Everything You Need To Know About Disneyland Resort Holidays

This post contains affiliate links. We may earn compensation when you click on the links at no additional cost to you.

Holidays at the Disneyland Resort are something we look forward to all year long! We are so happy to be sharing with you all the new things happening at the Happiest Place On Earth for 2017. Special thanks to our friends at Disney for hosting our visit.

Last week we headed to Disneyland for the first day of the holiday season. It really feels like that is the official start of the holidays for us each year. Just seeing all the beautiful decorations really gets us into the holiday spirit. Plus, Disneyland Resort always has new, magical ways to surprise us each year. This year was no different. Here is all the fun in store for you during the 2017 holiday season at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park!

I also just shared a HUGE announcement on Facebook! You can see it here:

Downtown Disney also is decorated for the season!

(Photo Credit: Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland Resort)

At Disney California Adventure Park 

Cars Land is extra festive this year! For the first time, Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters becomes Luigi’s Joy to the Whirl and Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree becomes Mater’s Jingle Jamboree. Mater and Luigi add even more cheer to the seasonal fun by singing new holiday tunes for the occasion. We spent some extra time walking through Cars Land because I couldn’t get enough of the music. I love that it has a real holiday feel to it this year!

The popular Festival of Holidays is back with the sights, sounds, and tastes of diverse cultural festivities and plenty of Disney magic! This heartwarming holiday celebration is inspired by Christmas/Navidad, Hannukah, Diwali, Kwanza and Three Kings Day. This is a great place to relax for a bit and let the kids do some crafts and learn about other cultures and holiday traditions. Fun family activities include holiday arts and crafts, face painting and cookie decorating. 

It is also right by The Festive Foods Marketplace, serving multicultural holiday fare at marketplace kiosks, including a range of flavors: beef corn tamale a la plancha with spicy rojo sauce, braised lamb cheeks with Mediterranean cauliflower, sweet potato pie and fruit and nut rugelach.

There are also some new Holiday Sunset Concerts you won’t want to miss! From fun dance parties featuring performing groups Phat Cat Swinger (Friday-Monday) and Mariachi Divas (Tuesday- Thursday) at Paradise Park, to the soulful a capella group The Sound, which joins returning holiday performances by Mostly Kosher, Blue13 Dance Company and the Holiday Toy Drummers!

Don’t forget to make time to see the lively “Disney ¡Viva Navidad!,” with authentic music, dance, décor, crafts and special greetings by Disney characters, including Princess Elena of Avalor. Emmy was so excited about this!

(Photo Credit: Scott Brinegar/Disneyland)

Ready for some fun after the sun sets? Disney has you covered there too with the nighttime spectacular, “World of Color – Season of Light”. This beautiful show celebrates the warm and heartfelt spirit of the holidays as it illuminates Paradise Bay with a sparkling winter fantasy that combines classic holiday songs with memorable moments from treasured Disney and Disney Pixar animated films.

Are you as excited as we are about Coco? In anticipation of the new Disney Pixar film “Coco,” guests will enjoy the Coco Sneak Peek experience at Bug’s Life theater from Nov. 5-Jan. 7, along with special décor.  Plus, “a bug’s land” transforms for the holidays, as Flik and his bug friends deck their land with oversized lights and ornaments. It is really something to see!

Another tradition for many families is to have their annual Santa picture taken at Disneyland Resort. If you are looking for the big guy, he is at Santa’s Holiday Visit, inside Redwood Creek Challenge Trail. There, guests will play festive Elf Games, enjoy cookie decorating and have a chance to meet Santa Claus and his mischievous elves.

No visit to the park is complete without a stop at Carthay Circle along Buena Vista Street. right? It features a 1920s-inspired holiday theme to emulate Los Angeles as it appeared when Walt Disney first moved to California. A stunning, 50-foot Christmas tree with vintage-style ornaments and the surrounding buildings are even adorned in old-fashioned seasonal decorations. 

That is not all though. We found some other fun things… like food… photo ops and so much more!

When we first got into the park we headed straight to buy some of these beauties. We love seeing all the new ears each year and we all picked out a favorite.

The tree inside Disneyland can get a bit crowded, for good reason, so we take our picture in Disney California Adventure Park.

Another great place for pictures is with Santa and his reindeer in the background. This is right in front of FROZEN live at the Hyperion.

