If you are heading to the parks during a busier time of year (especially Summer & during the holidays), we have a few tips to help make your day more enjoyable! This is us HAPPILY taking a break from walking around on a very busy day toward the end of last year!
- ARRIVE EARLY. We know this isn’t always an easy task, but trust us, the mornings are definitely the slowest time of day. We are pretty much always early birds to the parks & have always been able to experience quite a few popular attractions within the first couple hours of the park opening (and empty walkways) even on the most crowded days! You can read more of our tips about arriving at opening here.
- Utilize FAST PASS/MAXPASS, RIDER SWITCH & SINGLE RIDER.
- Pick 5 can’t-miss attractions & knock those out first if you can! Once you check the 5 items off your list, you can enjoy the rest of the day as stress-free as possible & do things based on wait times, etc. We recommend starting your day in Fantasyland if you have little ones. Peter Pan, Dumbo and Alice in Wonderland tend to have the longest lines, so try to get those done first or just pick one out of the 3. If you have older kids who want to experience thrilling attractions, we suggest heading to Tomorrowland to grab a Fast Pass for either Space Mountain or Star Tours (head straight to the ride you didn’t get a Fast Pass for) OR head to Indiana Jones in Adventureland as that line tends to back up quickly!
- TAKE BREAKS – All of the walking and just Disneyland in general can be exhausting no matter what, but throw in A LOT of people, a stroller and kiddos and it can definitely make navigating around interesting! After you’ve checked off your list of rides, take a few minutes to rest your feet and let your kids run around – our favorite run free spots can be found here.
- Watch shows if lines are too long. The entertainment at the parks is always great, especially for young kids! Check the Disneyland App or grab a park Entertainment Guide for all showtimes. Check out our top 5 favorite shows at Disneyland here and our top 5 at California Adventure here.
- Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at off peak times! Try to beat the food rush by eating earlier or later than typical meal times. Restaurants that only serve lunch and dinner open at 11:00 AM, so we recommend arriving right at that time to get your food and a spot to sit before it gets busy.
MONTHS OR DAYS THAT BRING IN MORE CROWDS:
- Halloween at Disneyland starts mid-September and ends October 31. It tends to get more crowded starting the second week of October through the end of the month! The separately ticketed Mickey’s Halloween Party nights start late September and fall on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays until October 31st. No dates have been announced for 2017, but if you’re wanting a full day at Disneyland on a Monday, Wednesday or Friday from late September to October 31, we suggest waiting to see the calendar (usually released end of July) for Mickey’s Halloween Party dates since the park CLOSES EARLY on the days the party happens. It closes at 6:00 PM on Mondays & Wednesdays and at 7:00 PM on Fridays. California Adventure stays open when Disneyland closes early for the party. If you ONLY have a Halloween Party ticket, you can get into the park at 3:00 PM on Monday or Wednesday and at 4:00 PM on Friday. Halloween Party tickets are cheaper than general admission tickets and you get a good 8 hours in the park if you arrive at the earliest time the park will let you in and stay until close!
- The second and third week of October are crowded due to Arizona and Utah Fall breaks (a couple of the most crowded weeks we’ve ever been)!
- Grad Nite – allows students into BOTH parks starting at opening and also into a special night at California Adventure from 10 pm-2 am (California Adventure closes only about an hour early to general admission guests on Grad Nite days). 2017 Grad Nite Dates have already ended, but we will update with 2018 Grad Nite Dates as when they become available.
- D23 Expo – the D23 Expo happens every 2 years and actually usually means LESS people at the parks, but expect a little more traffic in the area around the Anaheim Convention Center in the morning. July 2017 dates have already passed, the next Expo will be in 2019.
- Holidays! Most holidays bring in more crowds, especially Thanksgiving week and Christmas week! There are some other holidays throughout the year that randomly end up being slower, but we can’t guarantee that will always be the case.
Independently organized events:
- Dapper Day (usually a couple scheduled during the year – one in Spring and one in the Fall)
- Bats Day (in the Spring)
- Gay Days: October 6, 2017 – October 8, 2017
- Dapper Day: November 4 and 5, 2017
RunDisney weekends typically bring in more people.
RunDisney Race Dates:
January 11-14, 2018 – Star Wars 1/2 Marathon – The Light Side
May 11-14 – Tinker Bell 1/2 Marathon (during Mother’s Day weekend so it can be extra crowded).
August 31-September 3 – Disneyland Half Marathon (also Memorial Day weekend)
November 9-12 – Super Heroes Half Marathon
BUSY SEASON TICKETS
Disneyland Resort offers seasonal pricing on admission tickets – There are three different price options for one-day tickets to one park – value days are the cheapest at $95, regular tickets are $105, and peak tickets (busy season) are $119. Park Hopper tickets that allow you to hop back and forth between both parks are a good value if you’re looking to spend multiple days at both parks. The daily ticket price drops for multi-day tickets.