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Heading to Disneyland at Christmas time and wondering what you can expect from crowds at Disneyland over the holidays? You’re in the right place! This post will cover crowd levels at Disneyland at Christmas time. The holidays at the Disneyland Resort can be crowded. The holidays are peak season at the Disneyland Resort. So, it will help to go in prepared. I’ll cover how to deal with crowds when you’re at Disneyland, share some holiday tips and let you know what to expect on your visit to Disneyland at Christmas Time.
I’ve got a podcast episode about visiting Disneyland when it’s crowded. Check it out!
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If you’re visiting Disneyland, chances are you’re going to run into crowds at some point! Don’t stress about it, you can still have a great time even with crowds. In this episode, I talk all about tips and strategies to help you make great use of your time in the parks, even on crowded days! I give my top tips, ideas for attractions with low crowds and some insider info to help you beat the crowds!
Dealing With Crowds At Disneyland: https://mixinsomemagic.com/disneyland-when-its-crowded/
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If you need a crash course on Disneyland during the holidays, I’ve got a mini course going on for my Instagram subscribers! I’m covering everything you need to know about visiting Disneyland during the holidays. We’re talking about holiday entertainment, dining packages, how early you need to arrive for the parade, where to stand for the best views of the shows, meeting Santa, holiday foods, general tips, strategies, and more! I’d love to have you join us! The course is self-led and all on Instagram. It’s only available to my subscribers. My Instagram subscription is $4.99 per month and you can cancel anytime. Come join us! Find more information here.
In This Post
The holiday season at Disneyland is incredible! The Holiday decorations alone are worth the visit. My favorite part is the Disneyland Christmas trees. one of the most popular times to visit Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park. Because it’s so popular, you can expect larger crowds at both theme parks. That being said, don’t let that deter you from visiting Disneyland at Christmas time! Disneyland is a magical place and visiting for the holidays takes the magic to a whole new level. You can still have a good time at Disneyland, even if it’s crowded. The more prepared you are to deal with the crowds, the better your whole Disneyland at Christmas time experience will be.
I’ve got a full guide to visiting Disneyland during the holidays that you’re going to want to check out! It covers everything you need to know about visiting Disneyland at Christmas time. I’ve got info on where to meet Santa Claus, the Christmas Fantasy Parade, it’s a small world holiday lighting, and all of the other holiday festivities. There’s so much going on during the holidays at Disneyland! You don’t want to miss anything! I’ve even got a free printable foodie guide because the food at Disneyland during the holidays is always so good! You won’t want to miss it. Find my holiday guide to Disneyland here.
Discount Disneyland Tickets
Please be aware, that Disney theme parks all require park tickets and reservations. Make sure you have both! Please don’t pay full price for your Disney tickets or hotel. My partners at Get Away Today have the very best deals on tickets and hotels. Their customer service is top notch and they even have layaway plans. You can find them here or call 1-855-GET-AWAY. Make sure you tell them Melissa from Mix In Some Magic sent you for the best deal! If you book a package with park tickets and a hotel room you can use my code MIX10 to save an extra $10. That’s more churro money, friends!
I have a bunch of hotel reviews that might be helpful for you if you’re still trying to decide where you’d like to stay.
Crowds At Disneyland During the Holidays
The holidays at Disneyland begin November 11th and run through January 8th, 2023. As I mentioned, the Holidays at Disneyland are a really popular time to visit. Crowds will get heavier as we near Thanksgiving week and become even heavier leading up to Christmas Day. The best time to visit Disneyland at Christmas if you’re looking for the lowest crowds is the week before Thanksgiving or early December. The busiest time to visit Disneyland at Christmas time is the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. If possible, it might be wise to avoid visiting Disneyland during that week.
Disneyland In November
Visiting Disneyland in November is a great way to enjoy Disneyland at Christmas Time, but skip out on the largest of the crowds. I’ve got a whole post about visiting Disneyland in November that will be really helpful for you. It’s got lots of information on events, ride closures, a crowd calendar, and ideas on what you should pack for Disneyland during the Christmas season.
Disneyland In December
Disneyland in December can be very crowded. Kids are out of school over winter break, which makes it the ideal time to visit for many families. Your best bet to beating the holiday crowds is to visit as early as possible in December. The crowd levels will get higher and higher the closer it gets to Christmas Day. Expect Christmas week to be incredibly busy. I’ve got an entire post on visiting Disneyland during December that you’ll want to check out. It’s got a crowd calendar, info on the weather in December, ride closures, and lots of other great information that you don’t want to miss!
