Disneyland Christmas Touring Strategy to Maximize Time and Experience the Magic

Disneyland Christmas is one of the most magical times of year to visit the park. The holiday decor at Disneyland and California Adventure is breathtaking. The holidays at Disneyland tend to be crowded so we recommend using our Christmas time Disneyland strategy to get you through the day.

Before you dive into this strategy guide, check out our complete guide to Disneyland Christmas for all of the information on the holiday.

As always, we at Mickey Visit recommend planning your day in advance to avoid feeling overwhelmed (especially for Disneyland first timers!) at the parks.

There are a few basics that are essential to becoming familiar with in order to best use your time at the Disneyland Resort. This is especially important when you're visiting during a seasonal celebration and the crowds may be higher than usual.

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Disneyland App To Jumpstart Your Day

Morning strategy for Disneyland: Cast member holding plate of food

Disneyland has an app that you can download for either Android or iPhone that will give you the most accurate wait times for rides. This app is a must have for anyone visiting Disneyland. You can link your park tickets to it, make dining reservations, use the mobile food ordering feature and link your PhotoPass tickets.

Pro tip: download this app PRIOR to your trip and become familiar with it. This way when you show up to the gates you are already a pro at using the app. Take a look at the layout of each park on the app so you have a rough idea of where you are going once you enter!

Doing Disneyland Rope Drop Right

Thirty minutes before park opening, cast members will begin letting guests into the parks. This helps control the flow of crowds and it can be a huge advantage for morning park visitors! There will be ropes (guarded by cast members) that block off access points of the lands until the official park opening time. Being one of the first groups positioned at those ropes can be a huge advantage for your morning strategy for Disneyland! To be there at Rope Drop plan to arrive at least one hour prior to the park opening.

Pro tip: Grab breakfast to go and eat while you're waiting to be let in through the turnstiles. This will help keep adults happy and kids occupied during that early morning wait time. We always recommend either eating here or at your Disneyland hotel.

Popular Holiday Seasonal Attractions in Our Christmas Time Disneyland strategy

its a small world christmas

There are four rides at the Disneyland Resort that get the Christmas Time seasonal treatment which are definitely worth centering your day around. These attractions become even more popular than usual during these holiday overlays so our Christmas Time Disneyland strategy prioritizes these attractions so you don't miss out!

  • Haunted Mansion Holiday
    • The Haunted Mansion gets a makeover inspired by Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. Be prepared to experience decor courtesy of Jack Skellington such as jack o’ lanterns and wreaths, terrifying toys, and a spooky scented gingerbread house! Sally and Oogie Boogie are also on hand to wish you “Season's Screamings!”
  • “it's a small world” Holiday
    • Enjoy it's a small world with a holiday makeover including regional decorations and holiday songs!
    • Check the schedule to watch the “it's a small world” holiday lighting and projection show that takes place every evening usually at 5:15PM.
  • Luigi's Joy to the Whirl
    • Luigi and Guido celebrate Christmas with seasonal tunes and festive holiday decor.
  • Mater's Jingle Jamboree
    • Don't miss Mater's Christmas celebration in his lit up holiday junkyard!

Christmas Time Disneyland Strategy: Haunted Mansion Holiday

  • If you plan on getting one of the coveted Candy Canes and you're there on one of the selected dates- then you should go straight to Candy Palace to line up for your candy cane.
  • Get your picture in front of the Christmas Tree on Main Street. We recommend doing this in the morning for a few reasons: you're fresh and looking your best, the line will be short, and it's right on your way as you make it down Main Street.

More Disneyland Planning Tips

There is always a lot of information to consider before planning an Disneyland vacation. Make sure to spend time planning your days in the theme parks and become familiar with everything Disneyland has to offer. Don’t forget to subscribe to our FREE Deals Newsletter to stay on top of the current planning tips, strategies, and deals.

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Disclosure: We have used all the products recommended on Mickey Visit. We may receive compensation when you click on links to some products featured.

About Lindsay Brookshier

Lindsay is a college English instructor and has years of writing experience through various nonprofits, charities, newspapers, and online magazines. As the editor of Mickey Visit, she oversees article content and leads our fantastic team of writers to meet guest vacation needs. You can still find her writing weekly content to help make your Disney Parks trip fantastic here on Mickey Visit and writing Disney culture pieces on DisneyDose.com- you can also view her recently featured posts on Disney Parks travel on Nerd Wallet and SFGate. Lindsay comes from a dedicated Disney family and enjoys taking her son to the Disney parks as often as possible.

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