The Magic of Disneyland in December.

Disneyland in December: 13 Reasons to Visit During the Holidays

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What is better than the magic of Disney? Combining the magic of Disney with the magic of the holidays of course! Disneyland in December is one of the most enchanting times to visit and likewise, my personal favorite time to go the parks! As the year draws to a close, the Disneyland Resort undergoes a magical transformation! Indeed, it is an extraordinary destination for holiday enthusiasts and Disney fans alike.

If you’re contemplating a visit, December is undoubtedly the ideal time. Let’s delve into 13 captivating reasons why December at Disneyland is a truly magical experience.

13 Reasons to Visit Disneyland in December

Christmas trees dot the parks at Disneyland in December.
Credit: MMVMA

Some of the more obvious reasons to visit Disneyland in December apply to both of the theme parks in California. For that reason, let’s look at those reasons to visit first.

1. Holiday Decor and Lights

Stepping into Disneyland in December is like stepping into a fairy tale brought to life. Accordingly, the park is adorned with an awe-inspiring array of holiday decorations and lights. This transforms every corner into a dazzling spectacle of twinkling splendor. From Main Street to Adventureland, the attention to detail is astounding. As a result, it creates an atmosphere of wonder and joy that’s hard to match.

We love to check out the Christmas trees that dot the property. Additionally, make sure you look closely at the items adorning the trees! Disney’s attention to detail is impeccable.

2. Seasonal Snacks and Treats

As you explore the park, your senses will also be tantalized by the delightful aroma of seasonal treats wafting through the air. From gingerbread cookies adorned with intricate designs to peppermint-flavored indulgences, Disneyland’s culinary wizards create an array of delectable delights that capture the essence of the holiday season.

TIP: Make sure to follow us on social media to keep up with specific snacks and treats offered in the parks during this season!

3. New Holiday Merchandise

Shopping at Disneyland takes on a new dimension in December, as a wave of enchanting holiday merchandise arrives in the shops. Whether you’re seeking the perfect gift for a loved one or a unique keepsake for yourself, the holiday-themed merchandise, including plush toys, apparel, ornaments, and more, offers a treasure trove of options. We personally love to grab the latest Loungefly bag or Disneyland Spirit Jersey!

4. Great Weather

While the rest of the country often experiences chilly temperatures in December, Southern California boasts milder weather that’s conducive to a comfortable and enjoyable park experience. You can explore the attractions, shows, and parades without worrying about extreme heat or cold, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the magic of Disneyland.

5. Celebrate Walt’s Birthday

December 5th holds special significance for Disney enthusiasts as it marks the birthday of the visionary behind the magic, Walt Disney himself. As a result, Disneyland takes this opportunity to celebrate the man who laid the foundation for the enchanting world that continues to captivate millions. From themed events to small nods throughout the park, Walt’s influence is palpable during this time.

Visiting Disneyland Park in December

The magic of a Christmas parade in Disneyland Park.
Credit: MMVMA

Arguably the most popular of the Disneyland parks is the original park itself. There are so many reasons that make visiting Disneyland Park in December a joy-filled time.

6. Disneyland Park Attraction Holiday Overlays

Two of Disneyland’s most beloved attractions, the Haunted Mansion and “It’s a Small World,” undergo enchanting holiday overlays that also add a new layer of magic.

The Haunted Mansion is transformed into “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” with Jack Skellington and his friends taking over the mansion in a whimsical fusion of Halloween and Christmas. “It’s a Small World” showcases its iconic dolls dressed in the festive attire of cultures from around the globe, reminding us of the universal spirit of the season. We love to ride the attractions when they have a special holiday twist!

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7. A Christmas Fantasy Parade

The enchantment continues with the captivating “A Christmas Fantasy Parade.” This heartwarming procession brings Disney characters to life on intricately designed floats, each telling a tale of holiday cheer. From beloved classics to new favorites, the parade captures the essence of the season, with characters donning their finest holiday attire and festive music accompanying their joyful journey. Keep your eyes peeled… you may even spot Santa Claus!

8. Believe… in Holiday Magic Fireworks Spectacular

As the sun sets and the night sky becomes a canvas, the “Believe… in Holiday Magic” fireworks show takes center stage. This mesmerizing display of pyrotechnics and music is a celebration of all things magical about the holiday season. From breathtaking bursts of color to iconic Disney melodies, this spectacular show ignites the night with enchantment and wonder.

