When should I go to Disneyland Resort?
There are certain times throughout the year that make for easier park touring at Disneyland Resort. We understand that some people are limited to when they can travel, so it's important to remember that any time at Disneyland Resort is magical. You just need to make sure you go into your holiday with realistic crowd expectations.
Regardless of the time of year you go, your best bet for minimising crowds is to visit Disneyland Resort during the week, as many locals visit regularly on the weekends. However, if catching the fireworks is important to you, then you're best to try and include a Friday or Saturday night in your stay, as they're not shown every night all year round.
When do we love to go to Disneyland Resort?
- The beginning of December through the week before Christmas because you get a double dose of magic – Disney and Christmas – with relatively low crowd levels. It can get chilly, especially in the evenings but the low crowds make the weather tolerable.
- Mid-January through mid-March (how far into March normally depends on when Easter falls) the weather conditions are similar to those described above and the crowds are low. The parks tend to close earlier but the cooler weather means touring through the afternoon is a lot more comfortable. If Easter is in late March mid-late April can also be a good time and the weather is a little more favourable than the earlier months of the year.
- May is a lovely time of the year to visit for a great mix of reasonable crowds and nice weather. It doesn't cross over with our school holidays though, which can make it a little tricky. You do need to be mindful of Memorial Day at the end of May as this marks the start of the summer crowds.
- September and October through mid-November (before Thanksgiving) are great for low crowd levels. Most days see temperatures in the mid 20s, making it a little warmer than December through March.
When will you encounter high crowd levels?
- The week of Christmas and New Year sees crazy crowd levels and expensive hotel rates that we would avoid at all costs. Our last early December trip saw us in the parks on the first day of the Christmas holidays in California, the crowds we saw were phenomenal in comparison to even just the day before. Wait times jumped from minutes to hours on some rides we had been walking onto a couple of days before.
- Around Easter a lot of Americans have time off for the holiday and spring break falls around this time. If you can only go at this time because of school holidays be prepared for large crowds and realise that even with a plan you may not achieve the same amount in a day as someone who visits in January.
- The American summer sees high crowds since most schools break for the entire season. This is certainly a great time to visit the rest of the US, so around this time might fit as part of a bigger trip.
How long should I stay at Disneyland Resort?
How long you choose to stay will depend on what you want to achieve at Disneyland Resort and how much time you have available if this is only one part of a bigger trip.
With the recent opening of Cars Land in Disney's California Adventure Park, we feel that two days are required to comfortably see and maximise the magic in each of the Disneyland Resort theme parks. Therefore we would recommend a stay of 4-5 nights, if you are heading back to Australia from Disneyland Resort, you should get almost a full day of park touring on your departure day.
If Disneyland Resort is your base for exploring the greater Anaheim area then you could easily spend at least 7 nights here.
These recommendations are based on the fact that we consider a trip to Disneyland Resort to be a holiday, not a chore. It is important that you give your family time to rest and relax, not push them to go, go, go non-stop. If you push to get too much done in too little time, your magic will be minimised as opposed to maximised.
If you only have a couple of days in your overall itinerary to dedicate to Disneyland Resort you need to be realistic about your expectations. You will not be able to see everything so prioritising is a must.
Where should I stay in Disneyland Resort?
Budget and personal preference will play a huge role in answering this question.
If you want to stay in a Disney hotel, which we feel this is the easiest way to maximise your magic, we recommend you splurge for Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. The location of this hotel makes afternoon breaks so easy, it has its own entrance to Disney's California Adventure Park and it has, in our opinion, the best theming of the three on-property hotels.
If you can't fit a Disney hotel into your budget, there are numerous 'Good Neighbor Hotels' available within walking distance or short shuttle bus ride of Disneyland Resort. We especially like the Howard Johnson Hotel and Candy Cane Inn if you're looking in the moderate category. Tropicana Inn & Suites is another great moderate choice right across the road from the resort entrance!