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Spending the holidays at Disneyland is nothing short of pure magic. There is no better place to get into the Holiday spirit! If you’re visiting Disneyland Resort during the holiday celebration, you’re in for a real treat! I’ve filled this post with tons of helpful information so you can easily navigate the Holidays at Disneyland. I’ve included info on parades, food, fireworks, decor, Santa, and much more! Plus, I’ve got FREE printable foodie guides for each park! You’re welcome:)
The holidays at Disneyland kick off in early November and ran through early. During this time, there’s so much to see and do around the Disneyland Resort. I love visiting Disneyland during the holidays. Disneyland is always magical, but there’s something about being there during the holidays that feels extra special.
I’ve got a whole episode about the Holidays at Disneyland. Check it out!
If you’re looking for Disney planning tips, and the latest Disney park news you’re in the right place! I also talk about Disney park history, the storytelling behind the attractions, and my latest Disney park adventures. I’m here to help you plan your Disney vacation with a little extra magic mixed in. Join me!
The Disneyland Foodie guide is out! I’m talking about the different foods I’m excited to try on this episode. Then, Katie and Erin from the podcast Rope Drop & Park Hop join me to talk about our favorite things about the holidays at Disneyland! Make sure you check out Katie and Erin’s podcast. It’s great! You can find it on your favorite podcast player.
Rope Drop & Park Hop Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ropedrop.parkhop/
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Mickey Mouse Gingerbread Cookie Recipe: https://mixinsomemagic.com/mickey-mouse-gingerbread-cookies/
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Discount Disneyland Tickets/Hotels
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.
Disneyland Planning Help
If you need help planning your Disneyland vacation, I have a complete guide to planning for Disneyland that will walk you through a step-by-step planning process for Disneyland. Also, check out my top tips for visiting the Disneyland resort here. I also 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!
Holidays at Disneyland Bucket List
There’s so much to see and do during the holidays at Disneyland. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and forget things! I’ve got a free printable holiday bucket list that you’re going to love. This checklist will help to make sure you don’t miss any of the holiday fun! Click on the image to print.
Disneyland Park During the Holidays
The holidays at Disneyland wouldn’t be complete without some amazing decorations! At the Disney theme parks, they go all out for the holidays and you’re going to be so impressed with all the decorations! Pay close attention, because the decorations are themed to go along with each land. It really adds to the festive environment.
Characters At Disneyland
The Disney characters will be out and about in their holiday finest. For most of them, this means a festive holiday sweater and possibly a cute hat. I love getting pictures with them during the holidays! Mickey and his friends usually hang out around Main Street. You can find out where your favorite characters will be and when using the Disneyland app. I’ve got more information about finding characters at Disneyland here.
Holiday decorations are everywhere! Along Main Street U.S.A you’ll find holiday window displays and festive wreaths and garlands. You can’t miss the incredible Christmas tree that’s trimmed with thousands of ornaments! Sleeping Beauty’s Castle is covered in garlands and thousands of icicle lights. Check it out at night! Each land has specially themed Christmas trees. I especially love the trees in Toontown in front of Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse’s houses. Toontown is closed this year, but it will be back in 2023! Make sure you check out “it’s a small world” after dark. It’s covered in over 50,000 lights!
Events At Disneyland During The Holidays
Here are some of the events that take place at Disneyland during the holidays. Most of these happen daily, but make sure to check the Disneyland app while you’re visiting to find out what’s going on while you’re there.
Disneyland Candlelight Processional
Disneyland’s Candlelight Processional is a special event shown 4 times during the Holiday season. This year, it will take place on December 3rd and 4th(it will be held twice each night). The processional is a 45-minute show that retells the story of the first Christmas using song and scripture. The Disneyland symphony orchestra will be there along with a huge choir. The narrator is a celebrity of some sort and is different every year.
