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Picking Your Perfect Disneyland Park Dates

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When is the best time to visit Disneyland? This audio is from our free course that helps you plan a vacation to Disneyland. In this module, what considerations to think about when deciding when to come to the Disneyland Resort.

In our course, we also have more information about considerations for specific times of the year. We cover what time of year to plan your trip to Disneyland and how that fits with your availability, busy seasons at the park, ride refurbishments, and airfare and hotel prices.

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7:43 Outro

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Deciding When to Take Your Trip to Disneyland

Now you know you want to go to Disneyland. Now it's time to pick your perfect park dates. So when do you want to actually go to the Disneyland Resort?

First thing we want to look at is your availability. When can you get vacation off of work? When is grandma or grandpa available? And then when are the kids out of school?

 Now we also have a couple other things that we wanted to take a look at, and that includes trying to avoid busy seasons. There are parties and special events, and you might have questions about the weather, and when is it cheaper to go to Disneyland. So let's quickly go through some of those things.

When is it Not Busy at Disneyland?

The first thing is, people want to know when is it going to be not as busy? And Disneyland tends to be busy most of the year, and it used to be that there were pretty predictable times when the parks would not be busy. If a bunch of people on TikTok all post that September is now the best time to go to Disneyland, what happens? A bunch of people book in September and maybe it's more crowded than maybe you anticipated. There are some times that are always busier than others. In general, anytime schools are out, the parks will be significantly busier.

The busiest time of the year is always the week between Christmas and New Year's. It will always be very busy during that time. Usually the busiest seasons that are right next to that are going to be spring break, summer, Thanksgiving, any long weekends. Now you might be thinking 'that's literally the only time that I can go, is when the kids are out of school'. That's okay, you can still have a really great time even during the "busy season". We have more details below this video outlining the different, specific busy seasons and the pros and cons of each of those.

 Again, as long as you plan for the crowds and you set your expectations correctly, you can go even when it's busy. If you have a child that's younger that you feel like their school would be okay with them missing a day or two then if you can do that, then I would highly recommend doing it. We took our kids outta school for a week once to go to Disney World. Zero regrets. It was a really great experience. Could I do that now that my son is in engineering and chemistry and calculus? Probably not. It wouldn't be a good idea. But when he was in fifth grade, he didn't really miss much. We cleared it ahead of time with the principal and we had a study plan.

 Okay, so let's go ahead and talk about some of the other things to consider when planning, when you want to go to Disneyland.

Parties and Special Events

The first is that there are parties at special events throughout the year. So especially around Halloween around Christmas. They will have Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party where Disneyland will close at five o'clock to everybody that has a normal ticket and then they'll let everybody else who has the special event ticket come in the evening. If you're within the next 120 days, usually these tickets have been announced, and you want to check the park hours to see if a park is going to close really early. Now, the good thing that happens if you have already booked your dates then end up planning a party day on the days that you are there, then you can always change your dates.

But one thing to know is if Disneyland is going to close early, a lot of people will choose to go to Disney California Adventure instead of Disneyland, which means Disneyland might be a lot less busy.

And then you can really hang out and enjoy the rides at 5 o'clock. If you have a Park Hopper you can park hop over to California Adventure, spend the evening there or even just go get a nice meal out with your family and call it a day a little bit early. That doesn't mean you can't go, just want to keep those in mind.

Thinking About The Weather

The other thing that people ask a lot is about the weather. I will tell you that the summers can be very warm, especially in the middle of the day.

I live in Phoenix, Arizona, and for me, even a hot summer day at Disneyland can be a little brutal, which is why we like to take a nap in the middle of the day when it's the hottest. So, you want to be able to plan accordingly for that.

 In the fall, winter, and spring, you want to plan with a lot of layers. That means bringing jackets to take off, layering with short sleeves underneath. In that part of California, the weather can be really cold in the morning, nice and perfectly warm in the afternoon, and then really chilly in the evenings.

For the most part, you don't need to plan around the weather that much. I will tell you that when it rains in the winter, it is very cold, but that also means that there'll be almost no lines at the parks.

Airfare and Hotel Costs

 One of the things that I usually look at when I'm trying to decide when we're going to come to Disneyland is honestly the hotel and airfare costs. I use the hotel costs as another way to gauge how busy the parks will be. I know certain seasons are going to be busy, which we've listed below. And I know that there are going to be some weather benefits, but for the most part, if I see that hotels are really, really expensive for a weekend, maybe there's something going on that weekend that's going to make the parks busier.

So I usually will pick 3 dates and then I will look for the hotel and airfare for those 3 days to see if it's significantly less expensive to go one day versus another. And for the most part, I'll pick the cheapest date that works for our family.

Now as you're looking at airfare, we're going to go into more detail in the airfare module, but I want you to not just look at airfare for LAX.

It is much more expensive to get from LAX to Disneyland. There are two airports that are closer to Disneyland. The closest is SNA, sometimes called John Wayne Airport, and then LGB, which is the Long Beach Airport. Those are much closer to Disneyland, if you're taking Uber, it's going to be a much less expensive ride.

So if you have the option, book to LGB or SNA if not, then LAX is still a really great option. You just want to budget a little bit more for your ride to the Disney parks if you're not going to be renting a car.

Are Park Reservations Available

And the last thing we want to check out, especially if you know you're going during a busy season, maybe you're less than 60 days out, is to make sure that a reservation is available. You used to be able to just buy a park ticket to Disneyland and then you could go whenever you wanted.  Now you need to make a reservation, so go in there, pretend like you're going to buy one and just see if the dates are available.

If you are going with somebody who has a Magic Key, which is basically Disney's fancy way of saying annual pass. Have them check their availability first, because depending on the pass level, they'll have less availability than you will.

Checklist for Picking Park Dates

So let's just quickly go through a checklist of things that I do to look and see when we want to go to the parks. The first is trying to avoid busy seasons if we can.

Taking into consideration those parties and special events that might close one of the parks we want to attend early. This is more important if you're only going for one or two days. And then we want to consider what the weather will be like if we just really hate the heat or we really hate the cold.

 And then most important for me is price. Looking at three dates for hotel and airfare to find the least expensive time so I have more money for churros. And then the thing that we can't forget is to make sure that the parks are available.

For the most part, parks will be available. It's not going to be a problem unless you're trying to go during some of those really busy days, like between Christmas and New Year's.

Alright, now you have your perfect park dates. Let's go ahead and get started booking our airfare and hotels.

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