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18 Reasons to go to Disneyland for Christmas

My in-laws have been going to Disneyland every July since the dawn of time. Disneyland in July is . . . hot. It’s also crowded. I’m impatient when you mix those two things together.

Disneyland for Christmas? Glorious. Manageable. MAGICAL. Of course the weather is better, the crowds are fewer (especially onweekdays), but throw in all the holiday shimmer and shine, and it’s a done deal. Here’s why:

1. Snow on Main Street

Main Street in and of itself is a sight to see all decked out for the holidays, but what’s really magical is watching the snow fall on Main Street at the end of the night. I’m in debates with my father-in-law as to what the snow is actually made of. He thinks it’s special bubbles made to look like snow. I think there are tiny snow-making machines hiding in street lamps. Whatever it is, it gives Disney’s Main Street a touch of the North Pole.

Disneyland's Main Street at Christmas

2. It’s a Small World

I’m a sucker for this ride. In the summertime, it’s the place I like to go to get out of the heat and sit for awhile. During the holidays, it’s literally transformed into a holiday spectacle. The facade of the attraction is covered with 50,000 glittering lights. I’m not lying when I say that I got choked up a couple of times because I loved it so much.

My mom, who can’t stand the song “It’s a Small World,” gave in and came on the ride. Even she got off the ride saying that it was well worth it.  It’s my favorite ride. End of story.

Small World with 50,000 lights at Disneyland

Here’s a peek at the Small World Holiday Clock Show:

3. Sleeping Beauty’s Castle

It’s even more enchanting during the holidays! We loved seeing it all lit up at night!

Disneyland for Christmas: Sleeping Beauty's Castle

4. Haunted Mansion

Just as good at Christmas time as it is during Halloween. My kids loved seeing the Haunted Mansion made over for the Nightmare Before Christmas. Our family’s favorite is Zero. You’ll find him lots of places throughout the mansion.

The Nightmare Before Christmas Haunted Mansion at Disneyland

5. Cars Land at Christmas

It wins. Cars Land in and of itself is so amazingly true to the movie, but you add the Christmas element to Radiator Springs, and it’s even better. This was our first time going to Cars Land and the entire family, grandparents included, have put it at the top of the list. I’m hanging on to Small World just because it’s a classic. But Cars Land is a close second.

Cars Land at Christmas

6. Jingle Cruise

The Jungle Cruise has turned Jingle Cruise for the Christmas.  Jingle Cruise skippers have mixed things up for the holidays and are cracking their ever-so-festive jokes.

The Jungle Cruise has turned Jingle Cruise for Christmas at Disneyland

7. World of Color Winter Dreams Light Show

Photos really can’t do this light show justice. It was incredible. Our highlights were the “Virtual Honor Choir” and the Toy Story rendition of the Nutcracker.

World of Color Winter Dreams Show in California Adventure

8. Viva Navidad!

The Disney Viva Navidad! celebration takes place in Paradise Gardens in California Adventure. There is a daily celebration with food, crafts, face painting, music, dance lessons and a street party. We highly recommend the Champurrado Casero (Mexican Hot Chocolate).

Disney Viva Navidad

9. The Christmas Parade

As with all other Disney parades, snag a spot early! The parade is adorable and ends with Santa checking his list.

Christmas Parade on Main Street at Disneyland

 

10. Holiday Ears

They are the cutest. Period.

Holiday Ears at Disneyland

 

11. The Characters!

Our youngest was most excited to see Pluto, but a trip to Disneyland is not complete without running into Mickey and Minnie.

Charachters at Disneyland for Christmas

 

Other Holiday Attractions:

  • 12. Olaf’s Ice Skating Rink in Downtown Disney
  • 13. The carolers on Buena Vista Street in California Adventure. I think they were plucked straight out of the 1920s
  • 14. A Bugs Land in California Adventuredecorated with oversized ornaments and giant Christmas lights
  • 15. The “Mad T Party” with a holiday twist in Hollywood Land in California Adventure
  • 16. “Phineas and Ferb’s Rockin’ Rollin’ Dance Party – Holiday Edition” in California Adventure
  • 17. Anna and Elsa from Disney’s upcoming film “Frozen” are greeting guests in Fantasyland
  • 18. Visit Santa at the “Jingle Jangle Jamboree” at Big Thunder Ranch in Frontier Land. There are games, music, and crafts.

2014 Updates

  • It’s a Small World Holiday runs from November 13th 2014 – January 6th 2015. It’s my most favorite thing. I cried. For reals.
  • Anna and Elsa have joined the parade this year! Be sure to check out the “A Christmas Fantasy” parade down Main Street, U.S.A.
  • The “World of Color – Winter Dreams” show is still running and is absolutely amazing.

Anna and Elsa

 

Have you been to Disneyland around the holidays? What’s your can’t miss?

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Comments (4)

  1. Pingback: Disneyland News – “World of Color – Winter Dreams” Features Music From Popular Disney Movies like “Toy Story” and “Frozen” | Adventures in Anaheim

  2. Pingback: Disneyland for Christmas? 18 Reasons to Say YES! | RachaelH.com

  3. Meredith 11/20/2013 at 9:48 am

    I actually have heard it’s SUPER crowded at Christmas??? Is that not true? We were thinking of going this year, the week between Christmas and NYears, but everyone told us it was like shoulder to shoulder and so busy. So, we’re waiting for February. I do want to go at Christmastime sometime!

    • Rachael Herrscher 11/20/2013 at 9:52 am

      I think the week after Christmas is the most crowded. I think it you hit it before mid December it’s great. Keep in mind the weekdays are less crowded. Our first day was on Thursday and we literally had 10 minute waits in line or walked on to some rides. It was awesome!

      By Friday afternoon it starts getting crowded because of local seasons pass holders etc. I’d definitely always shoot for a weekday. In a perfect world, I’d have a 2 day park hopper for Wednesday and Thursday.