Updated 11/19/18. From rides to decor to food, Disneyland sure knows how to celebrate Christmas.
So, let's get started!
In honor of the twelve days of Christmas I have compiled a list of the top twelve Disneyland Christmas experiences that you can't miss this holiday season. These are fantastic sights and sounds that truly make the holiday season one of the best times of the year ever to book a Disneyland vacation.
But first on the twelfth day of Christmas my dear love gave to me a…
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Now, without further ado our complete Disneyland Christmas Holidays must-see list that will be open from November 9 to January 6.
1. A Festive Disneyland Christmas Cars Land
All of Car’s Land is dressed up for the holidays with fantastic Christmas decorations that could only be dreamed up in a world inhabited by cars. Both Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree and Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters will be given a Christmas makeover, becoming Mater’s Jingle Jamboree and Luigi’s Joy to the Whirl.
With new holiday soundtracks and holly jolly decor, you won’t want to miss your chance to catch these winter attractions. Don't forget to grab some Cinnamon-spiced hot cocoa and a red churro at the Cozy Cone. Yum!
2. Haunted Mansion Holiday
Jack Skellington and his friends from The Nightmare Before Christmas are back in this popular spooky overlay of the classic Haunted Mansion ride in New Orleans square. Don’t forget to look for the gingerbread house, which is created specifically for each new year and smells oh-so-sweet. It took 200 pounds of gingerbread, 1/3 pound of glitter, 50 pounds of fondant, and 200 hours to create this year's Oogie Boogie culinary masterpiece.
3. “it's a small world” Holiday
It’s a Small World is a family favorite all year around, but nothing compares to the glittering spectacle of “it's a small world” Holiday. Almost 30,000 lights as well as Christmas songs and festive animatronics have been added to this attraction for the holidays. If it’s one you usually skip, we promise you won’t regret paying a visit this time of year – and we recommend you stop by at night to get the full effect of the breath-taking lights.
4. Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle
Of course, you can’t talk about Disneyland without mentioning the central hub of it all: Sleeping Beauty Castle. From November to January, the castle is transformed by 80,000 LED lights and snow-capped turrets. There is also a lighting ceremony 4-5 times a night which includes gingerbread-scented snow that you won't want to miss.
5. “World of Color – Season of Light”
For the Disneyland Christmas 2018 season we may not see the World of Color – Season of Light show running. This special Christmas show has yet to be announced for 2018. You may think that you’ve seen World of Color, but you’ve never seen it like this. World of Color – Season of Light is a special holiday version of the light and water spectacular you already love, with an updated holiday score and classic moments from your favorite Disney films. It's technically just water and lights, but something about it is so awe-inspiring that you'll want to watch again and again.
6. The awesome “A Christmas Fantasy” Parade!
In this Main Street parade, you’ll see many of your favorite Disney characters getting ready for Christmas. You'll even be treated with a visit from the jolly man himself, Old Saint Nick. Arrive early, because curb space surrounding Main Street fills up fast for this seasonal favorite.
7. Tasty Disneyland Holiday Treats
Disneyland is known for it's delectable confections all year around, but it gets extra sweet this time of year. Don't miss out on gingerbread cookies, Christmas cupcakes, snowmen shortbread, and of course, the legendary hand made candy canes.
These are only made on a handful of select dates and they sell incredibly quickly, so if you'd like to snag one for yourself and have questions about how to do so, checkout our complete Disneyland Christmas guide for the dates.
8. “Believe…in Holiday Magic” Fireworks Spectacular
This spectacular features festive Disney music and glittering fireworks. The show lasts just over 13 minutes and costs Disney almost $20,000 per showing, so you can bet it will be memorable. And it may just be your only chance to see snow in sunny California!
For a celebration of the seasons from all over the world, hop on over to Disney California Adventure. Back in Paradise Gardens you will find the ¡Viva Navidad! street party, a colorful parade of musicians, dancers, and puppets led by The Three Caballeros. This is one of my favorite Disneyland Christmas shows as it features incredible music and dancers that bring an incredible energy to the show.
Checkout a video from ¡Viva Navidad! at Disneyland Christmas:
10. Disneyland Christmas Festival of Holidays
Festival of the Holidays celebrates unique cultures during Disneyland Christmas by offering tasty bites at 12 different marketplace kiosks. Each kiosk offers delectable bites of food ranging from exotic to homestyle. Some of my favorite foods are the Turkey Thanksgiving Slide, the Pear Tart, Braised Pork Belly Adobo, and the Peppermint Mousse Cup. Wow! My mouth is watering again thinking about them.
Throughout the festival you can also find fantastic entertainment offerings all day and into the night. Bands from all different cultures come together to celebrate Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Diwali, and of course Christmas. Be sure to listen to the smooth stylings of the Phat Cat Swingers and Mariachi Divas. They both play evening sets to end the Festival of the Holidays for the night.
11. Stunning Christmas Trees and Decorations
There are so many fantastic Disneyland Christmas decorations scattered throughout the Disneyland Resort. In both parks and the resort hotels you'll be enchanted by the beauty of the various decorations.
You'll find several gorgeous Christmas trees towering over Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. My personal favorite is the classic Main Street tree, which stands at a whopping 60 feet tall and is covered in almost 2,000 ornaments. You'll find other picture-perfect trees on Buena Vista street, in Cars Land, in Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, and more.
The Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa Christmas tree is one of my favorites as it features ornaments inspired by the Frank Lloyd Wright architecture featured throughout the hotel.
12. Santa Claus and Elves at Redwood Creek Challenge Trail
Redwood Creek Challenge Trail in in Disney’s California Adventure is getting in the holiday mood. Until December 24th you can meet Santa Claus in his special holiday setup in Disney California Adventure.
For the final few weeks at Christmas in Disneyland after December 24th Santa Goofy will take this place for photos and autographs. Santa’s elves will also be in Redwood Creek with seasonal games and activities. This area is very cute and an awesome place for you to get that Christmas photo with Santa Claus.
You can also meet Santa Claus in his other location back in Pooh Corner where he is hanging out with Winnie the Pooh and the gang.
Plan your Disneyland Christmas vacation now!
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Check out our other articles and guides about how to make your Disneyland Christmas trip a once-in-a-lifetime vacation. You'll find everything from discounts to ride guides to food reviews and more!
- Best Disneyland Christmas Tips and Tricks Guide
- When to Visit Disneyland to Have the Best Trip Possible
- Disneyland Discount Tickets: Find the Lowest Price
- Universal Studios Hollywood Discount Tickets
- 7 Best Hotels Near Disneyland + Hotel Discounts
- Disneyland Halloween Tips and Tricks Guide
Thank you for joining us as we share the Disneyland Christmas experiences that you can't miss.
Don't forget to check park hours and schedules for more information about what will be available on your trip. See official website.