What Time of Year You Should go to Disneyland?
As with a trip
to WDW, there are four major considerations when determining when you should go: the
crowds, park hours, special events, and the weather.
The number of tourists in Southern California, and specifically at the
Disneyland Resort, vary
greatly throughout the year. In general the busiest times of the year are holidays,
including Thanksgiving and Christmas, the summer weeks. Remember, though, that Disney has
a habit, a good one, of adding shows and parades and other such entertainment during busy
seasons. The additional activities thin the lines down a bit (because some people are busy
with the other entertainment) and are intended to "pay you back" for the busy
When the crowds are greater, the parks generally stay open longer. The trade off is
that attraction lines are longer too. Since Disney changes the hours of operation of the
parks depending on the anticipated crowd levels, the parks will generally be open earlier
and stay open later when the place is packed out than those times of year when the crowds
The Resort is beautiful at night time. The beautifully lit Sleeping Beauty's castle
and Main Street, Fantasmic!, and Paradise Pier are all spectacular sights to behold.
The thing to remember is that the park closes before dark when it's not "busy
Early Entry is offered to
guests staying at Disneyland Resort Hotels and
to holders of the passports that include the Early Entry add on.
Fantasmic!, whatever nighttime parade is being run at the time (currently the
45th Anniversary Parade is being run in the afternoons and nights), and the
incredible new firework show (also new for the 45th Anniversary) do not run on nights when the park closes early. That
means that these shows are typically run only on Friday and Saturday nights during the less busy times
of the year.
Grad night, which actually covers several nights in late May and early June, causes the
park to close early for those special events. After closing, the park re-opens for local
high school seniors to celebrate their graduation in an all-night party.
Other such are scheduled by Disney throughout the year, and may be open to the
public, but at additional cost.
The weather of Southern California is fairly stable throughout the year. Of course,
extreme heat (temperatures often topping 90 degrees) characterizes the summer months.
During the Spring and Fall, temperatures moderate somewhat. During our trips in September,
we often find temperatures in the mid-80's during the day, dipping into the lower 60's at
night. In the later part of the year, and into January and February, it's very likely that
you'll come across temperatures that reach down into the 40's at night. Daily highs at
that time of year may still poke up into the high 60's or low 70's, but you might catch a
week when highs stay in the 40's or 50's.
There isn't a strong rainy season in California as there is in Florida. There is more
precipitation in the Fall and Winter than in the Summer, but the torrential downpours that
are typical of Summer and Fall in Florida aren't common in California.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line for visiting Disneyland is much the same as for Walt Disney World. Fall
and early Spring visits are most likely to have the best weather and the smallest crowds,
but the visitor runs the risk of shorter park hours and perhaps even missing the