The Disneyland Resort at Christmas is my absolute favorite time of the year to visit. Yes, it can be crowded and stressful, but the magical ambiance more than makes up for it to me. I love the events, shows, and especially the seasonal food! If you’re planning on heading over to check it out before it ends on January 6th, here are a few things that shouldn’t be missed!
This is the most popular destination of the 2 parks, so if you want to avoid crowds, head over to Disneyland in the morning. As the day goes on it will get much busier, so hit up this stuff first.
Main Street USA
Don’t miss the great holiday souvenirs, and decor all over Main Street USA. Don’t miss the Tree Lighting at 6pm!
Haunted Mansion Holiday
This event has been going on for years and years, and it’s one of my favorite rides during the holidays! The original Haunted Mansion is transformed into a Nightmare Before Christmas hullabaloo. If you’ve never ridden it, it’s totally worth the long wait times. FASTPASSES are available, but sell out quick!
“it’s a small world” Holiday
This ride is one of the kids favorites, and at the holidays it’s one of mine too! Don’t miss checking it out, don’t let the long line deter you, it moves fast! Check it out at night when it’s all decked out with bright Christmas lights!
The Jingle Cruise
If you’re a fan of the regular Jungle Cruise, you need to stop by the Jingle Cruise and check out how all the jungle animals celebrate at Christmas! They even decorate the boats and have new jokes!
Christmas Fantasy Parade
Make sure you check out this parade, loaded with all the magic you’d expect from Disney. My favorites are the dancing Gingerbread Men. Find a comfy spot along the parade route and grab a seat at least 30 minutes before the Parade starts – 60 if you want prime real estate. If you’re not a parade fan, this is the perfect time to jump into those long ride lines, as they move faster during the parade.
Seriously, one of my favorite things about Disneyland is how they do food. I’ve got my Bucket List of Disney Food that I’ve been working through each time we go, and it’s fun to try all the seasonal goodies they have this year! Check out some of my favorites below!
Candy Cane Beignets in New Orleans Square! You can find them at Cafe Orleans and The Mint Julep Bar! Yummy French donuts shaped like Mickey and dusted in powdered sugar and crushed candy canes!
Holiday Candy Apples!
Olaf Marshmallow Wands!
Not seasonal, but this Salted Caramel Macaron was to die for!
Another year round treat, the Matterhorn Macaroon in front of it’s namesake.
Star Wars Season of the Force
Calling all Star Wars fans! You NEED to spend some time in Tomorrowland and check out Season of the Force. Ride Hyperspace Mountain, all decked out with new Star Wars themed ride elements, and Star Tours with a new exclusive Star Wars : The Force Awakens scenes! Be on the lookout for Star Wars characters walking around and snap some pics! Beware, the lines are EXTREMELY LONG, so grab some snacks before heading to the rides.
Olaf’s Snow Fest
In Hollywood Land, right near the Frozen Sing Along theater, you’ll find Olaf’s Snow Fest. Visit Arendelle and listen to the local carolers, play in the fresh snow, slide down in a toboggan and meet Olaf himself!
It gets pretty chilly in there, so bring a jacket! If you want to play in the snow, some gloves might also be helpful. Don’t forget to try Gunvar’s White Hot Chocolate with the homemade flavored marshmallows – peppermint or maple!
This is our favorite place in all of California Adventure, so it’s no surprise that I snapped 395743 photos! Carsland is ALLLL decorated for Christmas, and it’s so stinking adorable you cannot miss it! Check out all the fun decor along the main drag, and don’t forget to stop by the Cozy Cone Motel to meet Santa Mater! And if you’re looking for an alternative adult beverage, try the Vodka Lemonades!
Just behind Goofy’s Flying School on Paradise Pier you will find the Viva Navidad area of the park. Complete with a brand new parade, a lively mariachi band, seasonal fare and bright Latin American inspired decor, it’s definitely something to check out! We stopped for a snack, and a cold Pacifico with lime, listened to the band and caught the tail end of the parade, featuring Donald Duck and the Three Amigos!
The famous Mickey Pretzel!
Come see a live stage production of Aladdin at the Hyperion Theater in Hollywood Land! I didn’t snap any photos of this, but it’s definitely NOT to be missed! You need to act fast though, because it will be gone on January 10th. As it get’s closer to it’s closing, you might need a FASTPASS, but as of right now I recommend getting in line at least 30 minutes before showtime.
We used our FASTPASS on this show so we would have a good spot to view it, right on the water. FASTPASSES for World of Color Winter Dreams can be found in the morning at Grizzly River Run until they are sold out. The show differs from the normal World of Color by adding holiday songs, an Olaf sing along and giant bubble snowflakes!