What is REALLY the best time to visit?

shruley

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 6, 2005
In general in my online reading (think little articles titled the best time to visit Disneyland) I kept reading what a great month October was to visit. Low crowds, nice weather. Great! I thought. We had a long weekend off school that month and thought it was a great time to visit. Except when I started to read people's reports and posts about their actual Oct trip, it seemed woefully crowded. Like, people compared it to summer crowds. The weekend we were hoping to go for was the worst. Evidently our school break coincides with the school break in UT and people from UT flood Disneyland that weekend. :(

So now it's back to the drawing board. What is a good month/time to visit? We've been spoiled with low crowds our last couple DW Visits, plus I'll have a 2 year old, so I really would like a time with lower crowds. We're looking at next fall/winter. We don't start school until the Thurs after Labor Day, so we could go the very end of Aug/beginning of Sept. Otherwise Nov? Jan? Appreciate any thoughts people have. I feel like I read a lot of conflicting info on DL sometimes. Finding it harder to plan than my DW trips.... there's no Josh posting a walkaround every day or anything! I've never been a big fan of touring plans, but I may have to subscribe because I hadn't found any other good (Free) sites with DL info, unless I'm just missing it! Thanks!
 

Casey's Mommie

Nothing makes a Mommy happier than hearing her bab
Joined
Jul 16, 2007
The slowest time I ever went was the weekend after Labor Day, but that was back in 2008 (pre Carsland).

I've also had good luck with Mid to Late January (avoiding MLK weekend) and February (Avoiding the week of President's Day).
 

Mast115

Earning My Ears
Joined
May 4, 2011
I think the 2 weeks after Halloween has been relatively quiet - it's great bc they start decorating for Christmas, but without the huge crowds.
 
  • pinksand

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Nov 26, 2007
    In my experience, these are all the periods where crowds are as low as they get these days at Disneyland (all weekdays of course):
    • September - after Labor Day, but before HalloweenTime
    • November - in between Halloweentime and HolidayTime
    • November - the week BEFORE Thanksgiving
    • Late January/first 2 weeks of February

    I've also heard good things about the first 2 weeks of May but can't attest to it personally.
     

    Girimama33

    "I've disgraced the forces of evil."
    Joined
    Apr 1, 2012
    Would ride closures or seeing shows like fireworks or F! make a difference?
     

    allaboutthemouse

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 23, 2006
    Finding it harder to plan than my DW trips.... there's no Josh posting a walkaround every day or anything!
    I concur! Sorry, I have nothing to add as I have not been to the land yet, just thought this was funny :) Wish josh would check it out for us!
     

    KeKy4

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 29, 2013
    Try touringplans.com They will tell you the past crowd levels and the future predicted crowd levels. Totally worth the $4-5 to subscribe!
     
  • starshine514

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 21, 2010
    Our lowest crowd day ever was Jan 17, 2012 (the day after MLK). We've had good luck in Feb and early Nov as well. Other times that we fine were the end of April and mid-Sept and the week after Thanksgiving.
     

    ilovevacation

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 7, 2012
    So glad to see this post. We are also planning a trip from PA to DL. We don't plan to go until next February since i will be out there for a work conference. i thought i would have this coming February to figure out if it is a good time to go and what my strategy should be. I will be happy to scratch another Disney off my bucket list!
     

    Jerry Horne

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 16, 2013
    We go from late April to early May. After Spring Break but before Grad Nights. Great weather and few closures.
     

    KiwiMouseGirl

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 5, 2011
    I agree with Jerry! Late April/ early may was an amazing time of year when we went in 2012. Especially of you are morning people. We got to the parks before rope drop and completed a whole days touring plan before 11.30! The weather was also nice! A bit chilly in the mornings and evenings maybe, but nice and warm during the day! The only thing I would watch for is when Easter will fall during your visit :)
     
  • heidispidi

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 17, 2010
    My vote would be for the 2nd week in January, before MLK weekend. In 2011 we arrived 7th Jan and stayed for a week. Other than that first afternoon, the longest wait we had for a ride was around 15 mins (my sister did some amazing planning though!). I can't imagine DL being any quieter than that. (Why have I chosen Easter/Spring Break next year to return? B/c I'm crazy!!). :joker:
     

    mom2aredhead

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 30, 2006
    We were there in September the Tues-Fri after Labor Day.

    The crowds were very low, so that was awesome.

    However...

    DL was only open until 7:00 (!) and DCA until 8:00. A little later on Friday...maybe 9:00/10:00. And Haunted Mansion was closed for the Halloween overlay. Matterhorn was closed part of the week. BTMRR was still down for refurb.

    There are definite trade-offs that come with the "low" season.
     

    shruley

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 6, 2005
    Thanks for all the info! I don't think we want to wait til April or May so I think we'll narrow it down to between early Nov or Jan.

