Disneyland is located in the heart of Southern California. Its arid desert climate makes it an ideal year-round vacation spot. However, there is some seasonality to it.
The school year, summer break and holidays have an impact on when families visit the parks. Then there are weather changes, however infrequent or mild.
Whatever the reason, the promise of fewer people crowding the parks often has people searching for the best time of year to visit Disneyland.
The least busy day at Disneyland may surprise you. Even more surprising is that the least busy day might not actually be the best time to visit Disneyland.
The Best Time of the Year to Go to Disneyland
The best time to visit Disneyland may have nothing to do with crowds and everything to do with the season.
Disneyland may famously enjoy year-round fair southern California weather, but that doesn’t mean regular guests don’t take a seasonal approach.
There can be any number of reasons, but the primary ones are school breaks and holiday overlays.
If you prefer the traditional look of Disneyland– without wreaths and pumpkins and other seasonal decor festooning the streets and walking paths of the Disneyland Resort parks– the best time to visit Disneyland is anytime between February and July.
It gets hot in July, though and it can be gloomy in June. February has been known for occasional showers.
It’s also got a few holidays you may either seek out or wish to avoid.
For the purpose of steering clear of crowds. February may be out of the question.
For the quintessential Disneyland experience without a huge rush of crowds, you should plan your trip for a weekday sometime between mid-March and mid-May with the understanding that April showers may also interrupt things in-between.
On the other hand, if you are very interested in seasonal overlays adding more depth and layers to the overall experience, then August through mid-January may be for you.
From August to October 31, Halloween takes over the parks. From November 1 to mid-January, Christmas decor gives the Magic Kingdom and the rest of the Disneyland resort area a festive holiday glow.
During both holiday seasons, you can enjoy the seasonal Haunted Mansion makeover with the Nightmare Before Christmas storyline.
From November through to the end of the Christmas season, you can enjoy the It’s a Small World holiday makeover.
During the Halloween and Christmas seasons, September and November prove best.
However, you will want to avoid weekends and the Thanksgiving weekend in most cases.
Sometimes, however, Thanksgiving and Christmas can have the opposite effect. Fear of large crowds can sometimes lead would-be visitors to stay home, creating an unusually quiet park experience.
So, I wouldn’t count on it, but from time to time Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s have been the best time to visit Disneyland.
That sort of thing never happens at Walt Disney World. In the past, before the Park Pass reservation system, Magic Kingdom would routinely have to close its gates early due to maximum occupancy.
Now, you can check the calendar in advance to see what days are booked and what aren’t. That may be an indication of things, but if the calendar dates are full, then it doesn’t matter anyway.
The Least Busy Day at Disneyland
When it comes to what day out of the whole year is the least busy, there are some contenders.
Of course, this varies and there can’t be one definitive day of the year that is the least crowded. However, you can deduce the top options with a little bit of logic.
To start with, you’ll want to go during the school year on a weekday.
But I can narrow that down even more.
Wednesdays and Thursdays for whatever reason are consistently the least crowded days of the week to visit Disneyland.
People like to extend their weekends by playing hooky on Mondays and Fridays.
Why Tuesday has higher attendance, I don’t know.
Wednesdays and Thursdays between September and May are really good places to start looking for the least busy day at Disneyland.
Next, knock out holidays.
Specifically, the two weeks surrounding any holiday.
Any dates during the holiday season will have that holiday draw, so even the light days are only light relative to the large turnouts during holiday events.
That means that the least busy day at Disneyland will fall somewhere between January and May.
Late February is one of the known consistently slow times of the year as is early March.
However, March tends to have clearer skies which makes it a more desirable time to visit.
One side effect of picking the least busy day is that you are deciding to go when most people wouldn’t. If you take the lowest attendance, you may have to contend with some inclement weather as a trade-off.
On the other hand, there are some gorgeously sunny days in May that have very low crowds and virtually every attraction is a walk-on.
The Best Time to Visit Disneyland
Ultimately the best time to visit Disneyland depends on you and what you want from the experience.
Do you want clear sunny skies? Low crowds, Holiday theming, and decor?
There are plenty of reasons to visit and all kinds of ways to optimize your stay by scheduling your trip just right.
Whatever you are looking for in your visit to Disneyland, make sure you check ahead of time to make sure your favorite attractions and restaurants will be available.
Disney publishes information about attraction downtimes on their calendar schedule, but you can get an easy overview at Undercover Tourist who posted important closure dates for 2022, including temporary health and safety closures due to COVID-19.
As long as you pick the right time of year for the experience you want to have and there are no significant closures during your travel, then there is no better time
Alison Meacham is the founder of EverythingMouse Disney Blog. For over 15 years she has shared her love of Disney Parks, Disney Cruises and Universal Orlando. In over 30 years of Disney Travel she has spent countless months in Disney Parks and has sailed on over 45 cruises. A British native and now a United States resident she splits her time between California, Florida and the UK. And spends a serious amount of time sailing the seven seas. She helps over 200,000 people per month follow their Disney travel dreams.