What is the best time of year to go to Disneyland? Everyone wants to know when it’s the slowest time to go to Disneyland, when Disneyland lines are the shortest and when crowds are the lightest. Naturally there are a lot of factors that go into a crowd calendar prediction, but this full guide offers tips for choosing the best dates when planning a Disneyland vacation.
This article originally published January 3rd, 2020 and has been updated and republished with a new date.
Dates to Avoid Disneyland
It’s a new year and there is a wide open calendar before us, just waiting to be filled with adventures! If you’re planning a Disneyland vacation in 2023 or 2024 you might wonder which dates to avoid Disneyland.
What does your ideal Disneyland vacation include?
Choosing a specific vacation date when the stars align is what every family wants. Great weather, low crowds, special events and decorations, along with extended park hours, all at the same time, would be most ideal. When you’re trying to choose the perfect vacation date, it might seem a bit like finding a needle in a haystack!
Which days at Disneyland have the lowest crowds?
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. You’ll need to expect that and make plans for using touring strategies that will maximize your theme park days.
This complete guide will detail tips for choosing the best dates when planning a Disneyland vacation. Here are a few dates I’d recommend avoiding when scheduling your trip.
What Are Your Disneyland Travel Goals?
There are generally several factors when planning a vacation, especially to a popular theme park. Weather, crowd levels and special events or activities are key components when choosing travel dates.
This article will mostly discuss crowds when correlated to Disneyland special events and holidays. I’ve included additional posts to click through and read that will help you with your additional vacation plans. These include prepping for inclement weather and certain Disney celebrations that can affect the crowd calendar.
READ MORE: These are the best tips for families going to Disneyland this year including up-to-date information about discounted tickets, new events and more.
Dates to Avoid for Disney Travel
This article offers up specific dates to avoid Disneyland, and includes my reasons for why you might want to avoid these days. The Disneyland crowd calendar changes yearly, based on a variety of factors that might include holiday dates, new attractions, special shows and events. There are additional aspects that may affect crowd levels in the California theme parks, including area conventions and dance competitions.
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 most heavily crowded.
This post has been updated for 2023 and 2024 with dates that could potentially bring crowds. Naturally, nothing is a guarantee (as proven by the awkwardly-slow summer of 2019 that followed the grand opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland). These dates are just estimates on when it could be busy based on history and commonly crowded seasons.
If you’re looking for the best time to visit Disneyland, check out these tips including the crowd calendar dates to avoid Disneyland when vacation planning!
My travel partners at Get Away Today offer both discounted Disneyland tickets and Anaheim-area hotels to fit any budget! Many hotels include exclusive discounts like free parking, complimentary breakfast or even free nights, just for booking through Get Away Today.
Disneyland tickets purchased now are good through December 31st, 2024. Purchase your multi-day tickets through Get Away Today now.
When you’re ready to book your Disneyland vacation, my friends at Get Away Today are ready to help! Mention code REWRITTEN to receive an extra discount off your SoCal vacation package of two or more days.
Dates to Avoid Disneyland in January 2024
January is usually fairly quiet in the parks when chillier weather and frequent rains keep crowds lower. However this year, guests should expect a busy month, as the holiday season trickles out late, and a new event is released.
Martin Luther King Jr. holiday falls mid-month and kids will be be out of school. Any time there are school holidays or a three-day weekend, you can be sure that the parks will be more crowded.
Avoid January 1st-7th, 2024
Many kids won’t go back to school until the 8th, which lets families extend their holiday break vacations into early January. It’s best to avoid booking a Disneyland vacation during the entire first week of January.
Avoid January 13th-15th, 2024
It’s expected that crowds will be heavy in the parks during the three-day weekend, making this one of the top dates to avoid Disneyland.
Weekends in late January through mid-February
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 décor, music and entertainment, I suggest visiting mid-week.
READ MORE on my guest post about the Lunar New Year Celebration on Trips With Tykes.
February Disneyland Calendar Dates to Skip
Several more three day weekends to avoid, otherwise February is a good month to visit. Rain storms often chase away heavy crowds when the weather is wet and cold.
Avoid February 11th, 2024
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, 2024
Lincoln & Washington’s birthdays mean 3-day weekends and more crowds. Better to move your trip mid-week instead of visiting on these weekends. If your trip includes February 14th, these are a few ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day at Disneyland.
Is March a Good Month to Visit Disneyland?
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. From mid to late March, the park crowds will increase.
Weekends in early March and through April 2024
Take note that the annual Disney Food & Wine Festival, takes place during these time periods. This annual event is held in Disney California Adventure park and features dining kiosks and special activities, including live music.
