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Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Red Loop. Today we are sharing what you can expect when you visit the Disney parks this spring
Spring is a great time to visit the Disneyland resort. The weather is near perfect, most of the attractions are open (except for those affected by the Star Wars Land expansion) and the park hours are longer than the off season. Even with all of the good things about springtime at Disneyland, if you are heading there during your spring vacation, there are a lot of things you need to know.
We have visited Disneyland during the spring almost every single year. The exception was last year because I had just had the twins. Other than that we have gone every single year since the Goof was born. We have gone during the main “spring break” and we have even gone a few weeks before and a few weeks after. We have learned a lot during those visits, and now I am hoping I can share some wisdom with you, so that you can make the most of your visit this springtime at Disneyland.
- Park hours. Beginning mid-March Disneyland’s park hours extend to peak-season hours. Be sure to check the Park Schedule (here) ahead of time. Park schedules are posted 6 weeks in advance. Also be sure to listen to the announcements and check the guest services boards at arrival as we have had a few years where parks were listed as closing at 10 or 11, but because of crowds, the hours were extended until midnight.
- Crowds. Springtime at Disneyland is a bit crazy as far as crowds go. In fact, I have often found the spring break crowds worse than summer crowds. That doesn’t mean it has to ruin your vacation. First, you can check out our tips for surviving Disney’s on-season. This has great tips on making the most of your days at the park with crazy crowds.
Second, plan on breaking up your days. Go early in the morning (seriously, arrive BEFORE park opening, at least 30-45 minutes if possible) and then take a break around lunch time. Return during the evening and into the night. This will give you a rest, avoid the most crowded parts of the day, and also the hottest part of the day. If you drove, just be sure to keep your parking stub. When you return later that day, just show it to the attendant and you will not have to pay again.
It might be tempting to look up spring breaks for the locals and try and base your vacation off of when they are still in school. It doesn’t make a difference. The majority of the spring break crowds are NOT locals. You will be better off planning by searching spring breaks for northern California, Arizona, Utah, and the North Western states. These will make up the majority of your Spring Break crowds. Also, most school districts in this area tend to have Spring Break be either the week before or after Easter, or they always do it the last week in March to the first week in April if Easter is later in that year.
If you are heading to the park after April 7, 2016 the crowds *may* be a little lower as Harry Potter World will be opening in Universal Studios Hollywood.
Because the majority of your crowds are non-locals, you may also find the weekends are actually LESS busy during spring break. every year we have gone, we have found that Saturday was not as bad as during the week, but Sunday was amazingly less crowded. Families on spring break vacation often use Sunday or Saturday as travel days, and are not in the parks.
- Weather. Springtime at Disneyland is a little tricky as far as weather. While it is normally pretty mild, you may find the weather to be cool one day (maybe even with some rain) and hot the next. It may be cool as far as locals are concerned, but if you are coming from say, Idaho, you might find the park pretty hot. Either way, pack for a variety of weather conditions. Even if the days are hot, the nights can be quite cool once the sun goes down. I suggest packing some pants, shorts/capris, tees and a sweatshirt or sweater for the evening. Also be prepared for rain. Ponchos from the dollar store are a great option if you don’t want to spend a lot, but want something you can easily throw in your purse or park bag. As you can see from the picture above, we had some overcast days during this Spring Break visit.
- Plan on unexpected closures. Springtime at Disneyland is the first big on-season since Christmas vacation, and it is also the first few hot days of the year. Rides suddenly having to operate at full capacity in the heat will often have minor issues. Be prepared for a ride or two to shut down, even if not on the schedule. Sometimes they are back up within an hour or so, other times they end up closed for a day or more. Guest services can keep you updated on the ride status.
- Be Patient. Spring break is a bit trying for guests, but also for cast members. Again, this is often the first few busy weeks in over 2 months. Cast members will be having to figure out queue lines, stroller parking, and a lot more. Guests will be tired, annoyed by the crowds, and of course, off of their normal routines. If everyone has just a little extra patience this time of year, it can go a long way in making sure everyone has a magical time.
- Special Events. Springtime at Disneyland is not normally full of special events. This year Season of the Force is continuing in the park. The runDisney’s event, the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend, is Mother’s Day Weekend. And of course, the Diamond Celebration is continuing through this summer. Disney has not announced a 24 hour event yet this year, but they normally happen the Friday before Memorial Day. While not a “special event” Disney just announced that the new ride Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters (replacing Luigi’s Flying Tires) is set to open on March 7, 2016. Disneyland often has special characters or events for Easter, so watch the park schedule and check with Guest Services if you are there the week or two before Easter. One event that will be happening again this year is the Egg-stravaganza. You can read more about it HERE on the Disney Parks Blog but basically it is a giant Easter Egg hunt in the parks.
- Pricing. On February 28, 2016 Disneyland (and Walt Disney World) introduced tiered pricing for one day tickets and increased prices for multi-day tickets. I wrote a post about this last night but you may have a lot of questions regarding how this will affect your spring vacation (especially if you have not bought park tickets yet). If you haven’t booked yet, first read this post on how you can still get the old prices when you book by March 8, 2016. If however, you are not looking to book, and are only visiting for one day you may be wondering how the tiered pricing will affect you. First, don’t get too scared. Not every day during the spring is “peak” pricing. In fact, peak pricing is mostly between March 18th and April 10th. After that your one day tickets are either value prices, or regular prices. For more information on the prices, you can again read the post I wrote yesterday HERE.
Will you be spending part of your spring at the Disneyland resort? What are you looking forward to the most while you are there?
Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Red | Springtime at Disney Loop:
- 1st Stop – Trips with Tykes |
First Timer’s Guide to the Flower and Garden Festival
- 2nd Stop – Love Our Crazy Life | Springtime at Disneyland
- 3rd Stop – The Delightful Life | 5 Reasons to see Braves Spring Training this Year
- 4th Stop – This Roller Coaster Called Life | Must Haves for Springtime at Disney
- 5th Stop – Sam’s Disney Diary | Epcot’s Flower & Garden: Getting Ready for 2016, Looking Back at 2015