Is it Packed?: Disneyland Crowds in June
There’s nothing better than a trip to Disneyland. Thanks to Southern California’s weather there’s never a bad time to plan a visit, but each month comes with its own travel advisories that are important to keep in mind in order to make the most out of your trip.
June is a popular time to visit the Disneyland Resort as schools go on summer break and families look to hit the road on vacation. The biggest question when planning a trip to Disneyland in June: Is Disneyland busy in June? The simple answer is yes, it is, because there really aren’t any “slow” times at Disneyland anymore.
However, June brings with it a unique set of scheduling challenges, all of which we’ll discuss in this article, and we’ll also talk about how June 2019 will change everything for Disneyland thanks to the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
When it comes to planning a trip to Disneyland in June, here are the main things to consider:
- Local Schools on Vacation
- Grad Nite
- Annual Passport Blockout Dates
- Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
We’ll also look at the best practices for planning a trip in June, how crowd flow impacts wait times and character meet and greets, and whether arriving in June will give your family the best Disney experience possible.
Relatively speaking, there’s never a bad time to be at Disneyland when it comes to weather. There are legions of Disney fans who enjoy rainy days at the park. Thankfully, you won’t see much rain in June, but you might experience June Gloom. The thick marine layer won’t burn off until later in the morning and into the early afternoon, which means the skies will be grey for most of the day.
Even with June Gloom the days will be warm and enjoyable, but you might need a light jacket once the sun goes down. Southern California evenings can be chilly, made even more so when you factor in the humidity that can make it feel cooler than it really is.
In terms of weather, June is a great month to experience the original Magic Kingdom. Just don’t be surprised if you don’t see blue skies until the end of the day, if at all.
Local Schools on Vacation
Disneyland is situated in Anaheim, which is a city in Orange County that is tucked between Los Angeles County and San Diego County. As such there are three major school districts with different schedules operating in a 150-mile radius.
Each week in June will see more local schools start their summer vacation. Southern California K-12 schools start school in late August and early September and they get out in June, but the schedules are staggered so that they don’t tend to overlap. (The same thing applies to spring breaks, which take place anywhere from late February to the end of April)
When planning a trip to Disneyland in June, consider that as the weeks tick by, the more there will be local students on break as well. This is important to note because many local families have Annual Passports and they make liberal use of the park on a daily basis.
Even when school is in session you’ll see Disneyland and Disney California Adventure crowds pick up after 3pm on any given school day, with those crowds peaking on Friday afternoons. On the other hand, many locals have Annual Passports that will be blocked out by the middle of the month, in which case you won’t have to worry so much about big crowds of locals.
Lots of local college students will trek to Disneyland to celebrate the end of the year or their own graduations, but local colleges tend to finish their terms in May.
Best practice: Plan a trip in mid- to late-June to give local schools a chance to finish their terms.
The bane of Disneyland regulars is Grad Nite. Grad Nite has changed over the years; originally the park closed at midnight and local students were allowed free reign from midnight until 7am, away from the rest of the park guests.
These days there are several dates dedicated to Grad Nite at Disneyland spread out between May and June where high school students from across the country travel to the Disneyland Resort to celebrate graduation.
There are 3 options for Grad Nite tickets: Option 1 features admission to Disney California Adventure from 9pm to 2am, with the park closed to high school students only. Option 2 allows students admission to DCA all day leading up to the private event at 9pm, and Option 3 allows all-day admission to both Disneyland and DCA along with admission to the private event.
One reason this makes visiting the park tricky on these days is that Disney California Adventure closes early to accommodate the students, so you won’t be able to stay late in that park and everyone will flock to Disneyland once DCA closes, creating massive crowds in the park.
The biggest issue with Grad Nite is that the high school students don’t have chaperones during the day, and so you’ll see lots of students behaving badly, which is especially unfortunate for guests with small children who are trying to enjoy their time at the park.
Best practice: If possible, avoid being at Disneyland during Grad Nite.
Annual Passport Blockout Dates
There are several tiers of Disneyland Annual Passports and each tier has its own blockout dates. The Disney Southern California Select Passport is blocked out most of the summer, starting in June, while the Disney Deluxe Passport has a few more days of summer allowed over the So Cal Select. In the final days before the Passports begin the blockout period you’ll see higher volumes of locals taking advantage of their final days in the parks until the blockouts lift in August.
The Annual Passport blockout dates change each year and you can find them on the Disneyland website.
