Christmas in Disneyland

Disneyland has always been a magical place for our family.  But seeing it at Christmas time just brings that magic to a whole new level.  With that said, we would like to share some of our favorite aspects about Disneyland around Christmas.

The Candlelight Processional takes place the first or second weekend of December.  There is a Christmas Tree Chorus who walks down main street with candles lit and sing Christmas carols as they go.  They are dressed in robes and are led by a full orchestra. There is a celebrity narrator who comes to read the story of the birth of Jesus Christ from the scriptures.  This is an extremely popular Disney tradition; so if you want to be a spectator, you’ll need to secure a spot with a good view along Main Street hours in advance.  They end up by the train station and the massive tree at the start of Main Street.  

Disneyland always has a parade of some sort.  But, the one that is most unique at that time of year is the “A Christmas Fantasy” parade.  It’s usually shown once in the afternoon along Main Street, next to the castle and stops next to “It’s a Small World”.  The parade is about 20-30 minutes long.  The best views are along the curb (we like to sit near the ice cream shop on Main Street) but require someone saving the spot for up to about 3 hours prior to the parade.  However, you can pretty much stand anywhere in that route and be able to see everything.  During this parade, all of your favorite Disney characters- new and old- sing, dance, and interact with the crowd as they pass by.  At the very end, one special guest floats by.  YEP!  Santa comes to visit everyone in Disneyland.  Afterwards, he can be found on Main Street next to the shops.   

There are three rides in particular that take on a transformation for the holiday spirit.  “Jungle Cruise” becomes the “Jingle Cruise”.  The boats are renamed with the holiday in mind.  The queue line is altered and more festive.  The skippers’ jokes are even more geared to the season.  If you listen closely, you may be able to hear Christmas music playing in the background.  It’s usually a pretty popular ride during the Christmas season so you may have to get fast passes in order to not wait a long time in line.  The second major Christmas ride is the “Haunted Mansion”.  Around the end of September, it changes its theme into “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and stays that way until about the middle January.  The colors inside (once you are in your doom buggy) are bright and cheery unlike the usual color palette during the rest of the year. The outside decorations are fun to watch and look at while you’re standing in line.  On the inside, the beginning scenario is changed slightly to incorporate Jack Skellington.  Then, as you walk to the doom buggies, the pictures on the walls alternate between the “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and a normal picture.  Look closely during the attic scene and you might find your name on the naughty or nice list.

“It’s a Small World” takes on the biggest transformation.  The music is slightly changed inside to Jingle Bells (although some rooms still sing “It’s a Small World”).  There are ginormous Christmas trees inside and the decorations in each room have been altered to include light-up holly hanging from the ceiling, snowflakes that flicker and dance to the music, and other fun surprises scattered throughout the ride!  On the outside, the entire building is lit up with programmed lights and music.  At night, it can easily be seen from the southeast side of the castle.  The lamp posts leading up to the ride and the ramps are also decked out for the season.  It even snows!!!!! (Warning… Don’t let your kids eat the snow!)  The building display comes to life around every fifteen minutes.  Again, it’s an extremely popular ride so expect standby lines of more than an hour at a time throughout the entire holiday season.  

Yes, the crowds are ridiculous from around Thanksgiving through the first couple of weeks in January.  However, it’s fun to people-watch, listen to the music, shop and focus on the parades/shows.  There are unique points of interest that you can’t get any other time in Disneyland.  Upon entering the park, it will feel like the “merriest place on earth”.  Take some time to ooh and ahh over the decorations in the shops and along the streets leading to the castle.  Looking at the window displays is also a fun way to pass the time and maybe rest from the hardcore walking and riding you may experience in the park.  

If you’re interested in an exclusive tour of Disneyland during the holidays or want to know more information about Christmas at Disneyland, check out the links below for more details. or