9. Wintertime Enchantment at Sleeping Beauty’s Castle

Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, a symbol of Disney magic, becomes even more enchanting during December. Adorned with shimmering icicles, twinkling lights, and an aura of winter wonder, the castle serves as a picturesque backdrop for holiday photos that will be cherished for years to come. There is nothing more magical than seeing the castle lit up for Christmas!

Visiting California Adventure Park in December

Stroll through the parks to enjoy the Christmas decor.
Credit: MMVMA

California Adventure Park is the second of the parks that make up Disneyland. While it may be lesser known, it has its fair share of holiday festivities that make it worth visiting in December.

TIP: If you are unfamiliar with the differences between Disneyland and California Adventure check out our breakdown of the differences here.

10. Festival of the Holidays at California Adventure

The festive spirit extends to Disney California Adventure, where the “Festival of the Holidays” awaits. Immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of global holiday traditions through international cuisine, live performances, and immersive cultural experiences that showcase the beauty and diversity of the season.

There are so many things to do, see, and experience at the Festival of the Holidays! Enjoying the festivals is one of my family’s favorite things to do when visiting the Disney parks. It adds an extra layer of enjoyment to your park day!

11. World of Color – Season of Light

Over at Disney California Adventure, the “World of Color – Season of Light” show illuminates the night sky with a mesmerizing blend of water, light, and music. This stunning nighttime spectacular is a symphony of holiday joy. It brings to life iconic Disney moments and heartwarming holiday scenes in a way that only Disney can.

12. Disney Viva Navidad

Immerse yourself in the vibrancy of Latin American cultures with “Disney Viva Navidad.” This spirited celebration features lively entertainment, vibrant decorations, and a burst of colors that capture the essence of the season’s festivities. From music and dance to delicious cuisine, this cultural celebration is a joyful experience for the whole family.

TIP: Be sure to check Disneyland’s official site for a complete list of activities happening for this specific holiday offering.

13. California Adventure Park Attraction Holiday Overlays

Just like at Disneyland Park, the holiday magic extends to attractions at Disney California Adventure. Both Mater’s Jingle Jamboree and Luigi’s Joy to the Whirl get delightful holiday overlays. Join Mater and Luigi, beloved characters from the Cars franchise, as they bring their own unique spin to the holiday season. Riding these attractions adds an extra layer of merriment to your visit.

Tips for Visiting Disneyland in December

Christmas at Disneyland is a magical time.
Credit: MMVMA

While the enchantment of Disneyland in December is undeniable, a little planning can go a long way. This ensures that your visit is as seamless and magical as possible. Let’s take a look at some valuable tips that I have developed based on my own Disney travels. Consider implementing these for a truly unforgettable experience.

Book Ahead of Time

December is a popular time to visit Disneyland. The holiday season can draw a significant number of visitors. To avoid potential disappointments, it’s wise to book your tickets and accommodations ahead of time. This will not only save you time but also grant you peace of mind, knowing that your magical adventure is secured.

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Get to the Park Early

Arriving at the park early can make a world of difference in your overall experience. The mornings tend to be less crowded. This allows you to enjoy popular attractions with shorter wait times. Additionally, having a less crowded park can create some fantastic photo opportunities for your family!

Stay at a Disneyland Resort

Staying at a Disneyland Resort hotel offers a host of benefits. These benefits include proximity to the park entrances, early park admission, and the convenience of Disney-themed accommodations. These resorts are beautifully designed to extend the magic beyond the park, making your entire stay a part of the enchanting experience.

Get a Park Hopper Ticket

A Park Hopper ticket allows you to explore both Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure on the same day. This flexibility gives you the opportunity to experience a wider range of attractions, shows, and entertainment options. This flexibility only maximizes your holiday adventure! And because the parks are so close together, you can walk from one park to the next in just a few minutes.

Pick Up Souvenirs at the End of the Day

While the temptation to pick up souvenirs throughout the day is strong, consider waiting until the end of the day to make your purchases. This gives you a chance to fully enjoy the attractions and entertainment without carrying around bags. Plus, browsing the shops at night, when the park is beautifully illuminated, adds a touch of magic to your souvenir shopping experience.

