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Disneyland Christmas 2023- Your Complete Guide

Disneyland Christmas 2023- Your Complete Guide

Christmas at Disneyland. Does it get any better? My family doesn’t consider our holidays complete without a visit to the parks to enjoy the festive Disneyland Christmas season.

From fabulous seasonal food to vibrant holiday decor and spectacular shows, it simply can’t be beat. I attended opening day of the Christmas season so Trekaroo could bring all the details on the happenings during Disneyland Christmas 2023 fun to you! Read this before heading out to the parks this holiday season.

Is this your first trip to Disneyland (or the first time in a long time)? Here are our best Disneyland tips and the best rides at Disneyland Resort.

Disneyland Christmas 2023- Everything You Need to Know

When does Disneyland decorate for Christmas?

Christmas at Disneyland
Christmas Decorations Light Up Main Street

The official Disneyland Christmas 2023 season runs November 10- January 7. As usual, Disneyland will be decked out in its holiday best with a massive, 60-foot Christmas tree in Town Square on Main Street. The tree has some new decorations this year including 3,5000 lights, 1,500 Victorian-style ornaments, and 100 faux candles. Holiday music is piped in, making the atmosphere cheery and fun.

Expect to see 80 wreaths, 120 bows, and 220 garlands measuring four miles in length on Main Street!

10,000 poinsettia and 10,000 cyclamen plants have been planted around the Disneyland Resort to keep the gardens festive as well. 300 additional trees are brought into the resort during this time of year to keep things extra festive.

The atmosphere is festive during the day but when the sun sets and the lights turn on, it becomes downright magical.

More than 126,000 sparkling lights drip down Sleeping Beauty’s Castle like icicles, and vibrant holiday decorations trim nearly every nook and cranny of the park. The ever-popular “Christmas Fantasy” Parade starring Santa Claus returns to put us all in the Christmas Spirit. Disney traditions continue with Disneyland’s “Believe… in Holiday Magic” fireworks show which is capped off with a snowfall finale.

Tip: Head to Disneyland mid-week during early to mid-December when the park is lower on crowds but high on holiday magic. Disneyland tickets are typically less expensive during these times as well. If you do visit Disneyland during weekends or busy holiday periods, take advantage of the extended park hours and Disney Genie + and Lightening Lanes to get the most out of your family’s Disneyland experience.


Christmas at Disneyland Park 2023

Christmas at Disneyland Cinderella Castle
Sleeping Beauty Castle Lit Up for the Holidays

It’s a Small World Holiday

Disneyland Christmas 2023 Its a small world holiday

For over 20 years, the ride we all know and love has transformed into a holiday wonderland with “it’s a small world” Holiday . The ride’s 300+ audio-animatronic dolls take a break from singing the namesake song and instead belt out Christmas music- Deck the Halls and Jingle Bells in 10 different scenes throughout the ride.

Guests will have a “scentsational” experience on this ride. There will be cherry blossoms in Asia, cinnamon in South America, coconut in South Seas, and pine and peppermint in Europe. 

The attraction is especially worth visiting at night when the front facade as well as the surrounding trees and topiaries are decked out with 400,000 multi-colored lights. On every quarter hour, the facade also features a brilliantly-colored projection show. It is so cute to watch the clock open and see wooden dolls from various nations do their little parade.

Fun fact: It takes two dozen cast members 35 days to install the facade outside and 18 days to decorate the interior!

Haunted Mansion Holiday

Haunted Mansion Holiday Disneyland Christmas
Photo by Joshua Sudock/Disneyland Resort

Haunted Mansion Holiday continues to enchant visitors with its seasonal tribute to Christmas as celebrated in Jack Skellington’s Halloweentown from The Nightmare Before Christmas.

The ride is quite different from what you experience during the rest of the year and many regulars, my family included, think that the holiday version is even better than the original. For over 20 years a giant homemade gingerbread house is on the Haunted Mansion ballroom and checking out the new house each year is something regulars look forward to.