This event is held on Main Street U.S.A. and is a semi-private event. That means that most of the seats available for this event are for Disneyland VIPs, Club 33 members, media, and special Disneyland guests. This event isn’t really open to being viewed by the public, but because it’s held on Main Street, some guests will camp out for hours to try to get a glimpse of it.
The Holidays at Disneyland wouldn’t be complete without a parade! “A Christmas Fantasy Parade” is full of holiday fun! Your favorite Disney characters join Santa for a merry, musical celebration! I recommend watching the parade near “it’s a small world” for lower crowds. Parades run daily at 3:30 pm and 6:30 pm. The first showing is during the daytime, but it will be dark for the second showing. The parade lasts about 30 minutes. The second parade will be a little less crowded than the first one. Arrive at least 30-60 minutes early for the best viewing spots! Double-check the parade times on the Disneyland app when you arrive, occasionally they will change them.
Holiday Parade Dining Package
If you’re looking for special parade viewing and a yummy lunch, consider “A Christmas Fantasy Parade” dining package at the Plaza Inn. You get to enjoy lunch at the famous Plaza Inn and then you’ll have access to a reserved parade viewing area for the second parade. You will need to make reservations for this experience and they will book up quickly! This is a great way to make the holidays at Disneyland extra special.
Here’s what’s included:
- One lunch entrée, dessert, and one drink
- One voucher that provides access to the Reserved Parade Viewing area
- One Plaza Inn credential(lanyard)
The adult menu includes: Beef bourguignon, Roasted vegetables, Herbed mashed potatoes with a cabernet demi-glaze, Black Forest yule log, and Choice of beverage: 20-ounce fountain beverage, 20-ounce Dasani water
The kid’s menu includes: Chicken tenders, Seasonal vegetables, Herbed mashed potatoes, Black Forest yule log, Choice of beverage: Small Dasani water or small low-fat milk
Vegetarian options are available upon request.
- $45 per adult
- $25 per child (ages 3 to 9)
- Magic Key Holder and Cast Member discounts apply
Tax not included; gratuity not required.
“it’s a small world” Holiday
The classic attraction “it’s a small world” gets a holiday makeover and is all spruced up for the season! The delightful attraction is transformed with the whimsical decor! Inside, it’s a small world holiday, beloved holiday tunes are interwoven with the classic song “it’s a small world(After All)”.
At 5:00 pm each evening “it’s a small world” holiday lighting show begins. This special show only happens once each night and is pretty magical!
Don’t miss Tick Tock Tidings! The facade of “it’s a small world” is lit up with an amazing light projection show! This show happens every 30 minutes beginning at 5:30 pm (no show at 6:00 pm due to the parade) so there are plenty of opportunities to see it. The animated show is full of charming holiday colors and images. It only lasts about 2 minutes and there’s no need to arrive early.
“Believe…In Holiday Magic” is the holiday fireworks show and it’s wonderful! This special holiday fireworks show is the perfect way to end your magical Disney day! Along with the fireworks, and magical music you’ll be treated to more than 80,000 twinkling lights illuminate Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle with sparkling “icicles” and shimmering snow-capped turrets.
The show begins each night at 9:30 pm and lasts about 15 minutes.
At the end of this amazing show, you’ll be able to experience a sprinkling of snow near the castle, “it’s a small world” and on portions of Main Street U.S.A.
Because the fireworks are popular, grab a spot about 45-60 minutes early for the best views. Find more information about the best places to view fireworks at Disneyland here.
Wintertime Enchantment At Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle
During the holidays at Disneyland, Sleeping Beauty’s Castle is transformed into Wintertime Enchantment at Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. It’s adorned with lights, icicles, and garlands! It’s really beautiful during the day, but at night is when it really shines! In the evening, gather to see the iconic castle shimmer to life. As snow falls and music fills the air, watch thousands of twinkling lights illuminated in stages. It’s a truly breathtaking sight!
You can watch the castle light up each night at 7:30 pm and 8:30 pm. The show is quick and you’ll catch some snow at the end! I prefer to watch it right in front of the castle, but you can also catch it with snow on Main Street. No need to get there early. There’s plenty of room for everyone. Check the app for show times, occasionally they change them.
