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 on June 23. The new land is projected to attract big crowds to Disney California Adventure that weekend, and there’s a good chance that the park may reach capacity. We’re also expecting the grand opening to cause a spike in attendance at Disneyland as well.

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

  • Elizabeth

    Any advice for the Saturday after Thanksgiving?

  • Sam

    It will be very crowded on that day. The days before and after Thanksgiving Day are some of the busiest of the year, so arrive early. It’s even possible that Disneyland will reach capacity around then.

  • Sam

    Never go to Disneyland on the first day of the holiday season. It is crazy crowded!

  • Veronica Hill

    The Sunday after Thanksgiving this year, right around 2 p.m., was great!!! Everyone was leaving back home and the lines were super short.

  • Sam

    I can’t imagine how crowded it will be once Star Wars Land open. That is going to be crazy!

    It will be interesting to see how the Paradise/Pixar Pier remodel will affect attendance at Disneyland and DCA this year. That’s a huge area of the park closed off, so the lines for the other rides will be longer.

  • Jen

    Another tip – check the dates for the SoCal Resident ticket deal for 2018. In 2017 the last couple days it was valid in May, DL reached capacity, so I would definitely avoid that last week to be safe.

  • Liz Wright

    Me and my mom are planning a trip to Disneyland (just the two of us), due to our work schedules, we have two days which we can pick from. Thursday April 12 and Saturday April 21st. We want to go the day it will be the most mellow, we don’t care if we miss a certain parade or something of that nature, we just want the least hectic date.

    April 12 is the last day of the food and wine festival, and its close to spring break.

    April 21 is a Saturday and Dapper day… which would you recommend? any advice is greatly appreciated! 🙂

  • Sam

    I think April 12 will be better. Most schools in the area will be back in session by then, so it should be fairly manageable that week.

  • Nyomie Michelle Acosta

    How about Easter?

  • Sam

    Easter Sunday has been manageable in past years, so hopefully it’s the same this year.