Summer is finally here, and for Disneyland fans, that only means one thing: longer lines! Theme parks are bracing for another crowded summer season, and the “Happiest Place on Earth” is certainly no exception. There is a secret to getting shorter lines at Disneyland this summer though — and no, we’re not talking about Genie+. Picking the right days to go — and avoiding the wrong days — can make all the difference between standing in ridiculously long lines all day or your best Disneyland summer trip ever.

Cheap tickets = big crowds

What’s attracting big crowds to Disneyland this summer? While new attractions, shows, and seasonal events are helping boost attendance, it’s the return of a popular ticket promotion that’s expected to be the biggest draw.

New for 2024, the Disneyland Summer Ticket Offer starts on June 10 and prices park admission at $83/day for a 3-day, 1-park per day ticket valid on Monday-Thursday. Still pricey, but a bargain compared to regular tickets, which are priced as high as $194/day this summer.

Disneyland is gearing up for big crowds and long lines this summer season, but some days of the week are worse than others. TheDudeAbides

It goes without saying, but locals absolutely love these deals. The discounted tickets usually sell like hot cakes compared to regular park admission, and its effect on attendance is obvious during the week. The last weekday ticket promotion had “off-season” days at the parks feeling more like peak times, and also made this past Spring Break season more crowded than ever.

The ticket deal is valid through September 26 this year, so ticket-holders who plan ahead will have time to visit during Halloween Time, which starts on August 23.

Days you should avoid

So, which days should you avoid this summer at Disneyland? In general, Monday through Thursday are projected to be the most crowded days of the week to visit Disneyland this summer. Out of those days, Monday and Tuesday tend to be the worst.

Mondays or Tuesdays, followed by Wednesdays and Thursdays

Specific dates to avoid (subject to change):
June 10, June 12, June 17, June 19, June 24-25
July 8-9, July 15-16, July 22, July 29
August 12-13

Source: Disneyland Crowd Calendar

This Disneyland phenomenon — more crowded weekdays — is nothing new, but many park-goers (especially from out of town) are usually taken aback by it. Theme parks like Universal Studios Hollywood and nearby Knott’s Berry Farm typically see much longer lines on weekends, but that’s curiously not the case at Disneyland.

A popular ticket promotion for locals is expected to draw big crowds to Disneyland this summer. cheltonjm

It’s largely thanks to the effect locals have on the resort’s overall attendance. Disneyland’s weekday-only ticket promotions have a proven history of being a hit with local residents, and they flock to the parks Monday-Thursday during these deals. Many annual passes are also only valid during the week, so local passholders are also forced to visit on a weekday. Add in the fact that pricier weekend tickets may turn off some fans and the result, naturally, is bigger crowds on weekdays.

Since the California Resident Ticket Offer doesn’t expire until September 28, deal tickets will still be valid after the summer and into the first half of the popular Halloween season. Here are some other things to keep in mind when planning your trip to Disneyland this summer and early fall:

1. Mid to late June weekdays are worse

The summer season crowds are traditionally worse as soon as schools in the area get out of session, which happens in mid-June. Unfortunately, it may be extra crowded this year on weekdays with the ticket deal going on. Crowds also tend to spike on the week before the 4th of July.

2. Avoid weekdays in late July/early August

Crowds at Disneyland historically spike in late July and the first week of August. It’s well into the summer season by then, and a popular time to visit since schools will be back in session soon.

3. Avoid the second to last week of August

Toward the end of August (August 12-15), the summer-long blockout of many Magic Key annual passes is finally lifted. These are the first days in months that a lot of passholders can visit Disneyland again, so attendance is usually higher this week. Again, the weekday ticket promotion is only expected to be make crowds worse this year.

Go on these days instead

There is a positive side to the packed weekdays: less crowded weekends!

The combination of the weekday deal, annual pass blockout dates, and weekend ticket pricing is projected to put a damper on Disneyland’s attendance on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, according to the Disneyland Crowd Calendar.

Fridays or Sundays, followed by Saturdays

In general, Fridays and Sundays are expected to be the best days of the week to visit Disneyland this summer. These days historically have the highest chance of offering shorter wait times compared to the rest of the week. Saturday is typically the next best day to visit, so don’t be afraid to go on weekends!

Disneyland probably won’t be this empty for the summer season, but weekends are expected to be less crowded. rollercoasterphilosophy

The bad news is that weekend tickets are a little more expensive ($100/day with the promotion), but it’s a small price to pay for a more manageable experience at the parks this summer. Guests who booked their Disneyland trip on weekends often enjoyed 20 percent shorter wait times on average on last year. That’s a considerable time savings, especially for Disney diehards looking to ride as many attractions as possible in one day.

Big crowds and long lines are simply part of the Disneyland experience, but it doesn’t have to be a miserably crowded summer if you go on the right day. Keep an eye on the Disneyland Crowd Calendar for less crowded times this summer and aim for a “Best Bet” day, usually a Friday or Sunday. If you must go on a weekday, it might be a good idea to splurge on the line-cutting Genie+ service to get the most out of your trip (especially on “Forget About It” days).

Have you visited Disneyland during the summer? What were the crowds and lines like? Did you find the parks less crowded on weekends? Be sure to let us know in the comments below!