Disneyland is a popular summer vacation destination with special celebrations like 4th of July and Disneyland’s birthday in July. The theme park prepares for larger crowds with extended summer hours, usually a summer theme, fireworks every night and limited refurbishments on attractions. Kids are out of school and families find it easier to travel in the summer months. With all that being said you must know that the parks are definitely more crowded in the summer. Don’t let that keep you from planning a trip. I’m here to help you maximize your time, avoid crowds and offer tips to make the most out of your summer vacation with the following recommendations. Don’t miss summer celebration info found further down in the article.
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Hotel recommendations in Anaheim
One very important part of planning your trip is deciding where to stay. I have stayed at many hotels in the area. Consider proximity to the park, free breakfast, parking fees and how long the hotel has been open in Anaheim. I have a great article with over 20+ hotel recommendations. And my travel partner Get Away Today would be happy to help you book discounted hotel rates and/or purchase discounted tickets for your vacation. Call 855-GET-AWAY and tell them Disneyland Tour Guide sent you for exclusive rates on hotel rooms and tickets.
Summer crowd tips
Next consider the time you’re going to Disneyland. If you can go the first part of June or the end of August you will avoid a lot of the summer crowds. Check the crowd calendar for more tips.
Arrive early and take advantage of lower crowds the first 2-3 hours of each day. I have a whole blog post about “rope drop” and what it means, how you do it and why?!?!
Once the lines start to build you will spend lots of time in line for rides. On summer days I highly recommend purchasing Disney Genie+ to skip the lines on 19 attractions in both parks. Read more about how to maximize your day on this Disney Genie+ tips article.
Don’t waste time in line waiting for food. Disney has the best feature which is located in the Disneyland app called mobile order. You order your food and skip standing in line! Use mobile order, more info found here.
I also have a more great ideas over on my more than 20+ crowd tips post! Head over there for my ideas for your trip!
Heat tips at Disneyland
Now let me help you with some summer day heat tips that will make your day more enjoyable. Enjoy shows, parades, meet characters or go on long rides later in the day while lines are terribly long in the park and it’s hotter outside. Here’s a list of indoor attractions, shows and where to meet characters. Eat meals indoors. Here’s a complete list of restaurants with indoor dining.
It’s a lot warmer in the summer and you need to hydrate often. I like to freeze water bottles and bring them to the park. As the ice melts I refill them with water. There are many water refill stations located throughout the park. Find a complete list here.
If you’re staying close to the parks I do recommend an afternoon break and then come back to the parks refreshed and stay late. But if that’s not an option, just know that your little ones will get tired and hot so stay in the shade. Bring a stroller for toddlers and younger. Those little feet get tired and you don’t want to be carrying them at the end of the night.
Celebrations at Disneyland during the summer
Summer celebrations always include the 4th of July and Disneyland’s birthday on July 17th. If you’ll be in the parks in July read more about those special celebrations below. Also Disney has announced an all new show this summer at the Hyperion Theatre in Disney California Adventure.
Tips to see ‘Rogers: The Musical’ new summer show
All new this summer ‘Rogers: The Musical’ is the story of Steve Rogers – Captain America, joined by Peggy Carter, Nick Fury and select members of the Avengers. Exploring universal themes of heroism, romance and self-discovery. The show is scheduled to perform several times per day, Tuesday through Saturday only now through August 31st.
Important details! Each day that “Rogers: The Musical” is performing, distribution for the complimentary virtual queue will begin at 10:30 a.m. PT for the first two show times of the day and 2 p.m. PT for the remaining show times of the day. Use the Disneyland app to join as shown below.
Joining the virtual queue is not required to view “Rogers: The Musical,” but it is highly recommended. You can still walk up and try to get a seat if you don’t get in the queue.
Also available a Rogers: The Musical” Premium Viewing Experience package from the Studio Catering Co. Truck in Hollywood Land. The package includes a “Rogers: The Musical” popcorn bucket with kettle corn and choice of bottled beverage, plus access to lounge seating before the show, priority choice of seating in the theater, a souvenir lanyard and access to a unique photo opportunity. For this option go to Studio Catering Co. when the park opens! Everyone in your party must be present at time of purchase.
Celebrate 4th of July at Disneyland
Visiting Disneyland on the 4th of July what a treat. You can meet Mickey Mouse in his patriotic finest in Town Square. There are plenty of tasty ways to celebrate Independence Day with fun 4th of July treats on Main Street at Candy Palace and at Pooh’s Corner in Critter Country. Or over in Disney’s California Adventure at Trolley Treats. You can even grab something on your way out in Downtown Disney at Marceline’s Confectionery!
Special entertainment includes a fireworks spectacular, “Disney’s Celebrate America! – A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky” with star-spangled spirit to the sounds of patriotic songs at 9:30 p.m. Or over in Disney California Adventure there is a special 4th of July World of Color presentation at 9:00 p.m.
On the 4th of July during the day you can expect normal summer crowds. But around 5-6 pm is when the crowds start showing up! So be prepared for evening crowds. If you plan to see the fireworks I would head over near It’s a Small World area where it might not be AS crowded! For all my fireworks tips including an exit strategy read here.
Celebrate Disneyland’s birthday
Another special celebration for Disneyland, opening day July 17th 1955. Every year there is a special Birthday Celebration Cavalcade with so many different and rare characters you will only see on this day! They offer special treats in the bakeries and at Jolly Holiday. I have thought for many years I would love to go to Disneyland on July 17th and recreate an opening day ride challenge. Go on all the opening day attractions that were open in 1955 and celebrate Disneyland’s birthday! And this year I am doing it. Come join me and my friend Melissa from @mixinsomemagic for an opening day ride challenge. We have created this checklist of attractions from opening day. Print it off and bring it to the park with you. Click here to print! As you complete the list share about your fun day on social media and tag us. Then come and meet up with everyone at the end of the night for prizes. Everyone who completes the list will get a raffle ticket. We have lots of prizes to give away. This is a free event for anyone who wants to join in the fun. Afterwards we will watch fireworks from It’s a Small World and then go on a few rides together.
Here is a list of the opening day attractions from July 17th 1955 that are still in operation today…
- Jungle Cruise
- King Arthur Carousel
- Mad Hatter’s Mad Tea Party
- Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Snow White Adventures
- Mark Twain Riverboat
- Horse Drawn Street Car
- Disneyland Railroad
- Canal Boats of the World
- Main Street Cinema
And these are the attractions that were also available on opening day, but are no longer in Disneyland today.
- Golden Horseshoe Revue
- Mule Pack
- Stage Coach
- Hall of Chemistry, Hall of Aluminum
- Space Station X-1
Another attraction many think was part of Opening day was Dumbo. But in fact Dumbo opened August 16, 1955. The ride was supposed to be in operation on Opening day, but there were problems with time, budget and flawed elephants. The ride debuted almost a whole month later. Lastly Casey Jr. Circus Train was shown in TV coverage on Opening Day but the train didn’t start carrying passengers until July 31, 1955.
Hope you enjoyed these fun facts about Opening Day. I love Disney history! Have the most magical summer vacation at Disneyland. If you have plans to visit for Halloween or Christmas I’ve got you covered too!