Holidays at Disneyland Resort return to celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and more!
2021 will be a bit different, but this article is to help you plan future visits to Disneyland during the holidays.
Holiday season at The Merriest Place on Earth runs November 12, 2021 through January 9, 2022.
The holiday season is back and more popular than ever! Read all about Disneyland during the holidays, plus get discount Disneyland tickets here.
Holidays at Disneyland Details & Dates
Christmas at Disneyland Resort is a huge celebration, expanding into all the holidays of the season! You won’t want to miss it with returning favorites, classic holiday food and new merchandise to help you celebrate the merriest time of year.
Quick tip for New Year Eve at Disneyland Resort. Yes, you can celebrate inside Disneyland, but you can also experience a New Years Eve special moment in Hollywood Land at 9:00 pm, and a short fireworks show in Paradise Bay at midnight.
When are the Holidays at Disneyland Resort?
When does Disneyland put up Christmas decorations?
Is that a sparkly detail I see among Halloween decor? Yes, a keen eye will spot some subtle holiday decorations at Disneyland even before Halloween is over on October 31st. Christmas and holiday decorations continue to cover Disneyland at a steady pace until the final reveal on November 12th.
Is Downtown Disney decorated for Christmas and Holidays 2021? Holiday decor and shopping arrives at Downtown Disney’s World of Disney. We will also expect to see touches of holiday decor this season at Downtown Disney.
What parades run during the Holidays at Disneyland?
2021 operation updates include a return to the classic Christmas Fantasy Parade!
A Christmas Fantasy Parade returns in early November at Disneyland Park. Also, don’t forget to catch my favorite holiday entertainment, Viva Navidad at California Adventure.
Are there fireworks during the Holidays at Disneyland?
Yes, in 20201 join in watching Believe … in Holiday Magic fireworks spectacular. You may even catch a magical snowfall finale.
Fireworks begin at Disneyland park at 9:00 pm. While many people camp and squeeze together in front of the castle, I suggest viewing from Main Street, U.S.A. where you can see both fireworks and projections with fewer crowds than right by the castle.
Also expected to return in 2021, Holiday Dance Party in Tomorrowland Friday, Saturday and Sunday night from 7-11pm. Music, characters and so much fun!
Here’s my list, in preferred viewing order, of Believe … in Holiday Magic fireworks spots:
- Main Street, U.S.A.- arrive here just after A Christmas Fantasy Parade for fireworks and projections on Sleeping Beauty Castle and Main Street buildings, standing room only, medium to heavy crowds.
- “it’s a small world” viewing area- arrive here after A Christmas Fantasy Parade for fireworks and projections on “it’s a small world”, standing room only, medium crowds.
- Rivers of America- arrive here just before fireworks for a display above Rivers of America, no projections, standing room only, low crowds.
- Sleeping Beauty Castle- I find this area to be too cramped and too close to fireworks for comfort. It also requires more time to “camp out” and secure spots.
Christmas at Disneyland Holiday Attractions
Want to experience attractions that get a special holiday makeover only during this time of year? Keep reading for all the details.
The biggest (and longest running) holiday attraction is in New Orleans Square. During the holidays at Disneyland Resort, Haunted Mansion gets a holiday makeover by Jack Skellington himself and is transformed into Haunted Mansion Holiday.
Jack and all his friends count down until Christmas. This holiday overlay arrives in September and stays until the very beginning of January. Don’t miss the grand gingerbread house inside (or it’s delicious smell!)
Disney MaxPass is available for Haunted Mansion Holiday, as well as for our next holiday attraction, “it’s a small world” Holiday.
Everything from inside out is different during the holiday season for “it’s a small world,” including the music! My personal favorite is Ariel’s rendition of “Jingle Shells.” Even more magic awaits outside “it’s a small world” Holiday when the sun sets— after dark a fascinating projection show happens on the facade every 15 minutes. It’s just one of the reasons riding at night is even more magical.
Over at California Adventure, residents of Radiator Springs always go big. Added in 2017, Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters transforms into Luigi’s Joy to the Whirl.
And Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree jingles all the way to become Mater’s Jingle Jamboree.
Holidays at Disneyland Entertainment
We touched on parades at the beginning of the article, and there are two not-to-miss parades (one at each park!) happening during the holidays.
See the details and dates section above for more information on A Christmas Fantasy Parade and Viva Navidad.
NOT SHOWING in 2021. The nightly holiday highlight at California Adventure Park is World of Color – Season of Light. It’s everything you love about World of Color, but this time infused with holiday music and winter wonderlands.
How long is World of Color?
World of Color is approximately 22 minutes long. However, World of Color is not showing in 2021.
Why does World of Color start after the park closes?
Note World of Color is not showing in 2021. Sometimes throughout the year you’ll notice world of colors starts just as the park closes and that’s not a typo. World of Color at California adventure is what Walt Disney would call a “kiss goodnight.”