Disneyland On Christmas Day- How Busy Is It?
How busy is Disneyland on Christmas Day? I get asked questions about this a lot! Do you want me to sugarcoat it or tell you the truth? Do you want the truth? Ok. Here it is. Christmas Day(and Christmas Eve) are both crazy busy at Disneyland. There’s just no way around it. If you have a choice, I would avoid visiting Disneyland on Christmas day if possible. That being said, if you are visiting Disneyland on Christmas Day, you can still have a great time! Keep reading for more information and tips on dealing with long lines and holiday crowds at Disneyland.
Disneyland On New Year’s Eve- How Busy Is It?
Is Disneyland crowded on New Year’s Eve? Well, once again. Not great news. Disneyland on New Year’s Eve is over the top crowded. I’m talking massive crowds. Possibly the most crowded day of the year. New Year’s day won’t be any different. Everyone loves Disneyland at Christmas time and ringing in the new year in front of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle or on Main Street U.S.A. is very appealing to lots of Disneyland guests. So, if you have a choice of dates to visit, I would avoid New Year’s Eve if possible. But, if you do find yourself visiting Disneyland on New Year’s Eve, there are lots of things you can do to maximize your time and still have a wonderful vacation!
Dealing With Crowds At Disneyland
Disneyland at Christmas time is going to be crowded, but that doesn’t mean that you can have a great time! You can still enjoy all the holiday magic even when it’s busy at Disneyland. It is the happiest place on earth, after all. I’ve got lots of tips and strategies to help you.
Use Genie Plus
Genie Plus is the new system that has taken the place of the old Fastpass/max pass system. It is an additional cost(starting at $25 per person per day) but can help you avoid the long lines and get on the popular rides with shorter wait times. If you’re able, I suggest using it. It will really help you skip out on some of the longest lines. You can find a full guide to using Genie Plus at Disneyland here.
I have several touring plans that use Genie Plus if you’re looking for a step-by-step guide to your day. My touring plans are designed to help you utilize Genie Plus to its fullest and avoid the longest attractions lines. Check them out here.
Have you heard of rope dropping at Disneyland? It’s a great way to start your day! It involves arriving early(about 90 minutes) before the park opens so that you can be one of the first guests in Disneyland! Then, you’ll have an entire hour or two with very low crowds. This means you can knock out some of the attractions on your list without waiting in line for very long. I’ve got a full guide to rope-dropping at Disneyland.
Take An Afternoon Break
Crowds peak in the afternoon. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and overcrowded, it might be a good time to take a break and regroup at your hotel for a few hours. Then, you can head back to the parks around dinner time when other guests are leaving and calling it a day.
If you’re dining at a quick service restaurant, most of them offer mobile ordering. This means that you can use the Disneyland app to browse the menu, order your meal and pay for it. It’s quite convenient. Plus, looking at menus is a great way to pass the time in line! When it’s time to eat, you just arrive and push the button to notify the cast member who’s in charge of your food that you’re ready to eat. They’ll notify you a few minutes later when it’s ready to be picked up. It’s a great system and you don’t have to wait in a food line!
When you mobile order you can select your return time. Because mobile ordering is very popular, return times can get pushed out quite a while. So, I suggest ordering your food a couple of hours before you are going to be ready to eat. So, you won’t have to wait even longer once you get hungry. I’ve got a list of my quick-service dining options at Disneyland here and California Adventure here.
Make Dining Reservations
Dining reservations are not necessary. There are plenty of great quick service options available with lots of delicious choices. However, there’s something really nice about being able to hide out from the crowds at a sit-down restaurant. Just having a place to go and relax away from all the hustle and bustle of Disneyland at Christmas time is worth the extra money you’ll pay for table service. I’m not suggesting you make dining reservations for every meal, but consider having a few table-service meals. You can make dining reservations 60 days in advance.
You might want to consider adding a dining package that includes reserved viewing of one of the holiday shows or parades. It’s pretty great to watch World Of Color while sitting down and enjoying drinks and dessert. Again, not necessary, but a nice splurge. Find out more info about Disneyland dining packages here.
Have A Good Attitude
Have a good attitude. Hear me out on this one. Your attitude can make or break this vacation. If you show up with a bad attitude about the crowds, no amount of smiling Disney characters or jingle bells is going to save your trip. Don’t sabotage yourself! Decide BEFORE you arrive that you’re going to have the best vacation ever NO MATTER WHAT! If you go on your trip with that kind of attitude, you’ll have a great time.
