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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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351–400 of 1633 comments
May 15, 2018 at 7:28 p.m. Audra M Says...

Love to bring our 6yo daughter & mom together at Disneyland!!

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May 15, 2018 at 7:27 p.m. Mary Says...

I desperately need to get back to Disneyland!!!

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May 15, 2018 at 7:25 p.m. Liz Straayer Says...

I'm a teacher so I usually have to go during the busier school holidays. I like going the second week of Christmas break :)

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May 15, 2018 at 7:24 p.m. Kara willer Says...

Awesome! I would love to visit one day. Im a huge Disney fan.

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May 15, 2018 at 7:23 p.m. Phil Guerra Says...

Cant wait to visit in November

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May 15, 2018 at 7:23 p.m. Flutter Flight Says...

Since I've been to Disney World tons of times, but not yet Disneyland, this is good info. to have! Thanks!

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May 15, 2018 at 7:22 p.m. Charlotte Says...

Anytime is the best time to go.

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May 15, 2018 at 7:21 p.m. Angela Hartmann Says...

Good stuff!

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May 15, 2018 at 7:21 p.m. blackbird Says...

so excited for our trip next year. good info from the frog

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May 15, 2018 at 7:20 p.m. ALangan Says...

Planning our trip for late October!!

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May 15, 2018 at 7:17 p.m. Chandra Moore Says...

This is so neat for me to be able to evaluate the best available times to enjoy yourself at the great attraction. Often when you attend an attraction of this magnitude, you end up departing not seeing the main attractions due to inadequate planning. Undercover Tourist takes the exhaustion out of planning and puts your mind at ease with accurate info so you and your family can relax and enjoy your vacation. Thanks for the help! ????

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May 15, 2018 at 7:17 p.m. Anne Says...

Awesome offer!

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May 15, 2018 at 7:16 p.m. Jeni Says...

So helpful! Thank you!

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May 15, 2018 at 7:14 p.m. carriebeary29 Says...

Would love to go!

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May 15, 2018 at 7:13 p.m. Culbster13 Says...

We went before Presidents’ Day in February and it was quiet then the weekend came and it was bonkers. Can’t wait to get back.

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May 15, 2018 at 7:10 p.m. Stacy Bailey Louch Says...

So excited! I can't wait to go!!!

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May 15, 2018 at 7:10 p.m. Braydon M Says...

My girlfriends family uses you guys to plan their disney trips and now we use you to plan our little family trips to disney california soon

Reply
May 15, 2018 at 7:09 p.m. TraceHayden Says...

I love how simple they make it to book and plan out your vacation. Awesome service!

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May 15, 2018 at 7:08 p.m. Susan G Says...

Just got home--can't wait to go back! But there is no easy time to go to DL, it is always crowded more or less...

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May 15, 2018 at 7:07 p.m. Nikki Says...

So glad I found this info. I used info from undercover tourist to plan my Disney world vacation last year and it was extremely accurate. I loved the wait times app also!

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May 15, 2018 at 7:07 p.m. Wingo Says...

Does anyone have any experience visiting the first week of June? I'm trying to figure out why weekends in May, along with mid-June are crowded and prior to that is not listed as most crowded.

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May 16, 2018 at 3:58 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Wingo,

You'll see crowds start to pick up during this time, but as some schools aren't quite out yet and it's not the peak of summer vacation, the parks aren't at their most crowded yet!

Keep hopping!

Leap

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May 15, 2018 at 7:07 p.m. Ian VanKirk Says...

We've done Disney World twice and looking for the opportunity for Disneyland. It's a little harder from the northeast. Whenever we decide to go Undercover Tourist will factor heavily in our planning.

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May 15, 2018 at 7:07 p.m. George Says...

Very helpful. Looking forward to when we retire an can get away from those busiest dates

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May 15, 2018 at 7:05 p.m. kim ha Says...

Would love to experience the west coast!

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May 15, 2018 at 7:03 p.m. Dana G Says...

Definitely helpful information. As someone who grew up going to Disneyland, it is really hard to go there at all now because it is so crowded most of the time! Good luck, all!

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May 15, 2018 at 7:03 p.m. Hannah K Says...

Great! I hope to get out to Walt's park soon!!!

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May 15, 2018 at 7:03 p.m. Jennifer B. Says...

We will be going at one of the worst times in 2018. Oh well.

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May 15, 2018 at 7:01 p.m. Donna Says...

Oh I am doing some California dreaming right about now.

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May 15, 2018 at 6:59 p.m. Regina Says...

We have used the crowd calendar before to plan a trip to Disneyland. Our favorite time to go is the first part of December.

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May 15, 2018 at 6:58 p.m. Kristine Says...

We have always loved visiting Disneyland!! These tips are super helpful for anyone with an upcoming trip to CA. Thank you for the useful information!

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May 15, 2018 at 6:56 p.m. Tanner Scott Says...

We can’t wait to go!

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May 15, 2018 at 6:55 p.m. Ronnette Says...

Anytime is a great time

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May 15, 2018 at 6:50 p.m. Jenny Says...

We took our family in late February/early March and it was perfect! The weather was pleasant and the crowds were low during the week!

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May 15, 2018 at 6:49 p.m. Al Says...

Love the crowd callendar

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May 15, 2018 at 6:48 p.m. Nathan R Says...

The frogs are ALWAYS right when it comes to planning for and going on a vacation!

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May 15, 2018 at 6:48 p.m. Constance L Says...

Wow! So much info to consider. Glad Undercover Tourist is there to help along the way.

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May 15, 2018 at 6:48 p.m. Nancy Says...

Love using your crowd calendars!!!

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May 15, 2018 at 6:47 p.m. Drewe Says...

Awesome, thanks!

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May 15, 2018 at 6:47 p.m. Tommy Dean Says...

We live in Alaska and could use a great vacation.

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May 15, 2018 at 6:47 p.m. M.Y. Says...

Still haven't been to Disneyland yet! Looking forward to someday!

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May 15, 2018 at 6:46 p.m. kcannie04 Says...

Let's go now!

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May 15, 2018 at 6:46 p.m. Annie Coleman Says...

Anytime is a good time at Disney!

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May 15, 2018 at 6:46 p.m. Shara Says...

Good to know - I'm heading to DW in November. Thanks for the info.

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May 15, 2018 at 6:46 p.m. Shannan Hohensee Says...

This would be great!!

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May 15, 2018 at 6:45 p.m. HyperJessicus Says...

I'm trying to plan a trip for my husband and our daughter and this was actually very helpful. I didn't know about the peak seasons. Thank you!!

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May 15, 2018 at 6:43 p.m. Sam Says...

Because we love the Christmas atmosphere, I'll be taking my kids out of school early December to avoid the crowds!

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May 15, 2018 at 6:43 p.m. Mel Kue Says...

I would love to visit Carsland so my son and daughter can go crazy over it!

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May 15, 2018 at 6:43 p.m. Jennisha Says...

Gosh I have never been to Disneyland. I want to go!!!

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May 15, 2018 at 6:39 p.m. Cayley Says...

CANNOT WAIT TO GO BACK!!!!

Reply
May 15, 2018 at 6:37 p.m. Emily Mae Says...

These are so wonderful! I will not plan a trip without reading your blog first!

Reply
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