It’s the very last thing guest experience before heading home, and Walt Disney loved to end your day on the best note possible. Hosting World of Color as the park closes gives you an incredible farewell to your Disneyland day
Another quick stop for holiday entertainment include the holiday drummers who stop throughout the day in Paradise Gardens Park, holiday crafts for kids, seasonal face painting and more.
Holidays at Disneyland Festival of Holidays
Festival of Holidays is similar to Food & Wine Festival with various booths scattered throughout Paradise Gardens Park.
You can taste-test a variety small bites, fizzy drinks and so many desserts during Festival of Holidays that are sure to bring holiday cheer. More details on how Festival of Holidays prices and food here.
Christmas at Disneyland Food
Food is never far behind when it comes to Disneyland planning. I love exploring all the new options during the holidays at Disneyland Resort, I even wrote an entire article on holiday desserts—75 of them!
While not the full park holiday menu, my favorite treat choices are:
- Assorted holiday-inspired donuts on Main Street, U.S.A.
- Mickey Mouse caramel and candy apples
- Santa Mickey rice kripsy treats
- Mickey winter cake pops, peppermint marshmallow sticks and peppermint fudge.
And yes, I tried a bite of every one of them!
Holidays at Disneyland Photo Spots
Your phone is going to be filled with holiday photos after your visit to Disneyland! Beyond that, you’ll definitely want to utilize Disney MaxPass for all the free digital downloads.
Best Holiday Photo Spots at Disneyland Park
The giant Disneyland Christmas tree greets guests entering Main Street, U.S.A. It boasts over 1,800 ornaments and is 60 feet tall, creating the perfect holiday atmosphere as you enter Disneyland Park. Fun fact: the ornaments get smaller the higher they go up on the tree, using a forced perspective to make it seem even more majestic!
You can often find PhotoPass photographers here ready to snap your group photo. Remember, you can get free downloads of all your photos when you purchase Disney MaxPass.
Find popular Disney characters dressed in holiday attire around Town Square during the holidays. You’ll often see these characters rotating for photo meet and greets:
- Mickey Mouse wearing a Santa cap with a festive holiday sweater
- Minnie Mouse in an outfit that matches Mickey’s, but with a cute red skirt
- Donald Duck in a red holiday sweater, ear muffs yet no pants lol
- Goofy as dressed below
- Pluto in a Santa hat
Check the Disneyland app to see who is where and when!
As you head farther down Main Street, U.S.A., Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle is sure to catch your eye, dripping with snow and lights, you’ll want to take a picture here for sure!
Want to meet Santa Claus at Disneyland Resort? Find Santa in Critter Country near the entrance to Splash Mountain and Pooh Corner.
Another place filled with holiday photo ops is Mickey’s Toontown. Every inch of this town is decked out with over-the-top holiday decor. I love visiting this area of Disneyland during the holidays.
Last stop for holiday photos in Disneyland Park has got to be “it’s a small world.” There’s just nothing like seeing this classic Fantasyland facade come to life at night with all the lights aglow.
It’s also one attraction I recommend riding both day and night during the holiday season. It’s simply magical.
Best Holiday Photo Spots at California Adventure Park
Step back in time to a 1920s Christmas, just like Walt Disney experienced when he first arrived in Los Angeles. Buena Vista Street is lined with vintage-style ornaments and decor at every turn.
Plus, catch the stunning 50-foot Christmas tree near Carthay Circle. I love that the PhotoPass photographers know how to get quality photos day or night.
Next stop for the best holiday photos spots is definitely Cars Land. The unique imagineering that went into this land always blows me away and the makeover they do for the holidays is nothing short of amazing.
Your first stop in Radiator Springs should be the “Season’s Speedings” post card and car snowman! How adorable is that? Then head down Route 66 for more photo spots, like this one right by the Route 66 sign.
In this here part of town you can also meet Mater Claus and other residents of Radiator Springs.
Next up, come meet Santa Claus at Redwood Creek Challenge Trail, along with a series of holiday-themed activities along the trail.
Holidays at Disneyland Hotels & Downtown Disney
Head here in the morning if you’d like to meet Santa with little wait during the holidays at Disneyland Resort. Plus, this is one of the many places you can see a magical snowfall at Disneyland Resort.
Beyond parks themselves, all three of the Disneyland Resort hotels are decked out in holiday decor. You don’t need to be a guest of the hotel to roam to the lobby or get something to eat at one of the many restaurants inside.
Don’t forget Downtown Disney District has loads of holiday decor and ambiance, including tons of shopping! Remember, parking for Downtown Disney is charged at an hourly rate, but you can also get validation with select purchases.
Select eateries are also serving up holiday treats including Sprinkles Cupcakes, Catal’s UVA Bar, Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen, Starbucks, Jamba Juice and more during the holidays at Disneyland Resort.
2020, have breakfast with Santa during a limited time event during December at Catal! Choose your breakfast with Santa date here.
Will you be on vacation in Anaheim during the holidays? Ask your Disneyland Holiday questions below.