A Christmas Fantasy Parade

Disneyland Christmas Fantasy Parade
Santa Claus Headlines the Parade, photo by Joshua Sudock/Disneyland Resort)

To celebrate the season, all your favorite Disney characters dance about during A Christmas Fantasy Parade. This parade first debuted in 1995 and has become an annual tradition. As a matter of fact, it is the longest running parade in Disneyland history!

Disney princesses, along with Mickey and his gang, make appearances alongside the guest of honor, Santa Claus. Marching tin soldiers, life-size gingerbread cookies, and rollerblading snowflakes join in the fun as well. There are 16 different parades in this festive parade, as well as two Christmas trees.

The parade usually runs a couple times per day but I prefer to watch it at night with the 25,000 lights adorning Sleeping Beauty castle in the background.

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Disney Christmas Food

Candy cane beignets

An important part of any Disneyland holiday experience is enjoying some of the special treats which are only available during the holiday season. Every year specially selected desserts are available for purchase at several eateries around Disneyland. We tried our best to eat our way around the resort and barely scratched the surface!

Mickey ornament macarons

Tasty treasures include the chocolate mint shortcake at Plaza Inn, peppermint holiday sundae at Gibson Girl, Teddi Barra holiday funnel cake at the Hungry Bear Restaurant, candy cane beignets at the Mint Julep Bar in New Orleans Square, and Holiday DOLE Whip Sundae at The Tropical Hideaway

Candied apples

There are also a variety of gingerbread Mickeys, cookies, cupcakes, holiday caramel apples, marshmallow snowmen, macarons, and festive churros that can be found throughout the parks.

Celebration potato Disneyland

Past savory food options include a Thanks-mas Sandwich at Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe, a Celebration Potato filled Thanksgiving favorites at Troubador Tavern, and a Hyperdrive Holiday Chicken Sandwich at Galactic Grill.

Holiday Time at Disneyland Guided Tour

Disneyland Christmas Decorations
Go Behind the Scenes Christmas-Style

If you still can’t get enough of Disney during the holidays, consider taking the Holiday Time at Disneyland Guided Tour which will give you an up-close look at what goes in to both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure’s holiday transformation.

In addition to the tour guests will receive reserved seating at the parade, holiday-themed treats, and a special collectible pin. Reservations for this tour can be made online, at Disneyland City Hall on Main street or by calling (714) 781-8687.

Holidays at Disney California Adventure Park

Disneyland Christmas 2019
Mickey and Minnie in Carthay Circle, photo by Joshua Sudock/Disneyland Resort

Disney California Adventure won’t take a backseat to its sister park during the Christmas season! Every year, DCA ups its game, creating its own winter wonderland full of fun! Santa can be found at the Redwood Creek Challenge as he has been in year’s past, but there is somuch more to get excited about!

Disney California Adventure Holiday Decor

Christmas at Disneyland
Fun Holiday Garland in front of Lucky Fortune Cookery

Buena Vista Street is trimmed in its holiday best, complete with vintage-style ornaments. At the center of Carthay Circle is a 50-foot Christmas tree. Over on newly imagined San Fransokyo Square, themed garlands adorn the fronts of the restaurants. My favorite is the Chinese takeout-themed garland in front of Lucky Fortune Cookery

Mickey’s Happy Holidays

Holiday Drummers

“Mickey’s Happy Holidays” is a dance and sing along that has quickly become a DCA holiday tradition. Mickey, as well as various other Disney and Pixar characters, rock our to high energy music which is led by Holiday Toy Drummers.

Expect to see Mickey, Minnie, Chip n’ Dale, and even the Country Bears! The show runs twice daily as it makes its way through the park, stopping at Paradise Gardens and Carthay Circle for special show moments.

