December Holiday Season At The Disneyland Resort


disneyland orange county

Our Guide to the December Holiday Season at the Disneyland Resort is sponsored by Pediatric Smiles of Orange, Dr. Joanne Suarez Martinez.

Pediatric Smiles of Orange

I have the privilege of providing dental care to children of all ages for over 18 years. My specialty is to provide the best experience for your child with a comfortable environment catered to children. Our office has TV’s on the ceiling, video games and kid friendly murals throughout our office. We provide state of the art equipment and technology. I am a proud graduate of UCLA Dental School and USC Pediatric Specialty program. I am happily married to my husband Zach and have two children Zachary and Caleb. We are huge Ice Hockey fans and when not in the office, I am in the ice rink watching my kids play!

This year’s December holidays at the Disneyland Resort celebration runs from November 12, 2021 through January 9, 2022 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!


Disneyland Park

december holidays at the disneyland resort

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 means that the Disneyland Resort has adopted safety protocols and has had to tweak 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 after a break last year 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
  • 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! (NOTE: this may be temporarily suspended due to COVID concerns. The jury is still out at press time)

Disney California Adventure

december holidays at the disneyland resort

You may think Disneyland has the market cornered on magical experiences this December holiday season at the Disneyland Resort, but Disney California Adventure 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!
  • 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

december holiday season at the disneyland resort

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 restaurants and shops 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, 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

december holidays at the disneyland resort

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Follow me on Instagram @EcoFriendlyMama, Twitter @EcoFriendlyMa, and Pinterest @EcoFriendlyMama! Though I was born and raised in New York City, I've lived in SoCal for over ten years now and am proud to call this beautiful and diverse place my home. My husband and I have a son and baby daughter (whom I was 9 months pregnant with when this photo was taken!). Prior to becoming a mommy I spent several years in feature film publicity and acquisitions for Miramax and later as the Creative Executive for Hilary Swank Productions before seguing to the music industry where I did Online Communications for the GRAMMY Foundation and MusiCares. In my ample pre-parenthood free time, I also freelanced as a script analyst and screenwriter. I am fortunate now to be able to devote all my time to my family, but I still love to write so am thrilled to have the opportunity to be a part of this blog! I am a foodie, avid traveler, environmentalist, preschool board member, and unabashed Disney nut. I can also be found writing about green parenting and eco-conscious living on my personal website,


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