Confession. I’ve never been to Disneyland. It’s really high on my bucket list but we’ve just never gotten out there. It will happen one day. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for next year. We’ll see. While doing research for a trip there, I came across an article on the OC Register about 10 of the worst times of the year to go, so I wanted to share it with all of you too!
1. Jan. 17, 2020: This is expected to be opening day for the new Rise of the Resistance ride in Star Wars:Galaxy’s Edge in Disneyland. If this date holds, and you don’t insist on being one of the first to ride, just say no.
2. 4th of July: Now, this applies specifically to the evening, because mobs of people start showing up in the afternoon intending to see the fireworks. Some folks say the morning is OK, but get out of there early or you’ll be stuck fighting traffic just to get out of the parking garage.
3. Holidays: Maybe it sounds like a good idea to go on Memorial Day, Labor Day or Veterans Day, but keep in mind that it will be mobbed with people who have the day off, and so do their kids.
4. Any day that annual passholders can return to the park after a long blockout: For example, So. California Select passholders can return after being blocked out the entire summer for the first time on Tuesday, Sept. 3. Do you want to buy a ticket to go Sept. 3? No, you do not. Also, most passholders are blocked over Christmas and can’t return until Jan. 5 or Jan. 6, depending on the pass. Um, no. Don’t do it.
5. Easter week: Nowadays, schoolchildren’s spring breaks are spread all over the place, so trying to predict crowds based on those can be iffy. But you can guarantee that lots of kids will be out of school and hankering to go to Disneyland on the week before Easter. Most of March and the days leading up to Easter can also be packed. Easter 2020 will be on April 12.
6. Any Saturday in October: Now, let’s qualify that. People pour into the parks to see the marvelous Halloween decorations, however, it tends to become the most packed after dark. So if you only go first thing in the morning, you’re probably OK. And, while we’re on the subject, Saturdays in December get crazy too, because people want to see the magical decorations.
7. Grad nights: The last two weeks in May and the first week in June, you need to be aware that the Disneyland Resort hosts a whole series of grad nights for the region’s graduating seniors. Typically, the students start mixing in with the general population early in the day, meaning that the park will be much busier than usual with possibly boisterous teenagers.
8. The entire week of Christmas: Let’s just say this: Disneyland typically closes its gates for at least a few hours each Christmas week — and, believe us, Disney folks hate to close their gates. They hate it like death. So that tells you that it’s so crowded you really just can’t have fun there.
9. Black Friday: There are tons of people in town for the holiday, and also locals who are out of school and off work. Each and every one of them has the same idea: Let’s go to Disneyland. This entire week tends to be ridiculously crowded.
10. New Year’s Eve: No, no, no, no, no. Depending on whether you want to be able to move or not. If you don’t mind being crammed cheek-to-jowl with other partiers and you don’t feel like flying to Times Square in New York, be our guest.
11. Any time the Anaheim Convention Center is packed: This applies especially during NAMM — the National Association of Music Merchants convention that’s the largest each year. Conventioneers generally are able to buy discounted park tickets and tend to head over after their sessions are done. For 2020, this convention is scheduled Jan. 16-20, which means that you won’t be able to get an affordable hotel room and also note that’s also when the new Rise of the Resistance ride is scheduled to open. Only for masochists. Really.
So, what if you must go on one of the busiest days? If so, make sure you arrive at the parking garage at least 90 minutes before the park opens. Yes, it sounds grueling, but it means you’ll get in early enough to enjoy yourself before the thundering hordes arrive. And make sure to make a dining reservation far in advance for one of the sit-down restaurants, so you get a pleasant break from the crowds. And buy the MaxPass, which allows you to get electronic fast passes designed to shorten your wait times at the most popular rides.
When is your favorite time to visit Disneyland?