Skip to main content

Holiday Magic at Disneyland

Sleeping Beauty's Castle lit up at night.

Sleeping Beauty's Castle lit up at night.

Halloween is behind us and the year is quickly coming to an end. It is Winter and the holiday season is upon us. It is time to pull out our scarves, gloves, wool coats, and of course our Mickey Ears! Disneyland comes to life in a beautiful wintery fashion that celebrates the magic of the Holidays. The magic is everywhere you look and it is a great time to come make memories at the happiest place on Earth! This is one of the most popular times to come visit so be prepared for long lines and lots of people. My advice is: if you want to avoid the crowds go as early as possible because once December hits it gets very crowded. Even if there are crowds don't be discouraged from going! There are plenty of things to do and see in both parks! Don't want to spend money on a ticket? Check out Downtown Disney! Disneyland leave no stone unturned when it comes to the festivities!

The entrance gates to Disneyland are decorated in blue light and snowflakes.

The entrance gates to Disneyland are decorated in blue light and snowflakes.

A Touch of Winter Magic at Disneyland

As soon as you enter the park, everywhere you look is dressed to the nines! In the middle of Main Street you can not possibly miss the giant Christmas Tree covered in lights and ornaments! This is a great place to stop and take some pictures. I usually get a shot in front of the tree if the line isn't too long.

Even the Fire Station is decorated! If you look inside the window of Walt's old apartment you can see a Christmas tree.

Even the Fire Station is decorated! If you look inside the window of Walt's old apartment you can see a Christmas tree.

Moving down Main Street there are swags and wreaths that connect both sides of the streets and they light up at night! If you pay close attention you will see the wreaths are in fact the shape of a Mickey head! Every store window has a touch of holiday magic as well. Take a deep breath in as you walk down Main Street and you will notice the aroma of peppermint in the air. I love looking through the shops on Main Street during this time of year because it is so festive and charming. There is also a really great Christmas store that sells ornaments and pretty much everything Christmas right next to the photo shop on Main Street! I love walking through this store every year even if I am not looking to spend money only because it is a seasonal store.

Main Street USA decorated for the holidays with a giant Christmas tree at the end.

Main Street USA decorated for the holidays with a giant Christmas tree at the end.

Sleeping Beauty's Castle Transformation

The castle is especially beautiful this time of year! It is covered in white lights that make it sparkle, white snow, icicles, and soft blue and purple lighting. It is especially pretty at night when it is all lit up! This is another great place to have some pictures taken at during the night and day! This is probably the prettiest the castle looks all year round and it is truly magical! The castle is also the center of the Believe In Magic Holiday Firework Show.

Sleeping Beauty's Castle during the day.

Sleeping Beauty's Castle during the day.

Christmas Fantasy Parade

Take a break from walking around and find a good view to watch the Christmas Fantasy Parade! Watch some beloved Disney characters celebrating the holiday season along with some special friends. The parade is so much fun to watch and a great way to celebrate the holidays! At the end of the parade you will see Mrs. and Mr. Claus!

Believe In Magic Holiday Firework Show

The firework show is especially spectacular this time of year! The show is set to holiday music with beautiful colors, fireworks, and lighting. Do you believe in holiday magic? The show features holiday music ranging from traditional to the light-hearted side of the season! The castle also has special lighting effects that are synced with the fireworks. The show ends with a beautiful snow fall set to the song I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas! I highly recommend seeing this firework show! My favorite thing to do is have a nice cup of peppermint hot cocoa or Abulita hot chocolate while waiting for the show to start, especially if I am sharing it with someone special!

It's A Small World

It's A Small World undergoes one of the biggest transformations in the park during Winter. The outside is covered in festive colorful lights and every 15 minutes or so there is a special video show that is projected onto the outside for guests to watch. Inside the ride there are some special additions as well. Inside you will get to visit the North Pole, see Santa, and get a look at some other cherished holiday traditions from all cultures. The music is also transformed into a holiday melody that brings happiness and cheer to the festivities showcased on the inside.

Big Thunder Ranch

At the Big Thunder Ranch you can meet Santa's Reindeer! There are also games and crafts for the little ones to enjoy. Right outside of the Big Thunder Ranch there is Santa's Sled where you can take some pictures! There are also shows and music that the whole family can enjoy including Billy and the Hill Billy Jamboree.

The reindeers at Big Thunder Ranch

The reindeers at Big Thunder Ranch

New Orleans Square

New Orleans Square is very festive this time of year decorate with large ornaments and lots of colored lights! Of course this is no ordinary Christmas spot it is true to itself and is decorated in the French Quarter style it is so famous for! There is a large Masquerade mask that marks the entrance to the streets of New Orleans Square.

The Jingle Cruise

This is a new feature this year! The Jungle Cruise turns merry for the Christmas season at Disneyland. There are many safari/jungle style decorations that transform the Jungle cruise into the Jingle Cruise! The skippers have all personalized their boats for the Holidays as well as made some winter updates to their jokes. Each boat has a holiday themed name on top as well. This is the first year of the Jingle Cruise and is a very cute addition to the merriment's of the season. If the line is long don't worry! Time passes pretty quickly because the queue has decorations throughout as well as holiday music playing! I think that this was a great addition to the merriment of the season and seems to be pretty popular already!

