I have visited both Disneyland and California Adventure a number of times over the last 20 years and can clearly say that both parks have become much busier over the years. This busy-ness translates in very long wait times for most of the attractions. This also means that you cannot really see every attraction in one day…no matter what day of the year you go. However, there are some simple things you can do in order to avoid the peak visiting times and enjoy your visit to Disneyland a lot more. Read more to find three simple rules for making the most of your visit to Disneyland.
Disneyland is a great place to visit and this is why the place is crowded. In this article we will find the best time to visit Disneyland. In addition we will also explore the worst time to visit Disneyland. This way you can plan your trip so that you get the most out of your visit.
Picking the best times to visit Disneyland can make a huge difference in how much you enjoy it
See my photos from Disneyland
Why is it Difficult to Enjoy Your Visit to Disneyland?
The problem with making the most of your visit to Disneyland is that this place is busy. Both Disneyland and California Adventure theme parks are very busy all throughout the year.
Come on now…how busy are Disneyland and California Adventure Theme Parks? Is it that bad?
For example, some time ago, we visited Disneyland with some friends from out of state. Because of their limited time, we had to go on a Friday during Easter break. This is one of the worst time to visit Disneyland.
We waited close to 3 hours in line for the Finding Nemo submarine ride. It was hot and unbearable, but because our friends had very little flexibility when they could visit Disneyland, we had no choice.
The Finding Nemo ride is very popular for families with small children. The wait can be 3 hours long during the worst times to visit Disneyland.
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During this visit my wife said that Disneyland was no longer an amusement park but a frustration park.
If you are flexible however, and can avoid the peak visiting time, that same 3 hour wait time can turn into a 40 minutes wait time. Big difference!
Can You do Anything to Maximize your Visit to Disneyland?
The answer is yes! There is only one thing you need in order to have a chance of avoiding the busiest times.
The one requirement you need for avoiding the busiest times at Disneyland is to be flexible. You need to be flexible as to what time of the year you visit and also be flexible as to what days of the week you visit.
If you are not flexible and have to visit on a certain day, then just go. However, be prepared to wait a long time in line and just lower your expectations about what you will be able to see.
With the basics understood, let’s start with the worst times to visit Disneyland.
RULE 1: Avoid the Worst Times
Generally, the worst times to visit Disneyland California are on weekends, on national holidays and then pretty much when school is out.
More specifically, summer is the busiest time at Disneyland. This means that pretty much anytime between May and September is the worst time to visit Disneyland.
Soaring over California is one of the most popular attractions at California Adventure. The wait time can be a few hours long during peak times
See my photos from California Adventure
Second worst time for visiting Disneyland is during spring break. However, spring break in Southern California starts sometime in the middle of April and it goes through to the beginning of May.
Thirdly, weekends are generally bad times to visit Disneyland. Generally, every weekend is busy at Disneyland.
Now that we know when to avoid going, let’s finally talk about the best time for visiting Disneyland.
RULE 2: Pick the Best Time to Visit Disneyland
The best times for visiting Disneyland are right after the winter holidays starting with the last week of January through the middle of March.
In addition, after speaking with Disneyland employees we found out that the best day to visit Disneyland is on a rainy day.
A friend of mine also said that even if you go on a rainy day it doesn’t mean that the park is deserted. There are still lots of people, but it is indeed much less crowded.
If you are able to pick the best time to visit Disneyland, your visit will be so much better
See my photos from Disneyland
The rule for picking the best time for visiting Disneyland goes something like this:
You can pick the best time to visit Disneyland by visiting during the best time of the year, the best part of the week and the best part of the day.
Pick the best time of the year. Plan your visit to Disneyland between mid January and mid April or mid September through mid November. You also have another 2 really good weeks at the beginning of December before winter school break.
We had friends who visited in December 2019 on the Wednesday after Thanksgiving break. The lines to the new Star Wars attractions were only 15 minutes long.
Pick the best part of the week. Planning your Disneyland visit from Tuesday through Thursday will also help you avoid some of the crowds.
Pick the best part of the day. Starting your Disneyland visit early in the morning will also help you beat the crowds. Be there, in line 30 minutes before the park opens. Once you go in, keep walking towards the back of the park where your favorite rides are and do those first.
Make sure you check the Disneyland site for park hours as they vary during the year.
RULE 3: Get a Fast Pass
The only other thing that you can do to maximize your visit to Disneyland and California Adventure theme parks is to get Fast Passes or buy the new Max Pass with your ticket. Fast Passes these are a piece of paper that allows you to come back to one of the popular rides in a given time period through that day.
Disneyland, California – An old Fast Pass for the Roger Rabbit ride in Mickey’s Toon Town.
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Are Fast Passes worth your effort?
Yes! Fast Passes are definitely worth your effort and they’re definitely worth you planning when to see the most popular rides at Disneyland and California Adventure.
Not all rides, not even all popular rides have Fast Passes. So you must take advantage of those rides who do have fast passes. For example, Fast Pass and MaxPass are unavailable for attractions in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
How much time does a Fast Pass save you at Disneyland?
Well it really depends on how busy the park is and what the ride is but on average having a Fast Pass will cut your wait time at least in half and that is significant time saving that will allow you to enjoy other parts of the park.
Can You Enjoy Your Visit at Disneyland?
Of course you can! Disneyland is still a great place to visit for the entire family. However, if you can plan your visit around the best times to go to Disneyland, then you can enjoy the theme park a lot more.