Here’s what you want to ask: “When is Disneyland the least crowded”?
And the answer is, it’s less crowded a few times a year, but with Southern California Annual Passes, extended events around Halloween, Christmas and summertime, not to mention the ongoing opening of new and re-Imagineered attractions like Star Wars Season of the Force, Disney Parks attendance is high year round.
That said there are some slower times and here are some tips to help you enjoy the Parks and avoid the crowds any time of the year:
- Time of Year: Mid-September, the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, January and February and post-Spring Break may bring smaller crowds. Note that these “down times” are also when attractions may be closed for refurbishment.
- Time of Day: My number one tip for enjoying the Parks is to GET THERE WHEN THE GATES OPEN! Arriving 30 minutes prior to the Park opening will give you a chance to enjoy peace and quiet (really), give you a jump on your Fastpass collection, and allow you to ride some popular rides with little or no wait at all. When the sleeper-inners show up at noon, you’ll have lunch in no time thanks to your Priority Seating reservation, and can shop, take in a show or go to the front of the line on the most popular rides thanks to your Fastpasses.
- Set Expectations: Prepare your family or group for crowds. If you can, give yourselves 3 or 4 days to enjoy Disneyland and California Adventure (not to mention your hotel’s amenities and Downtown Disney). Know that you probably won’t get to do every single thing, and that’s ok!
- Make like a Banana… If it works for your group dynamic, allow time for your group to split up – some people need naps, some want to ride thrill rides and others want to dine or shop. It’s ok to not spend every waking moment together!