Happiest Holidays at Disneyland 2024 Season Guide

Holidays at Disneyland Resort return to celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and more! Holiday season at The Merriest Place on Earth returns November 15, 2024!Happiest Holidays at Disneyland Season Guide

 

I’ve spend the last 10+ years celebrating the holiday season at Disneyland Resort. And not just celebrating—when I am there I am gathering strategies for you to dine, ride, play and explore everything there is to enjoy this holiday season. You can even see me in a TV news segment talking all about Disneyland during the holidays here.

Read all about Disneyland during the holidays, plus get discount Disneyland tickets here.

Holidays at Disneyland Quick Info

Holidays at Disneyland Resort is a huge celebration, expanding into many religious and cultural holidays of the season like Christmas, Navidad, Diwali, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Three Kings Day. 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.

Here are just some of the Christmas events and activities during Holidays at Disneyland this season:

And remember, Holidays at Disneyland runs November 15, 2024, through the first week of January 2025. Tickets and reservations are required for Holiday admission to Disneyland theme parks.

 

Disney Toy Drummers

 

And this is just the beginning! Keep reading as we explore all the aspects of Disneyland’s Holiday season, along with tips to help you enjoy the happiest season on earth.

Disneyland Holiday tickets

Holiday Rides at Disneyland 

Want to experience rides and attractions that get a special holiday makeover only during this time of year? It’s always a delight to see a twist of an old favorite including these holiday attractions:

  • Haunted Mansion Holiday, a twist on the classic Haunted Mansion
  • it’s a small world Holiday, the most gorgeous version of “it’s a small world” you’ll ever see
  • Luigi’s Joy to the Whirl brings new music and colors to Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters 
  • Mater’s Jingle Jamboree jingles a new soundtrack for Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree

 

Jack Skellington is back in the Haunted Mansion Holiday.

 

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 Skellington 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!)

 

Sally finally makes an appearance in the Haunted Mansion Holliday

 

Virtual Queue will be used for Haunted Mansion Holiday this season. Lightning Lane Multi Pass will be used as for our next holiday attraction,  “it’s a small world” Holiday

 

it's a small world holiday peace on earth

 

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 at Disneyland during the holidays.

 

"it's a small world" holiday

 

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. 

 

Maters Christmas

 

And Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree jingles all the way to become Mater’s Jingle Jamboree. The rides themselves stay the same, but the music is changed at these two in California Adventure.

Disneyland Holiday Events & Activities

In 2024 there are THREE not-to-miss parades happening during the holidays:

  • A Christmas Fantasy Parade at Disneyland Park
  • Viva Navidad at California Adventure Park
  • Mickey’s Happy Holidays at California Adventure Park

 

viva navidad dancers

 

The most notable holiday parade at Disneyland is A Christmas Fantasy Parade which debuted in 1995. Yes, that makes it a parade from the 1900s and nearly 30 years old. But still, there’s something beautifully classic about it. I share all the details and best viewing spots in this article on A Christmas Fantasy Parade.

 

A Christmas Fantasy Parade

 

Over at California Adventure you can see what I refer to as “mini parades” which means less camping out for a spot and multiple runs per day. My favorite Disneyland holiday parade is Viva Navidad, a lively street performance I recommend to everyone. 

 

viva navidad dca

 

Gorgeous customer, lively performers and dancing encouraged! You can read all the details and best viewing spots in this article on Disney’s Viva Navidad here.

Next up is a newer favorite, Mickey’s Happy Holidays. The beat and song is catchy and it’s a fantastic way for kids of all ages to spot their favorite Disney and Pixar characters. 

 

Mickeys Happy Holidays

 

This is another “mini parade” that takes very little effort to see and enjoy. Walk up spots are often available just as the show passes by. 

Holidays After Dark Shows World of Color & More

Staying late pays off during the most magical time of year. Once the sunsets you’ll get to experience these holiday favorites all aglow:

  • Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle lights
  • it’s a small world Holiday lights 
  • Holiday lights on Buena Vista Street
  • World of Color – Season of Light
  • Believe … in Holiday Magic with fireworks select nights

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. 

 

World of Color Season of Light

 

Be sure to click over and view my World of Color viewing guide with option upgrades and tips. Next up is the fan favorite Believe … in Holiday Magic with fireworks added to the projection show generally on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. 

 

Disneyland Fireworks show

 

For more details on what you’ll see and my favorite spots to watch Believe … in Holiday Magic, read this. And of course, don’t forget to wander the parks after dark so you can see the beautiful lights, take pictures and enjoy to holiday ambiance. 

