Christmas at Disneyland is truly special! And for 2023, we are looking forward to the return of some of our favorite holiday festivities. If you’ve never experienced the Disney parks at Christmas, you’re in for a real treat. No one does the holidays quite like Disney, and the entire resort takes part in the fun.
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Planning a Disneyland vacation in 2023? Be sure to check out our guide to all that the Disneyland Resort has to offer this year including the reopening of Mickey’s Toontown, the Disney100 Celebration, and more!
Dates and detailed information have yet to be announced for the holiday season in 2023, but Disney has given us a glimpse of some of the festivities we can expect to see throughout the Disneyland Resort! We will keep you posted as we learn more!
Tips for Celebrating Christmas at Disneyland
While celebrating Christmas at Disneyland can be truly special, there are definitely some things you’ll want to keep in mind when planning your visit.
- Christmas will be busy. Consider visiting the Disneyland Resort in November or early December when the parks are less busy. Decor typically arrives the second week of November and lasts until the end of December. The busiest weeks include the week of Thanksgiving as well as the final two weeks of December. So if you want to enjoy the holiday festivities without the crowds, consider visiting during an “off” time.
- Consider visiting on a weekday and arrive early. The parks will be busier in the evenings and weekends when locals are more likely to visit the parks. You may also want to consider taking advantage of a rainy December day. Be sure to bring a poncho or umbrella with you, however, as those can be quite pricey if you need to purchase them in the parks.
- Have a plan. Because both Disney parks will be busier, you will make the most of your day if you enter the park with a plan. What shows do you want to see? Where would you like to eat? Know before you go, so you don’t miss anything on your own personal “must-see” list!
Christmas at Disneyland Park
Seasonal decor arrives in November shortly after the Halloween decorations come down, and it is truly breathtaking. Main Street, U.S.A. will most certainly put you in the holiday spirit!
When you first enter the park, you will see an enormous 60-foot Christmas tree in Town Square. This beautiful tree features custom-made ornaments from top to bottom each year.
The rest of the park is decorated as well including festive decor in New Orleans Square. Each area of the park has its own uniquely themed decor.
Attraction Overlays at Disneyland Park
“it’s a small world” Holiday: This classic favorite is transformed each season inside and out. Experience holiday decor as well as changes to the famous song featuring the tune of “Jingle Bells.”
Haunted Mansion Holiday: Many fans claim that this holiday overlay based on Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas is even better than the original ride itself! The main thing to watch for is the famous gingerbread house display. This display changes from year to year making it a holiday tradition for many. *One thing to take note of is that this holiday overlay actually begins during Halloween in Disneyland and remains through the holiday season.
Parades and Shows at Disneyland Park
A Christmas Fantasy Parade: This special holiday parade features prancing reindeer, marching toy soldiers, dancing gingerbread cookies, and some of your favorite Disney characters. Special parade floats include:
- Frozen featuring Anna, Elsa, and Olaf
- Letters to Santa featuring Mickey and Minnie with Chip ‘n Dale
- Toy Story featuring Woody and Buzz
- A Candlelight Ball featuring some of your favorite Disney Princesses
- A grand finale… Santa Claus!
Wintertime Enchantment at Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle: The transformation of Sleeping Beauty Castle is truly something special during the holidays. Daytime decorations greet you as you first make your way down Mainstreet, and it is illuminated at night with over 80,000 LED lights in spectacular fashion. In the evening (typically between 6:00 PM and 7:30 PM), there is a lighting ceremony in front of the castle which includes a brief snowfall.
“Believe…In Holiday Magic” Fireworks: Fireworks over Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle is truly special. Even the castle itself glows featuring 80,000 holiday lights, sparkling “icicles,” and “snow-capped” turrets. And did someone say “snow”? Enjoy special holiday snowfall near “it’s a small world” Holiday in Fantasyland, Main Street, U.S.A., and near the Rivers of America.
“it’s a small world” Holiday Lighting: The holiday lighting displayed on “it’s a small world” at night, is truly magical. Photos definitely don’t do this display any justice, as it’s something you have to see in person to fully grasp how amazing it is! At night, the exterior of this ride features nearly 250,000 holiday lights. There is also a short projection show that lights up the attraction every 30 minutes.
Christmas at California Adventure Park
California Adventure also takes part in the holiday festivities. Cars Land is definitely one of my favorite areas of the park during the holidays, and it is also where the two attraction overlays can be found. The rest of the park is uniquely decorated as well including a 50-foot Christmas tree on Buena Vista Street.
Attraction Overlays at California Adventure Park
Luigi’s Joy to the Whirl: One of my personal favorites, this Cars Land attraction features dancing cars to holiday tunes.
Mater’s Jingle Jamboree: Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree transforms for the holidays featuring festive decor and classic holiday music with a “Mater” twist.
Parades and Shows at California Adventure Park
Buena Vista Street Holiday Tree Lighting: Just outside Elias & Co., this 50-foot tall Christmas tree comes to life each night featuring beautiful holiday decor and twinkling lights.
World of Color – Season of Light: This spectacular nighttime show featuring dancing fountains and class Disney music transforms for the holidays. Featuring scenes and music from Cinderella, Lady and the Tramp, Beauty and the Beast, and Fantasia as well as contemporary favorites like Frozen, Toy Story, and Inside Out.
Disney Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure Park
- Festival Entertainment – Christmas, Navidad, Hanukkah, Diwali, Kwanzaa, and Three Kings’ Day will all be celebrated this season at California Adventure with live music, dancing, and unique dining options.
- Disney ¡Viva Navidad! – This seasonal festival features some of your favorite Disney characters, live musical performances, festive decor, and delicious holiday treats. The Paradise Garden Grill also serves authentic Mexican specialties throughout the holidays.
*Be sure to visit Disney’s official website for more information on Christmas in Disneyland!
We hoped you enjoyed our guide to Christmas at Disneyland! If you’re looking to plan your next Disneyland vacation, be sure to visit my step-by-step guide to get started!