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Best Time to Visit Disneyland in 2021 and 2022

by Leap on May 1, 2021 2657 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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901–950 of 1646 comments
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?

Reply
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

Reply
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.

Reply
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.

Reply
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....

Reply
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.

Reply
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?

Reply
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.

Reply
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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May 15, 2018 at 3:04 p.m. Eugene Says...

Love the crowd Calendar.

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May 15, 2018 at 3:04 p.m. Ashley Says...

I don't mind if the parks are busy while I'm there! A busy day at Disney is still a day at Disney! I'll take it!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:03 p.m. Cindi C Says...

I would loveeee to go to Disneyland! We’ve gone to Disney World before but would love to go to California since we’ve never been ☺️

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May 15, 2018 at 3:03 p.m. Suzanne D Says...

Great article. I love Disneyland - really itching to get back there!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:03 p.m. Katie Says...

Hope to visit during Fall Break (October) 2019!

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May 15, 2018 at 3:02 p.m. Lori Says...

Love WDW - this gives me pause to make a trip to Disneyland!!! :)

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May 15, 2018 at 3:01 p.m. Malena Jackson Says...

Only been to DL 2x but been to WDW too many to count. Sadly, both times at DL Haunted Mansion was closed for various overlays. Hope to get back soon so I can finally see DL's version of the HM!!!

Reply
May 15, 2018 at 3:01 p.m. Dawn Says...

The blog posts are so helpful! Helps me plan our vacation better

Reply
May 15, 2018 at 3 p.m. Kristen Says...

I would love to go to Disneyland one day!!!

Reply
May 15, 2018 at 3 p.m. Whitney Says...

great information!

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May 15, 2018 at 2:59 p.m. Courtney Siemer Says...

Wow! I can't start to wait to start planning!

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May 15, 2018 at 2:58 p.m. Erin Han Says...

I'm hoping to make a trip out to Disneyland in 2019! Thanks for all the great tips!

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May 15, 2018 at 2:58 p.m. Jon Says...

Really want to go back to Carsland!

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May 15, 2018 at 2:58 p.m. Alyssia Byers Says...

Rainy days are the best days to visit.

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May 15, 2018 at 2:57 p.m. Jason Bellflowers Says...

Love the crowd calendar. It was very useful during our last trip to Orlando!

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May 15, 2018 at 2:54 p.m. Torey Says...

great info!

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May 15, 2018 at 2:54 p.m. Steven Says...

I've always wanted to go to Disneyland!

Reply
May 15, 2018 at 2:33 p.m. Theresa Hollers Says...

Disney is the greatest place on earth.

Reply
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