When to Visit Disneyland

By Shannon Gosney
In Blogging Randomness
January 9, 2010

I loved going to Disneyland when I was younger.  My mom worked for the company, so we got to go all the time.  It was amazing!  A flood of memories came back to me on our most recent trip to Disneyland.  As we were standing in front of the train station and the Mickey Mouse logo made of flowers, I remembered going one summer with my dad, stepmom, sisters, grandma, and grandpa.

Left to right: Dad, Grandpa, Jennifer,                        Left to right: (trip with mom) Jennifer, Dwarf, Me, Snow                               Amber, Grandma, Me (red & white stripes)              White, Amber

Left to Right: Me, Dallen, George, Brian

Something I’ve learned from my frequent attendance as a young adult to our most recent trip as a parent is when to go to Disneyland.  First, you want to arrive before or right as the park opens.  For us, that was at 8:00 a.m.  We had our picture taken in the front and headed straight for the rides.  If you are an adult, you’ll want to head to the roller coasters (i.e. Space Mountain, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Thunder Mountain), as these are the rides that will have really long lines in the next few hours as more visitors arrive in the later morning.  If you have young kids, I suggest heading for the Submarine Ride, Autopia, Teacups, Dumbo, and It’s A Small World, as these are the rides that will have really long lines in the next few hours.  We waited about 10-15 minutes at the beginning of the day and an average of 30 minutes per ride in the late morning and afternoon.  The longest wait was for the submarine, which ended up being a wait of about an hour – yikes!  The ride was 10 minutes long and worth it though.

We traveled to Disneyland during the Christmas holidays – on the 22nd – and it was crowded, but not as bad as I thought it would be.  We arrived shortly after 8:00 a.m. and stayed until 5:30 p.m.  Before we went, I had an idea of the rides I really wanted the boys to go on, which included the Rockets, It’s A Small World, Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, and Autopia (of course).

I would recommend trying to avoid holidays if possible.  If  you do go during the holidays, be sure to get there as close to OPENING as possible.  After talking to someone who frequents Disneyland, I learned that going on Christmas Day is a great time to go to the park because the park has visitors, but a relatively smaller number than on other days during the holidays.  I would also recommend going during the week, as it is less crowded than on the weekend.

This is part of my post from our recent Disneyland trip, to which we received Complimentary Day Passes for our family.  All opinions expressed in this post are 100% mine.

About Has 4152 Posts

Shannon Gurnee is the author of RedheadMom formerly "The Mommy-Files", a national blog with a loyal following. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Marriage, Family, and Human Development with a Minor in Business Management. Shannon and her husband, Frank, have a large family with 6 awesome kids and love living on the Central Coast near San Luis Obispo, California, as well as traveling around the world. A full-time Social Media and Professional Blogger, Shannon also serves as a National Brand Ambassador for many well-known companies. Her blog focuses on motherhood, family fun activities, traveling, fashion, beauty, technology, wedding ideas and recipes while providing professional opinions on products, performances, restaurants, and a variety of businesses.

21 Responses to “When to Visit Disneyland”

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  2. *LyndiLou* says:

    I haven’t been to DisneyLand in a LONG time too!!! I’m glad that you had the chance to go, and I’m even MORE glad to hear that you had sooo much fun! Thanks for the tips!

  3. The Gosfam says:

    I have never been to Disneyland, but hopefully before my kids get too old, we can take a trip.

  4. Jessica H. says:

    My girls have been begging to go. I would love to take them, so thank you so much for the wonderful tips!

  5. Lori Z. says:

    If you have young kids, you pick them up and run straight to Peter Pan! Cover their eyes so they can’t be distracted if need be! Otherwise you’re looking at an hour wait minimum no matter what time of year it is!

    We were there on the same day by the way. You were probably one of the lucky duckys that got to walk right past us and in before the park really opened and we had to wait on main street. So fun!

  6. Great tips… and all very honest!
    So glad you had such a great time. I love the photos of you when you were little.

  7. Badger Momma says:

    My favorite time is actually Christmas time. Never been to Disneyland. But Disneyworld was wonderful at Christmas.

