easter break next year but your article helped me choose the dates! So thank you!!

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

This is great. We are currently researching best dates and best costs for our honeymoon to Disney!

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

I love the tips -n- tricks that you publish! (And of course the ticket prices!!) :)

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May 15, 2018 at 3:15 p.m. Susan Persing Says...

I would love to go to Disneyland! I've never been!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:14 p.m. Sam Says...

Looking forward to a trip.

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May 15, 2018 at 3:14 p.m. K.Satterfield Says...

I love Disneyland!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:14 p.m. Lou Says...

Great info

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May 15, 2018 at 3:14 p.m. Tina Says...

I've been to Disney World lots of times but never Disneyland! Would love to go sometime!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:14 p.m. Megan Mosier Says...

We always feel like weekdays Feb-March or in September are good as long as you avoid holidays for Disney World! Haven’t been to Disney Land yet!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:14 p.m. Meredith Schneider Says...

We have heard late January is a great time to visit. This is when we are planning to go

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May 15, 2018 at 3:14 p.m. Sonia Says...

I loved using the Undercovertourist APP while at WDW!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:14 p.m. Adam Says...

Going to Walt Disney World in June! Disneyland is on our bucket list and we will head over to Undercover Tourist to plan that trip! Thanks for all you do!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:13 p.m. Suzanne Schumacher Says...

Such a helpful post....haven't been in over 20 years and really want to take my kid for the first time.

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May 15, 2018 at 3:13 p.m. David Says...

Im going to Disneyland!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:13 p.m. Kirsten Tyson Says...

Start planning our family trip next month! Can’t wait to get started. Been wanting to visit for years! A first for me and my kids

Reply
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