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Disneyland is a popular summer destination. If you are planning to visit The Happiest Place On Earth this summer, be sure to read this guide. In it, you will find all of the information about crowds, weather, and what to expect. Plus, I am spilling my go-to strategy for how I do Disneyland in summer to manage crowds and the heat.
Disneyland has a lot to offer this summer. Between the new Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway and reimagined Mickey’s Toontown, to the Hyperion Premiere of “Rogers, The Musical” you will want to plan a visit. Plus as MagicBands at Disneyland add more features, there is plenty of magic to unlock this summer at Disneyland Resort.
This post was originally published in June 2017 and is updated annually.
In This Article
Summer at Disneyland – Booking Your Visit
If you are visiting Disneyland in the summer, you might have a few questions. Here is everything to know as you book that summer vacation.
First, when you do book, make sure you save money by booking through my partners at Get Away Today. Not only do they have discounted tickets, free hotel nights, and more… They have personal relationships with the hotels they work with in Anaheim, so you will be taken care of.
You can book by clicking the button below, or call their amazing team at 855-GET-AWAY and be sure to tell them Becca from This Crazy Adventure Called Life sent you so you lock in all of my special deals.
Without further ado, here are the things you need to know before booking a Disneyland trip for the summer months.
With the Disney 100 Celebration bringing the new Wonderous Journey Fireworks at Disneyland, World of Color – One at Disney California Adventure Park, and Magic Happens Parade now showing – Disneyland vacations will need to be booked early this year.
Don’t forget that you still need a valid theme park reservation to enter the parks as well.
Check park reservation availability before booking your vacation.
Choose The Right Disneyland Tickets
When choosing tickets for your tickets for the Disneyland resort theme parks during summer, you will want to figure out how many days to visit Disneyland to get the most out of your trip.
Day tickets to Disneyland, for one day, tend to be priced higher in the summer seasons (one-day tickets have dynamic pricing) so you will get a much better value purchasing a multi-day ticket. Be sure to check my ticket partner’s website for a special ticket offer that could save you even more.
In addition, buying a multi-day ticket will help you be able to do more, during the peak season at Disneyland. It also allows you to take mid-day breaks at your Disneyland area hotel, or by taking in shows like Tale of the Lion King or Rogers The Musical (coming Summer 2023 to the Hyperion in California Adventure).
I also suggest when you purchase your tickets, you pre-purchase Genie+. Genie+ at Disneyland allows you access to Lightning Lanes, photopass downloads, and more. It is a great way to maximize your time and avoid long lines at Disneyland.
The last add-on you may want for your tickets is the Disneyland Parkhopping option. This option allows you to visit both parks in the same day. Find out if parkhopping at Disneyland is a good fit for your travel group.
READ MORE ABOUT THE TOPICS MENTIONED ABOVE:
- How Many Days Do You Need At Disneyland
- How To Make Disneyland Park Reservations
- Genie+ at Disneyland – Lightning Lanes and More
- Should You Parkhop?
Choose Your Hotel Wisely
When choosing a hotel for your vacation, there are dozens upon dozens of options.
Disney Owned Hotels
You may choose to stay as Disneyland Resort hotel guests so you can access Early Entry at the parks each morning.
If you want to stay onsite, Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa is a great option due to its proximity to the park. The hotel has its own entrance into California Adventure, right near Grizzly River Run. The hotel also offers multiple pools, and cabanas along with poolside dining. I have always enjoyed my stays at the Grand Californian.
The Disneyland Hotel is a great choice in the hot summer months as families love the multiple, large pools, Monorail Water Slides, and splash area.
Paradise Pier Hotel – soon to be Pixar Place Hotel – is further away, and while the hotel is not my first choice of Disneyland Resort hotels, it does have the tallest water slide of the three Disney-owned properties.
In the summer, Disneyland-owned hotels often have a summer block party-style event at the pools. Check with the hotel for times.
Walking Distance Hotels
If the Disney hotels are out of your budget, or just not your cup of tea, you may be looking for a nearby hotel. Harbor Blvd has great hotels, across the street from Disneyland, for all budgets and families.
A great reason to pick one of these walking-distance hotels is that you can easily take a mid-day break to avoid the hot afternoons in the parks, which are also the most crowded parts of the day.
You can easily return to the parks for magical summer nights.
