Its the Happiest Place on Earth. Its magical. The name alone puts a smile on your face. Its Disneyland. For many families, Disneyland is the BIG vacation they dream about, plan, and save for. Our family has been planning a Disneyland trip for about two years. So you can imagine the squeals of delight when we presented each child with a printed ticket at the dinner table last night. So, when are we going?
Timing a Disneyland vacation is very important, very important. Summer months can be hot with long lines. Holiday weeks are similarly crowded, at times reaching maximum capacity (!). Throughout the year, various rides are closed for maintenance. So if you have a favorite, be sure to check before you book. Ticket prices fluctuate, but are often cheaper at the beginning of the year and most expensive in the summer.
Want a miserable time? Be sure to go the first Saturday in July (4th of July weekend) during a heat wave, paying maximum price for maximum lines.
We are planning on going early December. Disneyland is decorated for the holidays in quality Disney style complete with parades, fireworks, and specialty shows (like Fantasmic). And though Thanksgiving week and the last two weeks of December are more crowded than even the summer months, the first two weeks of December are fairly quiet. As for ride closures, usually none are scheduled between Thanksgiving and New Year's. Motel rates are reasonable with plenty of vacancies. The weather should be mild (though you always risk a cold front or storm). The catch? We are pulling the kids out of school.
Other good times to go are during October when the park is decorated for Halloween, mid-September which is usually the least crowded time of the year, and any time in the Spring except the two weeks around Easter and Spring Break. Have to go in the summer because of school or work schedules? Go the first week of June or the last week of August and make sure to take advantage of any early morning admittance, stay until closing, and rest during the insane afternoons.
I also recommend you go for more than one day. There is just too much to see or do and trying to pick among your favorites will be almost impossible. Going during a weekday (preferably Tuesday or Wednesday) as well as a weekend day (preferably Friday) allows you to take advantage of more shows and later weekend hours one day as well as the short lines and smaller crowds on your weekday.
So enjoy the happiest place on Earth during the happiest time of the year!