Happiest Holidays at Disneyland 2023 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 10, 2023, through January 7, 2024! Happiest Holidays at Disneyland Season Guide


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 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 highlights during Holidays at Disneyland this season:


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


Disney Genie+ is available for Haunted Mansion Holiday, as well 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 Shows & Parades

In 2023 & 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  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

This menu is what we loved to eat in 2022, with 2023 updates expected in November.

Alien Pizza Planet (mobile order available)

  • Charcuterie Pizza Slice topped with pesto cream sauce, fig marmalade, prosciutto, capocollo, Spanish chorizo, caramelized onions, cornichons, cheese blend, and arugula (New) 

Galactic Grill (mobile order available)

  • Cranberry BBQ Chicken Sandwich: A fried chicken sandwich with cranberry-flavored BBQ sauce, provolone, onion ring, arugula, and citrus bacon aïoli served on a toasted brioche bun (New) 
  • A Cup of Cheer: Orange cranberry cake with cream cheese icing topped with an orange cream-filled cream puff, dried cranberries, and holiday sprinkles (New) 
  • Christmas Punch: Pomegranate, cranberry, and orange juices with Sprite served over ice and garnished with fresh pomegranate seeds, cranberries, and a rosemary sprig (New) 

Jolly Holiday Bakery (mobile order available)

    • Thanks-mas Sandwich: Roasted turkey, stuffing, gravy, and cranberry sauce on rustic bread served with house-made chips
    • Turkey Pot Pie Soup
    • Holiday Demitasse Ceramic Cup (Available beginning Nov. 11 while supplies last)

Plaza Inn (Available Nov. 11 through Jan. 8)

  • Vanilla Pear Honey Lemonade: Lemonade infused with honey and pear nectar (New)

Rancho del Zocalo (mobile order available)

  • Caldo de Pollo: Savory soup with chicken, rice, and vegetables
  • Chile Verde: Slow-cooked pork with spicy tomatillo sauce served with Mexican rice and refried beans (New) 

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

  • Holiday Flatbread: Pepperoni, sausage, and ham flatbread topped with arugula (New) 
  • Holiday Cold Brew: Cold brew coffee with eggnog flavor

Refreshment Corner (Available Nov. 11 through Jan. 8; mobile order available)

  • Spicy Beef & Cheese Sandwich: Beef steak, cheese sauce, sautéed peppers and onions, and spicy pepper spread on artisan bread (New)
  • Butterscotch Soda: Sparkling water with butterscotch syrup, caramel drizzle, and cream (New)

Seasonal Food to Eat at California Adventure

Award Wieners (mobile order available)

    • Pastrami Reuben Dog: All-beef hot dog topped with thinly sliced pastrami, caramelized onions, pickled cabbage, Thousand Island dressing, spicy mustard, provolone, and pickle spears on a toasted baguette (New)
    • Embolden Beer Co., Beyond Borders (New) 

Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta (Available Nov. 11 through Jan. 8)

  • Four-Meat Pizza: Tomato sauce with ham, Canadian bacon, sausage, and pepperoni topped with mozzarella 

Boudin Bread Cart

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

Cozy Cone Motel (mobile order available)

    • Luigi Chicken Pesto Cone: Creamy pesto alfredo pasta, marinated chicken, balsamic glaze, bruschetta tomatoes, and Romano cheese
    • Esquite Corn Fritters: Fried corn fritters tossed in chile-lime seasoning and topped with cilantro-lime dressing, cotija cheese, and pico de Gallo (New) 
    • Christmas Tree Cone: Peppermint soft-serve decorated with holiday sprinkles
    • Stereo Tangerine Express IPA Michelada with chile-lime seasoning and lime (New) 
    • Stereo Tangerine Express IPA (New) 
    • Peanut Butter Whiskey Cocktail: Peanut butter whiskey, peanut butter syrup, vanilla ice cream, almond milk, and cinnamon sugar topped with whipped cream and peanut butter drizzle (New)

Fairfax Market Fruit Cart (Available Nov. 11 through Jan. 8)

  • Seasonal Agua Fresca: Christmas punch (New)

Hollywood Lounge (Available Nov. 11 through Jan. 8; mobile order available)

  • Everything Spice: RumChata, horchata, spiced rum, and butterscotch liqueur garnished with mini churros and dusted with cinnamon (New)
  • Pineapple-Fresno Chile Michelada: Tomato-based michelada with pineapple-fresno chile lemonade and Modelo garnished with chile-lime seasoning and lime (New)
  • Gingerbread Mule: Cinnamon whiskey, ginger beer, lemon juice, and gingerbread syrup garnished with a maraschino cherry (New)
  • Harland Brewing Co., Winter IPA (New)
  • La Bodega Azteca Stout (New)
  • Calidad Hibiscus Watermelon Agua Fresca (New)
  • Smog City Brewing, From LA with Love (New)

Lamplight Lounge – Boardwalk Dining (Available Nov. 11 through Jan. 8)

  • Braised Beef Poutine: Steak fries, braised beef, cheese curds, beef gravy, and tomatillo-serrano salsa garnished with Fresno chiles
  • Peppermint-Vanilla Vodka Hot Chocolate: Hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps and vanilla vodka topped with whipped cream and peppermint
  • Holiday Martini: A festive twist on a classic vanilla vodka paired with peppermint, chocolate liqueur, and Frangelico

Lamplight Lounge (Available Nov. 11 through Jan. 8)

  • Braised Winter Beef: Slow braised beef with carrot risotto and pea tendrils (New) 
  • Peppermint Donuts: Hot cocoa-dusted donuts with toasted marshmallow crème and peppermint-chocolate dipping sauce
  • Peppermint-Vanilla Vodka Hot Chocolate: Hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps and vanilla vodka topped with whipped cream and peppermint
  • Holiday Martini: A festive twist on a classic vanilla vodka paired with peppermint, chocolate liqueur, and Frangelico
  • Pixar Ball Sipper (Available beginning Nov. 11 while supplies last)

Lucky Fortune Cookery (Available Nov. 11 through Jan. 8; mobile order available)

  • Thai Iced Tea with sea salt cream and brown sugar boba

Mortimer’s Market (Available Nov. 11 through Jan. 8)

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

Smokejumpers Grill (Available Nov. 11 through Jan. 8; mobile order available)

  • Pineapple Limeade: Limeade, pineapple juice, and sour green apple syrup with a red sugar rim (New) 
  • Holiday Punch Cocktail: Vodka with cranberry and orange juices garnished with fresh cranberries (New) 
  • Karl Strauss Brewing Co., Tangible IPA (New)
  • Anchor Brewing, Christmas Ale (New) 
  • Honest Abe Hard Apple Pie Cider (New)

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 Disney Genie+ 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 Disney Genie+. 


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 (Note: Mickey’s Toontown holiday decor returns in 2023). 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.




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 10, 2023, through January 7, 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 2023?

 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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