Visiting Disneyland in December | Magic in the Planning

Visiting Disneyland in December 2023

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If you love the holidays, you will love Disneyland in December! No one does the holidays like Disney, and the entire Disneyland Resort is filled with holiday decor and festivities. It should be no surprise that this month does see an increase in crowds, especially as winter breaks begin and Christmas approaches. But with a little bit of pre-planning, December can be a magical time to visit the Disneyland Resort.

 


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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!


 

December At-a-Glance

  • The weather in December is definitely a bit cooler. Evenings will almost definitely require some layering as they can be quite chilly. Rain will also be a factor as this is considered a rainy month for California.
  • December is one of the busiest months of the year. So if you’re planning on visiting the Disneyland Resort to enjoy the holidays, be prepared for crowds. That being said, weekdays during the first two weeks of the month will be less busy when compared to later in the month.
  • The holidays are such a fun time to visit the Disneyland Resort! With that being said, you will want to visit with a plan due to the crowds, and be sure to make dining reservations early!

 

December Events

The holiday season typically begins during the second week of November, and no one does the holidays like Disney! While we don’t have details yet for the 2023 holiday season, here are some highlights from 2022:

Attraction Overlays

  • it's a small world holiday | magicintheplanning.com“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!
  • 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

  • A Christmas Fantasy Parade: This special holiday parade features prancing reindeer, marching toy soldiers, dancing gingerbread cookies, and some of your favorite Disney characters.
  • Sleeping Beauty Castle Holiday | magicintheplanning.comWintertime 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.
  • Holiday Dance Parties: Goofy, Pluto, Chip ‘n’ Dale, and others will participate in nightly holiday dance parties at the Tomorrowland Terrace.
  • 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.

 

December Refurbishments & Closures

*We’ve included all current refurbishments here on this list… even ones that may be open in time for December 2023. (Please note that this list could change at a moment’s notice.)

Disneyland Park

  • “it’s a small world” will be closed from January 9-19, 2023 to remove its holiday overlay
  • Haunted Mansion will be closing on January 30 to remove its holiday overlay (likely to reopen in mid-February 2023)
  • Indiana Jones Adventure will be closed from January 9, 2023, thru spring 2023
  • The Disneyland Story presenting Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln will be closed January 9-25, 2023
  • Disney Gallery will be closed from January 9, 2023, thru January 25, 2023
  • Wondrous Journeys, a new nighttime spectacular, will be debuting on January 27, 2023
  • Magic Happens parade will be returning on February 24, 2023
  • Tarzan’s Treehouse is currently closed and will be receiving new theming as Adventureland Treehouse (likely to open in 2023)
  • Mickey’s Toontown will be closed from March 9, 2022, through March 8, 2023, for a MAJOR refurbishment and includes the closures of the following attractions:
    • Chip ‘n Dale Treehouse (permanently closed)
    • Donald’s Boat – Reopens March 8, 2023
    • Chip ‘n Dale’s GADGETcoaster – Opens March 8, 2023
    • Goofy’s Playhouse – Reopens March 8, 2023
    • Mickey’s House and Meet Mickey – Reopens March 8, 2023
    • Minnie’s House – Reopens March 8, 2023
    • Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin – Reopens March 8, 2023
  • Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway will be opening in Mickey’s Toontown on January 27, 2023
  • Splash Mountain will be closing at some point in 2023 for retheming. Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is likely to open in late 2024.
  • Temporarily suspended: Star Wars Launch Bay, Mickey and the Magical Map

California Adventure Park

  • Grizzly River Run will be closed from January 9 through spring 2023
  • Radiator Springs Racers will be closed January 9-23, 2023
  • Mickey’s PhilharMagic will close on January 24, 2023. Opening date TBD
  • World of Color – One will be debuting on January 27, 2023
  • Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind will close on January 30, 2023. Opening date TBD
  • Temporarily suspended: Frozen — Live at the Hyperion, Paint the Night Parade

 

December Weather

The weather in December is definitely a bit cooler. The average high is 67 degrees and the low is typically around 48 degrees. Evenings will almost definitely require some layering as they can be quite chilly. Rain will also be a factor as this is considered a rainy month for California. Bringing ponchos to the parks would be an excellent idea, especially if you don’t want to pay a premium price for ponchos or umbrellas inside the parks.

 

December Disneyland Crowds

The Matterhorn in Disneyland | magicintheplanning.com

Crowd calendars are very popular, but they can also be a bit unpredictable. That being said, the pandemic has made predicting crowds even more difficult than normal.

While crowd calendars can be a big help in planning your trip, keep in mind, that they are predictions at best. When designing our calendars, we take a look at events, school calendars, ticket prices, park hours, holidays, and typical monthly patterns. But unfortunately, our crowd calendars cannot predict other things such as weather, travel advisories, pandemics, or last-minute openings or closings of shows and attractions.

Disneyland will be busy in December. If you want to avoid the worst of the crowds, try to visit during the first two weeks of the month and on weekdays if possible. Weekends throughout the month will be busy as many locals try to take advantage of the holiday festivities. Winter break will also be very busy, so be prepared for Christmas crowds!

 

Ready to Start Planning Your Visit to Disneyland in December?

Here are some resources to help you get started!

Disneyland Dining Guides:

 

Disneyland Attraction Guides:

 

Planning your first Disneyland vacation? Be sure to visit my step-by-step guide to get started!


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