I’m not a fan of crowds. I like vacant beaches, empty parking lots and amusement parks with short lines. I suppose crowds and Disneyland are somewhat synonymous. As a lifelong Southern California resident, I have been to Disneyland countless times. Over the years, I have discovered a few ways to avoid crowds and lines at Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure.
Is Disneyland Crowded Today?
There are certain times of the week and the year that the park is simply less crowded. Of course, the middle of the week (Tuesday through Thursday) has fewer crowds. In addition, in my opinion, the middle to the end of January is one of the least crowded time to go (minus Martin Luther King Jr Holiday). Mid-September (after Labor Day) is another good month to visit. Anytime you go on a weekend, a major holiday or in the summer, you can expect a lot of crowds. If you want a good estimate of the crowds, you can check out isitpacked.com. The site has a “Forecast predictor calendar’ and ‘live crowd trackers’ to help you plan your trip.
Avoiding the crowds and lines at Disneyland allows my family and I to visit more attractions. We spend less time waiting and more time having fun! When you get to the park, it’s a great idea to get FastPasses for some of the more popular rides. I have found that the Fast Passes for Radiator Springs go quickly so it’s a good idea to get these when the park opens. Splash Mountain, Soarin’ Over California and Thunder Mountain are some of the other rides we often “Fast Pass.” Grizzly River Run, Space Mountain and Star Tours are some others you might want to Fast Pass. You can check the Disneyland website for a list of all the current attractions that use the FastPass service. Of course, if the line is already short, you might just want to stay and wait. There are apps that help you see attraction wait times. We used Disneyland Wait Times. We already had our day mapped out and didn’t use it too much but it can be helpful. Finally, by going on the rides during the more popular parades, you can miss some of the crowds.
“Magic Morning” is another way to beat the crowds and lines. If you don’t mind getting up early, Magic Morning allows you to enter the park one hour before everyone else. To maximize your time, get there at least 15 minutes prior to the “Magic” opening time. Currently, Magic Morning is set up for Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday. Check the ticket options and look for the ones with “Includes one Magic Morning early Admission.” If you don’t have admission with a Magic Morning options, I recommend getting to the park at least a half an hour before it opens. By the time you park, travel on the tram and wait in line to enter the park, it will be open. Disneyland Resort Hotel Guests also have the benefit of Extra Magic Hour! During this time, guests can get into one park, one hour early, on select days (or course, everyone in your party must have a valid ticket and you also need your valid hotel room ‘key’).
Reservations at the restaurants can help you avoid waiting in line to eat. Typically, we bring plenty of water and snacks so we don’t waste our time waiting in line to buy drinks and food. However, if you are planning to take part in character dining or one of the more popular restaurants, a reservation will help ensure you don’t spend your time waiting for a table. You can make reservations online.
Remember, these are only tips to help estimate the Disneyland crowds and avoid long lines. Special events, ride closures and weather can always impact the amount of people who decide to visit this popular destination. Be prepared with plenty of food, drinks, and smiles to help the lines go more quickly!
More from Melissa:
Best Disneyland Rides for a Two to Three Year Old
Halloween Time at Disneyland: Tips from a Mom
How to have a successful trip to Disneyland with a toddler