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Disneyland's Holiday Season

Holidays at Disneyland are some of the most wonderful times to visit.

The holiday season at Disneyland is a festive time full of cheer. The park is decked out in beautiful decorations, and special shows and activities are happening throughout the season. This is a great time to visit Disneyland if you're looking for a festive vacation destination.

The Holiday Season at Disneyland

Holiday Events

The holidays are a special time at Disneyland Resort. There are festive decorations, special shows and events, and of course, delicious food. You can't miss the giant Christmas Tree as you enter Disneyland, and the tree is lit daily at 5 p.m. Another special lighting takes place at "it's a small world" nightly at 5:15 p.m. (be sure to check out the holiday overlay of the ride too). As you make your way to Fantasyland, you'll see the castle fully decked out for the season, and you can catch "Wintertime Enchantment at Sleeping Beauty's Winter Castle" at 7:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. If you're a fan of "The Nightmare Before Christmas," don't forget to visit the Haunted Mansion, where Sandy Claws has made some changes for the season. 

Haunted Mansion Holiday at Disneyland | WHERE Traveler®
Haunted Mansion Holiday at Disneyland (©Melanie Lee)

Seasonal Photo Opportunities

In addition to Santa Claus, guests at Disneyland can find several festive character greetings throughout the park. Tim Burton's "The Nightmare Before Christmas" Character Experience takes place in New Orleans Square between 11 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., where guests can meet and greet Sally and Sandy Claws. Visitors can enjoy Photopass opportunities at the Town Square Christmas Tree and with characters in the Town Square area (dressed in their holiday best, of course). Keep your eyes peeled as you enter the Disneyland gates—the Disneyland Park Main Entrance often has special surprise characters (we saw Chip dressed in his winter accessories). 

Town Square Christmas Tree at Disneyland | WHERE Traveler®
Town Square Christmas Tree at Disneyland (Courtesy The Walt Disney Company/Disneyland)

Festive Entertainment

This year, the "A Christmas Fantasy" Parade takes place at 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. daily, and the "Believe...In Holiday Magic" Fireworks Spectacular is scheduled for 9:30 p.m. nightly. Exclusive holiday entertainment around Disneyland this season includes the Dapper Dans singing festive holiday tunes on Main Street, U.S.A.—you can't miss this beloved a capella Barbershop Quartet, one of the entertainment staples of Disneyland. The Dickens Yuletide Band can also be found on Main Street, U.S.A./ Guests looking for some holiday interaction can meet Santa Claus in Critter Country through December 24 and the Holiday Dance Party between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. every night. 

"A Christmas Fantasy" Parade at Disneyland | WHERE Traveler®
"A Christmas Fantasy" Parade at Disneyland (©Melanie Lee) 

Foodie Favorites

Disney's parks are known for their delicious and unique food offerings, and the holiday season is no exception. This year, guests can enjoy special seasonal treats at various locations throughout the park. Jolly Holiday Bakery & Café in Disneyland Park has a wide variety of seasonal goodies, including a Snowman Cinnamon Roll Cheesecake and a Thanks-mas Sandwich. The Trandoshan-style Pasta with Braised Bantha is also a popular dish at Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. And, of course, no holiday season would be complete without festive cookies like Mickey-themed Gingerbread Cookies and Santa Cookies from the Candy Palace Minnie Holiday Cake Pop stand. 

Peppermint Cookie Donut at Jolly Holiday Bakery & Café in Disneyland | WHERE Traveler®
Peppermint Cookie Donut at Jolly Holiday Bakery & Café (Courtesy The Walt Disney Company/Disneyland)

Holiday Shopping

Holiday shopping and souvenirs at Disneyland are a must-do for visitors to the park. Many of the shops on Main Street, U.S.A., offer special holiday merchandise, including ornaments, stockings, and other Disney-themed items. Make sure to stop by the popcorn carts for some of the cutest limited-edition popcorn buckets and sippers. The Emporium is one of the best-stocked shops in the park (visit on your way out or reserve a locker for the day to store all your goods) and the World of Disney store in Downtown Disney outside the parks has the most extensive selection you'll find in the entire resort. 

Musical Rotating Popcorn Tin at Disneyland | WHERE Traveler®
Musical Rotating Popcorn Tin at Disneyland (Courtesy The Walt Disney Company/Disneyland)