When is the best time to go to Disneyland?
If you ask for my opinion, I’d say right now! But if airplanes, rental cars, road trips or hotel planning is part of the equation, I may need to rethink my answer. Then the answer is; it depends. It depends on how busy, how much you want to see and in some cases what you want to see.
To better help, let’s start with crowds. Do you mind crowds, or would you prefer to skate through the park with plenty of elbow room? Disney Legend Buzz Price, an outside consultant and expert statistician would suggest the week after Thanksgiving. Since Thanksgiving and Christmas are peak seasons, the few weeks in between are relatively quiet, yet most of the attractions are up and running because the park is preparing for these peak attendance times.
My personal favorite time to visit Disneyland is January through March and September through October. These months are lower in park attendance. One caveat is since it is low season then some of the big attractions are down for refurbishment. As a kid my family always visited during Oregon’s spring break which is near St. Patrick’s Day. I missed riding the Matterhorn for about 12 years because of its scheduled refurbishment perfectly aligned to my Spring break. If you dislike crowds then spring and fall have nice weather and park attendance is reasonable. Be prepared to possibly miss one of your favorite “E-Ticket” attractions and watch parade, fireworks, and Fantasmic schedules as they may have limited showings.
Many people feel that their favorite time to visit Disneyland is Christmas through New Years, Easter and summer vacation. These are the busiest times at Disneyland and park attendance can be around 40,000 – 60,000 people or more. This means longer lines to wait in for attractions, food, shopping and importantly restrooms. When I go during these times, I try to enjoy all the other offerings of Disneyland like the parades, shows and atmosphere entertainment. I may also see those attractions I rarely take time for such as Innoventions and Tom Sawyer Island.
During the week, Saturday is the busiest day year round, followed by Sunday, Friday and Monday. If you are planning a whole week in the Orange County-Los Angeles area and are able to wait, Tuesday-Thursday is the least crowded days. Be sure to watch for park hours so you won’t be disappointed if the park closes earlier these days.
Other key occasions to visit Disneyland might include
Candlelight – Usually around the second weekend in December
Unofficial Gay Day – October 1
Bat Day – (All the Goth people come out) last Saturday-Sunday in August.
Disneyland’s Anniversary is July 17.
Holiday Overlay to Haunted Mansion – Usually early October to early January.
Holiday Overlay to It’s a Small World – Usually around Thanksgiving to January.