Embrace the Festive Spirit

December is all about embracing the holiday spirit, so why not join in the fun? Wear your favorite holiday attire! Consider a cozy sweater, Santa hat, or even a festive Disney-themed outfit. The more you embrace the season, the more you’ll feel like a part of the magical world around you.

What to Pack for Disneyland in December

Disneyland in December is a wonderful time to visit.
Credit: MMVMA

Packing for a December visit to Disneyland requires a bit of strategic planning. This ensures you’re prepared for the festive atmosphere and varying weather conditions. From cozy layers to essential items, here’s a comprehensive list of what to pack to make the most of your magical experience.

πŸŽ„ Warm Clothing Layers: December temperatures in Southern California can be quite mild during the day but can drop significantly in the evenings. Pack a mix of warm clothing layers. This could include sweaters, long-sleeve shirts, and lightweight jackets. Opt for pieces that are easy to take off and carry if the weather warms up.

🌟 Comfortable Shoes: With so much to explore, comfortable shoes are a must. Choose well-worn sneakers or walking shoes that provide ample support. Make sure to break them in before your trip to prevent any discomfort.

πŸŽ„ Rain Gear: December occasionally brings rain to the region, so it’s wise to pack a small travel umbrella or a lightweight waterproof jacket. A poncho can also come in handy and can easily be stored in your bag.

🌟 Hats and Sunglasses: Protect yourself from the sun’s rays by packing a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses. These not only shield your face from the sun but also add a touch of style to your outfits.

πŸŽ„ Refillable Water Bottle: Staying hydrated is crucial, especially when you’re walking and exploring all day. Bring a refillable water bottle to ensure you have access to water throughout your visit.

🌟 Backpack or Crossbody Bag: A comfortable and spacious bag is essential for carrying your essentials. Opt for a backpack or crossbody bag that can hold your water bottle, snacks, camera, and other necessities without weighing you down.

πŸŽ„ Portable Phone Charger: With all the photos you’ll be taking and the use of the Disneyland app, your phone battery may drain quickly. A portable charger ensures you stay connected and capture every magical moment.

🌟 Sunscreen: Even in December, the California sun can be surprisingly strong. Protect your skin by packing sunscreen with a high SPF rating. Apply and reapply throughout the day to keep your skin safe.

πŸŽ„ Autograph Book and Pen: If you’re traveling with children or are a Disney character enthusiast, an autograph book and pen are essential for collecting the signatures of beloved characters.

🌟 Disney Gear: Don’t forget to bring your favorite Disney-themed apparel, accessories, or ears to fully embrace the magic of the park and enhance your photo ops.

By packing thoughtfully, you’ll be well-prepared for an enchanting Disneyland adventure in December.

TIP: Visit our Travel Resources page for our specific recommendations based on what we personally bring into the parks when we visit.

Visiting Disneyland During Other Winter Months

Special merchandise is available at Disneyland in December.
Credit: MMVMA

While December is undoubtedly a magical time to visit Disneyland, the enchantment doesn’t stop when the holiday season ends. Disneyland offers captivating experiences throughout the winter months that are equally worth exploring. Here are two wonderful options to consider for your winter getaway.

runDisney Disneyland Half Marathon

January brings not only a fresh start to the year but also an exciting opportunity for fitness enthusiasts and Disney fans alike. The Disneyland Half Marathon, part of the runDisney series, takes place in January. This event combines the joy of running with the enchantment of the park. Lace-up your running shoes and prepare to conquer the course through the heart of Disneyland Resort.

Runners of all skill levels can participate in various race options, including the half marathon, 10K, 5K, and even challenges that combine multiple races. The course winds through both Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure, allowing participants to experience the magic from a unique perspective.

As you race through the park, you’ll encounter beloved Disney characters, iconic attractions, and immersive entertainment that will keep you motivated and energized. Crossing the finish line is a moment of triumph. Even more with a sense of accomplishment that’s magnified by the enchanting surroundings.

The Disneyland Half Marathon isn’t just a race. It’s a chance to capture the essence of Disney magic while achieving a personal goal. Whether you’re an experienced runner or new to the sport, this event provides a one-of-a-kind experience that merges fitness, fun, and fantasy.

I have personally done several runDisney events and would love to help you plan a runDisney experience! It is one of the most magical things to do at a Disney park. Contact me today to get all the details!