A Frozen Meet and Greet

So I will be very honest: I had no idea this was in Fantasyland and it was a very pleasant surprise! I just happened to be walking through this part of the park and I spotted it out of the corner of my eye. It was a very serendipitous moment. I immediately went over to take pictures naturally! As I was taking pictures in all of my excitement I was actually scared by Olaf. I literally jumped. Clearly I did not know that he is an animated Olaf that moves and talks and appears to be sleeping until he starts making noise! This is such a cool addition (no pun intended) especially during the Winter season! Inside the Frozen house you can go and meet the two princesses Anna and Elsa from Disney's new movie Frozen!

The Frozen meet and greet house located inside of Fantasyland.

The Frozen meet and greet house located inside of Fantasyland.

Holiday Tour

The tour takes guest on a holiday journey throughout the park. Guests get no line access to some of the most popular rides such as It's A Small World and the Haunted Mansion. They also get VIP seating to the holiday parade and a collectable souvenir to take home. If you are a passholder you get a 20% discount on the tour price!

Holiday Magic in California Adventure

Disneyland is typically the first park that you will think of when you think of all the Christmas festivities but you will be pleasantly surprised with all the holiday cheer that California Adventure has to offer you! Buena Vista Street and Cars Land are very cute and festive this time of year and definitely something to check out!

The gates of California Adventure are decorated as well.

The gates of California Adventure are decorated as well.

Obviously if you choose to go to California Adventure you will have to walk down Buena Vista Street to get to the rest of the park! It is decorated in the style of the 20's and is very lovely to see. You will get a very warm and homey feel as you stroll down the street that ends with a giant decorated Christmas Tree. The shop windows are decorated as well and there are lots of holiday goodies to eat and drink along the way!

The Christmas tree at the end of Buena Vista Street.

The Christmas tree at the end of Buena Vista Street.

Seasons Speedings from Cars Land

All the residents in Radiator Springs have worked really hard to deck the streets for the holiday season. From a Christmas Tree made out of tires to wreaths and a snowman car, there is plenty of cheer to go around! I myself love cars so I love to see all the creative things around Christmas time that are made out of car parts! Take a close look because most of the time it is very subtle. Also keep an eye out for some of your favorite Cars characters wearing festive Santa hats! You will also hear holiday music throughout Cars Land! It makes the season very fun and festive to walk around and you are sure to get revved up for the Holidays!

World of Color Winter Dreams

This Winter there are some new additions to the World of Color show! In fact the whole show is new! It is hosted by Olla the snowman from Frozen and has a brand new carol sung by hundreds of people from the internet! There are going to be featured clips from Disney's Frozen as well as Toy Story's version of the Nutcracker! There are appearances from beloved characters such as Bambi, Tinkerbell, Mickey, Minnie, and Lady. There is also a very special fun feature that has been added for guests to have fun with. I am sure you are all familiar with the really big ferris wheel that is on the pier. It is called Mickey's Fun Wheel and this year guests get to control the lights on it before World of Color! How do you do it? Well simply log onto the pier's WiFi connection and play against the other guests! If you win you get to control the light show from your smart phone! Sounds fun right?

Downtown Disney

Downtown Disney is also transformed this time of year to carry on the spirit of the Holidays! There is an outdoor ice skating rink you can skate on this time of year.It is very cute and hosted by Olaf from Frozen! There are also little "cottages" surrounding the rink that sell merchandise for the Christmas season. Don't have your own skates? No problem! Disney has you covered by providing rental skates. There is also a decorated Christmas tree that will be sure to make your day merry and bright located right in the middle of the rink! ! All throughout Downtown Disney there is Christmas music and holiday decorations in a majority of the stores. The Lego store has a Santa made out of Legos which is super cute and fun to take pictures of!

Holiday Treats

There are many delicious holiday treats for you to choose from! There are adorable gingerbread men with chocolate Mickey ears, caramel apples decorated for the season, peppermint bark, and gourmet marshmallows in flavors such as eggnog. Speaking of eggnog you can order it to drink at the Jolly Holiday Bakery as well as peppermint mochas, eggnog lattes, and apple cider. If you prefer the holiday drinks at Starbucks then by all means go right over and get some because there is now a Starbucks open in Main Street in addition to the one in California Adventure!


Picture Perfect Spots

There are many spots in both parks that are great for creating and capturing memories. Like always you can ask someone to take a picture for you or at most spots there are cast members who will gladly take your picture for you!

Here are some great spots to get a picture in front of:

  • Sleeping Beuaty's Castle
  • Main Street's Christmas Tree
  • Main Street Train Station
  • It's A Small World
  • Frozen Meet and Greet House
  • The Haunted Mansion Holiday Takeover (still decorated in the Nightmare Before Christmas fashion)
  • Cars Land
  • Buena Vista Street's Christmas Tree
  • Paradise Pier's Christmas Tree
  • Downtown Disney's Ice Skating Rink

3 Kings Day Celebration

The 3 Kings Day Celebration takes place from January 3-6, 2014 inside of Disneyland. It is a traditional style of celebration that includes folklorico dancers, mariachi bands, Disney characters in festive costumes, and many activities and decor!