The festival can bring extra crowds in early March, especially over the weekends. If you aim to avoid the extra guests that these food festivals bring, stay at Disneyland or choose to visit mid-week.
Concerned about the weather? Even with the rain, you can still have a great Disneyland vacation! Check out my 10 Tips for Surviving a Disneyland Rainy Day.
April is Always a Busy Month at Disneyland
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! I’d even venture to say that spring break is one of the biggest dates to avoid Disneyland, even more so than summertime.
Spring Break dates vary depending upon where you live. For reference, my Southern California kids had their break from April 3rd-April 16th, 2023.
Avoid Spring Break Crowds
Once kids return back to school (generally in late April, during the weeks after Easter Sunday) crowds may lighten up again. For more tips about traveling during this time of year, read this ultimate guide to Spring Break at Disneyland.
Best Days to Visit Disneyland in May at Disneyland
Go to Disneyland on a Weekend in May
The return of the Southern California Resident Disneyland ticket can make weekdays in May busier than usual. This SoCal Resident ticket is only offered to guests that live within determined area zip codes.
This seasonal ticket permits guests 3 days worth of park visits that do not have to be used consecutively. Most notably the Disneyland SoCal Resident ticket can only be used on weekdays, from January to May.
This Disneyland ticket generally boosts weekday crowd levels but no more so than in the month of May. The ticket expires at the end of the month and locals will pack the parks on weekdays to use up the remainder of their 3-day ticket.
If you’re a southern California resident and can visit on weekdays, the discounted pricing of this ticket is an excellent value! Not a SoCal resident? Aim to avoid weekdays during this time period and book your Disneyland theme park reservations for weekends instead!
Avoid May 13-14th, 2023
May 14th is Mother’s Day and lots of moms like to spend their day at Disneyland!
Avoid May 26-29th, 2023
Memorial Day weekend is a long weekend, with many schools and workplaces extending the holiday into the Friday beforehand as well. Don’t forget the rule about avoiding Disneyland during the school breaks, they will be busy!
Research the Grad Nite Schedule
Each year, graduating high schoolers celebrate with a day at Disney California Adventure park. These dates may affect your travel plans, as the theme park closes to regular guests earlier in the evening.
My friend Jessica at The Happiest Blog on Earth shares her tips for Disneyland Grad Nite, including the dates you need to know.
June is the Kickoff to the Summer Season at Disneyland
Here come the summer holidays – School’s out for summer! Summer break means Disneyland is usually more crowded with families throughout the entire month.
Of course, with kids out for school the summer months are one of the favorite times for families to plan a Disneyland vacation.
The summer season has its pros and cons when planning a Disneyland vacation. Park hours are extended and nighttime spectaculars including fireworks, World of Color and Fantasmic! are featured frequently.
Ride closures are generally at a minimum during the summer peak season, as refurbishment for the most popular attractions usually takes place during the earlier months in the year.
Be aware of crowds in the entire month of June
Early June is better than later in the month if you can make it. Dates to avoid Disneyland would be summer weekends.
Want to know 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.
Disneyland in July is Heating Up!
Avoid the entire month! Or at the least, the week of 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. Many visitors would say that July is the worst time to visit when it comes to the crowd and weather combination.
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. Not only are the crowds usually larger but the temps are hotter in the summer too, so be prepared for that.
READ MORE: Disneyland park is 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!
Is August a Great Time for Disneyland?
There are several thoughts on August including the return to school and the opening of some Magic Key calendar dates.
Once local kids return back to school in late August, the park crowds usually lessen. However, once that happens, certain Magic Key (annual passholders) block out days will be lifted. This happens on August 14th, making crowds a bit heavier than usual.
Keep in mind that August is one of the hottest months to visit the Disneyland resort. Read all the warm weather Disney tips on my post, Disneyland in the Heat – Ultimate Summer Vacation Guide.
Which Dates to Avoid Disneyland in September?
The fall season kicks off in early September, marked by the popular Haunted Mansion overlay, Haunted Mansion Holiday. This attraction featuring Jack Skellington and friends is inspired by the movie, Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. It’s a can’t miss, so you’ll want a Disneyland ticket with Disney Genie+ to avoid long lines.
Avoid September 1-4th, 2023
Labor Day on September 4th is traditionally packed with locals and out-of-towners alike. Expect the entire Labor Day weekend to be extremely busy.
The rest of the month in September is usually one of the best times to visit in terms of crowds and warm weather. Anaheim can still be extremely hot with temperatures over 100 degrees in September, so keep that in mind.