Festival of Holidays and Foodie Favs

The worst part of the Holidays at Disneyland is knowing you won’t be able to try every seasonal food and drink item offered. There are tons! And if you’ve been during the holidays in the past you’ll find some returning favorites but lots of new items. 

Festival of Holidays is similar to Food & Wine Festival with various booths scattered throughout California Adventure Park.

 

Festival of Holidays tasting passport

 

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

 

Disneyland Holiday desserts

 

And the food just keeps coming. I love exploring all the options during the holidays at Disneyland Resort, I even wrote an entire article on holiday desserts—75 of them!

 

 

For regular eats, with a holiday flare there are enough choices to keep you coming back every day of the holiday season!

Seasonal Food to eat at Disneyland Park

2

Alien Pizza Planet (mobile order available)

  • Santa Alien Macaron: Alien Santa macaron filled with marshmallow cream and chocolate ganache

Galactic Grill (mobile order available)

  • Hyperdrive Holiday Chicken Sandwich: Fried chicken sandwich with cranberry-orange marmalade BBQ sauce, provolone, onion rings, and arugula on a toasted brioche bun (New)
  • Orange Cranberry Parfait: Orange-cranberry cake with cream cheese icing topped with an orange cream-filled cream puff, dried cranberries, and holiday sprinkles
  • Galactic Holiday Punch: Christmas-inspired Punch made with Sprite and pomegranate, cranberry, and orange juices garnished with fresh pomegranate seeds, cranberries, orange slice, and a rosemary sprig (Non-alcoholic beverage)

Hungry Bear (mobile order available)

  • BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger: 1/3 lb. Angus chuck patty, red pepper cheese sauce, onion rings, bacon, and BBQ sauce
  • Teddi Barra Holiday Funnel Cake: Sweet espresso syrup and mocha mascarpone cream dusted with cocoa powder and topped with mascarpone gelato and lady finger cookies​ (New)
  • Chai-spiced Pumpkin Iced Tea: Iced tea, chai tea-flavored syrup, pumpkin purée cream, and pumpkin candy crystals (Non-alcoholic beverage)
  • Blood Orange Lemonade (Non-alcoholic beverage) (Also available with Hungry Bear Restaurant Mason Jar) (New)

Jolly Holiday Bakery (mobile order available)

    • Thanks-mas Sandwich: Oven-roasted turkey breast, gravy, stuffing, and cranberry sauce on rustic bread served with house-made chips​ (Available Nov. 10 through 23)
    • Turkey Pot Pie Soup: Oven-roasted turkey breast, potatoes, peas and carrots topped with pie crust pieces ​(Available Nov. 10 through 23)
    • Ham and Pineapple Toasted Sandwich: Oven-roasted ham, pineapple, and Swiss cheese on rustic bread served with chips​ (Available Nov. 24 through Jan. 9)
      Chicken and Bacon Corn Chowder: Creamy corn chowder with chicken, bacon, and potatoes (New) (Available Nov. 24 through Jan. 9)
    • Mickey Ornament Macaron: Pearl-dusted white macaron shells filled with chocolate ganache and peppermint mousse (New) (Available Nov. 10 through Jan. 9)
    • Chocolate Cake Snow Globe: Layers of chocolate sponge cake, truffle mousse, and chocolate glaze topped with a buttercream tree, red and white pearls, a chocolate star, and snow powder (New) (Available Nov. 10 through Jan. 9)
    • Snowman Cinnamon Roll Cheesecake: Cinnamon roll-flavored cheesecake, cream cheese icing, milk chocolate nougatine arms and snowman chocolate decoration (Available Nov. 10 through Jan. 9)
      Mickey Gingerbread: Soft gingerbread Mickey-shaped cookie (Limit five per person, per transaction) (Available Nov. 10 through Jan. 9)

Mint Julep Bar (mobile order available)

  • Mickey-shaped Candy Cane Beignets dusted with peppermint powdered sugar (Available in packs of three or six)
  • Assorted Mickey-shaped Beignets: A mix of Mickey-shaped and seasonal beignets (Available in packs of six) (New)
  • Chocolate Dipping Sauce
  • Huckleberry Mint Julep: A refreshing blend of huckleberry and mint with a hint of lime garnished with fresh mint and blueberry (Non-alcoholic beverage) (New)

Plaza Inn 

  • Chocolate Mint Shortcake: Chocolate mint sponge cake, cookie crumbles, whipped topping, and chocolate drizzle (Available Nov. 10 through Jan. 7) (New)
  • Holiday Cake: Devil’s food cake with swirled white chocolate mousse filling, buttercream frosting, and holiday sprinkles (Available Dec. 1 through Jan. 9)