Hotels With Great Pools
Of course, if you are taking a mid-day break on a hot summer day, nothing may be better than a great pool area. There are some Anaheim area Disneyland hotels with amazing pools, such as Courtyard Anaheim Theme Park Entrance, Howard Johnson Anaheim (both feature water parks or playgrounds), and SunCoast by Hilton.
READ MORE ABOUT TOPICS IN THIS SECTION:
- Early Entry at Disneyland – Get in 30 Minutes Early
- 13 Best Harbor Blvd Hotels Across The Street From Disneyland
- Disneyland Area Hotels with the Best Pools
- Hotels for Large Families Near Disneyland
Summer at Disneyland – What To Expect In The Parks
Summer Season at Disneyland officially kicks off Memorial Day Weekend (usually that Friday) and lasts until Labor Day. In recent years, they kicked off Halloween Time at Disneyland the Friday before Labor Day.
While Early September is considered “fall” or Halloween season at Disneyland, it is still quite hot, and most of the tips in this post will still apply.
With that information, you may be wondering what you can expect in the parks during these summer months.
Disneyland theme parks can be hot and crowded, or they may be quite pleasant in both attendance and temperature. Here is what to know as you head into the parks during summer in Southern California.
What Are Disneyland Crowds Like During the Summer?
The most popular question people have no matter when they are visiting Disneyland is about the crowd levels.
Summer at Disneyland is over three months long, so the crowds can fluctuate a lot during that time.
In general, you will see crowds comparable to spring and October fall break breaks. This means you can expect to see longer wait times in the middle of the day and will need to plan dining early… especially if you are hoping to snag a seat in the shade.
Crowds tend to be the worst in June, before the lower Magic Keyholders, usually Southern California Residents, are blocked out, around the 4th of July, and in mid-late August, as well as the kick-off Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend.
If July 24th falls between Friday and Monday, I have noticed an uptick in attendance then as Utah has a state holiday, so when it is attached to a weekend, some families use it to travel down.
Should Crowds Stop You From Going to Disneyland in Summer?
No matter the crowds, it is still possible to have a good time at Disneyland. I have my go-to strategy for our summer visits further down in this post.
Honestly, though, the best time to visit Disneyland is whatever works for your family, and with the right Disneyland Tips, you will still have an amazing visit to the home of Mickey Mouse and his friends.
A note about Crowd Calendars:
While it may be tempting to rely on a Disneyland Crowd Calendar, remember these are best guesses made based on previous years and Disneyland announcements of special events and new offerings.
Also, one person’s busy, is another person’s pleasantly un-crowded. So just take these with a grain of salt (unless you are on a low-sodium diet – sorry, couldn’t help myself).
What is the Weather Like at Disneyland During Summer?
The weather in California is always fickle in my opinion. I have said in most of my Disneyland Monthly Guides, as well as my Spring Break Guide, that the best thing to do is to check the weather a few days before your trip.
That said, there are some norms for each month of the summer season at Disneyland.
Californians refer to the weather in June as “June Gloom” and for good reason. Oftentimes, the mornings will be gloomy, filled with marine fog, sometimes light rain, and cooler temps. This is especially true in early June.
As the day goes on, the skies may clear up, but they are just as likely to remain cloudy and humid.
If it is also hot during a cloudy and humid day, expect to feel like you are wrapped in a warm, wet blanket.
In no way is the humidity as bad as at Walt Disney World in the summer, but if you are coming from a dryer state, it can feel pretty miserable.
July Is Heating Up
July is when you start to see the temperatures really rise and the days are usually pretty warm. The long days of summer are in full swing at this point.
Water rides are a great way to cool off.
Grizzly River Run will be open, but there is a chance that Splash Mountain may close at Disneyland before the summer months. (To be reimagined into Tiana’s Bayou Adventure)
You will definitely want to read up on our tips to stay cool at Disneyland and plan accordingly.
While the days will be warm, the nights cool down pretty well once the sun goes down. If a breeze comes in you may still want a light sweater.
Hot August Nights
August is hot at Disneyland. It may even be the hottest month of the year in Anaheim.
Be sure you stay hydrated.
You will find the hottest parts of the day to be between one and four in the afternoon, so this is a great time to seek out shade, air conditioning, or even head back to your hotel for a pool break or nap.
Disneyland Foodie Tip: Grab a Dole Whip at Disneyland and enjoy the Enchanted Tiki Room, an iconic Disneyland Attraction, mid-day to beat that heat!
