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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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951–1000 of 1633 comments
May 15, 2018 at 12:39 p.m. Trinity Says...

Great tips!

May 15, 2018 at 12:39 p.m. Doris Taylor Says...

Anytime is perfect, because there is always a theme and something to do, no matter what the season is.

May 15, 2018 at 12:39 p.m. Cayman Says...

Great Blog!

May 15, 2018 at 12:35 p.m. Steve Purtee Says...

We love Disney and can't wait to get back there.

May 15, 2018 at 12:22 p.m. DCVsweep Says...

Looks Fun

May 15, 2018 at 12:21 p.m. Patrick Jones Says...

great tips !

May 15, 2018 at noon Jessica Bagwell Says...

I have never been to Disney, but I would love to take my boys! Thanks for all the helpful tips!

May 15, 2018 at 11:45 a.m. Denise D Says...

I say anytime you can! I want to go! Never been! Want to go!! Saving my money for a trip to sunny California!!

May 15, 2018 at 11:33 a.m. Says...

Never been to Disneyland! Hoping we get to go someday!

May 15, 2018 at 11:21 a.m. WLong Says...

I can vouch for the crowd calendar helping us on a trip in 2012! Forced ourselves to go on a red, yellow, and green day at various parks to really see what that meant; red definitely sucked!

May 15, 2018 at 11:03 a.m. KHinMN Says...

Would LOVE to win the Disneyland vacation, looks amazing!

May 15, 2018 at 10:59 a.m. VMborrayo Says...

We love to first both parks during the September sand October Months! Always less crowded for us.

May 15, 2018 at 10:49 a.m. Mikey A Says...

This is awesome, I figure during summer the park is super packed! Gonna have to wait for the kids to go back to school to plan my visit ;)

May 15, 2018 at 10:42 a.m. Pam Muldowney Says...

Wow! I love the advice about when the park is the most crowded!

May 15, 2018 at 8:14 a.m. Lynn Says...

Lots of great tips here! Thanks

May 15, 2018 at 6:51 a.m. Erin Brown Says...

We love using Undercover Tourist! I really like the crowd calendar it really helped us plan our trip.

May 15, 2018 at 6:30 a.m. Joshua JS Says...

I love love love Disneyland! I plan on visiting all the parks worldwide, it’s always been a goal of mine.

May 15, 2018 at 5:10 a.m. Michelle Bartley Says...

Great tips on best times to go! Thank You!

May 15, 2018 at 4:07 a.m. Kelley4306 Says...

Seems about the same as Disney world! Would love to visit Disneyland!

May 15, 2018 at 4:02 a.m. Kim Says...

Certainly a positive spin! Disney land is ALWAYS busy. But undercover tours has a ton of great information! I’ve used many of their tips in this and other parks and been very greatful for them!

May 15, 2018 at 3:39 a.m. Wendy Says...

I was a passholder for two years, amd visited once every 2-3 weeks or so when we weren't blacked out, usually after work. I didn't see the place im daylight fpr months. I really got burned out with the crowds. Then they cut the SoCal resident pass for a couple years. They reinstated it this past year, I think attendance must be down. I have friends coming the week before Xmas and New Years this year. So i know im advance to get there before the gates open, because on busy days it would get full and they would close the gates for hours, sometimes as early as 1 PM.

May 15, 2018 at 3:35 a.m. Lora P Says...

I like that you post the best days to go to avoid crowds

May 15, 2018 at 3:25 a.m. Marissa Says...

Great info, bookmarking!

May 15, 2018 at 3:25 a.m. Arnie D. Says...

I haven't been to Disneyland in over 30 years! I would love to go and visit family in LA.

May 15, 2018 at 3:15 a.m. Purity H Says...

Thanks for the Info!

May 15, 2018 at 3:05 a.m. andy Says...

I would really like to take the kiddos to disney!

May 15, 2018 at 2:49 a.m. Leilani V Says...

These tips are great ! We haven't been to Disneyland always go to Disney World so I need all the info I can get ????

May 15, 2018 at 2:43 a.m. Barbara Says...

The middle of the week while school is in session.

May 15, 2018 at 2:38 a.m. Ljf Says...