Rancho del Zocalo (mobile order available)

  • Holiday Special: Chicken tinga, beef barbacoa, cheese tamale, Spanish rice, beans, and bolillo (New)

Red Rose Taverne (Available Nov. 11 through Jan. 8; mobile order available)

  • Holiday Grey Stuff: Traditional grey stuff with holiday sprinkles and a white chocolate star (Available Nov. 10 through Jan. 9)
  • Mickey-shaped Gingerbread: Soft gingerbread Mickey-shaped cookie with sprinkles (Available Nov. 10 through Jan. 7)
  • Mocha Peppermint Taverne Cold Brew: Peppermint cold brew with chocolate peppermint topper and crushed peppermint (Non-alcoholic beverage) (New) (Available Nov. 10 through Jan. 9)
  • Holiday Punch: Pomegranate, lemonade, and ginger beer with spiced coconut topper (Non-alcoholic beverage) (New) (Available Nov. 10 through Jan. 9)

River Belle Terrace

  • Sticky Toffee Pudding Jar: Sticky toffee pudding infused with house-made pudding (New)
  • Cranberry Apple Tart: Cranberry apple tart topped with streusel with caramel sauce (New) (Plant-based)
  • Cookies and Cream Fritters dusted with chocolate cookie sugar and served with a sweet cream-cheese dipping sauce (New)
  • Sweet Cream Cheese Dipping Sauce (New)

Stage Door Café (mobile order available)

  • Holiday Wreath Funnel Cake: A wreath-shaped funnel cake with apple cider drizzle, fresh baked apples, whipped topping, and holiday sprinkles 

The Tropical Hideaway 

  • Holiday DOLE Whip Sundae: DOLE Whip strawberry and lime, gummy topper, and seasonal sprinkles 

Troubadour Tavern (mobile order available)

  • Celebration Potato: Pulled smoked turkey, whipped cream cheese, stuffing, cranberry sauce, gravy, and fried onions 

Seasonal Food to Eat at California Adventure

Aunt Cass Café (mobile order available)

  • Christmas Tree Pull-apart Sourdough Bread (Plant-based)
  • Snowman Sourdough Bread (Plant-based)
  • Candy Cane Sourdough Bread (Plant-based)
  • Mickey-shaped Gingerbread: Soft gingerbread Mickey-shaped cookie with sprinkles

Award Wieners (mobile order available)

    • Hollywood Beef Dip: Sliced roast beef on toasted hoagie roll with fried pickles, provolone, avocado spread, caramelized onion, and jalapeño-spiced au jus served with choice of Cuties Mandarin Oranges or filmstrip fries (New)
    • Milk and Cookies Funnel Cake Fries: Funnel cake fries topped with cookie dough ice cream, caramel sauce, and mini cookies (New)
    • Brewery X Purple Dusk Hard Seltzer (New)

Boudin Bread Cart

  • Candy Cane-shaped Sourdough
  • Christmas Tree Pull-Apart
  • Snowman-shaped Sourdough

Cozy Cone Motel (mobile order available)

    • Chicken Pesto Cone: Creamy pesto alfredo pasta, marinated chicken, balsamic glaze, bruschetta tomatoes, and Romano cheese

Fiddler, Fifer & Practical 

  • Caramel Pecan Roll: Cinnamon roll topped with roasted pecans, caramel sauce, and banana slices 
  • Mickey Gingerbread: Soft gingerbread Mickey-shaped cookie (Limit five per person, per transaction)

Mortimer’s Market 

  • Christmas Tree Pull-Apart Sourdough Bread (Plant-based)

Smokejumpers Grill (mobile order available)

    • Caramel Crispy Churro Shake: Caramel-flavored shake, dulce de leche, crispy churro cereal, whipped cream, and chocolate garnish (New)
    • Hibiscus Blueberry Agua Fresca: Hibiscus syrup, blueberry purée, and lime juice served over ice (Non-alcoholic beverage) (New)
    • Golden Road Brewing Christmas Cart Wheat Ale (New)
    • Peach Passion Fruit Hard Lemonade: Tequila, lemonade, passion fruit nectar, and peach syrup served over ice (New)

Studio Catering Co. (mobile order available)

  • Filipino Feast Burrito: Pork belly adobo fried rice, pancit, and lumpia in a warm flour tortilla with sweet chili dipping sauce (New)
  • Cran-Raspberry Refresher: Cranberry and raspberry lemonade with a splash of Sprite topped with mint and a cherry (Non-alcoholic beverage) (New)

