The Seasons of Disneyland

When is the best time to go to the Disneyland Resort?

HalloweenTime at Disneyland
••• HalloweenTime at Disneyland. Photo © 2014 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com

Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure are open 365 days a year. The parks are most crowded in July and August, on weekends, school holidays and over the Christmas holiday. Each season has its advantages and disadvantages for a Disneyland Resort visit.

Visiting Disneyland in the Winter

Winter in Southern California can be 55 degrees and rainy or 80 degrees and sunny. Usually it is somewhere in between.

This can be a very enjoyable time to visit Disneyland away from the maddening crowds.

Pros:

  • Less crowded
  • shorter lines
  • Not too hot
  • Winter specials can make tickets less expensive, especially for Southern California locals
  • Hotels are less expensive
  • You don't have to keep the kids up so late to watch the fireworks.
  • Great Christmas decorations from Thanksgiving to New Year - read more about Christmas at Disneyland

Cons:

  • Shorter park hours so you can't fit in as much
  • Chance of rain
  • Some rides close for the season.
  • Some rides close for maintenance.
  • It can be too cool to enjoy water rides.

Winter Tip: If you live in Southern California, watch for special ticket or annual pass offers in the winter.

Visiting Disneyland in the Spring 

The "shoulder seasons" can be the best time to visit Disneyland, especially if your children are not yet in school or if you're visiting without kids. 

Pros:

  • New rides and shows are usually introduced in the late Spring.
  • Weather is usually comfortable.
  • Less crowded when kids are in school.
  • Park hours get longer mid-March.
  • Ticket discounts may be available.
  • Hotel rates are lower than summer.
  • Easter Egg-stravaganza for the month leading up to Easter
  • Mother's Day Brunches

Cons:

  • Some chance of rain
  • Some rides may still be undergoing maintenance
  • New rides opening can bring out bigger crowds

Spring Tip: Avoid Spring Break if possible

Visiting Disneyland in the Summer

Since most people take their annual vacation in summer, this is obviously the busiest season. You can offset the crowds by using RideMax to minimize your time waiting in line.

Pros:

  • Extended hours from 8 am to 11 pm or 12 am depending on the day
  • More rides are open
  • Warm enough to enjoy water rides

Cons:

  • Very crowded
  • Long lines
  • It can be very hot
  • Hotels are more expensive
  • Fewer ticket discounts are available

Summer Tip: If you're planning to visit other Southern California sites as well as the Disney Resort, schedule your Disneyland and Disney California Adventure days on Tuesday through Thursday when it's less crowded and visit the beaches and Hollywood on the weekend.

Visiting Disneyland in the Fall

The other shoulder season can be the a great time to visit Disneyland, especially if your children are not yet in school or if you're visiting without kids. 

Pros:

  • The park is decked out with pumpkins for HalloweenTime beginning in September.
  • Mickey's Halloween Party is a separately ticketed evening event available during Fall.
  • Weather is usually comfortable
  • Less crowded when kids are in school
  • Hours are still reasonably long
  • Ticket discounts may be available
  • Hotel rates are lower than summer

Cons:

  • Hours start getting shorter mid-fall
  • Disneyland closes early for regular guests on evenings when Mickey's Halloween Party is scheduled.
  • Some chance of rain
  • Weekends can be quite busy.

Fall Tip: Weekdays are still your best bet since locals with annual passes come out to enjoy the holiday decor on weekends.