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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!
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401–450 of 1633 comments
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.

Reply
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:)

Reply
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!

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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!

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May 15, 2018 at 6:12 p.m. Molly Says...

We can only go during school vacations but still manage to have a great trip as long as we plan well!

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May 15, 2018 at 6:12 p.m. Stephanie Schroeder Says...

I would visit DL anytime! Particularly love the fall.

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May 15, 2018 at 6:09 p.m. Elizabeth Resch Says...

Great info, Thanks!

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May 15, 2018 at 6:07 p.m. Cindy Yinger Says...

Great info

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May 15, 2018 at 6:05 p.m. Raquel Bialek Says...

Good info

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May 15, 2018 at 6:05 p.m. eRiKa Says...

Can't wait to go!

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May 15, 2018 at 6:04 p.m. Natasha Rodriguez Says...

Wow I didn’t know a lot of this information. Next time I go, since my travelling is limited to summer only, end of August it is!

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May 15, 2018 at 6:04 p.m. Nadia A Says...

I love Disney.

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May 15, 2018 at 6:01 p.m. Susan Says...

The crowd calendar is always my first step in planning a Disney/Universal trip!

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May 15, 2018 at 6 p.m. April Says...

Would love to go back!!

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May 15, 2018 at 6 p.m. Shannon F Says...

Disneyland is definitely on my bucket list!

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May 15, 2018 at 6 p.m. Diane Says...

Thanks for all the great info!

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May 15, 2018 at 5:58 p.m. Jacob Shipton Says...

Disney is always a blast! Cannot wait to go again!

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May 15, 2018 at 5:58 p.m. Kandice hoen Says...

Awesome info!

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May 15, 2018 at 5:56 p.m. Brian JL Says...

Great tips. Thanks!

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May 15, 2018 at 5:56 p.m. carolyn evans Says...

Love going to Disney at Christmas!

Reply
May 15, 2018 at 5:55 p.m. Monica e Says...

Disney!

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May 15, 2018 at 5:55 p.m. Leslie Ellis Says...

Fantastic Vacation! Thanks Undercover Tourist! Such great info and a real resource for vacation planning.

Reply
May 15, 2018 at 5:54 p.m. Michele Hayes Says...

I agree, any time is a good time to visit DisneyLand.

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May 15, 2018 at 5:54 p.m. Suzanne Rogers Says...

I can't wait to take my boys again, we took them when they were little and they faintly remember it.

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May 15, 2018 at 5:53 p.m. Heather Says...

WE went in 2016 for their Diamond celebration and would love to go back!

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May 15, 2018 at 5:53 p.m. Paul Says...

Love Disneyland and California Adventure cars land is amazing!

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May 15, 2018 at 5:52 p.m. christie z Says...

Just visited WDW, would love to try DL!

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May 15, 2018 at 5:50 p.m. Luis Limones Says...

I've always wanted to go to Disneyland during a holiday season.

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May 15, 2018 at 5:48 p.m. Rebecca Trump Says...

Going to Disneyland for the first time in mid-august. The LA kids will be back in school, but not the Orange County kids. Fingers crossed they're all prepping for their first big day instead of having fun at Disneyland like I will be :-)

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May 15, 2018 at 5:47 p.m. Courtney Elizabeth Says...

Awesome! Can’t wait to go for my first visit

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May 15, 2018 at 5:47 p.m. Rachel29 Says...

We've never been to Disneyland, so anytime would be great to me!

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May 15, 2018 at 5:44 p.m. Heidi McElroy Says...

Can’t waiti to visit Disneyland one day...definitely on my Disney bucket list.

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May 15, 2018 at 5:43 p.m. Sheena Jones Says...

Absolutely love this page! Tons of good information!

Reply
May 15, 2018 at 5:42 p.m. Becky Says...

Last year, we went to CA and DL July 6th and 7th and it felt like we had the parks to ourselves all morning! Even the rest of the day wasn't bad at all and we rode everything we wanted to twice!

Reply
May 15, 2018 at 5:41 p.m. Melvin Lee Says...

Undercover Tourist is a very informative place to get what's happening at Disneyland & Disney World.

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