Tatiana from Florida on January 25, 2014:

I'm on the other coast, only about two hours from Disney World in Orlando. I haven't been since I was a kid, but I might think about planning a trip around Christmas! I bet it would be just as beautiful!

JasonCulley from Cheyenne, WY on December 28, 2013:

Disneyland during the Holiday Season is absolutely amazing!

Rebecca O'Reilly from California on December 23, 2013:

Grew up going there for every major life event. The Park is as old as I am. Back in the day, we visited Disneyland in our lacy party dresses. Moms wore gloves and dads wore suits. Special place for me even now.

Every year my husband and I give each other Disneyland tickets (we used to live close by Disneyland and were season ticket owners, but now we can only manage to go once a year).

Soaring over California is one of my favorite rides at California Adventures. Haven't been able to do the new "Cars" ride. We went in March of this year and tried 3 times, but sadly the ride broke down. Seems there are always a few glitches to work out with the new rides.

It is the Happiest Place on Earth!

Thank you for the Hub and congrats on the HOD. ;)

Lyndsay Gamber (author) from California on December 16, 2013:

Hi midnightbliss!

Thank you so much! I am so happy to hear that you have great memories at Disneyland! Thank you for commenting and voting!

Lyndsay Gamber (author) from California on December 16, 2013:

Hi thebiologyofleah!

Thank you so much! The Jingle Cruise is such a great addition to all the festivities this year! I have never been to Disney World but I do know that in Hollywood Studios they have a huge light show that is set to music! I believe it is called Osbornes lights. You should check it out if you ever make it there! =) Happy Holidays to you too!

Lyndsay Gamber (author) from California on December 16, 2013:

Hello bwhite062007!

It is especially beautiful this time of year! Thank you for commenting!

Lyndsay Gamber (author) from California on December 16, 2013:

Hi Paradise7!

Thank you for taking the time to read it! I am glad you enjoyed it! =)

Lyndsay Gamber (author) from California on December 16, 2013:

Hello Thelma Alberts!

Thank you so much! It is very awesome this time of year and it is so easy to take beautiful pictures because of how the park is decorated! Thanks for commenting!

Haydee Anderson from Hermosa Beach on December 16, 2013:

Excellent hub and congrats on HOTD! I love Disneyland, especially during the holidays. Gosh, I think the last time I visited, however, was almost 5 years ago. It was summertime and hot! But it was sunny and a total blast getting tan while enjoying the various attractions. Though, I do love visiting during fall and winters months as well. Thanks for sharing! Your writing and pictures brought back lots of wonderful memories. ~ Voted up!

Leah Kennedy-Jangraw from Massachusetts on December 15, 2013:

Great Hub- I love Disney and I love Christmas, so the two together is a wonderful subject. I enjoyed how you shared some many pictures of all the detail Disney puts into their Christmas decorations. Love the updates of the Jingle Cruise and including their newest characters from Frozen. I'm an east coaster and I hope to make it to Disneyworld sometime for Christmas-definitely on my bucket list.

Thanks for sharing and Happy Holidays!

Brianna W from East Coast on December 15, 2013:

Disneyland is such a magical place, I just couldn't imagine how truly magical and beautiful it must be the holiday season!! Thank you for sharing.

Paradise7 from Upstate New York on December 15, 2013:

This was really lovely and I enjoyed every minute of it. Thank you for the tour. It was a lot of well-deserved exclamation marks!

Thelma Alberts from Germany on December 15, 2013:

Congrats on the HOTD! This holiday sounds awesome and the photos are very beautiful. I wish I could be there at Christmas time. Thanks for sharing.

Lyndsay Gamber (author) from California on December 02, 2013:

Hi Better Yourself!

It is very magical and wonderful in the park this time of year! There are lights and Christmas decorations everywhere! I am glad you enjoyed this Hub!

Better Yourself from North Carolina on December 02, 2013:

What a wonder it must be to experience Disneyland during the Christmas season! Great hub, and since I won't be getting there any time soon its nice to have a glimpse from all your pictures! I love driving around at night during Christmas to look at the all decoration and lights, but I'm sure Disney is way above and beyond!

Lyndsay Gamber (author) from California on November 25, 2013:

Hello Glimmer Twin Fan!

Thanks so much! It is really fun during the holidays! I really want to go to Walt Disney World in Florida! Hopefully one day I can go!

Claudia Mitchell on November 25, 2013:

I didn't get to Disney until my late 30s and then went quite a bit (in Florida). Unfortunately I've never been at the holidays, but would really love to make the trip. This is encouraging me even more. Nice photos.

Lyndsay Gamber (author) from California on November 21, 2013:

Hello FlourishAnyway!

It is a really magical time to go! Thanks so much! =)

FlourishAnyway from USA on November 21, 2013:

I would love to do to Disney at holiday time. You make it seem so appealing. I am a child at heart.

Related Articles