Holiday Tree Lighting
The 60-foot-tall Christmas tree at the beginning of Main Street is lit up each night during a special lighting ceremony. It happens each night at 5:00 pm and is a fun thing to catch if you’re in the area.
Haunted Mansion Holiday
For a limited time, The Haunted Mansion has been taken over by Jack Skellington from Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas! He’s decked the halls with some frightfully festive decorations throughout the mansion! This attraction is incredibly popular during the holiday season. So, make sure you experience it early in the day for shorter wait times. Or, you can use Genie Plus Lightning Lane.
Visit Santa At Disneyland
If you don’t visit Santa did you even experience the holidays at Disneyland? You can find Santa at 5 locations while visiting Disneyland. He’s available to greet guests at all 3 Disneyland hotel lobbies. You don’t have to be a hotel guest to see him there. You can also find him at Pooh’s Thotful Spot in Critter Country or the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail in California Adventure. My favorite place to see him is at the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail. You can also catch a glimpse of him at the end of A Christmas Fantasy Parade. Find more information about Santa at Disneyland here.
Holiday Food At Disneyland
Disneyland always has some amazing food created just for the holidays and this year is no exception! They’ve got so many amazing options to choose from. It’s going to be hard to narrow it down unless I just eat them all? Here’s a free printable to help you keep track of everything!
If you’re like me and need some Disney at home to tide you over until your next park visit, I’ve created these delicious Mickey Mouse Gingerbread cookies! They are a copycat recipe, so they taste just like the ones at Disneyland! You’re going to love them.
Disney California Adventure Park
The Holidays At Disneyland Resort continue over in California Adventure park!
Characters At California Adventure
The Disney characters will be out and about in their holiday finest. Their holiday outfits are different at Disney California Adventure, so make sure you check them out here too! Mickey and his friends usually hang out around Buena Vista Street. You can find out where your favorite characters will be and when using the Disneyland app. I’ve got more information about finding characters at Disneyland here.
Decorations At California Adventure
California Adventure Park is filled with amazing decorations to celebrate the Holidays at Disneyland! Of course, you’ll find a giant tree, but you also find garlands and amazing window displays up and down Buena Vista Street. Keep an eye out for the little holiday details around the park. They are everywhere!
World of Color- Season Of Light
The special holiday version of this beloved show is back this year! Enjoy pure holiday magic through song, water, and light during this incredible show! To view this special show, it’s best to have a virtual reservation. You can join the virtual queue using the Disneyland app at 12 pm (noon) each day. If you’re not able to score a virtual reservation, don’t stress! Head over to the viewing area about 40 minutes before the show begins and ask a cast member about standby viewing. They can give you more information, but there’s a good chance you’ll be able to watch it on standby.
World of Color is shown on select nights at 9:00 pm and 10:15 pm.
World Of Color Dining Packages and Dessert Parties
If you’d like special, reserved dining for World Of Color- Season Of Light, you might want to consider a special dining reservation or a dessert party. You can find more information here.
¡Viva Navidad! Street Party
Join Donald Duck and his amigos at the ultimate family fiesta—a holly, jolly, joyous celebration through the streets. This live entertainment fiesta features mariachi and samba musicians, Mexican folklórico dancers, some of your favorite Disney Characters, and incredible 12-foot-tall giant mojiganga puppets of Santa and Mrs. Claus! Viva Navidad is a fun party and certainly worth your time! You can find the show by Paradise Gardens Park(near Goofy’s Sky School) each day. Show times are 1:15 pm, 2:15 pm, 3:15 pm, 4:45pm, 5:45 pm, and 6:45 p.m. Of course, times are subject to change so check your app!