Paradise Garden Grill (Available Nov. 10 through Jan. 7)

  • Tacos Gobernador: Chipotle-marinated shrimp tacos with pepper Jack cheese served with Spanish rice and refried beans (New)
  • IMPOSSIBLE Albondigas Soup: IMPOSSIBLE meatballs in a vegetable soup (Plant-based)
  • Achiote-marinated Half Chicken with Spanish rice and refried beans topped with a nopal salad (New)
  • Shareable Loaded Torta with chicken milanesa, carnitas, sliced ham, chorizo beans, panela cheese, onions, avocado spread, and tomatoes on telera bread served with chips, chorizo beans, and a wedge of street-style watermelon (Serves two to four guests) (New)
  • Street-style Watermelon with lime juice, chile-lime seasoning, and chamoy (New)
  • Chocolate Cake Flan: Layer of flan on chocolate cake with caramel (New)

Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta

  • Al Pastor Pizza with chorizo beans, marinated pork, pineapple, cilantro, onions and avocado salsa (Available by the slice or a whole pie) 
  • Gingerbread Cheesecake topped with vanilla mousse 

Disneyland Holiday 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 Lightning Lane Multi Pass for all the free digital downloads. 

Best Holiday Photo Spots at Disneyland 

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!

 

Family Christmas tree

 

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 Lightning Lane Multi Pass. 

 

Disneyland Christmas tree

 

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 his new holiday outfit
  • Minnie Mouse in an all new holiday outfit
  • Goofy as dressed below
  • Pluto in a Santa hat

Check the Disneyland app to see who is where and when!

 

Goofy dressed up for the holidays

 

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!

 

Sleeping Beauty's Winter Castle

 

Want to meet Santa Claus at Disneyland Resort? Find Santa in Critter Country near the entrance to Splash Mountain and Pooh Corner.

 

Santa Disneyland Critter Country

 

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. 

 

Mickeys Toontown Christmas

 

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. 

As you wander over to California Adventure you’ll 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.

 

Holiday windows at California Adventure

 

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.

 

DCA Christmas tree Jessica

 

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. 

 

Cars Land Snow Car

 

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. 

 

Jessica Cars Land Christmas

 

In this here part of town you can also meet Mater Claus and other residents of Radiator Springs. 

 

Santa Mater

 

Next up, come meet Santa Claus at Redwood Creek Challenge Trail, along with a series of holiday-themed activities along the trail.

 

SantaDCA

 

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.

 

Disneyland hotel christmas

 

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.

 

Disneyland holiday balloons

 

Select eateries are also serving up holiday treats during the holidays at Disneyland Resort.

 

Christmas downtown Disney

 

Holidays at Disneyland FAQs

We’ve covered a TON of info in this holiday article. But I also want to give you a quick place for questions and answers. Here are a few of the most common holiday questions.

When are the Holidays at Disneyland Resort? 

Holiday season at The Merriest Place on Earth returns November 15,  2024!Disneyland Holiday tickets

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 or about November 11th. 

Is Downtown Disney decorated for Christmas and Holidays 2024?

 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. 

 

Cars Land Holidays

 

What parades run during the Holidays at Disneyland? 

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

 

Christmas Parade

 

Are there fireworks during the Holidays at Disneyland? 

Yes, Believe … in Holiday Magic fireworks spectacular. You may even catch a magical snowfall finale

 

Believe in Holiday magic fireworks

 

Where is the best spot to watch Disneyland fireworks?

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.

Here’s my list, in preferred viewing order, of Believe … in Holiday Magic fireworks spots:

  1. 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.
  2. “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.
  3. Rivers of America- arrive here just before fireworks for a display above Rivers of America, no projections, standing room only, low crowds.
  4. 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.

Are there fireworks on New Years Eve?

Yes, you can celebrate with fireworks 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. 

How long is World of Color? 

World of Color is approximately 22 minutes long. 

 

World of Color season of light

 

Why does World of Color start after the park closes? 

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

What other things should we do during the holidays at Disneyland?

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, Toy Drummers performance and other live musical acts.

Disneyland holiday coloring

 

You are sure to be delighted this season at Disneyland Resort. Every detail put into the season is truly magical. Will you be on vacation in Anaheim during the holidays? Ask your Disneyland Holiday questions below—I’d love to help!

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By Jessica Sanders

Recognized authority on all things Disneyland Resort. Offering dynamic planning strategies and the latest theme park information since 2013. Jessica's insights have been featured on Yahoo! News, InStyle, The Washington Post, and many others.

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