Castle with snow on top

Everything You Need To Know About The Disneyland Holidays

It’s the most magical time of the year! The Holidays at Disneyland Resort is one of the most special times to visit the parks. Holiday décor is everywhere, special entertainment including fireworks and parades are happening, characters in their finest holiday costumes can be found throughout the parks and of course some very delicious treats.

With so much going on it might feel overwhelming. Not to worry though! We’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions concerning the Holidays at Disneyland so you can be prepared.

When does Disneyland put up their Holiday décor?

Castle and flowers

In general the Holidays at Disneyland start early November and end at the beginning of January. Look for the start of the Holidays the second week of November each year and the end around the 2nd week of January the following year.

For 2022 the Holidays will start November 11th thru January 8th Disneyland and California Adventure become a Holiday Dream. That gives you 62 days to experience a Disneyland Christmas!

Typically Disney starts decorating the castle for the Holidays around the last week of October with the rest of the decorations following. It takes Disney about 3 full weeks of non-stop work to get all of their Holiday decorations up. Most of this happens at night after the parks have closed.

When is Disneyland’s busiest day of the year?

Christmas Day is one of Disneyland’s busiest days of the year though you have plenty of other days to experience the Holiday Magic. With that being said, Christmas Day is a blackout day for Magic Key holders.

Mickey wheel over lake

The least busiest times to visit during the Holidays are the beginning of November, the week after Christmas and the first two weeks of December.

What does Disneyland do for the Holidays?

Main Street U.S.A. shop windows are decorated into childhood dreams with toys, lights, and magic. An iconic 60 ft Christmas tree will also be returning to Main Street.

Sleeping Beauty’s Castle is adorned with all kinds of icicles, snow and lights that are a must see at night.

Buena Vista Street has a 50 ft tall Christmas tree that shines bright!

Cars Land uses automotive parts for holiday décor.

Disneyland also has the Festival of Holidays, where it highlights the many diverse celebrations happening during that time of year. From Christmas/Navidad, Diwali, Hanukkah, to Kwanzaa and Three Kings Day. Disneyland has festival marketplaces throughout the park with food and drinks to be enjoyed. With the “Sip and Savor” pass (which is worth the purchase), you can try it all!

Dancers on a stage

During the day Disneyland has holiday parades (“Mickey’s Happy Holidays and “Disney ¡Viva Navidad!” street party) with characters dressed in their Holiday best.

In the evenings, make sure you check out the “World of Color – Season of Light” which has Holiday music added to favorite moments from Disney films.

For the foodies out there you’re sure to be delighted with all the special offering Disney has for the Holidays. Special treats including churros and popcorn. Shakes and drinks too! Looking for food? How about some pumpkin-spiced beignets and hot chocolate?!

Each park, land and dining area will have something unique to offer you during the Disneyland Holidays. Look for a foodie guide to see everything that’s coming to the parks. In the Disneyland App you’ll be able to see what the special offerings are when you select a restaurant’s menu.

Does Disneyland have Santa Claus?

They sure do! You can go and visit him in the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail area in California Adventure Park! You can get your photo taken with Santa Claus as well as receive a special treat. Arriving early is always recommended as his line can get pretty long. 

It's a Small World attraction decorated in Christmas lights with snow falling

Be sure to look at a time guide ahead of time to know what days and hours he will be there.

Do you need a COVID test to enter Disneyland park?

You don’t need a COVID test before entering the park, but you do need a reservation. Reservations are easy to do when you buy your tickets. Simply click the days on the calendar you want to use your tickets when you buy them. The days that are sold out won’t be available to click on.

Do the Disneyland Hotels decorate for the Holidays?

Yes, the Disneyland Hotels do decorate for the Holidays. Disney’s Grand Californian, Disney’s Paradise Pier and the Disneyland Hotel each have their unique décor that is sure to brighten your stay.  

Walt and Mickey statue in front of Disneyland castle decorated for the holidays

Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel celebrate with a giant Christmas tree in the lobby along with garnishes and wreaths. Love gingerbread? Look for their annual gingerbread house display as well as a small shop next door selling fresh gingerbread!

The Disneyland Hotel as several trees throughout their hotel towers along with wreaths and garnishes. You’ll even see some characters walking around in the Holiday finest!

The soon-to-be Pixar Place Hotel will mostly be getting into the Holiday action starting in 2023. For now though guests will probably see some trees, wreaths and garnishment.

When should I buy my Disneyland Tickets?

Typically you’ll want to purchase your Disneyland tickets 3-4 months in advance. This is mostly due to the park reservations system that Disney has in place now. While tickets may be purchased almost anytime without issue, it’s the park reservations that you need to worry about.

These tend to disappear quickly, especially around the Holidays, specifically Christmas and Thanksgiving. You’ll want to make sure that you make your park reservations as early as possible if you plan to visit around these dates.

As mentioned earlier, you can make your park reservations during the check-out process on Disney’s website. Or, if you want to save money on your tickets you can take your ticket confirmation code and link it to your Disneyland account and them make reservations. You can also do this in the app.