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Guide to the Hoppiest Holidays at Disneyland 2017

by Mommy Frog on November 8, 2017 29 Los Angeles

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.

Guide to Holidays at Disneyland 2017 - Mickey and Minnie - A Christmas Fantasy Parade

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

Holidays at Disneyland 2017 - Main Street

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.

Holidays at Disneyland 2017 - Trolley

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?

Holidays at Disneyland 2016 - Main Street USA

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

Guide to Holidays at Disneyland 2017 - It's a Small World

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

Guide to Holidays at Disneyland 2016 - Meet Santa at Disney California Adventure

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

Guide to Holidays at Disneyland 2017 - Aurora and Prince Phillip

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

Holidays at Disneyland 2016 - Cars Land

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."

Guide to Holidays at Disneyland 2017 - Disney California Adventure Fiesta

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.

Guide to Holidays at Disneyland 2017 - Princess Elena of Avalor

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

Holidays at Disneyland 2016 - Thanksgiving Dinner

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

Holidays at Disneyland 2017 - Hannukah

  • 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?

Hoppy planning!

Keep hopping, Mommy Frog!
View Comments
<<  Newer Posts | Older Posts  >>
Nov 13, 2017 at 5:13 p.m. Matt Says...

I am looking to visit Dec 18-20, but it looks right now like park hours are crazy short those days (DL closes at 9!). Why is that, considering it is open until midnight every single night before that in December?

Is there a chance those times might be extended? Seems really strange to me they would shorten the hours so close to Christmas…?

Nov 10, 2017 at 7:57 a.m. Adi Says...

We are coming to L.A for two weeks in December and am eager to take my 13 year old for a Disneyland visit. Any discounted tickets for a mid week pre christmas visit? Thinking about Dec 6th... Thank you

Nov 17, 2017 at 2:31 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Adi,

Unfortunately, we do not yet offer Disneyland tickets. Have a great time!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Nov 9, 2017 at 6:58 a.m. JC Says...

Hi I have been before over Xmas and will be there this December again. I have been to Disneyland Hotel ballroom for Xmas lunch but cannot find any info this year. Any suggestions for a Xmas buffet Lunch for 14 ppl.

Nov 1, 2017 at 5:49 p.m. Aaron Says...

Hello, we will be going Nov 29-Dec 2. Do you know of any special parades or events only happening on that Saturday, Dec 2? Thanks!

Nov 1, 2017 at 3:42 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Aaron,

We don't see any exclusive activities scheduled Dec. 2. Have a good time!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Oct 18, 2017 at 1:14 p.m. Adrian Camacho Says...

Hi. Wondering if you can tell me the date when the christmas tree is turned on for the first time this year in Disneyland Main Street

Oct 18, 2017 at 8:17 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Adrian,

Disney does not publish an exact date, but it is usually up during the first few days of November.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Oct 18, 2017 at 1:33 p.m. Adrian Camacho Says...

Thanks a lot Mommy Frog

Oct 19, 2017 at 8:12 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Adrian,

You're very welcome!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Oct 3, 2017 at 6:18 p.m. Hilary Adams Says...

Hi! My fiancée and I are going for my 30th birthday :) wondering if we should do one day with park hopper or two days without park hopper to be able to see it all! Sounds like the events happen every night so maybe two days would be best?

- Hilary

Oct 4, 2017 at 8:19 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Hilary,

Go for two days. You'll have more time to experience things, rather than rushing between the parks.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Sep 24, 2017 at 2:56 a.m. Ana Says...

I plan on arriving at Disneyland on Dec 31st like around 7pm. Do you think there will still be tickets available for a group of 8? thank you!

Sep 24, 2017 at 8:50 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Ana,

It's possible, but the parks could close due to capacity. No tickets will be sold until the gates re-open.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Sep 21, 2017 at 4:54 p.m. Kelly Says...

Hi there!

We are going to be there December 3rd-8th! Can't wait!!! We usually go during Halloween time and love it! Excited to see what the Holiday Season is like! Have you heard who the narrator of the Candlelight Processional will be?


Sep 21, 2017 at 12:07 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Kelly,

We haven't heard who the narrator will be. We'll update it when we know!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Nov 15, 2017 at 6:45 a.m. Kelly Says...

Thank you!

Sep 17, 2017 at 3:31 p.m. Sue Case Says...

We will be @Disneyland November 3-6th what will we see in the way of decorations?

Sep 18, 2017 at 8:37 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Sue,

In previous years, you'd see the Christmas tree as well as many decorations on Main Street U.S.A. during that time frame. Other places will start to have decorations as well.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Nov 14, 2016 at 7:14 p.m. Ada Says...

Hi! We have booked Jan 3-5 at the Disneyland Grand Hotel. Will the timing be just right to catch some of the holiday stuff? Or are we going at a bad time? We have 2 year and will be his first time. Thanks!!

Nov 16, 2016 at 11:03 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Ada,

The holiday decorations and entertainment go through Jan. 8.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Oct 13, 2016 at 4:01 p.m. Gina Payne Says...

Check out Catal Restaurant in Downtown Disney – they host a Breakfast with Santa event on December 10, 11, 17, 18, 19 and 23. It’s a great time for the entire family and includes a family-style breakfast, hot cocoa cart manned by an elf, personalized stockings for the kids, kid’s activities, carolers, cookies and milk station and pictures with Santa! You can buy tickets here http://bit.ly/29fBIyv and this is a great blog of the event we attended last year http://bit.ly/1UFZbr2

Nov 11, 2015 at 10:58 p.m. Elle Says...

Add me to the list of folks bummed out that the Believe in Holiday Magic and snowfall will not be occurring this year.

Where can I get a list of this year's special holiday snacks? =)

Nov 6, 2015 at 9:31 p.m. PC Barnes Says...

Thanks for this great piece! Our family are Disneyland at Holiday Time vets, but I still learned new things. Especially appreciate the heads up regarding the filming of the ABC Disney Parks parade (which I want to avoid!). Thank you!

Nov 10, 2015 at 1:40 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi PC,

Thank you! We're glad you found it helpful. Have fun at the parks!

Mommy Frog

Sep 8, 2017 at 5:37 a.m. Tommy Says...

Does the ABC parade filming normally take place on a weekend or weekdays? In the parks Dec 4-7. Trying to avoid it. Thanks

Sep 8, 2017 at 7:52 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Tommy,

The parade filming normally takes place on a weekend. We'll update the post when we know the filming dates.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Nov 5, 2015 at 4:17 p.m. Jann Says...

We are arriving at WDW January 3,2016!! Any knowledge of when Christmas decorations are no longer visible??? Thanks!

Nov 10, 2015 at 1:31 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jann,

Some of the decorations will still be up!!

Mommy Frog

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