When Is Shoulder Season at Disneyland? The Best Times to Visit Disney Parks

With summer ending and school in session, it’s the perfect time to beat crowds and take advantage of cheap travel and Disneyland’s shoulder season is where it’s at. A trip to The Happiest Place on Earth is undoubtedly expensive, however, traveling during the off-peak season can save you money on airfare, hotels, and even admission costs. Curious to know when the best time to visit Disneyland and Disney World is? We share everything you need to know about Disney World and Disneyland shoulder season, below.

Disneyland Hong Kong
Shoulder season is the best time to visit Disneyland.| EnchantedFairy/iStock/Getty Images

Disneyland shoulder season

Peak season at Disneyland typically means costly hotel rates, airfare, and admission — not to mention: The crowds reach all-time highs. If you have the bandwidth to travel to Disneyland during the shoulder season, it’s highly recommended. Disneyland shoulder season typically falls between mid-September and mid-November, mid-January and mid-March, and mid-April through mid-May. However, there are a few dates in between to be wary of:

Fall shoulder season

Visiting Disneyland in the fall is a great way to experience the magic on a budget. These dates typically fall between mid-September and mid-November — however, you might want to steer clear during Halloween time. Between the park decorations and Mickey’s Halloween Party, tickets and hotel accommodations can be more expensive during this time. Also, it’s ultra crowded. If you wish to visit Disneyland in the fall, try to plan your trip around these dates to avoid any mishaps.

Winter shoulder season

Wintertime is a great time to visit Disneyland and California Adventure. The weather is typically cooler — by California standards — and the crowds tend to die down after the New Year. The winter shoulder season is usually around mid-January to mid-March. However, President’s Day weekend can get a bit crowded. To avoid crowds and score off-peak admission, it’s best to avoid the holiday weekend and visit another time during the Disneyland shoulder season.

Spring shoulder season

Hoping to visit Disneyland on a budget in the spring? It’s totally possible. If you can avoid spring break, the parks tend to be less crowded and more affordable during the week between mid-April and mid-May.

Walt Disney World shoulder season

Like Disneyland, Walt Disney World also has shoulder seasons. According to Mouse Savers, the best times to visit Walt Disney World is mid-November to mid-December, the second week of January to mid-February, the first few weeks of May, and late August to end of September. That said, even the shoulder season can get busy. Here are some of the dates to avoid:

Summer shoulder season

Visiting the Magic Kingdom and other Walt Disney World parks in the summer are crowded and hot. In addition, admission, hotel, and airline fares might be a financial nightmare. Save money and visit at the end of summer in late August until the end of September. Mouse Savers says even Labor Day Weekend is a safe bet, however, holidays at Disney can get crowded, so you might want to check the forecast before going.

Note: The weather during this time is very hot. It’s also peak hurricane season. Albeit empty, you might want to consider either going at a different shoulder season or visiting a water park during your stay.

Fall shoulder season

After Halloween is another great time to visit Walt Disney World. Christmas decorations are typically up and the weather cools down a lot during this time. That said, you might want to avoid going during the week of Thanksgiving — especially on Thanksgiving — as many have fall break and spend the holiday at The Happiest Place on Earth. During the fall shoulder season, weekends are more crowded than weekdays, but it doesn’t always translate to large occupancy.

Winter shoulder season

Looking for the least busy day of the year at Disney World? The second week of January until mid-February is your best bet. In addition to lower crowds, hotel fares drop in price and the weather is much cooler. Like Disneyland, many advise staying away during holiday weekends.

Spring shoulder season

Spring is a popular time to visit Disney World. However, you might be able to squeeze in some savings — and low occupancy days — during the first three weeks of May. Hotel prices are higher than other shoulder seasons but are still moderate compared to peak times. Memorial Day Weekend is also more crowded, but allegedly not as crowded as you’d expect.

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