    To answer the earlier question, I'm not too worried about parks closing earlier. Like I said we'll have a 2 year old, so we usually never stay at the parks late anyways. We've always had a little one for the last 10 years (usually going in the off-season) and we usually tried to hit an 8pm evening show/parade as by the time it's over and we get back to our hotel room it's time for bed! We are also rope drop people, always there are park opening, so in that regard off season shorter hours works for us. We do want to see World of Color. We would be there over a weekend so I'm hoping we could still catch that. Some ride closures are ok, but maybe not quite as many as the PP mentioned being closed in early Sept! I was thinking maybe early Nov. would be better for ride closures? Hopefully?
     

    Disneyland1084

    OH PLEASE SOMEBODY TELL ME!
    Joined
    Apr 29, 2005
    The third week in September. But nowadays Disneyland is really hit and miss in my opinion.
     

    dina444444

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 8, 2013
    Thanks for all the info! I don't think we want to wait til April or May so I think we'll narrow it down to between early Nov or Jan.

    To answer the earlier question, I'm not too worried about parks closing earlier. Like I said we'll have a 2 year old, so we usually never stay at the parks late anyways. We've always had a little one for the last 10 years (usually going in the off-season) and we usually tried to hit an 8pm evening show/parade as by the time it's over and we get back to our hotel room it's time for bed! We are also rope drop people, always there are park opening, so in that regard off season shorter hours works for us. We do want to see World of Color. We would be there over a weekend so I'm hoping we could still catch that. Some ride closures are ok, but maybe not quite as many as the PP mentioned being closed in early Sept! I was thinking maybe early Nov. would be better for ride closures? Hopefully?
    It's a Small World is always closed at the beginning of November as they are putting up the holiday overlay. But both times tend to have a lot of closures but usually January tends to be heavier on the closure side.
     

    msmama

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 21, 2009
    I think I've finally narrowed my upcoming trip down to late Jan/early Feb.

    Like you, we don't really do late park days. I would love to see WOC and Fantasmic, but being just me and DS with sensory issues, I just don't know if it'd be doable. Once I took those 2 things off the table (unfortunately) it became an easier decision.

    We also skip most of the mountains so specific ride closures aren't a huge deal for us. And hopefully I'll be late enough that things closed for removing xmas decorations will be back up.

    I'm also a little bit concerned about whether or not it'll be swimming weather. Again, it's not worth changing the date, but it'd be nice if it's warm enough for a dip in the pool (I'll admit it, pools are the same as baths on vacation).
     

    dina444444

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 8, 2013
    I think I've finally narrowed my upcoming trip down to late Jan/early Feb.

    Like you, we don't really do late park days. I would love to see WOC and Fantasmic, but being just me and DS with sensory issues, I just don't know if it'd be doable. Once I took those 2 things off the table (unfortunately) it became an easier decision.

    We also skip most of the mountains so specific ride closures aren't a huge deal for us. And hopefully I'll be late enough that things closed for removing xmas decorations will be back up.

    I'm also a little bit concerned about whether or not it'll be swimming weather. Again, it's not worth changing the date, but it'd be nice if it's warm enough for a dip in the pool (I'll admit it, pools are the same as baths on vacation).
    The weather isn't going to be colder than mid 50-60s during the day at that time of year, it's rare when it's colder and we have times when it can be in the 70s-80s during those months.
     

    Blue32

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 21, 2012
    I think I've finally narrowed my upcoming trip down to late Jan/early Feb.

    Like you, we don't really do late park days. I would love to see WOC and Fantasmic, but being just me and DS with sensory issues, I just don't know if it'd be doable. Once I took those 2 things off the table (unfortunately) it became an easier decision.

    We also skip most of the mountains so specific ride closures aren't a huge deal for us. And hopefully I'll be late enough that things closed for removing xmas decorations will be back up.

    I'm also a little bit concerned about whether or not it'll be swimming weather. Again, it's not worth changing the date, but it'd be nice if it's warm enough for a dip in the pool (I'll admit it, pools are the same as baths on vacation).
    WOC will play every night, even in the offseason. Fantasmic will only show Fri.-Sun. nights in the offseason months.
     

    Gamegrl1

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 20, 2011
    Personally I like to go in April because of the weather and shorter lines. Also earlier in the year (Jan, Feb.) it seemed to me that fewer attractions were offering FP. I mean, if the lines are short enough it wouldn't be necessary but I like FP!

    However, the OP said that April doesn't work for them, I think. I did go in February for two days one time about 5 years ago and I don't recall big crowds (also, pre-Cars Land, as a PP mentioned).

    Could you use a combination of guidebook and holiday calendars to plan? Avoid any special event at DLR...maybe even Google for conferences or school breaks that could affect the crowds?
     

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