It doesn't matter the season. The tadpoles always have their wish lists for Santa. Rather than the same old requests (endless Minefrog games), this year it's "VACATION TO DISNEYLAND!" We can't blame them. Falling right on the heels of Halloween Time, Disneyland Resort transforms from a fall festival to a winter wonderland, seemingly overnight. (Really it's over a whirlwind 10 days.) We can't wait to hop over to experience Holidays at Disneyland 2017. After reading this post, you might want to put park tickets on your holiday wish list.
The Frog Family loves hoppin’ around the many Christmas trees at the Merriest Place on Earth. We know the best times to visit Disneyland and beat the crowds without missing any of the fun. Here are the Holidays at Disneyland 2017 dates: Nov. 10 and runs through Jan. 7, 2018.
Crowds During Holidays at Disneyland 2017
Most of November is incredibly quiet in the parks. Higher crowds are expected during the Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend on Nov. 11-13 and Thanksgiving week. The beginning of December is also quiet. Don your holiday spirit early with visits before Thanksgiving week or during the last three days of November through the first two weeks of December. Expect weekends to be busier than the weekdays. The Candlelight Ceremony and Processional, a musical retelling of the story of Christmas, will be held twice nightly Dec. 2 and 3. This puts parades and other events on a special schedule.
The weeks of Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year holidays are very busy times. New Year's Eve is one of the busiest days of the entire year! Still, that doesn't mean you shouldn't experience Holidays at Disneyland 2017. Just make sure to adjust expectations for your time in the parks. Even if you need to visit during more crowded weeks, you are in for a merry good time. The good news is during busy times are that the parks are open for longer hours. There is also more entertainment. You can see Disneyland park hours and show times on our crowd calendar.
What Can You Expect During Holidays at Disneyland 2017?
You’ll find holiday decorations all around the Disneyland Resort. They start going up Nov. 1 and should be in place by Nov. 10. The characters are all dressed in their holiday attire. Holiday music will entertain you. Certain attractions will be more festive or even covered in snow! Foodies love that special holiday treats are available during the holidays. Holiday time also brings special holiday-themed items into the stores, making shopping merrier. Perhaps ‘tis the season to get some holiday shopping done!
Holidays at Disneyland 2017 Rides
Be sure to take a trip on "it’s a small world" Holiday. The seasonal overlay of this Disneyland classic features special decorations and music to get everyone in the spirit. The dolls add “Jingle Bells” and “Deck the Halls” to their traditional song. You'll definitely need to bask in the glow of the festively lit exterior at night.
Pro tip for Holidays at Disneyland 2017: Ride "it's a small world" during the day or during a parade, and then go back to take pictures at night. Once the exterior lights turn on, the wait grows much longer (from 5 to 40 minutes almost instantly the night we visited). The inside is the same day or night.
Jack Skellington and his crew take over the Haunted Mansion throughout the holiday season. The Nightmare Before Christmas Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay takes about two and half weeks to deck the spooky halls of the Haunted Mansion. The good news is that it is in place for Halloween Time and brimming with scary Tim Burtonesque Christmas spirit. It will close for a few weeks after Holidays at Disneyland 2017 end. It takes another two and a half weeks to remove the overlay. Haunted Mansion Holiday attracts much scarier than usual wait times than the classic Haunted Mansion. We recommend you visit this ride in the first hour of opening or use FastPasses to reduce the wait. Another fun tip: Jack and Sally are greeting guests in New Orleans Square all through the holiday season. We highly recommend meeting them. Jack is delightfully “horrible.”
Meeting Santa During Holidays at Disneyland 2017
Santa Claus will be greeting guests at Disney California Adventure. The jolly old elf will set up shop at the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail area, along with his mischievous elves. You’ll be able to take part in a series of holiday activities along the trail. Be sure to sign your name on his “Nice” list.
Holidays at Disneyland 2017 Entertainment
Holidays at Disneyland Park
A Christmas Fantasy Parade makes its return during Holidays at Disneyland 2017, with Mickey, Minnie and a variety of Disney characters to celebrate the holidays alongside Santa Claus. Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle will be back. The castle also features snowfall at the end of the "Believe … in Holiday Magic" fireworks show.
