It’s the Most Magical Time of year at the Happiest Place on Earth. As Disney Parks usher in the Holidays, Disney fans look forward to festive treats, entertainment, and adventures. Here’s everything you need to know about Christmas at Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure for the 2019 Holiday Season. We’re headed to California for the holidays, and planning our own Disneyland visit for Christmas. I cannot wait!
Christmas at Disneyland
Disneyland, as the original park, is perhaps the most heavily decorated of all the U.S. Disney theme parks. Main Street is unquestionably the most decorated of the lands with Sleeping Beauty’s Castle receiving a major holiday enhancement. New Orleans Square is a distant second, and Frontierland and Critter Country having the next greatest number of decorations. Fantasyland and Toontown also get sprinkled in the Holiday spirit. Galaxy’s Edge will, unfortunately, not undergo any seasonal changes.
In additional to the park transformation, the following attractions undergo big transformations for the holiday season:
The Haunted Mansion goes into Nightmare Before Christmas overlay with Jack Skellington taking over the mansion with a Tim Burton storyline. This attraction has been quite popular since it launched in 2011, and runs from late September through early January. The theme extends from the interior of the ride to the edge of the Haunted Mansion property, making this switchover quite fun.
New for 2019, guests will experience three immersive scents during “it’s a small world” holiday. Guests will experience these scents while visiting Asia (cherry blossom), South America (cinnamon) and the South Seas (coconut). The entire ride is reworked for the holidays down to large animatronic pieces, lighting and music. The theme switched to a broader Peace on Earth/ Happy Holidays theme with a tour through many cultures and how they celebrate the holiday season. This attraction is magical and a must see both day and night.
The Christmas Fantasy Parade includes six units, around a dozen floats, and over 100 performers. As far as entertainment goes, this is probably one of the biggest productions of the year at either Walt Disney World or Disneyland. From Fab Five characters to princesses, reindeer, toy soldiers, and even Santa Claus– everyone is in attendance. This parade is fairly long, so I encourage one try to attend the night performance to avoid long waits in sun. Plus the darkness showcases the illuminated floats and characters. We’ll be taking a break during the day so we can be sure to catch this parade!
Believe… in Holiday Magic! Fireworks contains instrumental versions of many traditional Christmas songs after “Can You Remember,” with some pyro and effects on Sleeping Beauty Castle to match the tempo of the music. Unfortunately, as with many of Disneyland’s pyro shows this is often cancelled due to weather, so don’t wait it out to see it. Try to catch it from around the park.
Disney Holiday Dance Party
A new offering for Christmas 2019 is the Disney Holiday Dance Party at Tomorrowland Terrace, which features a DJ, Christmas tunes, and beloved Disney characters getting down to fun dance tunes.
Christmas at Disney’s California Adventure
The biggest and best thing about 2019? World of Color – Season of Light makes its glorious return to Disney California Adventure! Located in Paradise Gardens, this show is a CAN’T MISS. Head directly to a Fast Pass station to snap one up for this amazing show or schedule dining at a waterside eatery for dinner and a show. This magical light, projection and music extravaganza is sure to be remembered.
Also new for 2019, catch Mickey’s Happy Holidays, a seasonal character cavalcade where guests can dance and sing along with Mickey Mouse and favorite Disney and Pixar characters. Kids of all ages will love interacting with their favorites.
Join in the fun at the Christmas Tree Lighting on Buena Vista each evening at 4:55 where the 50 ft. tree twinkles to life under hundreds of colored lights, dazzling ornaments and swags of garland. This occurs amidst the holiday cheer and festive decor of Buena Vista Street.
The popular Festival of the Holidays returns in expanded form this year. This event celebrates a variety of cultural holiday experiences and traditions, including Christmas/Navidad, Hanukkah, Diwali, Kwanzaa, and even Three Kings Day from January 3-6, 2020! This is California Adventure’s flagship holiday event, and it offers a ton: live entertainment, special traditions, craft stations, fantastic eats and more. Be sure to visit if you’re going during the holidays.
This seasonal show celebrates the holidays with mariachi and samba musicians, folklórico dancers, and some of your favorite Disney characters. Don’t miss this vibrant street party at Disney California Adventure in Paradise Gardens Park.
Radiator Springs: Cars Land
Our favorite area of Disney’s California Adventure is hands down, Radiator Springs, and it twinkles with the spirit of the holiday season as its local residents have decorated their businesses along Route 66, in keeping with the personality of each car. Luigi’s Joy to the Whirl and Mater’s Jingle Jamboree are the two rides in Cars Land that receive holiday makeovers with music and lighting changes.
Santa Claus is a part of any holiday celebration and kids will be delighted to learn that they can meet jolly old St. Nick himself, and participate in a flurry of fun holiday activities as Santa visits Redwood Creek Challenge Trail located in Grizzly Peak. Participate in festive games, explore and see how many hidden decorations and toys you can find along the way.
One of the things I really look forward to during our visits to Disney Parks are the fun treats and unusual and imaginative food offerings. The holidays offer SO MANY unique treats that I’ve turned into a completely different post. If you’re a foodie or a sucker for a cute food Instagram photo, you won’t want to miss this ULTIMATE Disney Holiday Food Guide for 2019.
PIN TO YOUR DISNEY, CHRISTMAS, FAMILY TRAVEL, AND THINGS TO DO WITH KIDS PINTEREST BOARDS