Lunar New Year Celebration

As winter transitions to spring, another enchanting celebration awaits at Disneyland – the Lunar New Year. Embrace the vibrant traditions of the Lunar New Year with a festive celebration that takes place in both Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure.

This cultural extravaganza pays homage to the diverse Asian cultures that celebrate the Lunar New Year, including Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean traditions. Moreover, festive decor, captivating performances, and immersive experiences transport you to a world of joy and celebration.

Highlights of the Lunar New Year Celebration include:

  • Mulan’s Lunar New Year Procession: Join Mulan and her friends as they lead a vibrant parade that’s filled with colorful costumes, traditional music, and dazzling floats.
  • Special Entertainment: Enjoy traditional and contemporary Asian performances that showcase dance, music, and acrobatics. Further adding a touch of cultural authenticity to the festivities.
  • Delicious Cuisine: Savor a variety of mouthwatering Asian-inspired dishes that pay homage to the holiday’s culinary traditions. From dumplings to rice cakes, the food offerings are indeed a delightful exploration of flavors.
  • Character Meet and Greets: Interact with Disney characters dressed in festive Lunar New Year attire, adding an extra layer of magic to your visit.

The Lunar New Year Celebration is a heartwarming way to ring in the new year while embracing the rich cultural heritage of the holiday. The festivities offer a unique and joyful experience that brings Disney magic together with the spirit of the Lunar New Year.

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Disneyland in December: Frequently Asked Questions

Santa visiting the Disneyland parks in December.
Credit: MMVMA

By and large, visiting Disneyland in December brings with it a wealth of enchantment and festive spirit. To help you plan your magical adventure, here are answers to some commonly asked questions about Disneyland in December.

Which Holidays are Celebrated at Disneyland in December?

In addition to Christmas, Disneyland also acknowledges and celebrates a variety of holidays that fall within the month of December. These include:

  • Hanukkah: Disneyland typically recognizes Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, with special decor and occasionally themed entertainment. Visitors can often find menorah displays and other nods to this important holiday in Jewish tradition.
  • Kwanzaa: Kwanzaa, a celebration of African-American culture and heritage, is also acknowledged at Disneyland. The park may incorporate decorations or activities that honor the principles and values of Kwanzaa.
  • Three Kings Day (Dia de los Reyes): Celebrated on January 6th, Three Kings Day is a significant holiday in many Latin American cultures. As a result, Disneyland may include festive displays and activities that pay homage to this day, often known for its vibrant parades and joyful gatherings.

These celebrations showcase Disneyland’s commitment to embracing diversity. After all, sharing the joy of various cultural and religious observances with its visitors is an important aspect. It’s a wonderful opportunity for guests from different backgrounds to feel represented and included in the magical festivities.

Can I See Santa Claus at Disneyland?

Absolutely! Santa Claus himself makes appearances at Disneyland during the holiday season. Keep an eye out for him in various locations, often dressed in his iconic red suit, ready to listen to your holiday wishes and pose for photos. Meeting Santa at Disneyland adds an extra layer of magic to your visit, especially for families with young children.

Is Disneyland Open on Christmas?

Yes, Disneyland Resort is indeed open on Christmas Day! In fact, Christmas Day is one of the most magical times to visit the park, as it’s beautifully decorated and offers special holiday-themed entertainment and dining options. Keep in mind that Christmas can be a popular day for visitors, so be sure to plan ahead and arrive early to make the most of your time in the park.

How to Book Your Disneyland Trip for This December

Christmas trees dot the parks at Disneyland in December.
Credit: MMVMA

If you are ready to experience the magic of Disneyland in December, then it’s time to get your package booked!

A Disney vacation package of tickets and resort stay can be booked for as little as a $200 deposit and then you are able to make payments on your trip at your own leisure up until 30 days before your check-in day.

In order to get started, click the button below. Let’s get started planning your Disney vacation!

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Conclusion: Disneyland in December

As can be seen, Disneyland in December is a haven of holiday enchantment, where every moment is infused with the spirit of the season. From the awe-inspiring decorations to the captivating entertainment and delectable treats, the park offers an unparalleled experience that will leave you with cherished memories and a heart full of joy. So, don your coziest sweater, grab a cup of hot cocoa, and embark on a journey through the winter wonderland that is Disneyland in December.

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