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Best Time to Visit Disneyland

Updated: June 14, 2024

Written by

AAA Travel Editor, CW

You’ve been saving. You’ve had a family meeting to plan your daily itinerary to maximize your ride potential. You’ve logged into your AAA Membership account and it’s finally time to book your Disneyland adventure! But when is the best time to visit? Should you plan around a special event like the Oogie Boogie Disney Halloween Party? Maybe you’re kids-free and want to embrace your inner foodie with the Disney California Adventure Food and Wine Festival.

The truth is, there’s never been a bad time to plan your vacation to this iconic Southern California theme park. But picking the right time to go can be tricky. Perhaps you’re looking for a winter getaway to bask in the temperate weather and revel in the park’s spectacular holiday displays. Or, you may be tempted to take on the annual Disneyland Half Marathon.

Whatever your preference, choosing the perfect time to visit can make all the difference. Get ready to skip long lines, avoid crowds and maybe even score a great deal on tickets and accommodations. Whether you’re traveling with family or friends, our guide will help you navigate the best times to visit Disneyland.

Each season presents unique experiences and attractions that cater to kids and adults alike. For instance, during the winter months, dazzling holiday displays adorn the park, adding an air of magic and wonder. Alternatively, the summer season is great for families with school-aged children looking to make the most of their summer break.

So, whether you’re seeking festive décor or an epic summer vacation, there’s no denying that the time of year you visit can greatly impact the memories you create at the Happiest Place on Earth.

Best Time to Visit Disneyland for the Fewest Crowds

When it comes to Disneyland, choosing the right time of year to visit can make all the difference. Disney experiences crowds 365 days a year; there’s no avoiding seeing other Mousketeers living their bucket list dreams in the happiest place on earth. However, shoulder seasons are typically less crowded. Visiting during less crowded times can mean shorter wait times, while off-season promotions can mean better deals and savings.

When is the magical sweet spot to visit with fewer crowds? Not coincidentally, when the kids are back to school! Disney theme parks see a more tranquil setting from mid-September to mid-November. This so happens to be a time when there are no major holidays that bring crowds, but also the ideal weather, in other words, the “sweet spot.”

The same goes for mid-January to mid-March. The weather is generally favorable and the excitement of Christmas has passed, leaving the park to just you and your family.

Best Time of the Year to Visit Disneyland for Families and Children

Disney specializes in creating different experiences for kids year-round, making every visit unique. This includes a full schedule of family-oriented events that happen at different times of the year. After all, you’re on vacation; let the fun professionals do the planning!

Seasonal Events for Children

While it may be tricky to book during shoulder season for your family as it falls during the school year, it can be advantageous to look ahead at the event schedule and coordinate with on of Disney’s classic family-oriented events.

Three Kings’ Day (January)

Have the blues as the holiday season winds down? The celebration continues in Mexico and South America with the Twelfth Day of Christmas. This day, known as Three Kings’ Day, is a vibrant and joyous occasion that marks the arrival of the Magi.

At Disney California Adventure, visitors can join in the festivities with a range of activities, from coloring to creating your own custom jeweled crown. You can also sample traditional treats like Rosca de Reyes cake and hear stories about the holiday’s rich traditions.

Eggstravaganza (March and April)

Hippity, hop over to the Disneyland Resort for the most egg-citing Easter event! Eggstravaganza is perfect for younger kids if you’re looking for a low-key adventure that’s still packed with plenty of fun. They can join in on the scavenger hunt during April and search for huge, hidden eggs throughout Downtown Disney, Disneyland and Disney California Adventure.

What’s even better is that it’s not just one egg hunt - there are three unique maps to explore, providing a fresh and exciting experience each time. In addition to the egg hunt, watch for Easter Bunny meet and greets, festive balloons and springtime treats. This year, the Eggstravaganza will occur at three locations throughout the Disneyland Resort.

Star Wars Month (May and June)

In a galaxy not so far away, May 4th brings about a celebration that Star Wars fans hold dear to their hearts: May the Fourth be with you. But the festivities don’t end there — it’s Star Wars Month!

Throughout the entire month, Disneyland Park, Downtown Disney and Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa all transport visitors to a galaxy far, far away with special food items, merchandise and galactic fun.

One of the month’s highlights is the return of Hyperspace Mountain, a Star Wars-themed layover of the classic Space Mountain ride. And for those who really want to get their Star Wars fix, the Disneyland After Dark parties are a must-visit. With all this excitement happening, it’s no wonder May is such a popular month for Star Wars fans to visit the Happiest Place on Earth.

Escape the Long Waits

While each family’s preferences may differ, one thing remains the same, the lack of love for long lines. Fortunately, Disney knows you have a packed schedule and excited kids and there are a few ways seasoned visitors use to avoid the long waits (Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance can see waits as long as 75 minutes.)

You can make reservations ahead of time for dining, rides and entry to attractions using Disney Genie and the Lightning Lane attraction entry through the Disney Mobile APP. Downloading the Disney Mobile App ahead of time puts the magic at your fingertips. Planning tools, park updates and exclusive content—enjoy all this and more when you download the official mobile app of the Disneyland Resort.

Best Time of the Year to Visit for Good Weather

Southern California has a climate built for long days exploring the expansive grounds of Disney. Built for all seasons, there are just as many inside entertainment options as there outside classics like Thunder Mountain.

Southern California has a generally mild climate, but you can expect some months to be wetter, some warmer and some on the cool side.

Months to Avoid Rain

In the midst of all that sunshine and warmth, there is a dry season in May and June where you’re fairly safe from a rainy day. Conversely, the wettest month in Anaheim is February, with an average rainfall of 3 inches. Even though February is the wettest month, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy all Anaheim has to offer. You can still visit Disneyland and other nearby attractions, but pack a raincoat and umbrella just in case!

Breezy and Warm Months

The hottest month in Anaheim is typically August, with an average temperature of 86 degrees Fahrenheit. This scorching heat can make outdoor activities somewhat tedious, especially with young kids, so it’s important to pack plenty of water and sunscreen. However, Anaheim’s proximity to the coast means that even in the hottest month, cool ocean breezes provide some respite from the heat.

Months to Beat the Heat

While many visitors are drawn to the park during the summer months, it’s important to note that this is also the busiest time of year, with large crowds and long waits for rides. Bundling up and braving slightly cooler temperatures may pay off with lighter crowds and shorter waits. September through November are great for mild weather.

As for the coldest month to visit Disneyland, it’s typically January. While temperatures in Anaheim don’t often plummet below freezing, January can bring chilly and sometimes rainy weather to the region. Plus, the park is decked out in festive décor to celebrate the holidays, making it an extra magical experience.

Best Time of the Year to Visit Disneyland for Adults

Disneyland is often thought of as a place for children, but adults can also have a magical time reclaiming their childhood and roaming around at a faster pace.

There are plenty of events and attractions suited for couples and adults, making it the perfect destination for a romantic date or a fun outing with friends. For instance, the park’s annual Food and Wine Festival offers endless culinary experiences and beverage tastings that will delight the taste buds.

The World of Color Show is a breathtaking nighttime spectacular that illuminates the park’s main lake with stunning visual effects and music. Lastly, Disneyland’s outdoor shopping and dining district, Downtown Disney, offers a fun and vibrant atmosphere where adults can unwind and let loose.

The magic awaits you year-round at Disney! Join the over one million people who are AAA members and start planning your trip to Anaheim today. Dream up the perfect trip with our Trip Canvas research tool and use your membership to get the best discounts on hotels, rental cars and entertainment tickets.

Written by

AAA Travel Editor, CW

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