When is the best time to visit Disneyland?

If you’ve been to the Happiest Place on Earth recently, you’ll notice that the place is packed more often than not these days. Big crowds clog the walkways, wait times for rides stretch to over an hour, and ticket prices just keep climbing. Are there any good days left to go to Disneyland anymore?

Good days to go are unfortunately getting fewer and farther between. A high number of annual passholders and a seemingly endless parade of popular seasonal events throughout the year has made Disneyland and Disney California Adventure more crowded than ever. In fact, Disneyland now averages only about 40 “Ghost Town” days a year on the Crowd Forecast Calendar. That means the park is not crowded at all for just 10 percent of the year, a 50% drop from just four years ago.

Don't go around Christmas. Just don't.
Don’t go around Christmas. Just don’t. malingering

The magical off-season at Disneyland, a time when crowds are light and lines are actually bearable, may seem more like fantasy than reality to many guests. We’ve been tracking Disneyland for years now, and while the off-season has definitely gotten shorter, there are still a few days left when the park is just about never crowded.

Let’s take a look at some of the dates we are projecting to be your best bets for light crowds and short lines at Disneyland this year.

Here are the Best Days to Go to Disneyland in 2018:

Best Days to GoCrowd Forecast
JANUARY 2018
January 9-11The off-season begins right after the Holidays
January 16-18The days after MLK Day are historically quiet
January 22-25Weekdays in the end of January are almost never crowded
January 30-31The last week of January is hardly ever crowded
FEBRUARY 2018
February 1The off-season continues into weekdays in February
February 6-8
February 13-15Avoid going after Presidents Day (February 19) -- schools have mid-winter break
February 27-28
MARCH 2018
March 1Early March (before Spring Break season) is historically very manageable
APRIL 2018
April 24-26Crowds are anticipated to drop after Spring Break season
MAY 2018
May 1-3Before Grad Nite events begin for the summer
May 8-10
JUNE - AUGUST 2018
No "Ghost Town" days projectedCheck Calendar for best dates
SEPTEMBER 2018
September 4-6The days after Labor Day are almost never crowded
September 11-13Off-season continues before Halloween
OCTOBER 2018
No "Ghost Town" days projectedCheck Calendar for best dates
NOVEMBER 2018
November 1Crowds drop right after the Halloween season
TBD
DECEMBER 2018
No "Ghost Town" days projectedCheck Calendar for best dates

Keep in mind that the dates above are projections, so the forecast may be revised as conditions change. Be sure to check the Disneyland Crowd Forecast Calendar for updates.


Early 2018

We are projecting January and February to be the least crowded time of the year, and they are historically the months with the lowest attendance. You have to go after the holiday season though, which ends on January 7, 2018.

Other than that, just go on a weekday and avoid holidays (including the whole week after Presidents Day).

One important note about early 2018 is that Paradise Pier at Disney California Adventure will be under construction as it’s being transformed into Pixar Pier, which opens in the summer. Rides and attractions at Paradise Pier are scheduled to close on January 8, so expect longer-than-usual lines at other rides at California Adventure on crowded days.

READ MORE: JANUARY CROWD GUIDE | FEBRUARY CROWD GUIDE
No matter what day you go, arrive early to take advantage of the short lines in the morning. GrigLager

Spring Break 2018

The Spring Break season traditionally starts in mid-March, but peak season is expected to be on March 24 – April 8 (the weeks before and of Easter).

Another important note: Pixar Fest begins right after the Spring Break season on April 13, so be prepared for bigger crowds for the opening weekend.

READ MORE: MARCH CROWD GUIDE | APRIL CROWD GUIDE

Summer 2018

Important Note: Pixar Pier at Disney California Adventure is scheduled to open in Summer 2018. The new land is projected to attract big crowds to both theme parks, so check back for the official opening date.

Go in May if you can, but early July has historically been manageable too (surprisingly, even 4th of July Weekend hasn’t been too bad at all these past years).

Avoid going on a Grad Nite day if you can, as attendance spikes on these days due to large school groups attending the event. Grad Nite season ends earlier than usual this year, presumably because of Pixar Pier’s opening. Here are the Grad Nite days for 2018:

May 4, 5, 11, 12, 15, 16, 18, 19, 22, 23, 29, 30
June 1, 2, 5, 6, 8

READ MORE: MAY CROWD GUIDE | JUNE CROWD GUIDE | JULY CROWD GUIDE | AUGUST CROWD GUIDE

Halloween Time 2018

Go on a weekday in September, the first week of October, or the last week of October to avoid the big Halloween season crowds. Mid-October can be miserable, with many schools out for fall break. Avoid weekends (especially Saturdays) in October as well.

READ MORE: SEPTEMBER CROWD GUIDE | OCTOBER CROWD GUIDE

Holidays 2017/2018

Go on the weeks before or after Thanksgiving to avoid the bulk of the of the holiday season crowds — stay away from Thanksgiving week, which is one of the most crowded times of the year. Otherwise, weekdays on the first or second (earlier is better) weeks of December are your best bets. The week before Christmas through New Year’s Eve is expected to be most crowded during the holidays.

READ MORE: NOVEMBER CROWD GUIDE | DECEMBER CROWD GUIDE
The holiday season is the busiest time of the year at Disneyland. kuabatty

We’ll keep this page updated as things change, so check back often. You can also look back at past years on the Disneyland Crowd Forecast Calendar if future dates have yet to be forecast.

When do you think is the best time to go to Disneyland? Have any questions? Let us know in the comments below!

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Disneyland Crowd Calendar

  • JJ

    We love going to Disneyland in January/February. It’s always the best time to go! Just keep in mind that some rides might be closed for refurbishment, but we’ll take it over long lines and peak season madness any day.

  • Sam

    September is my favorite time to go. It’s never crowded after Labor Day!

  • Ted Hurtz

    we will not be renewing our season passes. after having them for the past 8 years, its clear to us that disneyland does not give a damn about their guests. just this week, supposed to be a ghost town and they sell $50 locals only tickets. it was as crowded as mid august and just as miserable.
    never again
    they have destroyed disney with their inability to offer flex ticketing or limited populations.
    you cannot walk, you cannot get on the smallest of rides without a long wait
    but you get to pay outrageous money for the experience.

    nope. we will not let disney abuse us anymore.

  • Brian Lewis

    I’ve gone several times over the last couple years on the so called “slow days” and nope still extremely crowded. Someone asked me the other day when is the best time to go I said just pick a day…. not gonna matter it’ll be crowded as hell….sadly it’s just the way it is.

  • Julie Burr

    YES! Every time they say it’s not gonna be packed it is. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Makes me want to not trust the calendar at all.

  • Kristen Smith Darling

    I know!! I am wanting to take my grandchildren for halloween (on the 31). According to the calendar it should be ok, but at $500 a day for the 4 of us to go, just not sure I want to spend the money and chance it!!!

  • Sam

    We LOVE going in September! It’s not empty, but crowds aren’t too bad during the week.

  • Mark

    I’m starting to feel the same. CMs are becoming more rude and park is insanely full. Too many rides down, not enough new rides to compensate for old closed rides like people mover, skyway, America sings, mission to mars etc… way too many so cal pass-holders filling up the park. It’s all about the Benjamin’s the more people the more stuff they sell. And seems to be less entertainment, places to sit and relax in a nice cool spot, and more places to buy food and merchandise. Cmon Disneyland fix this stuff!

  • JJ

    DO NOT go on weekends in late September or October! Early September is okay, but the parks are insanely crowded once the Halloween season starts.

  • JJ

    First week of October is okay as well, just avoid the weekends!