This is your strategic guide to Disneyland’s Holiday Shows and Parades, including A Christmas Fantasy Parade, “Believe…In Holiday Magic” Fireworks and World of Color – Season of Light. I go every holiday season and I am including my strategic tips on where to fit these shows into your holiday visit.
Whether you’re at Disneyland for 2 days, 5 days or enjoy year-round access with a Magic Key pass, in this article I’ll share how I fit in the best holiday shows at Disneyland during a holiday vacation.
Table of Contents
Live Disneyland Holiday Shows & Parades
There are a ton of live shows at Disneyland! But I’ve narrowed it down to the most popular and beloved Disneyland Holiday shows in this list. I’ll share strategies for scheduling them in further detail later on in this article.
My Favorite Live Holiday Shows at Disneyland Park
You can find all the entertainment options on the Disneyland App (tap the map icon on the bottom menu, select entertainment from the center drop down list, tap show list on the top right).
But here are my top picks for holiday shows and events:
- The Dapper Dans: acapella chorus performing daily, holiday favorites on Main Street, U.S.A.
- A Christmas Fantasy Disneyland Parades showing twice daily, most days
- small world projection show: a short show on the facade of “it’s a small world” various times a night
- “Believe…In Holiday Magic” Fireworks: festive fireworks, stirring music and a sprinkling of snow bring the season to life
- Wintertime Enchantment at Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle: snow falls and music fills the air as thousands of twinkling lights illuminate the castle, daily
My Favorite Live Holiday Shows at California Adventure Park
This list includes my absolute top pick, right here on top and I love it even more because it’s easy to get front row without much preparation.
- Disney ¡Viva Navidad!: my personal favorite of all the holiday shows, authentic holiday music, dancing, The Three Caballeros (Donald Duck, Mexico’s Panchito and José Carioca from Brazil), and 12-foot-tall mojiganga puppets of Santa and Mrs. Claus. and Disney characters
- Mickey’s Happy Holidays: dance along with Mickey Mouse and Pixar Pals to the magically merry rhythms of the Holiday Toy Drummers, a great way to see your favorite characters quickly
- Live bands and singers for Festival of Holidays
- World of Color – Season of Light, dessert party style for a splurge
Reserved Viewing at These Disneyland Shows
Since you’re here reading about Disneyland tips on The Happiest Blog on Earth, it’s likely that you prefer to plan ahead. And you’re in good company! Here are a few options where you can book reservations ahead of time so your viewing area is secured.
These viewing reservations are not required! But consider adding one or two of these reservations to your discount theme park tickets for extra magic during your trip.
A Christmas Fantasy Disneyland Parade Reserved Viewing at Plaza Inn
For about $50 per adult, you can enjoy a festive lunch from Plaza Inn that comes with reserved viewing for A Christmas Fantasy Parade. I personally view this parade as a walk up option without the upgrade but it’s also a nice add-on if you’d rather not spend time saving a spot to watch.
- Choose your dining time from 1:00-3:30 pm, it’s great to have a little later lunch during the busiest time of day and relax at Plaza Inn before heading back to the hotel for naps or break time
- Showtimes are for the second parade which runs at 6:30 pm. I prefer the second show myself because everything is all lit up!
- Pricing is $49 per adult; $27 per child (ages 3 to 9) – tax is not included; gratuity is not included or required.
A Christmas Fantasy Parade viewing package is best for families with young children. You can have a late lunch at 1:00 pm, then take naps and still make it back in time for the parade.
The menu includes offerings like:
- Beef bourguignon
- Roasted vegetables
- Herbed mashed potatoes with a cabernet demi-glaze
- Black Forest yule log dessert
- Choice of one beverage
Child Dining Package Menu:
- Chicken tenders
- Seasonal vegetables
- Herbed mashed potatoes
- Black Forest yule log dessert
- Choice of one beverage
“Believe…In Holiday Magic” Fireworks with Reserved Viewing at Skyline Terrace
For just under $90 per person (no kid pricing for this one), you can get away from the crowds and enjoy a super special fireworks view with less stress! I’ve personally done this with friends and other times with my entire family of five because it offers such a relaxing and enjoyable way to see fireworks without the crowds at Skyline Terrace in Tomorrowland.
