There are a few decisions you have to make before you go- when you are going, where you are going to stay and how many days you will stay there and buy tickets for and these things will all affect your budget. Then we can cover what to do when you are there. Hopefully when reading this series, you’ll get some answers to these questions and be ready for your next Disneyland trip.
Disneyland Resort has 2 main seasons: Peak and Off-peak.
These are most commonly times when kids are out of school for holidays and breaks- June through Labor day weekend, Spring break (weeks before and after Easter), Thanksgiving, week before Christmas through New Year’s and most 3-day weekends.
Pros- all rides and shows are open
Cons- biggest crowds, longer waits, higher prices for hotels/flights
If your travel period is set and you need to go during peak season, plan to be there on certain days of the week like Tuesdays-Thursdays, so it will be less crowded, because Mondays and Fridays are right after/before the weekend- people only have to take one or two days off of work and usually leave before the middle of the week. This also hits two possible “Magic Morning” days, which will get you in the park an hour earlier than other guests either on Tuesday or Thursday (more about then when we cover if you are staying on-property or have a park-hopper pass) and one time with “Toontown Morning Madness” (special pass only) on Wednesday.
Usually runs after New Year’s until President’s day weekend (mid-Feb), week after Easter until Memorial day weekend (end of May), mid-September through mid-October and after Thanksgiving until week before Christmas.
Pros- less crowds, lower prices for hotels/flights
Cons- some rides are down for refurbishment/maintenance, shows aren’t daily
Any periods not listed are average attendance- after President’s day weekend until the week before Easter, Sundays not during Peak season, Memorial day until school is out and mid-October to Thanksgiving. If you can handle a little more crowds and want less cost than peak season- these are the times to go.
We like to go during off-peak season. Even Sundays during off-peak season (average attendance since it’s open to Southern California pass-holders) are too much for us. My favorite time to go is the first of December when the holiday decorations are already up which really gets me in the holiday spirit but without all the peak crowds. The evenings and mornings are about 40 degrees, which is way below our Hawaii average, but it gives it an experience that is new for us- bundling up and wearing layers. And we still want to try the Halloween party at California Adventure (October, usually weekends). This is the only time an adult can wear Disney costumes around the park. Taking our kids out of school for a week to go on family trips is something we are okay with cause it means we can see more and do more for less cost.
If you can go during off-peak season, staying during part of a weekend, for at least Friday and Saturday is good if you want to view the nightly spectaculars- like Fantasmic or the fireworks over Sleeping Beauty’s castle or the new “World of Color” which opened in June at California Adventure. These won’t run daily like during peak season. Saturdays and Sundays are also “Magic Morning” early entry days, so you can take advantage of having more than one option to get in before the crowds.
The “Mickey’s Toontown Morning Madness” parade runs on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. This is a pass event that is included when you book a package.This gives you a good idea of what time of year you will want to go to the Disneyland resort or what to be ready for on the dates you’ve chosen. Next up: How long will you stay?
Linds is a Disney fanatic which started from a young age with her first Disneyland trip at 4 years old- now married and has 4 boys, she enjoys going even more! Linds blogs at Enchanting Deals about the latest Disney specials and park, dining and resort guest tips. She loves being a Disney deal expert- to help families get to Disney and save money! Also can find her on Twitter or Facebook.
Disneyland is the Happiest Place On Earth. Be sure to learn how to make the most of your trip by reading the Disneyland Training series. You can also browse all the articles I have posted in an easy to use outline. And if you are ready to book your trip, be sure to read about the perks of using an authorized Disney vacation planner (plus it’s FREE!).