Our Disneyland Experience: The Planning Stage – Timing Your Trip

We’ve already talked about our Disneyland Budget and Tickets, so let’s move along.

When should you go to Disneyland?

NOT in the summer.  I mean, seriously.  Why would you do that to yourself? It’s massively hot, especially if you are running from ride to ride or standing an insanely long line because EVERYONE and their grandmother decided to visit while on their summer vacation.

I consulted several websites that showed Disneyland crowd levels, and my favorite one was on Touring Plans.  They rank the days on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the most crowded.  Check out those summer months and you’ll see what I mean.

I’m going to talk to you as a former teacher now:  Any time your children spend on a family vacation, especially one that takes them to a new place and exposes them to new things, is time well spent.  It’s a valuable educational opportunity.  Don’t feel guilty about taking them out of school.

It’s even better if you create teachable moments.  For example:  “The sign said the wait is 30 minutes, and we’ve been in the line for 12 minutes.  How many minutes do we have left?”  My 6-year old was ALL over that.  We also talked about rounding up to the nearest dollar when buying food from the carts, had a little lesson about taxes (since we don’t have sales tax in Oregon, the boys had no idea that there was such thing as tax), and learned a bit about California geography.  PLUS, before our trip, we watched Disney classics so that my boys would become familiar with some of the characters they would see!  My homeschool friend told me that it was as if I were teaching a unit with a field trip at the end!  Yes, ma’am, I was!

If we get to go to Disneyland again any time soon, we will do it in January, February, September or October.  September crowds are the lowest, though!  We actually had planned on trying to do our trip over Thanksgiving, but then I saw the crowd level and immediately changed plans!  I’m SO glad we did.

We arrived on a Sunday, and the crowds were terrible by mid-day, and they were only a 5 out of 10.  Monday through Thursday, they were 1 or 2.  WONDERFUL!  We were able to get right on most rides and our longest wait was probably 25 minutes at the busiest time of the day (for Midway Mania, of course).

Timing also plays a part in the cost of your hotel.  I’ll talk about our hotel experience in my next post!  Stay tuned!

Question time:  How were the crowds on your Disneyland trip and what time of year did you visit?  Share in the comments so we can all benefit!

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