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Disneyland’s Holiday Season officially kicks off this weekend. If you visit the parks now you will already find most of the decorations up, but after this weekend, everything should be up and the events should be in full swing. If you want to plan a last minute vacation, or already have one on the books, we have what you need to know about Disneyland during the holiday season.
Last year, we enjoyed our first family Holiday visit to Disneyland. We had a lot of fun, and learned a lot of things. I am excited to share with you our top tips for making the most of your Holiday visit.
What you need to know about Disneyland during the Holidays:
1) When to go- When planning a holiday visit to Disneyland there are a few things to think about. First, when does the holiday season officially start? Some of the Holiday themed rides (it’s a small world for example) do not open until right before the official start of the season. Disneyland releases the dates usually in late September or October, but if you are planning before then, generally the second weekend in November to the first weekend in January is the official holiday season in the parks. Also watch for additional activities. This year the Avengers runDisney event has been added in November, which create large crowds for a few days. Finally, mid-November (after the race) until mid-December, excluding the week of Thanksgiving, is usually pretty dead. If you can go during these times, that is the best time to go.
2) Holiday activities- If you are used to Walt Disney World, or in forums that focus a lot on the east coast park, you have heard a lot about their Christmas party. You may be wondering if Disneyland has any Christmas parties. The short answer is no. Instead, Disneyland has the parade, fireworks, and other events that can be attended by all park guests at no extra cost. The parade happens daily (check your entertainment guide or the park website for times) and the fireworks happen most weekends, and during busy times, week nights as well.
3) Special attractions– One thing I love about Disneyland is that many of the rides and attractions receive a holiday layover or change up. The Haunted Mansion continues it’s The Nightmare Before Christmas overlay, it’s a small world has new scenes and songs, and starting last year both the Jungle Cruise and World of Color were changed up for the holiday season. Hit up The Haunted Mansion during Fantasmic for hardly any wait. it’s a small world has a short wait earlier in the day (usually), and Jungle Cruise is also shorter during Fantasmic. World of Color will still require the same fast pass as it does all year.
4) Where to view the fireworks- The “Believe…In Holiday Magic” fireworks are great, and they have a few great places to view them. Main Street USA seems to be the preferred spot for most park visitors, but you can also view them in front of it’s a small world or from The Rivers of America between showings of Fantasmic (though the view of some fireworks is limited here). All three locations have the magical snow fall at the end of the fireworks.
5) Holiday Treats- There are a lot of yummy holiday treats to be found in the parks during the Holidays. None are quite as amazing as the hand pulled candy canes. The Candy Canes are only made at select locations and on select dates. Our sponsor City Stroller Rentals shared all the dates on facebook (see below) and info on how to purchase them is in the comment section.
6) Disney ¡Viva Navidad!– This is a fun addition to Disneyland’s Holiday Celebrations that takes place in Disney California Adventure. Featuring the Three Caballeros, Music, and dancing. The Celebration has a grand finale January 2-6 to celebrate Three Kings’ Day. You can find more information about this celebration HERE.
7) Christmas Break is CRAZY!– If you plan to go to Disneyland Resort during your child’s Holiday break, be ready for crazy crowds. Especially on Christmas Eve, Christmas day and New Years Eve. There is a good chance on these days that the park will reach capacity, so plan on being at the park early. New Years Eve, you will want to be close to park opening if you plan on viewing the fireworks inside the park. Usually, at Disneyland, you will be okay to leave the park and get a hand stamp to return, but there are levels of “full capacity” and one includes no readmittance. So be prepared. Plan ahead for long lines, crowded walkways, and more. Also plan on scouting out seats for parades and fireworks hours in advance. Fantasmic will be on a fastpass system (similar to World of Color) starting December 12, 2014 so you won’t have to sit in a spot for hours, but you will have to race for fastpasses in the morning.
I loved visiting Disneyland during the holidays. It is truly a magical time of year to go. Will you be planning a Holiday trip there either this year or next? Let me know in the comments.