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How to Have the Ultimate Christmas-Themed Day at Disneyland!

It is finally here, folks! Christmas is upon us, and there are few places that are better to celebrate the merriest time of the year than at Disneyland Resort. The Happiest Place on Earth goes all out and there are a ton of experiences that Guests can have to get into the Christmas spirit. Let’s take a look at all the amazing things you can do at Disneyland to fully experience the Christmas magic.

Disneyland Christmas

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Check Out the Beautiful Decorations in Downtown Disney

As all Disneyland visitors are painfully aware, the trams are still not up and running to take Guests from the parking area to the theme park entrances. That means walking from the parking structures is required, but instead of taking the tram route, walk to the Parks through Downtown Disney. You’ll be able to take a look at all the holiday decorations, from trees to fun topiaries. It’s a great way to start your theme park day!

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Get Your Picture Taken in Front of the Main Street, U.S.A. Christmas Tree

Now, there will most likely be a line for this, but waiting is worth it. The massive tree is beautifully decorated and the perfect background for any Christmas card. If you don’t want to start with this, you can wait until the sun goes down and the lights are shimmering on the tree. Disney PhotoPass photographers will be on hand to get the best picture of you and your friends or family. And be sure to ask if there are any magic shots available.

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Ride The Holiday-Themed Rides

One thing that Disneyland loves to do is change some of its classic rides during the holiday season to give them a special Christmas theme — those two attractions are the Haunted Mansion, which becomes Haunted Mansion Holiday, and “it’s a small world”, which transforms into “it’s a small world” Holiday. If you are celebrating the spirit of the season and having the ultimate Disney Christmas day, be sure to jump on these attractions.

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Watch the Specialty Lighting and Shows

There are two really magical experiences that happen once it gets dark out — one happens on Sleeping Beauty Castle and the other happens at “it’s a small world” Holiday. Every day, there is a fun performance that happens right before “it’s a small world” Holiday has its Christmas lights turned on.

it's a small world holiday

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Later in the evening, there will be two lighting shows for Sleeping Beauty Castle. Music plays down Main Street, U.S.A, and there is even snow to truly get you in the Christmas spirit. Be sure to check your Disneyland mobile app to see what times both shows are happening.

Watch The Christmas Parade and Fireworks

Since Disneyland reopened in April, there had been no parades. That is, until the Christmas season was around the corner and Disney announced that the A Christmas Fantasy Parade would be returning for daily performances. The parade is very popular, so if you would like to watch it, be sure to find a spot a little early.

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Disney also brought back its incredibly popular Christmastime fireworks, Believe….In Holiday Magic fireworks show. The show combines amazing projections with beautiful fireworks and a special ending that is sure to make you a little misty-eyed. It is important to note that both of these events are weather permitting, so if you are unsure of performances, check your Disneyland mobile app.

Be On The Lookout For Cavalcades

Throughout the day, Disney will have a special little Christmas cavalcade where you can see some of your favorites like Mickey, Minnie, Chip and Dale, and Anna and Elsa riding around Main Street, U.S.A. There are no cavalcade times listed in the Disneyland mobile app, so be on the lookout! You can also try to ask a Cast Member in the area, and they may be able to tell you what times the characters will be making their way out.

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Visit Santa and Other Characters

Guests having a magical Christmas day should be sure to head back to Critter Country and have a visit with Santa Claus! As with other character interactions, this will be a socially distanced experience. Even though you may not be sitting next to the jolly man himself, it’s still a great experience for Guests who love all things Christmas. For those visiting Disney California Adventure Park, Santa can be found at the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail.

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One great thing about Disneyland is that there seem to be characters everywhere you turn. And for the holidays, they will have special outfits on, or in the case of Pooh and Tigger, they have Santa hats.

Enjoy the Specialty Food

Disneyland loves to have special foods for special times of the year, and the holiday season is no exception. Disneyland has an entire foodie guide that will tell you all of the delicious offerings that they have for this holiday season. Mobile ordering is available for many of the locations with holiday-themed food, so take advantage of that as well, so you are not stuck waiting in long lines for the food you want.

Disneyland Holiday Food

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If You Have a Park Hopper Pass

Check Out Festival of the Holidays

Every holiday season, Disney California Adventure Park brings back Festival of the Holidays. The food festival features booths spread out along Pixar Pier that offer a number of delectable dishes that celebrate holidays from around the world, including Christmas, Hanukkah, Diwali, and Kwanzaa. You can even purchase a Sip and Savor Pass which will give you tabs to use at the booths, so you don’t have to whip out your wallet for each purchase.

Disneyland Festival of Holidays

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Head to Cars Land

Cars Land really goes all out for the holiday season. Not only are the decorations gorgeous and festive, but two of the three attractions receive a Christmas makeover. Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree becomes Mater’s Jingle Jamboree and Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters becomes Joy to the Whirl. There is also a great photo opportunity at the entrance to Cars Land that Guests can take advantage of.

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Can’t make it to Disneyland before the new year? No problem! Disney will be celebrating the holiday season until January 9, so there is still plenty of time to make your way down!

We hope you have a truly magical experience visiting Disneyland Resort this holiday season!

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!