Disneyland when it's crowded

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Guess what? The Disneyland Resort can be very crowded. Surprised? I didn’t think so. Crowd levels can be especially high during Spring Break, Summer Break, Holidays and special events and holiday weekends. School breaks of any kind are usually pretty busy too. But, want to know a secret? Even if you’re visiting on a crowded day, you can still have a great time at the Disneyland Park!

I’ve compiled my favorite tips to make sure you have a wonderful day at Disneyland when it’s crowded. Whether this is your first time at Disneyland or you visit frequently, I know these tips will help your crowded days in the parks turn into some of your best days at disneyland.

Disneyland doesn’t often reach full capacity anymore, especially with the new reservation system in place. But, it’s still a popular place which means there will always be crowds. Don’t let them get you down! Disney is what you make it!

If you’re trying to decide when to visit, I have Disneyland crowd calendars for every month of the year! This will be helpful for you as your trying to find the best time of year for your family to visit. You can find them here.

I’ve got a podcast episode about visiting Disneyland when it’s crowded. Check it out!

Buy Your Tickets Ahead Of Time

When you’re planning your Disneyland visit, you need to know that park tickets AND park reservations are required to enter the Disney parks. Make sure you have both! Please don’t pay full price for your vacation! My partners at Get Away Today have the very best prices on park tickets.

There tickets are always discounted off the gate price. They also have incredible deals on hotels. A good hotel room can make all the difference in your vacation! Their customer service is incredible and they even have layaway plans! If you’re booking a package with them, you can use my code MIX10 to save an extra $10. That’s more churro money! I’ve been using them for 15 years and I won’t buy my tickets anywhere else! Check them out here.

Arrive Early

Rope Dropping At Disneyland

I can’t recommend this enough! “Rope Dropping” Disneyland is the best thing you can do to take advantage of lower crowds in the morning. I’ve got a whole post about rope dropping here with tons of great info, but here’s a quick overview.

The parks will open their gates and start letting people inside 20-30 minutes before the parks open(even earlier on a very busy day). You can enter the park, take a few pictures, maybe see a character or two, browse a shop and be lined up at the castle when the park opens.

This means you will have about 2 hours of low crowds and low wait times. This is the best two hours of the day and you will be able to accomplish so much. While everyone else is getting to the park at opening and waiting in a long line to go through security and then another long line to get their ticket scanned you will be riding on Space Mountain and blessing my name. Promise.

The afternoon are some of the busiest times of the day and usually have big crowds. Luckily, you will have accomplished so much in the morning that you won’t mind so much!

Use Genie Plus

Disney Genie Plus at Disneyland

Genie Plus is the new system that replaced the old MaxPass/Fastpass system. The new system utilizes Lightning Lanes to get Genie Plus guests onto select attractions like Haunted Mansion,”it’s a small world” and Space Mountain faster. This is a great way to to experience low wait times on the most popular attractions. It is an additional fee. You can read more about it here.

Make A Plan

Having a good plan for your day is important, especially if you’re visiting Disneyland when it’s crowded. I’m not suggesting you plan every second of your day(unless you want to!), but a basic outline for your day can really save time. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen families standing around discussing what they should do next!

Talk with your group before hand and create a “must do” list. Make these things a priority and do your best to get to these attractions/activities first. If you do this, then anything extra will just feel like a bonus! I do have a free printable touring plan that I update each month for Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park. You can find it here. It’s a good way to tour Disneyland without the stress!

Feeling overwhelmed with planning? I have planning phone calls available where I can answer all of your questions and help you plan your Disneyland vacation! I also create custom plans that will help you avoid stress and long lines. You can find out more info about both packages here.

Take A break In The Afternoon

In my experience, at some point in the afternoon a good portion of your group is going to fall apart. You, might fall apart too. At this time, you are going to wonder why in the world you brought these ungrateful souls to Disneyland. This is normal. I call it “the witching hour”. It doesn’t last forever, but this is a good time to take a break!

Seriously, people get grumpy midday and need a break. For some families, that means leaving the parks for a nap or swimming at the hotel. For other families, staying at the park and doing something low key is the perfect break.

If you want to stay in the parks, I suggest a show, parade or just a ride on the train around the park. You just need some down time. A snack will also help. I recommend a churro and a big diet coke.

However your break looks, it is needed. Once you’ve regrouped everyone will be happier and ready for the rest of your magical day.

Mobile Ordering

Did you know you can use your Disneyland app to order food? You can! It’s may be the best thing ever. Just open up the app, select the restaurant you want to order from and you’re on your way! You can pay using the app. It’s a great option.

You skip long lines for food with starving, crying children! Instead, you just order on the app and pick up your food right at the window. This is a game changer and free to use. Take advantage of it! I use this at Disneyland when it’s crowded and on slow days.

Uncrowded Attractions On Crowded Days

If you need a break from large crowds there’s plenty of places you can go to hideout! Here are my favorites things to do at Disneyland when it’s crowded that will keep you out of long lines and away from crazy crowds.


  • Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln
  • Main Street Cinema(they show old Mickey Mouse cartoons)
  • Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough
  • Tom Sawyer’s Island
  • Mark Twain Riverboat
  • Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room
  • Toontown(Currently closed until Spring 2023)
  • Tarzan’s Treehouse

California Adventure

  • Turtle Talk with Crush
  • Animator’s Academy
  • Sorcerer’s Workshop
  • Mickey’s Philharmagic
  • Redwood Creek Challenge Trail
  • The Bakery Tour

More Options For Beating Crowds

Need more ideas to tackle Disneyland when it’s crowded? No problem, I’ve got you!

  • Meet the Characters. They are everywhere! Use your Disneyland app to find them.
  • Watch a show or live performance.
  • Get Pictures! Take advantage of the photographers and have them take some pictures for you! They will happily use your phone/camera if you prefer.
  • Look for hidden mickeys. They are all over the parks!
  • Take a break in Downtown Disney.

A Few Extra Tips

  • Use the single rider line and/or rider switch if possible! This can save you hours in long lines. I’ve got lots of information about rider switch here.
  • Be prepared for some long lines. That’s just part of a Disney vacation. Make sure your kids know they will need to wait. I’ve got lots of ideas to keep kids(and adults) happy in long lines.
  • If you have a questions, ask a cast member! They are full of great info!
  • Have a good attitude! Going into Disneyland when it’s crowded with a good attitude will make a huge difference. So, it’s a little crowded? So what! You’re at Disneyland for crying out loud! You’re living your best Disney life and your going to have an amazing time!

I hope this helps you navigate Disneyland when it’s crowded. It really is the happiest place on earth! If you need more Disneyland tips, I’ve got them!