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What is the Best Time of Year to Go to Disneyland?
That’s the golden question when planning a Disneyland trip – everyone wants to know when it’s the slowest time to go to Disneyland, when Disneyland lines are the shortest and when crowds are lightest. One of the biggest takeaways is that Disneyland rarely has a “slow” day. There are some tips for choosing less busy days of the year, but quite often the Disneyland parks are going to be busy.
If you’re looking for the best time to visit Disneyland, check out these tips including specific dates to avoid Disneyland vacation planning. I’ve included my reasons on why you might specifically want to avoid these days. Naturally you may have to work around these days if it’s the only time you have available. But it’s always great to know ahead of time so you’ll have an idea when Disneyland will be heavily crowded. I’ve included additional posts to click through and read that will help you with your vacation plans!
Planning a Disneyland Vacation? These are the Dates to Avoid!
Avoid January 1st through 7th, 2018
Many kids won’t go back to school until the 8th, which lets families extend their holiday break vacations.
Avoid January 13-15th 2018
Martin Luther King Jr. holiday is on that Monday and kids will be out of school. Any time there’s a school holiday and a three-day weekend, you can be sure that the parks will be more crowded. Other than these few days, January is usually fairly quiet in the parks. The chillier weather and frequent rain will keep crowds lower.
January 26 through February 18, 2018
Lunar New Year events at Disneyland will bring additional crowds, but this celebration is worth it! Weekends during the event will be very busy so if you want to enjoy the Lunar New Year decor, music and entertainment, I suggest visiting mid-week.
READ MORE on my guest post about the Lunar New Year Celebration from 2018 on Trips With Tykes.
Avoid February 4th, 2018
Contrary to popular belief, Super Bowl Sunday is not a good day to go to Disneyland! In fact, the park crowds are usually very heavy with people who thought the same thing and skipped watching the game.
Avoid February 10-12th and February 17-19th, 2018.
Lincoln & Washington’s birthdays mean 3-day weekends and more crowds. Better to move your trip mid-week instead of on the weekend.
Other than possible rain showers, March is a pretty good month to visit. However, keep in mind that many schools celebrate their Spring Break starting in March. Also especially later in the month, the park crowds may increase.
READ MORE: Even with the rain, you can still have a great Disneyland vacation! Check out my 10 Tips for Surviving a Disneyland Rainy Day.
Avoid Spring Break
Spring Break dates vary depending upon where you live. My Southern California kids have their break from March 24th-April 8th, 2018. Spring Break is traditionally a very busy time in the parks because the weather is generally agreeable and of course, the kids are out of school!
READ MORE: Want to visit Disneyland when it’s not so busy and your looking for the Best Times of the Year to Visit Disneyland (and Why)? I’ve got lots of tips here on seasonal events and best weather advice.
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Avoid May 10-13th, 2018
May 13th is Mother’s Day and lots of moms like to spend their day at Disneyland!
Avoid May 28th, 2018
Two weeks later is Memorial Day. Don’t forget the rule about avoiding the 3 day weekends!
Avoid June 15-30th, 2018
School’s out for summer! Which means Disneyland is usually more crowded than ever. Early June is better than later in the month if you can make it.
Avoid the entire month! Or at the least, July 4th.
Okay, I know it’s not fair to say not to plan a Disneyland vacation in July but if you can avoid it, I’d recommend it! Crowds are traditionally heavy in the summer months. Weekends are always busier than weekdays so schedule mid-week if summer is the only time you can go.
READ MORE: Not only are the crowds larger but the temps are hotter in the summer too! Read all the summertime Disney tips on my post, Disneyland in the Heat – Ultimate Summer Vacation Guide.
Avoid August 1st-10th, 2018 with possible weekday surges after August 20th
Once local kids return back to school in late August, the park crowds will lessen considerably. Keep in mind that August is also one of the hottest months! Annual pass blockout for the SoCal Pass will be lifted on August 20th, making crowds a bit heavier than usual.
READ MORE: So the parks are busy and you aren’t sure how to handle it? Click through to this post about what to expect when it’s busy – Crowded Disneyland Day? Top Tips on What to Do!
Avoid September 1st-3rd, 2018
Labor Day on September 3rd is traditionally packed with local annual pass holders. The rest of the month is usually one of the best times to visit in terms of crowds and warm weather (though it can still be extremely hot with temperatures over 100 degrees in September).
Be Aware of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party Dates
In 2018, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party dates begins in early September. Guests who don’t have tickets to the Halloween Party will have to leave the park earlier than usual. The parks are usually less crowded in the mornings and afternoons on Halloween Party days. However all guests who do not have a Halloween Party ticket will have to leave the Disneyland Park once the party begins. If you have a Park Hopper ticket, you can move to Disney’s California Adventure for the rest of the evening.
Avoid October 5-8th, 2018
Gay Days is an “unofficial” Disneyland event that brings in large crowds. It also falls over the Columbus Day 3-day weekend. While not an official event, Disneyland does recognize it in a special way with offerings during the event, like multi-layer rainbow cake and rainbow-themed souvenirs.
Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party Dates
The operating hours will be shorter than on days without a party. Also guests with the hard ticket for the Party will be allowed into the Parks 3 hours before the event, making the Parks busier in the late afternoon. If you are going to the Parks on a day when the Halloween Party takes place, I highly recommend purchasing Park Hoppers so you can move to Disney’s California Adventure park when Disneyland closes for the Party.
READ MORE: You don’t have to buy a Halloween Party ticket to enjoy the Disneyland Halloween festivities! Weekends in October are going to be pretty packed but choose a mid-week day and you can still check out all the tricks and treats for Celebrating Halloween at Disneyland with fewer crowds.
Avoid November 16th-25th, 2018
Some people get their Thanksgiving turkey dinner at Disneyland! Want to know when it’s going to be busy at Disneyland for Thanksgiving? The weekend leading into Thanksgiving, the entire week of Thanksgiving and the weekend after the holiday will be packed. I’ve been to Disneyland on Thanksgiving Day itself and for sure the mornings and afternoons had very heavy crowds. However the crowds seemed to lessen (a bit) into the evening as locals left to get home for their dinners.
Avoid December 14th – 31st, 2018
While the first few weeks of December have reasonable crowds, the second two weeks are the very busiest time of the year at Disneyland! Avoid those dates or at least go into them with a steady game plan and know that you may only experience a small handful of things on your visit because of extremely heavy crowds.
READ MORE: If Christmastime is the only time you can go to Disneyland, it’s best to have a game plan and know what to expect. Be sure to read about the Holidays at Disneyland – Visiting Tips For Busy Days.
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What month do YOU are you planning a Disneyland vacation? Share in the comments!