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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 the parks during summer to manage crowds and the heat.
Disneyland During The Summer – What To Know
If you are visiting Disneyland in the summer, you might have a few questions. Here is everything to know when deciding if you want to book that vacation.
First though, 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… I have found that they have some hotel availability that shows sold-out when looking at the hotel’s website. (Yay for room blocks!)
With the return of traditional meet and greets (hugging Mickey!), nighttime entertainment, and conventions to Anaheim, Disneyland vacations will need to be booked early this year. Don’t forget that you need a valid theme park reservation to enter the parks as well.
When Is Summer Season At Disneyland?
Summer Season at Disneyland officially kicks off Memorial Day Weekend (usually that Friday) and lasts until Labor Day. In 2021, they kicked off Halloween Time at Disneyland the Friday before Labor Day, but we won’t know those dates until later this year.
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, and so the crowds can fluctuate a lot during that time.
In general, you will see crowds comparable to spring and fall break (not Thanksgiving, but mid-October) 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
What Are The Park Hours During Summer?
One of the benefits of going to Disneyland in summer is that the park has long hours.
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 will stay open until 1 am most nights.
Be sure to check the schedule for your visit and plan accordingly.
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.
What Entertainment Options Are Happening This Summer at Disneyland?
Another reason I love summer at Disneyland is that almost all of the entertainment options are available to guests.
Fireworks are nightly (weather permitting), World of Color and Fantasmic return in 2022, and may be shown nightly, and also this year, the Main Street Electrical Parade returns to celebrate its 50th Anniversary.
Other entertainment options include Celebration of The Lion King, entertainment in Avengers Campus, and more.
The Disneyland entertainment schedule can be found in 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 vacation.
How Many Days To Visit Disneyland in Summer
It is important that if you are going for summer your expectations are realistic. This means that you know you most likely cannot do EVERYTHING in one day.
Check out my full guide to decide how many days to visit Disneyland, but I suggest no less than three days.
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 park opening (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.
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 de-hydration 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 for 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.
I suggest heading 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, and then 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 just 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 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?