My husband doesn’t love crowds and many people can find the Main Street situation overstimulating. This is the remedy!
- Choose your dining time from 6:30-7:00 pm, stay for the entire evening or come and go as you please. We prefer to spend all the time we can on the upper terrace of the lounge. It’s such an escape!
- Remember fireworks occur on select nights only and are dependent on weather conditions, subject to change or cancellation.
- Pricing is $89 per person
“Believe…In Holiday Magic” Fireworks viewing package is best for those who want to see fireworks but want to watch them in their own space.
The experience includes:
- Choice of entrée with a side and dessert from Galactic Grill
- Unlimited soft drinks, bottled water or hot chocolate
- Choice of a specialty-themed non-alcoholic beverage with a glow cube
- Commemorative novelty
- Themed credential with a lanyard
- Themed coaster
World of Color – Season of Light with Reserved Viewing
Since World of Color is so popular, there are a few different reserved viewing options, but only ONE where you actually dine while you watch and get to sit in chairs/stools. While that is my favorite option, we’ll go over each of them here.
- World of Color – Season of Light Dessert Party starts at $89 per person. I’ve reviewed the Dessert Party in detail here. But the bottom line is—I love it, it’s worth every penny for a seated option and I continue to spend my own money several times over on this splurge. Disney doesn’t give me freebies on this one.
- Dinner Buffet at Storytellers Cafe with an all-you-care-to-enjoy buffet, a nonalcoholic beverage and a specialty sweet treat. I’ll be doing this one this 2023 season!
- Lunch or Dinner at Wine Country Trattoria: Guests ages 10 and older will receive a 3-course prix fixe meal (starter, entrée and dessert, plus a nonalcoholic beverage) and Guests ages 3 to 9 will receive a 2-course prix fixe meal (entrée and dessert, plus a nonalcoholic beverage).
New for Magic Key Holders: Lunch or Dinner at the Magic Key Terrace for World of Color viewing. Magic Key holders will receive a delicious 3-course prix fixe meal (starter, entrée, dessert and a nonalcoholic beverage).
Day-of Viewing for These Disneyland Shows
Most people choose day-of viewing and it’s the most common way to see shows and parades at Disneyland. If you don’t get a reservation for the options above, you can still see these shows without paying a cent more!
Here are my favorite viewing locations and detailed reviews of these holiday shows, and it’s included in your Disneyland ticket price.
- The Dapper Dans: walk up on Main Street, U.S.A. during any of the daily performances. Little to no time commitment, you really just need to be walking by at the right time. We’ll schedule that into our strategy below!
- A Christmas Fantasy Disneyland Parade
- small world projection show; walk up to the facade of “it’s a small world” various times a night, it’s worth combining with your ride on “it’s a small world” holiday as well because you won’t want to miss either.
- “Believe…In Holiday Magic” Fireworks see my favorite spots to watch here
- Wintertime Enchantment at Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle: walk up near the castle each night, this is one I often skip because you can always see it lit anytime… but there are times of the actual lightning and many people enjoy that “ooh and ahh” factor.
- Disney ¡Viva Navidad!: personal favorite of all the holiday shows, see my full review here
- Mickey’s Happy Holidays: dance along with Mickey Mouse and Pixar Pals, I like to watch by Carthay Circle. It’s perfect for families who want to see characters but don’t enjoy waiting in line for one on one meet ups.
- Live bands and singers for Festival of Holidays: walk up anytime, I like enjoying a lunch or Festival of Holidays snack near a live band.
- World of Color – Season of Light, join the virtual queue or secure walk up viewing
- Don’t forget to get your discount Disneyland tickets here with my partners at Get Away Today
Disneyland Holiday Show and Parade Strategy
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