We’re going in late September. Can take advantage of Halloween festivities and Food and Wine Fest!

May 15, 2018 at 2:15 a.m. Starlyn Bigrope Says...

Thank you for the great tips! I am excited to plan our 1st family vacation!

May 15, 2018 at 2:12 a.m. Tammy Says...

Love all of the tips you share to help us get the most out of our time at the parks. Thank you for the hard work!

May 15, 2018 at 2:09 a.m. Fina Says...

Planning our first trip this year! This website has helped SO much.

May 15, 2018 at 1:50 a.m. Lauren T Says...

I’ve always wanted to see the Nightmare Before Christmas Haunted Mansion overlay! Fall is honestly my favorite time at any Disney Park!

May 15, 2018 at 1:50 a.m. Lyndon Murray Says...

I love disneyland and all the attractions.

May 15, 2018 at 1:46 a.m. Julie Says...

A dream Cali Disneyland

May 15, 2018 at 1:42 a.m. Amy E Says...

Thanks for all of the great info!

May 15, 2018 at 1:30 a.m. Joni Metcalf Says...

Would love to travel during Fall season.

May 15, 2018 at 1:29 a.m. Vennesa K Says...

Looks like fun

May 15, 2018 at 1:15 a.m. Carla W. Says...

Thank you SO much for this info. We took our daughter WAY back when she turned 4 and it was so packed we could not get around hardly. Now I have grandsons I want to take and these tips are very helpful on when to take them and when not to take them.

May 15, 2018 at 1:03 a.m. Tiffany Small Says...

Cant wait to go again!

May 15, 2018 at 12:52 a.m. emilijalouise24 Says...

Cannot wait to visit Disneyland someday!

May 15, 2018 at 12:21 a.m. Allyson Says...

My husband and I just moved back home from living in Kissimmee, Florida (about 15 minutes away from Disney World) for a year and are reaaaally looking into Disneyland since we spent so much time in Disney World. Looking into November when it's Christmas and we can see Haunted Mansion and Small World all decked out! Flights seem to be pricey. What's the best airport to fly into for Disneyland?

May 16, 2018 at 4:09 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Allyson,

The closest airport to Disneyland Resort is John Wayne Orange County Airport (SNA). It's only 14 miles from the park! The other big airport option is Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). You might also check out some of the smaller airports including Long Beach Airport (LGB), LA/Ontario International Airport (ONT) and Burbank Bob Hope Airport (BUR). They might offer more competitive prices, but you'll have to see which ones you can fly into from where you're coming from.

Keep hopping!


May 14, 2018 at 11:50 p.m. Ryan Alexander Says...

Would love to visit Disneyland

May 14, 2018 at 11:48 p.m. Stephanie C. Says...

Can't wait to go to Disneyland!

May 14, 2018 at 11:47 p.m. Angie Says...


May 14, 2018 at 11:40 p.m. Jennifer L T Says...

Thanks for all the awesome tips and deals

May 14, 2018 at 11:14 p.m. Carol Says...

Still in the planning stages but your site is so helpful!

May 14, 2018 at 10:21 p.m. Jessica Says...

Just wanted to thank you for all the tips and blog pos tr s! Definitkey helps plan out the trips!

May 15, 2018 at 4:40 p.m. Rik Says...

Just been to Orlando. Can't wait to go back.

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

Disneyland looks like so much fun!!

May 14, 2018 at 5:46 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jessica!

We're so HOPPY to hear it!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

May 14, 2018 at 10:06 p.m. Tracy Eau Claire Says...

I'm going to bookmark this post! We went in 2017 during the week after Columbus Day and it was packed. Like you could not take a single step without navigating the space all around you. Couldn't get into stores, cause you might have to cross the sidewalk to do that. It was like real life Frogger! :) So glad we had the MaxPass to make the trip a success.

May 14, 2018 at 5:47 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Tracy!

MaxPass is AMAZING! Be sure to check out our Crowd Calendar as well to help plan your trip. :)

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

May 14, 2018 at 9:55 p.m. Stephanie Jobe Moore Says...

Your crowd calendar is a life saver!!

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