Christmas in Cars Land

Christmas at DIsneyland carsland
Creatve Christmas Decor in Cars Land

Cars Land has been transformed into holiday wonderland- Radiator Springs style! Where else will you see trees trimmed with hub caps, bright orange tinsel encircling a tower of bright orange road cones, a snowcar, and a tow truck donning a Santa hat? Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters gets in the spirit as Luigi’s Joy to the Whirl and Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree is Mater’s Jingle Jamboree for the duration of the season. 

The Cozy Cone Motel food stands have plenty of great holiday food offerings. Cozy Cone Motel 1 has the Cranberry Yogurt Churro and the Nog Chata with Rumchata topped with whipped cream and sprinkles. Cozy Cone Motel 2 is offering the Christmas Tree Cone which has peppermint soft-serve decorated with holiday sprinkles.

Chicken Pesto Cone
Chicken Pesto Cone

Cozy Cone Motel is offering a savory Chicken Pesto Cone filled with creamy pesto alfredo pasta, marinated chicken, balsamic glaze, bruschetta tomatoes, and Romano cheese. And finally, Cozy Cone Motel 4 has the Gingerbread Mule which is made with cinnamon whiskey, ginger beer, lemon juice, and gingerbread syrup.

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World of Color- Season of Light

World of Color Season of Light
World of Color- Season of Light, photo by Joshua Sudock/Disneyland Resort

Back for another year, World of Color-Season of Light is THE evening entertainment event of the holiday season in DCA. This water projection show features 120 characters from 30 Disney and Pixar films, including the ever-popular Frozen sisters, Anna and Elsa.

Over 800 lights and 1200 fountains bring this show to life. Several popular holiday songs accompany the production, including Feliz Navidad, Blue Christmas, Baby It’s Cold Outside,  and Let It Snow.

Viva Navidad

Viva Navidad Street Party

We love Viva Navidad which celebrates the Hispanic culture that such a big part of life in Southern California. The Three Caballeros host a street party in front of Paradise Gardens. There are featuring Mexican folklórico dancers, mariachis, Brazilian samba dancers, and giant mojiganga puppets as well as appearances by Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse on bikes!

There is also live music throughout the day and places to visit with Disney characters, including Mirabel from Encanto.

Achiote Chicken
Achiote-marinated Half Chicken

Sesonal food offerings at Paradise Grill include Impossible albodingas soup, tacos gobernador, chocolate flan cake, achiote-marinated half chicken, street-style watermelon, and a mango candy cocktail.

Disney Festival of Holidays

Disneyland Festival of Holidays
Sweet and Savory Treats Await at Festival of Holidays, photo by Sharlene Earnshaw

One of our favorite parts of the holiday fun being offered at Disney California Adventure is the Festival of Holidays that celebrates the diversity of the season and cultural traditions from around the world.

Seven different performing groups will keep things festive as you stroll the booths at the Festival of Holidays. Over at Viva Navidad, folklorico dancers and live musicians put a Latin spin on festive fun. Mirabel from “Encanto” will be stopping by for visits as well.

Several food, drink, craft, and merchandise marketplace kiosks line the main drag from the entrance to Cars Land to Paradise Gardens. This year the kiosks locations are more spread out than in year’s past, so be sure to grab a Festival of Holidays booklet from one of the park kiosks so you don’t miss a thing.

There is so much to eat (and drink!) at the Festival of Holidays. We suggest purchasing a Sip and Savor Pass at any of the Festival Marketplace carts. It will come on a lanyard and have eight little tabs that you can break off and redeem for food and non-alcoholic beverages at the festival.

Below are pictures of some of the offerings. Along with descriptions of what is at each cart We didn’t get to try them all but our favorites of those we did try are bolded.

Savory Kugel Mac and Cheese
Savory Kugel Mac and Cheese

A Twist on Tradition- Savory Kugel Mac & Cheese (my daughter’s top savory food choice), Guava-Melon Lassi, Glacier Margarita


Brews & Bites: Impossible Chorizo Queso Fundido with house-made tortilla chips, a variety of microbrew flights.

