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Note: Disneyland is closed through 2020 due to Covid-19.
Christmas at Disneyland. Does it get any better? My family doesn’t consider our holidays complete without a visit to the parks during the festive Christmas season. From fabulous seasonal food to vibrant holiday decor and spectacular shows, it simply can’t be beat. We have all the details on the Disneyland Christmas 2019 fun! Read this before heading out to the parks this holiday season.
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The official Disneyland Christmas 2019 season runs November 8- January 6. 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. As a matter of fact, there will even be a new holiday plant installation near the Mickey and Walt Disney statue at the end of Main Street. It will have 7,500 new plants and 80 lighted pine trees.
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 Maxpass to get the most out of your family’s Disneyland experience.
One of the new attractions for Disneyland Christmas 2019 is the Disney Holiday Dance Party at Tomorrowland Terrace. It happens every night during the holiday season. During this fun dance party, Disney characters will join in on the fun while some of your favorite Christmas music is played.
Also new for 2019, Toontown will be getting more into the Christmas spirit. Enjoy “toon” trees and wacky decorations as you join Mickey and his pals who are home for the holidays.
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.
New for 2019- 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.
A FASTPASS is available for this popular ride. 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.
Fun fact: It takes three dozen cast members 35 days to install the facade and 18 days to decorate the interior!
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.
This is the 19th year a gingerbread house will be in the Haunted Mansion ballroom. This year’s design celebrates the Haunted Mansion’s 50th anniversary and includes 15 recognizable ghosts from the attraction, made out of gingerbread. The gingerbread house itself stands 10-feet tall and took 13 days to build and decorate!
Fastpass is available for this ever-popular ride.
To celebrate the season, all your favorite Disney characters dance about during A Christmas Fantasy Parade. 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.
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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.
Tasty treasures include the chocolate mint yule log at Plaza Inn, peppermint holiday sundae at Gibson Girl, gingerbread creme brulee at the Blue Bayou, hot chocolate beignets at the Mint Julep Bar in New Orleans Square, and a variety of gingerbread men, cookies, cupcakes, holiday caramel apples, marshmallow snowmen, eggnog latte cheesecake, gingerbread funnel cake fries and festive churros that can be found throughout the parks.
Savory food options include a roast beef tv dinner, snowman pancakes with bacon scarves, a holiday dinner pizza, and chile rellenos served “Christmas style” with red and green sauce.
If you really want to become a Disney holiday food aficionado, line up early in the morning when the park opens for a wristband so that you can purchase one of Disneyland’s coveted handmade candy canes. Call the Candy Cane Hotline (714) 781-0112 to get an updated schedule before your visit. Image Wikimedia Commons/Buckley.
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 at Disneyland City Hall on Main street or by calling (714) 781-8687.
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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 seven feet tall! It is topped with “snow” which is created with 600 pounds of powdered sugar, 12 gallons of egg whites, and 250 pounds of fondant. There are 25 hidden Mickeys in the display. Hot chocolate and holiday-themed snacks are sold from one of the house’s windows.
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 while Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel has an underwater-theme Christmas tree with fish ornaments.
Downtown Disney also gets into the holiday spirit seasonal food and shopping as well as a capella carolers strolling and singing at night.
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!
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 the Pacific Wharf, themed garlands adorn the fronts of the restaurants. My favorite is the Chinese takeout-themed garland in front of Lucky Fortune Cookery.
New for 2019 is a dance and sing along called “Mickey’s Happy Holidays”. 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.
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.
This year kids will find Santa hanging out at the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail where Festive Elf games and cookie decorating await. Keep your eyes open for the occasional “snow” fall.
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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.
In its fourth year, one of the biggest additions to the holiday fun at Disney California Adventure is the Festival of Holidays that celebrates the diversity of the season and cultural traditions from around the world. Several food, drink, craft, and merchandise marketplace kiosks line the main drag from the entrance to Cars Land to Paradise Gardens.
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. Here is a brief synopsis of what each food cart has to offer. If you see a star next to the item, it has been Trekaroo tested and approved!
Note: Many of the beers can also be ordered together in tasting flights
Wine and Mimose flights are available here!
Beer flights available here.
Six different performing groups will keep things festive as you stroll the booths at the Festival of Holidays. The Suffragettes belt out holiday hits at sunset on Sunday through Tuesday. The Phat Cat Swinger band which puts their own brassy, swingy twist on holiday classics at sunset Wednesday through Saturday.
But wait, there’s more! Mostly Kosher combine a variety of musical styles in a celebration of Hanukkah. If you love Bollywood- and who doesn’t- don’t miss the Blu13 Dance Company. The Sound brings soulful a capella holiday music to the Pacific Wharf and Paradise Gardens. The wildly popular Mariachi Divas keeps spirits bright and round out the lineup. Finally, don’t miss . Over at Viva Navidad, folklorico dancers and live musicians put a Latin spin on festive fun.
As if all that foodie fun wasn’t enough at the Festival of Holidays, there is even more great stuff to sample at DCA! Highlights include Holiday Dinner Pizza at Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta, Chocolate Peppermint Ice Cream Bars at Clarabelle’s Hand-Scooped Ice Cream, Gingerbread Funnel Cake Fries at Award Weiners, Peppermint Churros over by Redwood Creek Challenge Trail, and plenty of boozy holiday beverages over at the Hollywood Lounge.
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Lead photo by Disneyland Resort.