By kicking off the 60th Anniversary Diamond Celebration on Memorial Day Weekend, Disneyland has opened up a very fine window for enjoying all the new Resort features before everyone’s summer break starts in earnest. Park hours are already extended, even on weekdays, and the weather in southern California has been rather foreboding. If you can make it to the Disneyland Resort, and we’re talking this week, today, even, you will enjoy a wealth of rare privileges. There are still crowds, it’s Disneyland after all, but nothing like what’s coming.
Summertime at Disney Parks is always accompanied with mixed reviews. The overwhelming majority of guests, and those you should take seriously, as they are able to welcome joy in their lives, have a wonderful time. Then there are the critics. Disneyland is crowded, pretty much always. If you aren’t aware of that, it’s not Disney’s fault.
There is a slight shift in guest attendance from June to September, as many locals avoid the area. A large number of Annual Pass holders are willingly blacked out in the summer. What would be the void this can create is more than filled by summer campers, out-of-towners and those who simply can’t stay away for three months. There are rare, delicious instances of unusually barren parks, though they are offset by constant blocks of nearly unendurable crowding.
You have a few days before that happens. Most kids are still in school, but more and more are getting out every day, and the first thing they want to do, understandably, is go to Disneyland. In deference to the rising cost, parents are still willing to oblige, and pretty soon every attraction, concession stand and restroom is going to be difficult to approach, much less enjoy.
INSIDER TIP: download a Disney wait-time app, if you have not already, and monitor “it’s a small world.” Every ride follows a relatively familiar pattern, i.e., Peter Pan’s Flight always has a long line, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh does not. “it’s a small world” can vary, but if you see a 45-minnute wait time, the park is going to be unbearable. If guests are waiting more than 20 minutes in this line, in the summer (it’s completely without shelter), it’s because they are out of options.
Despite this being an excellent week, you should know Disneyland has entered Grad Night season. Beginning about 1pm, the Resort experiences a influx of paradoxically dressed teenagers. From every corner come groups of young women wearing what you might expect a hopefully much older person to wear to an outdoor Vegas wedding. With shoes no one should wear, certainly not someone’s child, and absolutely not to an amusement park.
There’s nothing truly wrong with the Grad Night crowd, on the hole they’re good kids who behave themselves. There’s just so many of them. In every line you will be caught within a herd of youngsters who are passionately addicted to social media. If you feel being dragged into a thousand seventeen-year-old strangers’ mirror-image relationship issues detracts from experience, you may have missed your window. At the very least, we recommend you get out before the sun goes down.