I suggest getting your family involved in the “good attitude ” plan. Last year, we visited Disneyland over Thanksgiving. We actually spent Thanksgiving day at Disneyland. Was it crowded? Yes! Did we still have fun? Yes!
I knew going into our vacation that we would encounter large crowds. So, I sat the whole family down and we had a family meeting before our trip. I told the family that we were visiting during a crowded time of year. I let them know that there would be long waits sometimes. There were going to be lots of people. I also let them know that we weren’t going to let it affect our vacation. We were going to have fun, no matter what.
Guess what? We did! Despite the crowds and long lines, we had so much fun. Can I tell you a little secret? Waiting in lines was actually my favorite part of the vacation. My kids are getting older and don’t play together like they used to. When we had long waits for attractions they made up silly games to play to pass the time, they told jokes and really had fun together. For me, that time we spent together waiting in line was priceless. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
My point is, this vacation is going to be what you make it. So, show up with a good attitude and make it the best vacation you’ve ever had!
Disneyland Holiday Tips
I’ve got a few tips about visiting Disneyland during the holidays that I’d love to share with you. Don’t forget to sign up for my mini Holiday at Disneyland Instagram course!
Haunted Mansion Holiday
Haunted Mansion gets a special Holiday overlay that’s perfect for Disneyland at Christmas time! Jack Skellington from the Nightmare Before Christmas has taken over the Haunted Mansion. The result is what happens when two holidays collide. This attraction is super popular. To avoid long wait times, visit it sometime in the morning(the earlier the better) or use Genie plus(earlier in the day) to ride it. It’s pretty cute and this version is less scary, so it’s not as frightening for most kids. Don’t miss it!
Christmas Fantasy Parade
I absolutely adore the Christmas Fantasy Parade at Disneyland! If you’re a parade lover, make sure you add it to your “must-do” list. There are two parade viewings each day. One in the afternoon and one in the evening. I prefer the evening viewing because I love to see the floats all lit up. My favorite place to watch the parade is near “it’s a small world”. It’s a bit less crowded over there and easier to find a spot. I recommend arriving at least 60-90 minutes early if you’re visiting on a busy day.
CarsLand is decorated from top to bottom during the holidays! There are so many fun details to enjoy. They really go all out with the car-themed Christmas decorations. Make sure you visit. You’ll be able to meet Mater and Lightning McQueen. You can also ride on Luigi’s Joy to the Whirl and Mater’s Jingle Jamboree. Holiday time in Carsland is my favorite.
No visit to Disneyland during the holidays would be complete without a visit to Santa! You can find Santa Claus in several different places. My favorite place to meet Santa is over in the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail in California Adventure. You can find more information about where to find and meet Santa Claus at Disneyland here.
There’s lots of amazing food in Disneyland at Christmas Time! Make sure you take some time to enjoy some of the different holiday offerings. Disneyland releases a “Holiday foodie guide” every year and I like to turn it into a free printable that you can use in the parks! Make sure you check out my Disneyland at Christmas time foodie guide here!
Disneyland Planning Help
I’ve got bunches of information on planning a Disneyland trip that will be so helpful for you! Start with my complete guide to visiting Disneyland. It’s a step-by-step guide for planning your vacation that will be helpful. Check out my top 10 Disneyland tips and my guide to when to visit Disneyland to help you pick the best time for your vacation! I’ve also got a post on rope dropping at Disneyland that’s very helpful.
Make sure you check out my downloadable touring plans if you’d like a step-by-step guide to the parks!
I have a planning phone call that’s super popular! In this phone call, I can answer all of your Disneyland vacation questions and give you lots of tips and info tailored just to you and your group!
I hope this has helped you get an idea of what to expect crowd-wise when visiting Disneyland at Christmas time. It’s going to be crowded. There’s really no way around it. However, I think with a good attitude and some of my tips you’ll be able to still have a great time. There’s something special about Disneyland at Christmas time. The holiday celebrations bring families and friends together every single year. I’m excited that you’ll be able to experience all of the joy and magic of Disneyland at Christmas time! I know you’ll love it!
Please let me know if you have any questions! I’m here to help. The best way to get ahold of me is to send me a DM on Instagram. I personally answer all of my messages. Or, you can send me an email at email@example.com. Either way, I’m happy to help with any of your Disneyland planning questions.
Make sure to check out my podcast for lots of Disney planning information! You can find it on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. Just search for “Mix In Some Magic” Follow me on Instagram for more Disney tips and lots of Disney tips and fun!