When is the best time of the year to visit the Disneyland Resort in California? There are many factors to consider when answering this question.
1. What months are the least crowded?
2. What time of year has the least amount of attractions down for maintenance?
3. What time of year has the best weather?
4. At what time of year are the theme parks open the longest hours?
5. What time of year has the best schedule for shows, parades and fireworks?
6. Do you want to take advantage of special Holiday times at the resort?
7. When are prices the cheapest inside and outside of the theme parks?
If you are looking for the time of year when your wait time for attractions would be the lowest, then fall, winter and spring would be your best bet. This would include the months of September, October, November (up to about a week before Thanksgiving and then resuming the week after Thanksgiving), the first two weeks of December, the last 3 weeks of January, February, April (with the exception of the week before and after Easter), and May.
Summertime (June, July and August) as well as Thanksgiving through New Years are the times of the year when most rides are open. Since these are also the busiest times of the year for the Disneyland Resort, most attractions are operating. Occasionally, an attraction or area at one of the two theme parks is undergoing a major renovation. If that is the case, then that attraction and or area might even be closed over the summer months and holiday times. You should always check the Disneyland Resort website (DisneylandResort.com) prior to your visit to see if any attractions will be unavailable.
The best weather is generally in the fall and spring in Disneyland. This will be the time of year with the most comfortable daytime temperatures and the lowest probability of rain. Summertime is also a dry time of the year, but the daytime temperatures can be very hot.
During the summer months and over Holiday weeks, the Disneyland Resort theme parks will open earlier and stay open later than at other times of the year. This is to accommodate the larger crowds who visit the theme parks at those times of the year. Year-round, the theme parks have longer operating hours on Friday, Saturday and Sunday of each week - but not necessarily as long as during the peak summer season and holiday season. You can check the operating schedule for both theme parks for up to 6 weeks from today's date by checking the Disneyland Resort website.
The best schedule for all of the shows, parades and fireworks is also going to be during the summer months and Holiday weeks. During the off-season, when crowds are smaller, the fireworks, parades and shows may only be available once a day or even only a few times a week. Generally, they will be available year-round on the weekends.
Halloween and Christmas are special times at the Disneyland Resort. The theme parks are decorated for the holidays, there are special holiday themed parades, tours, fireworks, food, souvenirs and shows. Some of the attractions such as Haunted Mansion and Small World in Disneyland have special Holiday overlays. There are special night parties for Halloween time that are extra ticketed events. The Halloween season typically starts around the middle of September and goes through November 1. The Christmas season typically starts around the middle of November and goes through the first part of January. The crowds during this time of year usually pick up on weekends and then become more crowded as it gets closer to the actual holiday.
Generally, the best prices will be available in the off-season. You may find cheaper prices for hotels, food and tickets from about mid September through mid December (excluding Thanksgiving week), mid January through the end of February, and April and May (excluding the week before and after Easter).
So, what is the very best time to visit the Disneyland Resort in California? Taking all of the above factors into consideration, anytime between mid September and mid November would be my choice. The crowds are lower, the weather is generally pleasant, there are usually good deals to be found, and you can enjoy the Holiday extras. If your visit includes a weekend, you can also take advantage of extended hours, shows, fireworks and parades.