What Are The Park Hours During Summer?
One of the benefits of going to Disneyland in summer is that the park has long hours.
On most days, Disneyland Park will be open from 8 am to midnight, while California Adventure will be open from 8 am to 10 pm.
Downtown Disney District will stay open until 1 am most nights.
Be sure to check the schedule for your visit and plan accordingly.
Early Mornings And Late Nights
Utilizing the extended park hours is the best way to make the most of your Disneyland days. Disneyland Rope Drop is a great way to start the day strong while there are fewer crowds in the park. Additionally, late nights are a great way to enjoy lower crowds but also see the park in a whole different way.
Some of my favorite lands to enjoy at night include the superhero-filled Avenger’s Campus, specifically the Ancient Sanctum of Doctor Strange. You will enjoy a completely different experience here at night. Avengers Campus has all your favorite superheroes, even during the evening hours.
Additionally, Pixar Pier with the lighting makes it feel like a summer evening at the county fair.
Insider Tip: While many Pixar Pier attractions close early for World of Color, Toy Story Midway Mania remains open, just with the main attraction sign lights off. You can usually ride with a much shorter wait during this time.
On the Disneyland Park Side, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is a great place to enjoy the fireworks or explore the area with the Bounty Hunters game.
I have also spent many summer nights at Disneyland enjoying Tomorrowland. During this season, you can usually find a dance party happening nightly at the Tomorrowland Terrace. Or you can enjoy some room to just soak in the atmosphere near Space Mountain with some popcorn.
Are All The Rides Open During Summer at Disneyland?
During summer in Disneyland, most of the rides are usually operational. However, there can be unexpected ride closures, longer refurbishments, and even short-term planned maintenance closures.
In my monthly Disneyland guides I cover what is closed each month so be sure to check those out. I update them a few weeks before the month starts.
In mid-August, Haunted Mansion will close to add the Nightmare Before Christmas theming for Haunted Mansion Holiday (which runs from Halloween through the Holidays at Disneyland).
What Entertainment Options Are Happening This Summer at Disneyland 2023?
Another reason I love summer at Disneyland is that almost all of the entertainment options are available to guests.
Nighttime Entertainment Options
Nighttime has a myriad of entertainment options in the summer at Disneyland. You will find plenty to do, in both parks.
Fantasmic is on hiatus until further notice after a technical issue caused the dragon to catch fire.
Wonderous Journey Fireworks are nightly (weather permitting). This limited-time spectacular is a mesmerizing mix of Disney Storytelling, music, and special effects.
The last showing of Wonderous Journey for 2023 will be August 31, 2023. While vague, the wording in the announcement does make it seem like it may return in 2024.
World of Color – One (at California Adventure) and Fantasmic (at Disneyland) will both show nightly at their respective parks.
Important note: World of Color – One utilizes a Virtual Queue system. Limited standby viewing may be available without a virtual queue group.
Tomorrowland Dance Parties
During the summer months, the Tomorrowland Dance Parties become a nightly event. The theme changes each season. 2022 was themed to Lilo and Stitch and featured our favorite characters in their luau attire.
We are still waiting to learn what the Summer 2023 theme will be for this Disneyland hit.
ICYMI: The Main Street Electrical Parade ended it’s limited time run in 2022. The current parade is covered below. Though I still am wishing for a surprise announcement that Paint The Night will return.
Daytime Entertainment at Disneyland Summer 2023
The daytime hours still have plenty of entertainment options available to guests. In 2023 we will even see some of our favorite Disney Characters in new ways.
Rogers, The Musical
Good news for Avengers fans – Rogers, The Musical will have a limited time run at the Hyperion in the Hollywood backlot in California Adventure. Based off an episode from the Disney+ Series Hawkeye, Rogers is a one-act musical featuring Captain America and other Marvel characters.
Rogers, The Musical will debut on June 30, 2023 and run most Tues-Saturdays.
Magic Happens Parade
Just before the closure, Disneyland had premiered a new parade, Magic Happens. The parade had a short two-week run and then… boom. The world shut down, and Disneyland closed its gates for 14 months.
The lively, and visually appealing parade has made its official return to Disneyland. Feature colorful costumes, classic and new Disney characters, and a great soundtrack you will love this parade.
The parade is a different experience in the evening, so I hope that may mean we will see an extra, late-night run of the parade at Disneyland in the summer.