Visit Santa At California Adventure
Redwood Creek Challenge Trail has been transformed into a joy-filled playground during the holidays at Disneyland! It’s complete with seasonal games and outdoor activities for all to explore. When you enter, pick up an activity map to locate all the elfish games. Explore different sections of the trail and find hidden decorations and toys along the way. If you complete the puzzle you’ll get a sticker at the end! When I was there last week they were doing rubber ducky races in the stream!
Stop by Ahwahnee Camp Circle near the trail’s entrance to see Santa Claus! You may be able to visit with an elf or two while you’re waiting your turn. Santa is usually available to meet guests from 9 am-5 pm, but check your app for the exact times when you’re visiting. This is my favorite place to meet Santa during the Holidays at Disneyland.
There’s also a place to buy a sugar cookie decorating kit! You can sit at a table and enjoy your delicious masterpiece after you’ve decorated it!
Carsland During The Holidays
Carsland is ready for the holidays at Disneyland with some amazing decorations and two festive ride overlays. First, enjoy Mater’s Jingle Jamboree and Luigi’s Joy to the Whirl! Then, take a stroll down Route 66 to check out the car-inspired decorations! If you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of Santa Mater rolling through town!
Two rides in Carsland get a mini holiday overlay. Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree becomes Mater’s Jingle Jamboree and Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters becomes Luigi’s Joy to the Whirl. They are quite cute and you should make time to check them out!
Buena Vista Street Holiday Tree Lighting
Watch in wonder as the towering 50 ft tree in the town square twinkles to life with a kaleidoscope of colored lights, hundreds of whimsical ornaments, and swags of gleaming garland. This happens every evening at 5:30 pm. Seeing the huge tree all lit up is one of my favorite parts of the being at Disneyland during the Holidays!
Holiday Toy Drummers
March along with these adorable toy soldiers! They make great musicians. This show is playful and so much fun! Plus, the musicians are very talented! Catch the show at the Palisades Stage in Paradise Gardens Park, right in front of Ariel’s Undersea Adventure. They perform several times each day. Check your app for show times.
Mickey’s Happy Holidays
This mini parade(cavalcade) is full of Mickey and his pals along with the toy drummers. Don’t miss this little slice of holiday fun! You can find them along the parade route at 12:20 pm 1:45 pm, 3:45 pm, and 5:15 pm each day.
You’ll find lots of special holiday food and drink options all throughout California Adventure during the Holidays at Disneyland! So, be sure to check them all out. There are some pretty tasty-looking treats on the list.
Of course, I have a FREE Printable Foodie Guide for California Adventure! Click on the image to print.
Disney Festival of Holidays
This seasonal celebration is filled with multicultural and diverse live music, food, and fun for all! So, be sure to check it out. Enjoy this joyous celebration that includes Christmas, Hanukkah, Diwali, Kwanzaa, and Three Kings’ Day. Don’t miss this fun and festive celebration!
Festival Foods Marketplace
The Holidays at Disneyland just got even more delicious because of the Festival Foods Marketplace! Share in cultural celebrations through special food at various locations throughout California Adventure Park.
Get the most holiday cheer out of the Disney Festival of Holidays with the Sip and Savor Pass—available for purchase to all Guests! The pass provides 8 convenient entitlement tabs that you can redeem for select food and nonalcoholic beverages at participating Festival Foods Marketplace kiosks and dining locations. Here’s a printable foodie guide for you!
A lot is going on at during the Holidays at Disneyland, but there’s also lots to see and do at Downtown Disney! You’ll find amazing holiday decorations and delicious food options there too! If you have a minute, take a quick peek inside the Grand Californian Hotel. You can enter the lobby through Downtown Disney. They have a beautiful lobby, a huge tree, and an amazing gingerbread house that’s so fun to check out.
I hope this guide is helpful for you as you navigate the Holidays at Disneyland! There is no better way to enjoy your holiday than with a little visit to Disneyland during the holiday celebrations. It really is the merriest place to get into the holiday spirit! If you need more information about visiting Disneyland during the holidays, I have a complete guide to Disneyland in November and Disneyland in December that will be helpful for you.
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 fun!