This year’s December holidays at the Disneyland Resort celebration runs from November 11, 2022 through January 8, 2023 and include Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas/Navidad, Kwanzaa, Diwali, and Three Kings Day. There is snow much fun happening throughout the happiest place on earth – let’s dive in to the magic and explore all the fun to be had there!
There’s nothing quite like walking through the entrance gate, under the Disneyland Railroad tunnel, and then emerging to find Main Street decked out in its finest holiday splendor, with a giant Christmas tree on one end, and a snowy Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle at the other.
Though the COVID pandemic led to the Disneyland Resort tweaking some aspects of its annual holiday celebrations, there’s still so much magic and joy to be found! To our delight, pretty much all of the festive offerings we love are returning (like they did last year after a break the year prior) to this December holiday season at the Disneyland Resort. There are seasonal touches everywhere you look, but the highlights here are:
- Visiting Santa at Pooh’s thotful spot (editor’s note: Pooh is a terrible speller)
- Watching A Christmas Fantasy Parade and “it’s a small world” holiday illumination show
- Ride Haunted Mansion Holiday which features a frightfully festive NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS overlay
- Sipping a peppermint hot chocolate from the Market House while it snows on Main Street during the “Believe…In Holiday Magic” Fireworks Spectacular
- BONUS: Die-hard Disney fans in the know line up outside the Candy Palace at park opening for a wristband that entitles them to purchase one of these giant hand-pulled candy canes!
Disney California Adventure
You may think Disneyland Park has the market cornered on magical experiences this December holiday season at the Disneyland Resort, but Disney California Adventure Park is a preferred favorite for many Disney afficionados, especially if you celebrate anything other than Christmas. During the Festival of Holidays here you can:
- Explore Santa’s Holiday Visit at the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail, where a crew of merry elves (aka Disney Cast Members) transform the outdoor playground into an even more fun version of itself. Little ones can go play reindeer games while you hold a spot in line to meet Santa, making this an ideal location to meet the Big Man himself
- Sample global holiday cuisine from a dozen different food kiosks in the Festival Foods Marketplace
- Join in the Disney ¡Viva Navidad! Street Party which incorporates musical styles from all over Central and South America
- Visit Cars Land and see all the clever vehicle-themed holiday decorations, including a photo opp with Santa Mater!
- Watch World of Color – Season of Light featuring a jolly soundtrack of seasonal favorites and festively colorful water fountains and shimmering snowflakes projected over the water
- BONUS: Magic Key holders and their guests have exclusive access to the Magic Key terrace, a special dining lounge in the lofts of the Golden Vine Winery where they can enjoy a cocktail, snack, and birds eye view of the park below.
Downtown Disney District and Disneyland Resort Hotels
If you don’t have a Magic Key, couldn’t get a park reservation, or can’t afford the cost of a one day park ticket, despair not! You don’t need a park ticket or reservation to enter the Downtown Disney District. There you’ll still find tons of holiday decorations and festive cheer this December holiday season at the Disneyland Resort.
Past years have included a 30 foot Christmas tree, the cleverly-named Olaf’s Frozen Ice Rink, and live entertainment such as carolers, Nutcracker ballet performances, and more. Not to mention a great range of shops and restaurants which offer parking validation. Aside of the cost for parking and any shopping or eating you decide to do while there, visiting the Downtown Disney District is entirely free of charge. Even if this year’s celebration is not as elaborate as in the past before COVID, you can be sure this area will be festively decorated and feature extravagantly trimmed holiday trees!
From the Downtown Disney District, you can also walk to any of the three Disneyland Resort hotel lobbies to see their beautiful holiday decorations. Don’t miss the impressive gingerbread house inside the Grand Californian Hotel & Spa – all 500 pounds of it! Plus, if you time your visit right, you can even watch Disneyland’s “Believe…In Holiday Magic” Fireworks Spectacular for free from the Downtown Disney District.
For complete info on all the wintertime fun during the December holiday season at the Disneyland Resort, check out their website here. And to explore more Holiday Happenings in Orange County, click here.