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Best Time to Visit Disneyland in 2020 and 2021

by Leap on April 1, 2020 2593 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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351–400 of 1614 comments
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!

Reply
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

Reply
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!!!!

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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!

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May 15, 2018 at 6:34 p.m. Tracy Says...

Thanks for the info!

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May 15, 2018 at 6:33 p.m. EB Says...

Too many trips to the World, but none to the Land. Need to fix that!

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May 15, 2018 at 6:31 p.m. Teri B. Says...

This is the best website for all Disney. I would love to go to Disneyland. It has been 48 years since my first and last visit.

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May 15, 2018 at 6:30 p.m. Jack K Says...

Best times to go is not in July...but that's when we're going! Wife is a teacher. Can't wait to check out Disneyland finally. Been to Disneyworld numerous times.

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May 15, 2018 at 6:24 p.m. Melissa S Says...

Nice! We're going the last week of November into December, so that should be perfect. :D

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May 15, 2018 at 6:24 p.m. Nick C Says...

(Mouse) Fingers crossed.

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May 15, 2018 at 6:23 p.m. Meg8 Says...

So many changes going on at both parks! Would love to see all of these new attractions and areas... and skip the crowds! Great info!

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May 15, 2018 at 6:23 p.m. Lara Says...

Deciding when to go is the hardest part of planning a trip!

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May 15, 2018 at 6:23 p.m. Katie H Says...

So much useful information packed into one article! I’m very happy to learn my birthday is not considered a bad time to go!!

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May 15, 2018 at 6:21 p.m. Laura S. Says...

I have personally used Undercover Tourist for 8 trips to Disneyworld in the past 4 years and they are awesome! I have never had anything but positive experiences and the tickets are a savings for us!

Reply
May 15, 2018 at 6:20 p.m. Josh McD Says...

Great Information

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May 15, 2018 at 6:20 p.m. Atley Says...

the best advice is on this blog

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May 15, 2018 at 6:19 p.m. IndyAndy Says...

Also look out for the last weekend of SoCal discount tickets. We went in late may of 2017 and it was insane. The last weekend of the SoCal discount tickets + Grad Night = wayyy too many people. The week after once blackout dates started for APs looked like much better crowds.

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May 15, 2018 at 6:18 p.m. TmNa Says...

Lots of great info

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May 15, 2018 at 6:18 p.m. Jasmine Seivright Says...

Planning for 2019!!!

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May 15, 2018 at 6:16 p.m. Elizabeth Hernandez Says...

This is such an informative site!!! Always get the best prices in park tickets too!! Thanks for being awesome:)

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

I was there in 2007 and would love to go back someday. Next time I’ll be sure to be better prepared before I make travel plans. It’s good to know what days are best to go and which ones are not.

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May 15, 2018 at 6:14 p.m. Linda C Says...

Great info!

Reply
May 15, 2018 at 6:13 p.m. Ryan Says...

Our family loves Disneyland! We try to go during off-peak times and it’s been great!

Reply
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