Avoid September Weekends
Halloween time festivities began in early September 2022 and I’d expect nothing different for 2023. This will mean extremely busy weekends and more ideal crowd levels on weekdays.
Locals in particular will keep kids in school during the week. However they tend to flood the parks on the weekends to experience Halloween at Disneyland parks. Dates to avoid Disneyland during the month of September are over the weekend.
Parks will be busy September 22nd-24th, 2023
Gay Days is an “unofficial” Disneyland event that brings in large crowds. 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.
Gay Days brings in thousands of additional guests to the parks over this celebratory weekend. If you’re aiming for light crowds, this popular weekend might be one of the dates to avoid Disneyland.
Do Oogie Boogie Bash Halloween Party Dates Affect Crowds?
Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party is the popular seasonal after-dark event on select nights. Dates for Oogie Boogie Bash generally begin in mid-September and last through the entire month of October.
Dates have not yet been released for 2023 Oogie Boogie Bash Halloween Party nights but these are a few things to be aware of.
Go to Disney California Adventure on Oogie Boogie Bash Party Days
Oogie Boogie Bash takes place inside Disney California Adventure park. The operating hours of this theme park are shorter than on days without a party.
Guests who don’t have tickets to the Halloween Party have to leave Disney California Adventure park at closing time (before the party starts).
It’s a great strategy to start your day at DCA on days in which Oogie Boogie Bash takes place. The park is usually less crowded in the mornings and afternoons on Halloween Party days.
What’s the Oogie Boogie Bash Mix-in?
Guests with the hard ticket for the Halloween party will be allowed into the Parks several hours before the event, making the Parks busier in the late afternoon. Once the party “mix in” happens, the park starts to get more crowded.
It’s recommended to leave Disney California Adventure ahead of the mix in time to avoid heavy crowds at the theme park gates. Guests can either leave for the day or move over to Disneyland if they have a Park Hopper ticket.
Is a Park Hopper a Good Idea?
If you are going to the Parks on a day when the Halloween Party takes place, I highly recommend purchasing a Disneyland Park Hopper. Only guests with a Park Hopper can move to Disneyland when Disney’s California Adventure park closes for the Party.
How Busy is Disneyland in October?
The combination of Halloween festivities with the Oogie Boogie Bash party makes October a popular month for Disneyland travel. Weekends and mid-week days in October are going to be pretty packed. Expect to find October busy throughout the entire month.
Read through the Oogie Boogie Bash party date tips in the section above to choose which park to visit.
Not going to the Oogie Boogie Bash? You don’t have to buy a Halloween Party ticket to enjoy the Disneyland Halloween festivities! There are a great many Halloween Time activities included with a regular park ticket.
Check out all the tricks and treats for Celebrating Halloween at Disneyland.
Dates to Avoid Disneyland in November
Early November is when the holiday decorations begin to appear around the Disneyland Resort. The impending celebrations may usher in additional visitors eager to experience seasonal events, including the ride overlay for it’s a small world holiday.
However, early November is generally one of the best months for those looking for lower crowds. Expect shorter park hours during this time period.
Avoid November 18th – 26th, 2023
Want to know if 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. Guests on fall break will flood the parks in one of the busiest time periods of the year.
I’ve been to Disneyland on Thanksgiving Day itself. 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.
Dates in December to Avoid Disneyland Crowds
The Christmas season is in full swing throughout the entire month of December! Fortunately there are some dates that are more ideal than others if you wish to prevent long wait times.
Aim to visit Disneyland on a weekday in early December. Weekends in December are busy times, so you’ll want to avoid them all together if possible.
Avoid December 16th – 31st, 2023
While the first few weeks of December have reasonable crowds, the second two weeks are the very busiest time of the year at Disneyland! Christmas break from school will bring families to the parks at what is definitely a travel peak season.
If you want to know the definition of “heavy crowds”, read more about what to do when it’s crowded at Disneyland.
For those that don’t like big crowds, these are absolutely the dates to avoid Disneyland. Or at least go into them with a steady game plan. Know that you may only experience a small handful of things on your visit because of extremely heavy crowds.
If the holiday time is the only time you can go to Disneyland, it’s best to have an itinerary and know what to expect. Be sure to read about the Holidays at Disneyland – Visiting Tips For Busy Days.
Insider Tips -Make the Most of Your First Two Hours at Disneyland
Monday 16th of January 2017
[…] Check out my post about the Best Times of the Year to Visit Disneyland when trying to choose a vacation date as well as the Dates to Avoid When Planning a Disneyland Trip. […]
Friday 6th of January 2017
Keeping this list as we are going to try to make the trek to Disneyland this year and I don't want to end up there on the wrong day!