Christmas is my absolute favorite season, and Disneyland one of my favorite places at the moment. So of course, Christmas at Disneyland is pretty magical to me.
One of the perks of having an annual pass is having the time to leisurely stroll around the parks and experience all of the shows, parades, and rides.
These are some must-see things if you are planning to come to Disneyland & CA adventure during this time of year:
Places & Rides
Taking pictures with characters: Many of the characters, including Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, etc., are wearing Christmas outfits
Sleeping Beauty’s Castle: The castle looks really pretty at night and as the centerpiece of the fireworks show.
It’s a Small World Holiday: The ride itself is not too captivating, but the exterior of the ride is stunning at night time. Inside, the changes include Christmas songs and decorations. The outside lights up very colorfully and even has a mini show with projections and music every so often (I would say every 15-30 min or so). Lines can get long.
Haunted Mansion: This ride has had it’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas” theme since September, but it is still a popular ride, especially at night. Fastpasses are usually available for the ride, even at night, so that’s the most efficient option. I would not recommend waiting in the normal line if you are able to get a fastpass.
Jingle Cruise: Yes, there is a new script that the skippers use, but honestly the humorous effect depends on the delivery of the puns/jokes. I’ve been on the ride a couple times where no one laughs and there’s awkward silence.. but there are Christmas lights & decorations on the ride worth seeing.
Shows & Parades
A Christmas Fantasy Parade: watching this parade is a one-time thing for me, as it appeals more to children. The parade itself is really slow and long because the floats are spaced apart. It starts at It’s a Small World and ends on Main Street. I’d recommend the earlier showing of the parade for better viewing spots. There are some benches on the steps of City Hall that are a great elevated view of the parade.
“Believe in Holiday Magic” Fireworks: This is my favorite to watch during Christmas time. The fireworks last at least a good 10-15 minutes and end with “snow” falling from the sky and a pleasant gingerbread smell. Viewing areas get packed very early so for the best viewing, you might want to stake out a spot 1 hour before the show starts. The fireworks tend to be launched to the left side of the castle so make sure there isn’t a tree blocking your view of air above the left side of the castle, especially if you’re standing on main street. Best viewing spots are in front center of the castle and right behind the middle circle(??).
World of Color–Season of Light : This show is very different from the normal World of Color. It is almost all Christmas and very little Disney. Lots of Christmas carols and little narration
Paint the Night: This parade was last active during the 60th anniversary earlier this year, so if you missed it, it’s back!
Food: Pineapple Upside Down Funnel Cake @ the Hungry Bear Restaurant
This eatery near Splash Mountain actually has some affordable and yummy fries. While getting our fries, my friend and I saw that this funnel cake was being sold and we decided to try it. It’s actually a good portion for the price (It came out to ~7.50) and could feed 2-3 people. The funnel cake has a nice texture, and the pineapple chunks and syrup on top complement the fried goodness.
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!