The Best Time to Visit Disneyland

The Best Time to Visit Disneyland

TripSavvy / Ashley Nicole DeLeon

"When is the best time to go to Disneyland?" The answer to that question depends on your preferences, but there are factors to consider to guide your decision.

You could go in the middle of the week in February, on a sunny day when there are no school holidays to avoid crowds—but there won't be any fireworks. Or you could think about going in the summer when all the rides are running, the days are long, and you can see the fireworks and other nighttime shows every day of the week—but the heat and long lines come with that timing.

Your trip is all about you, so the key is to understand the trade-offs of what you'll get and what you'll sacrifice to pick your own ideal time of year.

Generally, the best time to visit Disneyland is during the summer and holidays. Disneyland hours are the longest at these times, meaning more hours to play, more things to do, and more rides to experience. Plus, parades, shows, and fireworks happen every day in the summer. Rides are also unlikely to be closed for maintenance, which means there's less chance of missing out on them. 

On the downside, Anaheim's summer weather can be so hot you'll worry you might melt. Anytime the hours are long, the place is also packed, leading to long waits. Hotel rates will also be at the year's highest, increasing your total trip cost.

Best Day to Visit for the Most Magic

To pack in maximum value, visit in the middle of the week during less busy times of the year. When fewer people are around, it's easier to enjoy the company of your family and friends. You might even get to kiss Donald Duck or dance with Pinocchio. You'll spend more time having fun and less time waiting.

January through March is the season that attracts the fewest visitors, except for holiday weekends and school breaks. On the downside, this off-season means you'll have fewer hours to experience everything. Some rides may close for extended maintenance and upgrades, and some nighttime entertainment may not happen on weekdays. 

Peak Season at Disneyland

Overall, Disneyland is the second-busiest theme park globally, according to the Themed Entertainment Association, with more than 18 million visitors per year. (No surprise that Disney World is tops.) No matter when you visit, you won't be alone. 

On the big holidays—July 4, Thanksgiving week, and Christmas through New Years—Disneyland can get so crowded that the front gates sometimes stop letting people in for safety reasons, even if they have a ticket. If avoiding crowds is your number one goal, these are the least busy windows at Disneyland:

  • First full week of January through the middle of February
  • Third Tuesday of February to mid-March (when spring break starts for many schools)
  • Mid-April through the third week of May
  • First Tuesday of September to the beginning of October
  • Second week of November 


January is an excellent time to visit Disneyland to avoid crowds and experience good weather. Holiday decorations are still up for the first part of the month. Unfortunately, park hours will be shorter than other times of the year, and some rides might be closed for renovation during the winter.

Events to check out:

  • Lunar New Year festivities may start near the end of the month.


It's among the quietest months, but February can be a great time to visit Disneyland. The park is open fewer hours than in the summer, but it isn't crowded, and you won't have to wait for rides.

Events to check out:

  • President's Day is celebrated on the third Monday of February and may bring slightly larger crowds that weekend.


March can be pleasant—or overly crowded, depending on when you go. If you visit Disneyland in March, try to go earlier in the month before school is out for spring break. Late March can be very crowded.

Events to check out:


Like March, April is also prime spring break time. If you want to travel in spring and your schedule is flexible, think about going to Disneyland in a different month. If your schedule is fixed, get some tips on managing your April trip.

Events to check out:

  • DapperDay: Late in April, another unofficial event happens. For this one, visitors dress up in their cutest clothing to visit the park, often choosing retro outfits that visitors might have worn on opening day.


Disneyland often soft-opens new attractions in May in preparation for the busy summer months. May can be a great time to visit, but avoid Memorial Day weekend as it's one of the busiest times in the park.

Events to check out:

  • The last Monday of the month is Memorial Day and is usually very crowded. 


June kicks off summer at Disneyland. Schools start summer break, which ups the crowds, but the park also hosts a full event calendar this month, including parades, fireworks, light shows, and more.

Events to check out:

  • Disneyland's annual Grad Night events continue into June. The after-hours graduation dance party is held in California Adventure.


In July at Disneyland, you can expect long hours, but a full entertainment lineup and as many rides as possible will be open. Also, expect big crowds.

Events to check out:

  • On the Fourth of July, Disneyland can get so crowded that it reaches capacity. When that happens, they sometimes can't let any more people in. 


August at Disneyland is hot and crowded. Disneyland is open for extended hours, typically between 14 to 16 hours per day, which gives you plenty of time to have fun. You can also expect a full entertainment lineup of parades, fireworks, and light and water shows.

Events to check out:

  • CHOC Walk in the Park is a charity 5K in Disneyland in late August. It benefits the Children's Hospital of Orange County.
  • D23 is a big Disney fan expo held in August every other year at the nearby Anaheim Convention Center.


If you like nice weather, minimal crowds, and short lines, September is a great time to visit Disneyland. Crowds taper off after Labor Day weekend and stay low until Halloween festivities start later in the month.

Events to check out:


There are lots of fun reasons to go to Disneyland in October. They celebrate Halloween all month, including decorations and celebrations. Visit for Mickey's Halloween Party when children can go trick-or-treating throughout the park.

Events to check out:

  • Days when the Disneyland Halloween Party is always fun, but the park hosting it will close to other guests in the late afternoon.
  • Gay Days are an unofficial event held in early October as part of Anaheim LGBTQ celebrations.


Early November is a nice time to visit, with few crowds, but the park gradually swells as it gets closer to Thanksgiving and the holiday season. You can enjoy it any time if you use the guide to visiting Disneyland in November.

Events to check out:


Besides enjoying the holiday decorations, in December at Disneyland, you can watch a unique holiday parade and fireworks, visit Santa, or attend the annual​ Candlelight Processional. December can be crowded, especially on holidays.

Events to check out:

  • The Candlelight Processional is an old-fashioned celebration of the season featuring celebrity narrators. It's typically an invitation-only event.
  • New Year's Eve brings a special fireworks show—and maximum crowds.
Frequently Asked Questions
  • What is the best time to visit Disneyland?

    The best time to visit depends on what kind of trip you're looking for. If you want short lines, January through March typically have the smallest crowds. Summer is crowded, but parades and fireworks happen daily. November and December are also busy, but the holiday decorations around the park make it extra magical.

  • What time of year is Disneyland least crowded?

    If you want to avoid big crowds and long lines, the period between Christmas break and spring break is usually the quietest time at the park. Mid-September to mid-November is also shoulder season, especially if you can visit on weekdays.

  • What are the busiest days at Disneyland?

    On popular holidays like Spring Break, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, and Christmas break, the park can get so crowded that they actually close the front gates. The entire summer is also busy, especially on weekends.