Tale of the Lion King
This started out as “Celebration of the Lion King” in California Adventure several summers ago. While this show is now year-round, we hope that the summer will bring additional showings. You can catch this musical tribute to the culture and stories of Africa in the Fantasyland Theater.
Classic Disneyland Entertainment Options
Of course, the entertainment options listed above are just a tasting of what Disneyland offers. You can find entertainment throughout the parks, from the Dapper Dans or the Disneyland Band, to shows by your favorite Avengers, and plays in the Royal Theater.
Be sure to check the entertainment schedule online or via the Disneyland App.
July 17th is Disneyland’s Birthday. While big celebrations do not happen every year, you may find increased crowds at Disneyland Park on this day.
Tips For Visiting Disneyland During the Summer
Between the heat and the crowds, you may be wondering if you can possibly have a good vacation at Disneyland in the summer. I am here to tell you that yes, you definitely can.
With a little planning, some flexibility, and a dose of realistic expectations, you can have a great Disneyland summer vacation.
Below are my go-to tips that I use for my summer park strategy.
Get To The Parks Early
My biggest tip for visiting Disneyland in the summer is to get to the parks early. You have probably heard of the term Rope Drop.
This basically means getting to Disneyland at least 30 minutes before the park opens (more if possible) and hitting the rides hard as soon as the park opens.
This not only keeps you moving before it gets too hot, but the crowd levels also tend to be a lot lower.
If you like to sleep in on vacation, plan an “off day” in the middle of your vacation where you can sleep in.
If you are one of the eligible guests staying at a Disney Owned property- use Early Entry to get even more done at the parks.
Use Disney Genie+
Disney Genie+ will be essential for your Disneyland summer vacation. Genie+ grants you access to Lightning Lanes on select attractions. Lightning Lanes are a shorter wait and help you get more done, and keep you out of a long line in the summer heat.
Hydrate and Stay Cool
Yes, this is part of my summer vacation strategy. Staying hydrated and keeping cool helps you keep your energy up.
Nothing is worse than getting sick at Disney, and dehydration is an awful sickness to have.
Also, staying cool at Disney helps you be able to handle the crowds better. Some of the ways I stay cool are by bringing cooling towels, planning water rides right before lunch, and taking a mid-day break.
Take a Mid-Day Break
The hottest part of the day also tends to be when lines are longest at Disneyland in the summer. This is why my summer strategy always includes a mid-day break.
I usually tend to head back to my hotel between noon and one and enjoy the hotel pool, take a nap, a shower to freshen up, or just enjoy the air conditioning.
Head back to the park around 4:30. I find by 5 or 6 the park has cooled down quite a bit, and I can enjoy dinner. Then I hit up some rides, take in the nighttime entertainment, and if I have the energy, stay late for the low crowds that come around 10 or 10:30 at night.
Take Advantage of Late Nights
As I have mentioned, I like to take advantage of the late nights in the summer at Disneyland. One way to do this is by riding attractions while nighttime entertainment is happening.
Fireworks, Fantasmic, and World of Color all draw large crowds and cause shorter lines in the parks. Take advantage of that time if you are not watching the shows yourself.
After the fireworks, many families tend to head out of the parks, and lines continue to decrease throughout the night.
And don’t worry, as long as you hop in a line before the closing time, even if it is 11:59 pm, the park closes at midnight, and there is a 50-minute wait… you will be able to wait in line and ride.
Times To Avoid Disneyland In The Summer
Even with these tips, there are a few times you will want to avoid Disneyland in the summer.
Probably the most notable is the 4th of July. This holiday can be hit or miss on crowd levels, but many of the people entering Disneyland park are simply there to stake out a seat for the Fireworks, so even if it is crowded, that doesn’t mean the rides will have long lines.
I also suggest avoiding the beginning of June and the last half of August if possible. These times are filled with locals whose passes are blocked from mid-June to mid-August, getting their visits in before/after the black-out dates.
Finally, in spring, we often find that the weekends are less crowded. This tends to also be true during summer, except for the holiday weekends.
With local Magic Keyholders blocked on weekends (except the top passes), and the fact that most out-of-state people travel Monday – Friday, Saturday, and Sunday tends to be more enjoyable. So if you can, plan to visit the parks on the weekend during your vacation.
Above all else, if you are heading to Disneyland in summer, be prepared for the heat and crowds, but go with a good attitude and you can still have a great time.
Will you be heading to Disneyland this summer?