Favorite Things: Braised Pork Belly Adobo with garlic rice (my top savory pick), Mad Santa Macaron with chocolate ganache and peanut butter mousse, Cherry Mango Punch, Churro Toffee Cold Brew Latte

Grandma’s Recipes: Barbacoa Tamal de Res, Berry Pomegranate Paloma, various wines including a winter winery flight

Chocolate Tart with twix

Holiday Duets: Esquites Carnitas Mac & Cheese, Chocolate Tart Made with TWIX Cookie Bar Pieces, Cuban Parranda Cocktail, Cantaritos Pineapple hard soda

Pumpkin Layered Cheesecake

Making Spirits Bright: Impossible Chicken Curry Bites, Pumpkin Layered Cheesecake, Tiramisu Yule Log Cocktail, Chocolate Mint Stout Shake

Southern Mac and Cheese

Merry Mashups: Southern Mac & Cheese with andouille sausage, Santa’s Milk & Cookies Hot Cocoa, Maple Hazelnut Hot Buttered Rum

Winter Sliderland: Togarashi Karaage Chicken Slider, Beef Brisket Slider, Spiced Pear Mule

Salted Caramel-Mocha Bundt Cake
Salted Caramel-Mocha Bundt Cake

Cappuccino Cart: Cafe de Olla Cold Brew, Salted Caramel-Mocha Bundt Cake

Hollywood Lounge: Three Gifts Flight which includes Gin Lavender Lemonade, Smoky Hibiscus Orange Cocktail, and Shimmering Apple Pie Cocktail 

Lamplight Lounge: Holiday Special Duck Confit, Pan Dulce Donuts, and Holiday Cocktail made with Chai Tea-Oat Mix, vanilla vodka, and Kahlúa Coffee Liqueur

Pym Test Kitche: Cold Brew Infusion Cinnamon caramel cold brew with cardamom cream foam 

Kielbasa with Pierogi

Smokejumpers Grill: Kielbasa with Pierogi

Sonoma Terrace: Pan con Pollo, Bottle Logic Brewing Holiday Hopscotch

Studio Catering Co: Holiday Turkey Empanada

Tacos Gobernador
Tacos Gobernador

Paradise Garden Grill: Impossible Albodingas Soup, Tacos Gobernador, Chocolate Cake Flan

Mickey Gingerbread

More Vendor Cart Options: Chicken Chile Verde Empanada, Honey-glazed Turkey Leg, Mickey-shaped Gingerbread Cookie

Chocolate Peppermint Churros
Chocolate Peppermint Churros

Churro Carts: Terran Treats- Hot Chocolate Churro, Churro Cart Near Goofy’s Sky School: Fresas con Crema coated in cinnamon sugar and topped with strawberries saturated in condensed milk, Churro Cart at Hollywoodland: Yule Log Churro, Churro Cart near Redwood Creek Challenge Trail: Chocolate Peppermint Churro

Looking to do Disneyland on a budget? Check out these tips on how to save money at Disneyland during the holidays.

Holidays at the Hotels of the Disneyland Resort

Christmas at Disneyland Gingerbread House
The Famous Disney’s Grand California Hotel Gingerbread House, photo by Disneyland Resort

Be sure to stop by the gingerbread house in the lobby of Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. The exterior of the gingerbread house resembles the outside of the hotel and stands nine feet tall!

This year’s impressive creation is made from 690 pounds of gingerbread, 690 pounds of powdered sugar, 290 pounds of fondant and one pound of “pixie dust.” Plus, it features 25 hidden Mickeys.

Hot chocolate and holiday-themed snacks will be offered at the nearby Grand California Hotel Lobby Cart.

If you are staying at any of the Disneyland Resort properties this season take time to check out their holiday displays, entertainment offerings, and special holiday menus. Disneyland Hotel features a retro theme with silver trees and bright colors.

Downtown Disney also gets into the holiday spirit with seasonal food and shopping as well as a capella carolers strolling and singing at night. 

Lead photo by Disneyland Resort. 

Sharlene Earnshaw