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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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851–900 of 1614 comments
May 15, 2018 at 3:13 p.m. John Perry Says...

It is true that the park is full during the time listed above but there are ways to make a trip during those time much better. Undercover tourist has those tips listed on their travel plans and we have used them on multiple trips. We are so thankful for all those time saving must do ideas when visiting Disneyland!!!

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

Love your newsletters and deals! Thank you

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

Love this! So helpful to keep this in mind when trip planning!!

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

Looking forward to our family trip in June!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:12 p.m. Jen Says...

Thanks for the helpful info!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:12 p.m. Deanna Says...

Everyone should go to Disneyland at least once. It’s one of the most amazing experiences!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:12 p.m. Sonia Says...

I loved using the app the last time I was at WDW!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:12 p.m. Tim Culverhouse Says...

Don't have a time picked yet, but would love to go back Thanks for the helpful info!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:12 p.m. Maria Lopez Says...

Hello

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May 15, 2018 at 3:12 p.m. Crystal Weber Says...

I used this site when planning a trip to Orlando. It was very useful as we planned to visit Sea World, Disney parks and Legoland. I was able to use the crowd calculator to decide which days were best for each activity, and it worked well. We had an amazing trip!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:11 p.m. Julia T Says...

Would love to visit in 2020 with my family.

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May 15, 2018 at 3:11 p.m. stephanie Says...

this is so useful!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:11 p.m. Lana Kay Elmore Says...

Great site with very good information. I highly recommend them from my past vacation.

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May 15, 2018 at 3:11 p.m. Lisa Says...

Great advice!!!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:10 p.m. Nicole Morrison Says...

Every day is a good day to go to Disney!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:10 p.m. Katie McCarthy Says...

I love helpful entries like this! Really helps to plan a trip.

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May 15, 2018 at 3:10 p.m. torgelfi Says...

The best time to visit is anytime you can!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:10 p.m. Colin Says...

Can't wait to get my Premier Passport back and visit again this Summer and see all the new entertainment at Disneyland! Christmas is the best time to visit for me, I don't mind the crowds and love the atmosphere!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:10 p.m. Stephen Shannon Says...

I've haven't been to Disneyland in over 30 years, has it changed?

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May 16, 2018 at 4:04 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Stephen,

Yes! You'll find many changes, especially at the newer park, Disney California Adventure (which opened in 2001). You should definitely make a trip if you can! We think you'll love it.

Keep hopping!

Leap

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May 15, 2018 at 3:10 p.m. Misty Says...

So excited for Pixar Pier!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:09 p.m. Lorenzo Says...

I have never been past the mighty Mississippi. It is a dream of mine to see Disneyland!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:09 p.m. Cory Corrao Says...

Thanks for all the tips and tricks. I love the crowd calendar

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May 15, 2018 at 3:09 p.m. Kara Snesko Says...

HALLOWEEN!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:09 p.m. Karen Says...

anytime is a good time to visit

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May 15, 2018 at 3:09 p.m. Meagan Mier-Garcia Says...

Can't wait until our next Disney trip!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:09 p.m. Lane Says...

In February or March!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:09 p.m. Jason Says...

This is such a helpful calendar! We're planning a road trip to California in 2019 and will definitely base our Disneyland days around this!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:09 p.m. Riana Says...

Between Hallloween Time at Disneyland and UEA, October can get almost unbearably busy. I know plenty of Disneyland Veterans who have gone during that time and said it was just as bad, if not worse as Spring Break.

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May 15, 2018 at 3:08 p.m. Alison P. Says...

About to go on my 3rd WDW trip in 2 years (thanks UT for the help!). But, I would love to go to Disneyland soon and experience it for the first time!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:08 p.m. Nicole V. Says...

Would love a chance to visit Disneyland and bring my family! We have never been before and would definitely use these tips/suggestions to plan our trip!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:08 p.m. Alex Says...

I love the "best time/worst time" information - it really helped planning our Feb 2018 vacation for my 50th, and it's certainly going to help in future trips.

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May 15, 2018 at 3:07 p.m. Yadiel Nieves Says...

I love Disney World! I’ve seen the lowest crowd in mid May. Very good to see the parks qith not so much crowd. I wish I could ser Disneyland some day! I love Disney Parks but haven’t had thw opportunity to go to the original park.

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May 15, 2018 at 3:07 p.m. Matthew Kohut Says...

This is great.

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May 15, 2018 at 3:07 p.m. JB Waite Says...

The crowd calendar was a priceless companion on our latest trip to WDW! Definitely recommended to anyone planning on visiting!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:07 p.m. Alexandra Sedevie Says...

Thanks for all the info you always provide! The best time to go to Disneyland in my opinion is "whenever I can!" :D

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May 15, 2018 at 3:07 p.m. Katie Says...

We've been to Disneyland bunches of times during the week after Presidents' Day and never thought the crowds were too bad.

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May 15, 2018 at 3:07 p.m. Derry Says...

Hope to visit Disneyland sometime! Have heard a lot about it but WDW is a lot closer to us. Thanks for the info!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:06 p.m. Alexis K Says...

It's been a little less than 3 years since I've been to Disneyland and I certainly to get back there soon! Hopefully in 2019 :)

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May 15, 2018 at 3:06 p.m. Aimee Hughes Says...

Thank you for these great tips!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:06 p.m. Eric Says...

Cool!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:06 p.m. Kayleigh Says...

I have never been to Disneyland, but this post is making my miss my home, WDW. Maybe a little Disney magic in California is just what I need....

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May 15, 2018 at 3:06 p.m. Rachelle Says...

I'm really hoping to make it to DL in July, 2019!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:06 p.m. kmrada Says...

Used UnderCoverTourist for our recent visit in January! Great ticket prices and helpful planning.

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May 15, 2018 at 3:06 p.m. Kristen Wexler Says...

Thank you for all your tips! They have made my trips to Disney parks so enjoyable.

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May 15, 2018 at 3:05 p.m. Wanda Howard Says...

very Helpful site!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:05 p.m. Dawn Panagos Says...

I'm going to bookmark this!! Perfect for if I'm able to plan a trip out there!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:05 p.m. Jenna DeYong Says...

Are the parks busier during the theme marathons?

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May 15, 2018 at 3:05 p.m. Erin Perry Says...

I've never been to Disneyland before, but I'd love to see Disneyland with its Christmas decor; to avoid crowds I'd say the first week of December would probably be the best time to do this.

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May 15, 2018 at 3:05 p.m. Heather Eavers Says...

Great tips! We've been several times, but not recently so this is a great reminder/helper.

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May 15, 2018 at 3:05 p.m. Steven R. Says...

Great advice and trip planning!

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