The Christmas season is a beautiful time of year and no better place in my opinion, to celebrate it than at Disneyland! From the dazzling holiday decor, spectacular entertainment, special holiday rides and attractions, it’s a fantastic time to visit. And you can still have all the usual Christmas fun, from presents to Santa!
Here’s all about celebrating Christmas at Disneyland!
Practical Pre-Vacation Holiday Season Advice
Planning a visit to Disneyland during the holiday season requires a certain amount of preparation that you might not need other times of the year. Normally you can just “wing it” at Disneyland but during the holidays you’ll definitely need to plan a bit more in regards to full-service dining, FastPasses and viewing shows.
Please read my post on TravelingMom, 11 Tips for Navigating Holiday Crowds at Disneyland. You’ll learn lots of holiday hacks on having the best visit despite the extra crowds.
I also suggest pre-purchasing park tickets ahead of time to save time and money via ParkSavers (affiliate link).
Park and Resort Decor
My most favorite part of visiting the Disneyland Resort during Christmas is seeing the detailed decorations that cover every corner! The resort hotels have special decor that’s worth checking out, including themed Christmas trees inside each of the Disneyland Hotel towers. As you walk from your Disneyland resort hotel through the Downtown Disney District, there are holiday decorations to get you in the mood.
Start off the day at Disneyland Park by posing in front of the huge Christmas tree in the Main Street U.S.A. square. Each Land has its own holiday themed decor, from rustic in Frontierland to tropical in Adventureland. Even Toontown gets an appropriate holiday splash of color that’s bright and festive, with lots of large ornaments and over-sized bows!
My favorite seasonal attraction is it’s a small world Holiday, when the facade is bejeweled with tiny colorful lights and our favorite clock dons a Santa hat! Even the ride inside receives an amazing holiday makeover with songs of the season and an entirely new look that celebrates the holidays in each country represented.
Be sure to return after dark: More than 300,000 lights glitter and every 15-minutes, the façade of the attraction is transformed with advanced 3D-projection technology.
Grab a FastPass for Haunted Mansion Holiday which receives new effects every year! It’s a holiday season can’t-miss and you should grab a FastPass early in the day.
At Disney California Adventure Park, the buildings around Buena Vista Street are decorated with 1920s-approprate garland and vintage-style ornaments. “a bug’s land” is decorated with giant Christmas lights and over-sized ornaments. This is a fun area any time of year but even more whimsical with the wildly-large decor!
Cars Land is amazing during the holidays with auto filter garlands, white-wall tire wreaths and a Christmas tree decked out in shiny hubcaps! And this cutie…a “snowcar” complete with top hat and pylon nose!
Presents & Gifts
Save space in your luggage by having gifts sent ahead to your hotel. Pre-order presents on Amazon and have them sent to you so they’re waiting at the hotel! Just make sure the address includes the word “Guest” on the front and the date of your arrival at the resort hotel. You’ll be able to pick up your boxes at mail services upon arrival.
While staying at a Disneyland Resort hotel, you can also have packages delivered back to your hotel so you don’t have to tote them around the parks all day.
If you have family that will be at Disneyland and you want to send them a special something, contact Disney Floral & Gifts to order stockings stuffed with Disney goodies, delicious treats, or even a full “in-room celebration” with a bounty of gifts and delights. It’s a great way to show the kids that Santa didn’t forget them, even when they’re away from home!
Entertainment & Shows
New this year at Disney California Adventure Park is the Disney Festival of Holidays, a celebration of cultures and festivities from around the world. Guests will be able to make crafts and there will be an appearance by Disney’s newest princess, Elena of Avalor. Also new this year is World of Color – Season of Light! that will include classic Disney movie moments and holiday favorites.
The ever popular “A Christmas Fantasy” parade will return, with 100+ performers in the parade including Mickey, Minnie and a special guest from the North Pole…Santa Claus!
Stay in the parks until dark and be rewarded with entertainment that lights up the night! Believe…In Holiday Magic, the fireworks spectacular will include more than 80,000 twinkling lights illuminating Sleeping Beauty Castle and a magical snowfall as well!
Be sure to watch Paint the Night parade on its final Disneyland run. Guest will be able to “see it again” on select nights during the holiday season.
Meeting Santa and Other Characters
Greet the characters dressed up in their holiday finest on Main Street U.S.A. We always make a point to take pictures with our favorites first thing in the morning because this is a very popular feature during the holidays.
Meeting Santa is a magical part of Christmas and no more so than at Disneyland! This year Santa Claus will be meeting children at Redwood Creek Challenge Trail at Disney California Adventure Park and in Critter Country at Disneyland Park.
What’s your favorite part of the holiday season at Disneyland? Share with me in the comments?