It’s that time of year again and what better way to celebrate the happiest time of year than taking the family to the happiest place on earth? That’s right it is time to celebrate a Disney Christmas with kids!!!
Starting mid-November and running through early January Disneyland, Disney California Adventure and Downtown Disney transform into a Christmas bonanza! So read along and get into the spirit!
At a Glance...
- 1 Disneyland:
- 2 Disney California Adventure:
- 3 Downtown Disney:
Christmas lights cover almost every surface of Main Street and don’t even get me started on the magnificence of the Sleeping Beauty’s Castle!! Breathtaking!
Take a family photo in front of the giant 60-foot Main Street Christmas tree. Lighted garland is strung across from building to building as snow and the cheerful tunes of carolers fill the air, creating a magical holiday scene.
It’s a whole lot more magical without massive crowds, so I recommend going on a week night to avoid the holiday rush of the weekends. It will still be busy, but not nearly as impossible to enjoy.
All the classic Disney characters live in ToonTown and yes, they have their cute little houses all decorated for the season. It is so cozy, it’ll make you want to move right in!
Jingle Jangle Jamboree:
I love the jamboree during its Halloween festival, but Christmas is just as fun. Here, kids are invited to meet and greet classic Disney characters all dressed-up for the holidays.
It is a country Christmas with crafts with Mrs. Claus, holiday reindeer games, holiday treats, petting zoo and live shows. Don’t forget to visit Santa, who is posted at the Thunder Ranch.
*Disclaimer: Jamboree is currently under construction. I will update with changes as the become available. You can now see Santa at Disney California Adventure.
Hop on this decorated boat and journey deep in the jungle looking for the missing holiday cargo. I have a feeling it’ll show up in some silly places. I don’t know about you, but Christmas is pretty wild, so I feel right at home on the Jingle Jungle Cruise.
Nightmare Before Christmas keeps running all the way through the holidays and it is no nightmare. Becoming a little more jolly and less ominous, the mansion still brings the spook factor necessary for a well balanced holiday.
This ride is absolutely gorgeous during the holidays. I actually think it is even more spectacular than the castle. It is completely covered in lights and once inside you and your kids get to enjoy the real spirit of Christmas and peace on earth set to a jolly soundtrack.
Shows and Parades:
Holiday Christmas fantasy parade:
This parade has it all, Christmas music, characters in holiday wear, dancing, music and of course…SANTA! I’m not huge on waiting for parades, but this is one that I try to make every year.
Believe in Holiday Magic Firework Display:
Holiday music blasts through the air as brilliant fireworks burst over the castle. Coupled with the magnificent light display on Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, this show may require sunglasses. Hehe! Out of all the firework shows, the Christmas one is my favorite, because we all know HotMama loves her glitter!
Buena Vista Street:
Decked out in holiday décor, this mini-Burbank is a roaring 1920’s kind of Christmas. The trolley will roll by as performers, singers and dancers belt out holiday favorites.
Okay, this is hands-down my favorite area during the holidays. Set in the back of California Adventure, there isn’t a whole lot of foot traffic. It is so lively, colorful and usually less crowed. Your favorite Disney characters are dressed in festive cultural wear waiting to take a special holiday photo with you! There are huge 12-foot mojiganga puppets of Santa and Mrs. Claus that are truly fascinating. We like to pull in for a beer break and let the kids dance to the live music. It is a fiesta and the party continues after the New Year for the celebration of Three King’s Day and the Lunar New Year.
Join Olaf, Elsa and Anna in a snowy wonderland. Yes, there is real snow! Step into the Arendelle and play in the snow, take a sled ride, try some comforting winter treats, and take photo ops with your favorite characters. There is a live musical sing-along!
Shows and Parades:
World of Color Winter Dreams:
Throughout the year the World of Color is an awesome water show spectacular, but during the holidays it celebrates the glory of winter. The six segments of the show, which include Snow, Enchantment, Glow, Spirit, Frozen and Merry & Bright, use water, colors, lights, projections and song to bring to life the joyous spirit of Christmas. It really is an exciting show and worth seeing at least once.
If you are willing spend a little money, reserve the dinner and show package at Ariel’s Grotto for prime seating on the water. Adults are $45 and kids are $24. Wine Country Trattoria and Carthay Circle Restaurant also offer dining and show packages with preferred seating vouchers. Also, if you get a FASTPASS to the World of Color you are valid for preferred seating.
Papa’s favorite place to hang out during the holidays are the lobbies of the Disney hotels. His favorite is Grand California lobby. It’s mountain cabin vibe, roaring fireplace, live piano music and towering Christmas tree come together make this lobby an uber cozy place to hang for the season. There is even opportunity to visit Santa, as he is posted next the lobby tree. Sip on a holiday cocktail and relax!
Transformed into winter shopping wonderland, little shop chalets are made to look like little Christmas cottages and surround Olaf’s Frozen Ice Rink. Really get into the Christmas spirit as Downtown Carolers sing their merry song as you ice skate around the sparkling Christmas tree.
There are always live performances going on nightly at Downtown and during the holidays, the performances become more festive and really get you in the mood for holiday cocktails and shopping! Most of the restaurants in Downtown offer special holiday menus and even packages for Thanksgiving and Christmas Day dining.
The holidays are a big deal at Disney and if you are going to enjoy a holiday adventure with the kids, this is probably one of the best activities from start to finish. There is so much for everybody to enjoy. Although Halloween is my favorite time of year, I can’t deny that Disney Christmas is amazing! We love it and I think you will too! Merry Disney Christmas everyone!
Have you ever been to Disneyland Parks during the holidays?