Snow falls is expected to again fall on parts of Main Street U.S.A., by “it’s a small world,” and in Frontierland on select nights. We recommend the Main Street U.S.A. location because there is a dramatic castle lighting. Snow does not fall right near the castle. We recommend hanging back near the Jolly Holiday Bakery and Plaza Inn. Pick a spot with a nice castle view.
Holidays at Disney California Adventure
Disney California Adventure is the place to be this holiday season. Once you enter the park, you’ll want to jump on grabbing a FastPass to catch "World of Color — Season of Light" in the evening. The water show is bursting with colorful, lights, lasers, animation, holiday music and a winter fantasy of Disney magic. The holiday World of Color features Disney films such as "Cinderella," "Fantasia" and "Frozen."
Back for more fun during Holidays at Disneyland 2017 is the popular Festival of Holidays. This can't-miss celebration will delight you with diverse cultural celebrations, including the popular ¡Viva Navidad! Holiday street fiesta. Enjoy lively Mexican music, face painting, storytelling, crafts, photo ops with favorite characters and tasty Mexican specialties. Three Kings Day (a traditional festival celebrated in Mexico, Central, and South America) will run in early 2018.
Our holiday tip for this park is to know where to stand to watch the Viva Navidad dancers along with the Tres Caballeros. For a front row, straight on view, you'll want to stand near the Paradise Gardens area right in front of the Jumping Jellyfish ride on the water side of the street. Consult the Entertainment Guide for show times and get in place about 15 minutes early.
We expect just like last year that you can decorate cookies at Treats for Santa (for a fee) or do crafts around the Festival of Holidays. There are also some interesting meet-and-greets. Last year, we saw Chip and Dale are in Redwood Creek. Be sure to offer them an acorn gift. We happened to catch some Country Bears—again a nice salmon or picnic basket, or beehive gift is much appreciated. In the Paradise Gardens festival, we saw Goofy and the Tres Caballeros.
You can count on the residents of Radiator Springs to be decorating again for Holidays at Disneyland 2017. The critters in "a bug's land" also get in the holiday spirit with oversized Christmas lights and holiday ornaments. At dusk check out the Cars Land lighting.
Around the park keep a lookout for toy drummers and stilt circus walkers.
Dining During Holidays at Disneyland 2017
If you are planning to visit Holidays at Disneyland 2017 (especially around Thanksgiving or the school winter break), expect heavier crowds. If you plan to eat at any table service restaurants in the parks, at Downtown Disney or at the Disneyland Resort hotels, we recommend making reservations (up to 60 days in advance) through the Disney Dining Reservations System.
Reservations open 60 days before Thanksgiving Day, with practically every restaurant offering some seasonal dish and some offering a full spread. The Disneyland Hotel offers its fall harvest buffet in the ballroom from noon to 6 p.m. There will be carved roasted turkey breast, prime rib, homemade stuffing, sweet potato souffle and so much more.
Fun Facts about the Holidays at Disneyland 2017
- We expect you'll find the Menorah and Hanukkah decorations in the window of Julius Katz & Sons on Buena Vista Street in California Adventure. Will there be a menorah in a second-story window on Main Street USA—can you find it?
- There are nearly 1,800 ornaments on the Disneyland Christmas tree.
- The Cathay Circle Christmas tree in Disney California Adventure is nearly 50 feet tall! It's decorated with vintage-style ornaments.
- Disneyland pumps Christmasy smells into a treat section of “it’s a small world” during the holidays.
- During Disney Viva Navidad! at California Adventure, authentic Latino street fiesta has musicians, dancers and storytellers.
- Disneyland pumps Christmas peppermint smells into Main Street during the holidays.
- Historically, 1.4 miles of ribbon have gone into making bows in the parks each year!
- During seasons of Christmas past, more than 79,000 ornaments have been used to decorate Main Street! Perhaps this year there will be even more?
- If you are staying at one of the resort hotels during Holidays at Disneyland 2017, you can plan ahead for the personalized holiday room celebrations and decorations to make your trip extra special.
No matter how you choose to celebrate the Holidays at Disneyland 2017, it promises to make magical holiday memories. What questions do you have for us about this year's event?