In 2019 the Annual Passport blockout dates policies are changing. Previously the blockout dates applied to both parks, but starting in June 2019 the blockout dates will vary by Annual Passholder tier as well as theme park. That means that on some days your Annual Passport might allow you admission into Disney California Adventure only, while on other days you can access both parks.
By the end of June the Disney Southern California Select and Disney Deluxe Passports will both be blocked out. If you’re planning on visiting the park with an Annual Passport make sure your pass is valid for the days you’ll be there, and also make sure that you can visit the theme park you want to visit. If your pass is blocked you will have no choice but to buy a theme park ticket to get in.
The upside to attending the Disneyland Resort after the two lower-tier Annual Passports are blocked out is that there will be fewer locals, and therefore slightly smaller crowds.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge – The Game Changer
The newest land at the Disneyland Resort opens on May 31, 2019. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will be the largest expansion in Disneyland Resort history, and there’s no question that this fully immersive land will be the crown jewel of the park for many years to come.
In order to access Galaxy’s Edge, reservations will be required from May 31 through June 23, which means that in order to gain entry to the new land you have to have a prior reservation. Guests who want to experience Galaxy’s Edge will enter through Disneyland and that means that Disneyland will likely hit capacity during those days. Even though most of the people in the park will be concentrated in the newest land, the park itself will likely be closed once it reaches its crowd capacity.
After June 23, entry into Galaxy’s Edge will be open to all park guests, and that means that anyone with a Disneyland park ticket will be faced with long lines across the park. Though Galaxy’s Edge will be the destination of choice within the park, the rest of the park will be busy with people who are waiting to get into the newest land. Once the park hits capacity there will be no new guests allowed inside Disneyland, which means that Disney California Adventure will be even more crowded.
Galaxy’s Edge will be packed for a long time to come, even with the opening of Galaxy’s Edge at Walt Disney World in Fall 2019. This means that guests to the Disneyland Resort over the next few years can expect delays at parking structures, long lines through security and a higher probability that the park could reach capacity before you’re able to get inside.
Everything about Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is a game changer and anyone planning a trip to the parks in June 2019 or beyond should factor in longer waits and the possibility that you might not make it inside the new land due to crowd size.
Impact of June Crowds on Attractions and Meet and Greets
Though the parks themselves might be busy in terms of the number of people, you’ll find that a large crowd won’t always translate to long wait times on rides and attractions, or with character meet and greets. That’s because locals tend to enjoy hanging out at the park, having dinner and generally being at the park.
Rides and attractions are usually surplus to the experience. (Unless there’s a very small wait time on an attraction, in which case you’ll see locals flocking to enjoy the rare moments)
With that in mind, the wait times are usually dictated by guests enjoying special occasions and vacations. You’ll find that ride waits aren’t as long during parades and fireworks, so if you’re willing to miss those you’ll be able to get on quite a few rides while a large segment of park guests are watching them.
Keep checking the Disneyland App for character meet and greet times and plan to arrive early. Lines will be capped after a certain point, so the earlier you arrive, the better.
Best Practices to Visiting Disneyland in June
Now that you have a complete picture of what is happening in June, if you want to plan a trip in June the best time to arrive at Disneyland is toward the end of the month, after Annual Passports have blocked out the Southern California and Deluxe levels, and after the final Grad Night events.
You’ll still have crowds to deal with simply because there is no way to avoid crowds at Disneyland anymore, but you will definitely have a better experience with fewer local families and rowdy high school grads celebrating graduation.
Surprisingly, you’ll find smaller crowds on Saturdays than any other day of the week and that’s because fewer Annual Passports allow guests admission on Saturdays. However, weekdays that are not tied to Grad Nite can also have smaller crowds.
Take advantage of MaxPass during your visit to book Fastpasses in advance. While you’re limited on how and when you can use the service, it will make a huge difference if there are rides you have your heart set on. Rides like Radiator Springs Racers, Space Mountain and Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT will always have long lines and skipping one long line with a Fastpass will allow you more time to enjoy other areas of the park.
Order your meals via the online ordering system available through the Disneyland App. This will save lots of time, as many counter-service restaurants can have hour-long waits during peak dining times.
If you have flexibility in your schedule, skipping a visit to Disneyland in June in favor of a trip in July would be a better idea. The crowds will be regulated by Annual Passport blockout dates, the lack of special events and more visitors and fewer locals in the parks.
In terms of crowds, July is a much easier month to visit the Disneyland Resort in the summer than June is, and when you can avoid the headache of big crowds it will always make for a better trip overall.
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