We ran an article recently on Disney Addicts outlining the least crowded days in 2017 to visit Walt Disney World. Seeing this, our friends on the West Coast, and rightly so, said “What about us!”. So with that in mind here’s our list of ideal times to pay a visit to Disneyland in 2017. Get your calendars at the ready and let’s start planning.
Weekdays vs. the Weekend– One of the fundamental differences between Walt Disney World and Disneyland is that guests on the West Coast do tend to be a bit more local. This coupled with the fact that families don’t usually devote a full week to visiting Disneyland but rather 3-4 days, means that visitors naturally tend to opt for the weekends. If you have a bit of freedom and flexibility with your schedules, go for weekdays (Monday – Thursdays). Crowds should be a bit lower.
That being said, there are also certain times of year considered “off-peak” or when the parks tend to be less crowded. Here’s some dates you may want to consider when planning your 2017 Disneyland getaway:
January- The first month of the year can be a good time to visit the parks as the holiday crowds have subsided and families are back to work and school. However, there are a public holidays and Disney events that you may want to steer clear of if you are looking for lower crowds. Martin Luther King Jr. day falls on Monday January 16th which means that families are more likely to book around this date to take advantage of their day off. The Star Wars Half Marathon also takes place from January 13- 15th which will also bring in the crowds.
February -The earlier part of the month can be a good time to visit for lower-than-average crowds though the parks due tend to pick up considerably by the month’s end. Guests should try and avoid visiting around President’s Day though (Monday, February 20th) as again, guests will take advantage of those extra days off work and planning a long weekend at the parks.
May -This can be a fantastic month for a Disneyland visit. Most families are focusing on finishing up the school year and the Summer ahead and not squeezing in a trip to the Mouse. Guests travelling to the parks during this time will also be able to take advantage of the nicer weather as things start to heat-up in the lead in to Summer. However, weekends can be incredibly busy during this time of year as the warm weather brings along with it eager guests wanting to enjoy the lead-in to Summer without having to take time off of work. The Tinkerbell Half Marathon is also scheduled to take place May 11-14th which will mean much larger crowds during that weekend.
Early June – All of the benefits of a May visit often extend themselves through the first week of June as school for many is still finishing up or families are just settling in to Summer. Guests may still find less crowded parks and good availability during these first few days of the month. However, leave it an extra week and you’ll definitely see those Summer crowds start to swell.
Late August – For the same reason that early June can be a nice time for a Disneyland visit, so can the end of August. With guests focusing on the end of Summer and the start of the school year you will find dwindling crowds while still enjoying those nice hot Summer temperatures. However, avoid booking too early in the month as the other 3 weeks are a very busy time. The last weekend of the month is also to be avoided if its slower crowds you’re after because of the Disneyland Half Marathon weekend kicking off on August 31st.
September – I am such a huge advocate of visiting Disney during September. Temperatures are still fantastic, crowds are much smaller and there’s often some nice discounts and great availability to be had. That being said there are some key times during this month to avoid if smaller crowds is what you’re after. Try and avoid the first week in September as not only is it the Disneyland Half Marathon but also Labor Day Weekend when families will hit the parks one last time to say good-bye to Summer.
Select Weeks in November and December – There’s no place quite like Disneyland during the holidays. Therefore, it is no wonder that weeks around both Thanksgiving and Christmas boast some of the largest crowds of the year. However, for those wanting a big dose of Christmas done Disney-style, there are optimum times to go in both November and December where you can enjoy the lead-in to the holidays without the capacity crowds. The holidays aren’t usually in full swing until after the 10th of the November so avoid the early month. Also try and avoid the Super Heroes Half Marathon which will run from November 9-12, 2017. Good times to visit in December would be during the first half of the month. Similarly, December is an important month to stick to those weekday visits if possible as weekend crowds can be packed with families wanting to enjoy the Christmas festivities without the heavier crowds.
I like to tell clients that there is no such thing as a terrible time to visit Disneyland. Some of us only have specific dates that we can visit the theme parks. Even if these fall during peak periods you can still have a marvelous time. However, for those with a bit of flexibility, the list above offers some nice alternatives to those busier times of the year. Guest should note however that following this list does not guarantee an empty park. A big convention or other events not listed can at times have a major impact on park attendance. This article is meant to serve merely as a gentle guide for those looking to book a Disneyland getaway in 2017.
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