  8. Heidi Bokor says:

    Fast passes…..those are the key when going to Disneyland! My brother and his wife are Disney Pro’s….literally! They have it down pat. They get a fast pass for something, then go and do something else. By the time they get the other thing done, they are ready to use their fast pass! There was only one time when using the fast pass was still a LONG wait and that was for Space Mountain. It’s the only ride we had to wait for for an hour! Then after we got done with the ride, they discontinued the cab we were riding in for some unknown reason and then sent us to the front of the line to go on a second time with no wait!!! It was awesome. My 5 year old was in heaven. So, for anyone going…remember the fast passes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. molomatic says:

    Thanks for all of the info. We are hoping to take our daughter in the next year or so (she’s 4)!

  10. Sarah says:

    Great tips! We’ll be taking our soon to be 4 year old soon for his first visit, I don’t know who is more excited – him or me!

  11. Marquel says:

    Thank you for the tips! I haven’t been to Disneyland since I was a small child, but I have Disney World close by me. I can’t wait till my son’s a little older & we can take him.

  12. makayla says:

    Thanks for the Christmas day Disney day tip.

  13. Kelly Deaton says:

    Thanks for the tips. We have two small children and we can’t wait to take them to Disneyland. My greatest fear is not being able to do everything we want to do b/c we don’t have enough time or we spend way too much time standing in line. I want my kids to experience it for all it’s worth. We’ll definitely remember your “tips for success”. Thanks for sharing!

  14. Trina says:

    I absolutely love going to Disney. We try to go in February to March before any of the spring breaks hit. We have never had a problem with long lines and have only had rain once, and that was for only about 2 hours time. Also it is not so hot that you are uncomfortable spending the time outside.

  15. Wanda says:

    I love Disneyland, too. I live in metro LA so I’ve been there many times, and I agree with the above tips. If you’re coming from a distance, please, please try to allow for at least two days there, especially if your children are a little older and have minds of their own. It’s almost impossible to see and do everything you want to do in one day, plus eat, visit rest rooms, shop, etc. And the lines can be very long, even with good planning. By all means, try to avoid major vacation weeks. But in California, school vacations are staggered and most weeks in springtime will have plenty of local kids out of school, plus group excursions you’d never predict in advance. Yes, go midweek and toward the end of winter – summer gets very hot and very crowded. Wear a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Bring plenty of cash, as it’s a little pricy and you’ll need to buy bottled water (you can’t bring in your own), meals and snacks, plus souvenirs, especially for a family. Take the map/program at the gate, and plan to sit down to watch a show or two just to get off your feet. Be patient. Look around at everything, because it’s truly magical. And welcome to California – you’ll have a blast!


  16. jennifer says:

    been going to disney every year since 1991. probably have been there every month out of the year. i love going the first week of may. as long as my kids are doing well in school i pull them out for a week. the weather in floida is usually high 80’s and there are virtually no lines. if they want to see characters for dinner we like going to chef mickeys at the contemprary hotel. (need reservations months in advance or get there 45 minutes before they open to get on list)

  17. Jenn says:

    We have only been once. Even though it was cold we had a good time and made some great memories. Definitely will plan it a little better next time.

  18. Charlene Kuser says:

    We have never been to Disneyland,maybe some day.You are so lucky to have a Mom that
    worked for the company.That is just so amazing.It would take me sixteen hours by car
    to get there.Very nice pictures of your family

  19. tree says:

    i love the old Disney pictures! i went when i was 10 or 11 maybe, and really don’t remember that much. We have talked about taking the kids one year, my folks spend the holidays in Florida, but still haven’t made it there yet. Maybe next year!

  20. Tammy Klain says:

    I was thinking of going to Disney for Thanksgiving and was wondering if it would be packed. I am glad I came across this. We went 2 years ago the first week in September and it was soo uncrowded..I guess because most kids start school. I definately would book again that week!

  21. sara says:

    Thanks for the post! We have a Disneyland account, and have been trying to decide when the best time to go is — best time as in how old the kids should be!

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