(credit: Disney Parks)
Christmastime is a favorite time to visit the Disneyland Resort for everyone. It is the perfect complement to our Southern California weather, and few places in the area evoke such nostalgia as these uber-decorated holiday themed parks. So, if you’re ready to get the feel of the holidays, explore our guide to the holidays at Disney Parks.
1313 Disneyland Dr
Anaheim, CA 92802
For the holiday season, Disneyland Park decks its halls, streets, lamps, buildings, and trees with an impressively dense collection of decorations that is sure to evoke a seasonal feeling. With focal points including their 62,000 light Christmas tree and winter themed and ice swept Sleeping Beauty’s castle, the charming decor continues throughout the rest of the park.
- Believe…in Holiday Magic – This pyrotechnic display of fireworks is made even better while viewing on Main Street where you’ll enjoy nightly snowfall after the show.
- Paint the Night – The popular nighttime parade hits the streets each night down Main Street. The technologically updated version of the classic “Electrical Parade” is a must see!
- A Christmas Fantasy Parade – Join your favorite Disney characters and winter and Christmas themed friends (including Santa!) in this whimsical and wondrous daily parade.
- Visit With Santa – Kids of all ages can visit with Santa, he has set up a Christmas-themed camp in Critter Country, just behind Splash Mountain.
- Haunted Mansion Holiday – The spooky tradition continues as Jack Skellington’s Halloween/Christmas mashup takes over the traditional ride.
- It’s a small world holiday – Travel the world on board a holiday themed ride as hundreds of children change their tune to sing Jingle Bells this holiday season. Don’t miss a glimpse of the lit-up facade when night falls!
Disney California Adventure
1313 Disneyland Dr
Anaheim, CA 92802
Disney California Adventure gets into the spirit of winter holidays from around the world with the brand new Festival of Holidays, an immersive culinary, entertainment, and interactive experience that puts guests into holiday traditions from around the world including Diwali, Hanukkah, Christmas/Navidad, Kwanzaa, Three Kings Day, and Dia del los Reyes. Nearly 50 daily live performances of nine unique shows mean there is a holiday tradition coming round most every corner.
- World of Color Winter Dreams – New for the 2016 holiday season, this nighttime spectacular now features more than 120 characters from more than 30 Disney and Disney/Pixar films, set to singable carols of old, new orchestration, stunning laser lights, fountain projection, and Disney magic.
- Disney ¡Viva Navidad! – Head to Paradise Gardens for Mexican folklorico dancers, live music, crafts, face painting, Mexican food, and visits from the Three Caballeros. Elena of Avalor, who debuts at the park this season, can also be visited in Paradise Gardens.
- Festive Foods Marketplace – To help you get into the spirit of holidays near and far, try a bite or drink of holiday fare from food truck style vendors lining the Disney California Adventure Parkway from Carthay Circle to Paradise Garden. Serving up specialty items ranging from chicken and potato curry to Swedish holiday meatballs, to local beer flight tastings paired with holiday cheeses, to chile pozole, adobo pork bao and mini turkey pot pies, foods throughout the parkway will transport visitors to various regions and holiday traditions while exploring the park.
- Festival Entertainment – More than 50 culturally festive live performances take to the streets and stages of Disney California Adventure each day this holiday season including performances from a cappella vocal group RAISE, musical delights from the Mostly Kosher Klezmer Band, the Holiday Toy Drummers, and Bollywood dance parties from the Blue13 Dance Company. Throughout Disney California Adventure Parkway, kids can also take part in crafts, cookie decorating, and hands-on activities that help to enrich understanding of various cultural holidays.
- Festival Decorations – Buena Vista Street welcomes you to the park where you’ll enjoy stepping back in time to a holiday season in an era gone by. A visit to Cars Land boasts some of the world’s most unique holiday decorations, and with orange cone Christmas trees, hub cap wreaths, and the Cars gang ready for the holidays, the whimsy here is absolutely charming.
- Santa’s Holiday Visit – Redwood Creek Challenge Trail has been transformed into a joy-filled Christmas playground by Santa’s elves. In addition to meeting with Santa, families can play along with some of the elves fun and games.
1580 Disneyland Dr
Anaheim, CA 92802
Downtown Disney, the shopping, dining, and event center located adjacent to the parks, is a great place for locals to visit as no theme park ticket is required (free parking for the first three hours, up to five with validation). This year, the Downtown Disney Winter Village takes center stage, and the beautiful holiday decor and themed music help round out the Christmas cheer. From November 24 through late December, costumed carolers will bring cheer to one and all as they sing out the songs of the holidays. Then, on December 17, Downtown Disney District hosts hundreds of tuba and euphonium players as they put on a great show full of holiday music.
- Anna & Elsa’s Boutique – Kids 3-15 can enjoy a magical makeover this Christmas season. Inspired by the movie, this boutique, which also features a variety of clothing and goods, can give your child the clothing, hair, and makeup of their favorite Frozen princess or snowman. Packages start at $34.95.
- Live Entertainment – Throughout the Downtown Disney District, the sounds of the holidays come alive as costumed characters sing carols as they stroll the shops.
Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa
1600 Disneyland Dr.
Anaheim, CA 92803
When someone asks where to stay on a Disney vacation, the most popular recommendation is always at the Grand Californian Hotel & Spa if your budget allows. During Christmas, this iconic hotel inspired by the 19th century’s arts and crafts movement is even more special as well. The winter lodge feel in the main lobby, coupled with the giant Christmas tree and live holiday music, will invoke a Christmastime feel like no other SoCal resort. Disney California Adventure is just steps away, available through a private entry to hotel guests.
1150 West Magic Way
Anaheim, CA 92802
With modern luxuries, special Disney touches and magic at every turn (including the light-up Sleeping Beauty Castle headboards), this hotel is a holiday splurge worthwhile. Not only will you enjoy easy access into the park via the Monorail stop in Downtown Disney, but you can also take advantage of SoCal’s fabulous holiday weather by enjoying the Monorail themed waterslides at this hotel!
Good Neighbor Hotels
If budget prohibits you from staying on property, consider staying at the next best thing, a Disneyland Good Neighbor Hotel. These pre-selected and vetted hotels provide easy access to and from the parks, typically offer great breakfast deals, and many give you the same Magic Morning access that the Disneyland resorts offer.
Your holiday trip to Disneyland wouldn’t be complete without a sampling of the seasonal treats and sweets offered throughout the Christmas and winter season. Don’t miss the Festival of Holidays Festive Foods Marketplace in Disney California Adventure! Got a sweet tooth? Specially crafted desserts are available throughout the parks including a yule log, peppermint stick ice cream served in a crushed candy cane waffle cone, and gingerbread beignets. Looking for Disneyland’s specialty candy canes? Line up when the park opens to snag a wristband for these gone-before-their-made tasty treats.
Related: Best Holiday Treats At Disneyland