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Best Time To Go To Disneyland and California Adventure: From A SoCal Resident

Wondering when is the best time to go to Disneyland? Beat the crowds with these tips on visiting Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure theme parks.

When is the best time to go to Disneyland?

Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle

photo: Disneyland

I am a born and raised San Diegan, so I have undoubtedly been to Disneyland in Anaheim, CA about a million times. I have been when it has been hot, cold, rainy, and even super busy. Making the best of your trip is important, you’ve got to prepare yourself so that you have a great trip!

In order to get the most of your trip to Disneyland, you’ve got to make sure that you’re going at the right time. There’s not much worse than using a bunch of time and spending tons of money without getting the most of your Disney experience. Here are a few tips on the best time to go to Disneyland Resort so you can plan your trip ahead of time:

Mickey Mouse Ferris Wheel, Disney California Adventure

The Best Time To Go To Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure

Non-tourist and non-holiday months

The number one tip that I have to give is DO NOT GO TO DISNEYLAND In THE SUMMER or DURING NATIONAL HOLIDAYS unless you have to. Everyone and their mama is already going to be there, you’ll be fighting crowds and miss out on a ton of attractions due to long lines and horrible wait times and such. Although Christmas time at Disneyland is absolutely magnificent, it is not the best time to go to Disneyland if you’re trying to beat the crowds. Here’s when you should plan to visit….

Best time of year to go to Disneyland CA

Published on the Disneyland website:

In general, if you want to visit when the number of Guests is sometimes lower, plan to stay mid-week — Tuesdays to Thursday. There are several times during the year when Guests can take advantage of historically lower attendance:

  • Mid-January through mid-March (except for President’s Day Weekend)
  • Mid-April through mid-May (except during Spring Break)
  • Mid-September through mid-November (except during Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort)
  • August is historically the most popular month of the year, with high attendance and plenty of heat. I’ll hold out for September!

My Experience: I have been to the park almost every month over the years, and I agree that Feb, March, September and October are great months (away from holidays) to plan your visit.

Disneyland It's A Small World ride

Rainy Days are the best!

This is THE BEST time to go to Disneyland. Most people would rather stay home, I think California residents are pretty allergic to the rain, which works for us! Most of the rides are open, and the restaurants, shows, tours, and plenty of the indoor attractions are available (think Indiana Jones, Innoventions, Toy Story, Space Mountain, Small World, etc). I would not recommend this option for infants, toddlers and wheelchair bound guests. It’s perfect for adults and older kids who don’t mind wearing a poncho and doing a few different things than usual!

My Experience: We went on a rainy day and literally waited 20 minute for Toy Story (normally about an hour), 2 minutes for the Small World ride, and 3 minutes for California Screamin’, now the Incredicoaster! Also, don’t bring an umbrella, they’re a pain.

Disney Cars Land at Night

Early morning or late night

Some days, the park opens nice and early, and stays open very late. I have noticed that most people tend to swarm the parks from 10:00am – about 9:00pm after the fireworks show. From there, it’s smooth sailing until closing time, which can be all the way out to midnight! If you are a Disneyland Resort hotel guest, there are special mornings where the parks open an hour earlier for y’all ONLY.

My Experience: I had to be at Disneyland bright and early one morning for a press event. This was on a weekend, and here was literally NOBODY in the park until about 10am. Also, you can see huge crowds exiting the park after the fireworks show, as stated above. Late nights are truly the best time to go to Disneyland, while they’re all headed out, it’s time for us to go IN!

Disneyland Hotel Monorail Pool

photo: Disneyland

Stay an extra day, take advantage of the whole Disneyland Resort

There are so many things to do, not just at Disneyland, but around the whole property. There is Disney’s California Adventure theme park, Downtown Disney for entertainment,  shopping, and dining, and the 3 hotels on Disneyland Resort: Disneyland Hotel, Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel, and Disney’s Grand Californian. Choose from water park style pools at the hotels, spa services, guided park tours, fine dining, character breakfasts, live entertainment, and so much more! Don’t miss a thing, it would be horrible to not be able to do everything you’ve paid for.

My Experience: I still need to be sure to stay an extra day, I am always finding that I could lay around at the pool and eat all day! I would love one day at Disneyland, one day at Disney’s California Adventure, and one resort day.

Mom and daughter with Minnie Mouse ears at Disneyland

I have visited the Disneyland Resort during Disneyland’s Halloween Special Event and for Christmas at Disneyland. I will not lie, these are spectacular events that should be experienced at least once in a lifetime. Whenever you decide to go, I hope that you have the most magical time and can take in everything that Disneyland has to offer!

Enjoy your trip to the Disneyland Resort!

California Residents Tip: Take advantage of the Disneyland SoCal Residents tickets at certain time of the year a discounted price! Choose from 2-day and 3-day multi-park or park hopper tickets. Check the website often for SoCal discounts.

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6 Comments

  • Enjoyed this post, and appreciate the insight and advice, Deanna. We always go to Disney World, but our next trip will be Disneyland… which I know next to nothing about! I definitely play the numbers game and choose low seasons for our WDW trips, but my perception was that Disneyland was packed 365 days per year. Glad to hear that isn’t true. I’m thinking 3 rainy days in February would be perfect for us – lol! 😉

  • Thanks for this. We just took our kids for the first time last June. We were there the first week of June and it was pretty crowded, though I’d imagine it gets worse as it gets more into summer. We’re planning to go back next year and I’m toying with the idea of going in the beginning of October instead, though with 2 kids in school, the first week of June works better for us.

  • Thanks for the tips! We’re going for the first time in October – turns out it will be around the Halloween event – but I didn’t plan it that way. Having grown up near Disney World and other theme parks, we already knew to avoid the summer and holidays.

    • That should be good. The Halloween party is only on certain days and requires a separate ticket. If you’re going during the regular park hours, you should be fine.

      Have a great time at Disneyland!

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