What could possibly make The Happiest Place on Earth even happier? How about Christmas at Disneyland?
Holidays at the Disneyland Resort has become an annual tradition for many families, filled with the merriment and magical memories of the season. Each year, the holidays sparkle even brighter with festive decor, extraordinary entertainment and delectable treats.
Here is a list of special activities that you can only enjoy during the holiday season at Disneyland.
A Christmas Fantasy Parade
A Christmas Fantasy Parade is a holiday treasure that presents Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and an array of Disney characters and princesses celebrating the holiday season.
This daytime parade includes appearances from some of your favorite characters like Olaf, Anna and Elsa. They bid you a warm winter welcome from their Frozen float. You can also see Woody and Buzz bringing in holiday cheer from atop of giant wooden building blocks. You’ll even be able to see the one-and-only Santa Claus ride in on his sleigh straight from the North Pole.
This parade can be popular, so I would recommend finding a spot in advance. However, it’s one you and your family certainly won’t want to miss.
Related: Tips for Using the Official Disneyland App
Believe… In Holiday Magic Fireworks
The dazzling, holiday fireworks spectacular “Believe… In Holiday Magic” is returning in 2019 and we couldn’t be more excited. Guests will be surrounded by a display of Christmas colors, timeless holiday music and thousands of twinkling lights as they gather around the newly-renovated Sleeping Beauty Castle. You will see a magical snowfall on Main Street, U.S.A. This show is sure to add some sparkle to your holiday season.
Related: Use the Disneyland Calendar to Save Time in Line
“it’s a small world” Holiday
This classic ride gets a merry makeover in celebration of the season, with more than 300,000 twinkling lights on the attraction’s façade. Inside, animated dolls representing children of many nations are dressed in holiday attire, singing traditional holiday tunes as well as the classic “It’s a Small World After All.”
Haunted Mansion Holiday
The holiday version of this favorite ride is a spooky, but lighthearted Nightmare Before Christmas mashup of the Halloween and Christmas holidays. You'll see “ginger-dread” houses, terrifying toys and be wished “Season’s Screamings” as you experience the classic ride, with a holiday twist.
Related: Our Guide to Disneyland's Oogie Boogie Bash
World of Color – Season of Light
The holiday-themed show, “World of Color – Season of Light” combines favorite moments from Disney and Pixar films with a mesmerizing light and water show. Season of Light tells a story of friendship, love and light that incorporates classic films like Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast with newer favorites like Frozen and Toy Story. Classic songs such as “Let it Snow” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” combine with favorite movie moments, to create a spectacular show you can only find at Disneyland during the holidays.
Disney ¡Viva Navidad!
Disney ¡Viva Navidad! is a daily celebration of Latino culture and holiday traditions with music, dancing, vibrant colors and delicious food. Disney characters also join the fun in the lively Disney ¡Viva Navidad! Street Party. Watch for an exciting lineup of bands, comics and storytellers.
Related: Everything You Need to Know about MaxPass at Disneyland
Festival of Holidays
Festival of Holidays returns to California Adventure this year and we can’t wait to make this new event a tradition. The Festival of Holidays includes dances, crafts and music inspired by cultural traditions from various countries in an exciting celebration. Different kiosks showcase a variety of foods from around the world, so you can experience the holidays like never before.
Residents of Radiator Springs welcome guests with a “snowcar” at the entrance of Cars Land. Each address along the roadway into the land – Flo’s V8 Café, Fillmore’s Taste-In, Cozy Cone Motel and others – will feature holiday decorations reflecting the personalities of the Cars character who lives there.
Look for seasonal overlays to rides in Cars Land; Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters becomes Luigi’s Joy to the Whirl, while Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree transforms into Mater’s Jingle Jamboree. Decor and music will infuse Holiday spirit into both rides.
Buena Vista Holiday Tree Lighting
Catch the Holiday tree lighting each evening in front of Elias & Co. on Buena Vista Street. The 50-foot tree is on display in the plaza, and sparkles with colored lights, ornaments and tinsel garland.
Related: 5 Fun Ways to Wrap a Disneyland Vacation for Christmas
Take a break from the park to do enjoy some holiday shopping, quality dining and entertainment in Downtown Disney. Downtown Disney is certainly special during this time of year, with festively trimmed trees, twinkling lights and jubilant shop windows.
Tips for Success
Planning a holiday trip to Disneyland? Now that you know what's happening, here are a few tips to help you make the most of it.
- Visit early in the season – The holiday season at Disneyland begins in mid-November. The earlier you can go, the less crowded it should be. Expect school holidays to be especially crowded.
- Arrive early in the day – Lines for the holiday versions of Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise and it's a small world will be longer than usual. If you get in line before 10:00 AM, wait times are much shorter. We like to arrive when the park opens, enjoy short lines all morning, and then see the parade in the afternoon.
- Download the Disneyland Mobile App – The official Disneyland Mobile App will show you wait times for every ride in the park, as well as dining, bathrooms and more on the map. We've used it on two trips and have found it to be fairly accurate.
- Use FastPASS, Single Rider, Child Swap – FastPASS assigns you a return time in a shorter line. Single Rider lines will often cut your wait to 15 minutes or less, when riding fast is more important than riding together. For families with young children, child swap allows one parent to ride while the other waits with the baby, and then lets the other parent go without having to wait in line again. Older kids get to ride twice in a row!
- Prioritize. The nice thing about a crowded season is that Disneyland has a lot going on to keep everyone happy. You can choose between rides, parades, shows, character greetings, dining and more. It's difficult to do it all, so pick your favorite activities in advance and plan your day around them.
Celebrating the holiday season at Disneyland is extra-special. There are so many fun things going on that you can't see any other time!
This time can also be extra-crowded. Plan ahead, prioritize and use tools like FastPASS, MaxPass the official Disneyland Mobile App and more to make the most of your time.
We hope your family has a great time celebrating the season at Disneyland.
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Really beautiful images, I wanna visit there. Thanks for sharing!
I’ve been looking into some different holiday parks, and I think that being able to get some tips would be good. I’m glad you mentioned being able to arrive early in the day. I think that being able to get some good holiday park tips would be helpful for me, and help me to be able to make the most of our trip!