We are kinda old school too and like to include Walt in our pictures. 

Here is some of the food that is available for the holidays and where you can find it!

Over at Disneyland there is so much happening for the holidays. 

We got creative to get the girls picture in front of the impressive 60-foot Christmas tree! This is a visitor favorite with nearly 1,800 ornaments to welcome guests on Main Street, U.S.A. 

Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle is a sight to see with shimmering icicles and more than 50,000 twinkling LED lights.

(Picture Credit: Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland Resort)

In the evening, the spectacular “Believe … in Holiday Magic” fireworks and its magical snowfall finale captivate guests and create unforgettable holiday memories.

The beloved “A Christmas Fantasy” Parade returns with daily performances. Some favorite Disney characters join Santa Claus to spread holiday cheer along with marching tin soldiers, gingerbread cookies, dazzling floats and lively holiday music. Santa also welcomes the young and young-at-heart for a visit to his special location in Critter County. 

(Photo Credit: Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland Resort)

The “it’s a small world” attraction shines brighter than ever as it transforms into “it’s a small world” Holiday to celebrate children around the world and the holiday traditions of their countries. The iconic music of “it’s a small world,” written by the legendary Sherman Brothers, is weaved in between the joyous caroling of holiday favorites “Jingle Bells” and “Deck the Halls.” As a special treat this holiday season, FastPass will be available for this attraction so you should plan to get one as soon as you get to the park.

(Photo Credit: Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland)

Haunted Mansion becomes Haunted Mansion Holiday, celebrating the collision between Christmas and Halloween with Jack Skellington and his friends from “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. This is Maddie’s absolute favorite attraction this time of year and we normally go on it multiple times. The decorations and transformation will blow you away! It is soooo well done!

(Photo Credi: Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland)

Pete and I were just trying to figure out how many days you would need to visit to see it all. We decided a month would be good… but more realistically we think 2-3 full days at the parks would be perfect. That would give you time to hang out at the pool and see all the new updates, Disney’s Grand Californian Resort & Spa has completed for 2017. We stayed in an updated room a couple months ago and loved it. One word of advice… Club Level. We just stayed in a huge suite at Walt Disney World on a club level and then we toured the new club at Disney’s Grand Californian and we have added it to our list to stay at as soon as it is ready. Club level takes your vacation to a whole new level. Pun intended. 

A great way to elevate your vacation is to stay at one of the hotels of the Disneyland Resort during the Holidays.

Here are six reasons to enjoy the holidays at the Hotels of the Disneyland Resort:

#1 Christmas Trees, Décor and More: The Craftsman-inspired décor at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa extends to the holiday decorations—from garlands infused with natural materials to the soaring Christmas tree lit with “arts and crafts” motif lanterns. The midcentury Disneyland Hotel receives a retro-holiday makeover with silver trees and bright colors. And the nautical-themed Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel features blue, green and silver holiday décor— along with shells and starfish garland—capturing a beachy Christmas setting.

#2 Carolers: Nothing spreads the holiday spirit like Christmas carols! Guests will be delighted to hear the joyful sounds of carolers throughout the season at each resort hotel.

#3 Holiday Shopping: Just steps from the on-property hotels, Downtown Disney District is a unique Disney environment with an array of dining, entertainment, and retail options. Disney fans will love the 40,000 square-foot World of Disney store and D-Street boutique. Other shopping destinations include Sephora, PANDORA Jewelry, and Curl Surf.

#4 “Grand” Gingerbread House: A highlight at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel is the giant gingerbread replica of the hotel itself. Standing 7.5 feet tall and 12 feet wide, this delicious structure was created from more than 500 pounds of gingerbread, as well as 60 gallons of frosting and icing. Hungry guests may order gingerbread cookies and hot chocolate from the lobby’s holiday cart.

#5 Meet Santa Claus: Santa will be visiting each hotel from November 17 through December 24. Guests of the hotels are encouraged to meet, greet and take a seat with St. Nick!

#6 Steps Away from the Parks: With easy, convenient access to both parks, guests staying at the Hotels of the Disneyland Resort can enjoy all of the special holiday offerings, including the joyful entertainment and delectable food found at the Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure park (theme park admission required).

As you can see, there is so much to do this time of year and really all the time at Disneyland Resort. An experience here makes an amazing gift too! As you can see in our Facebook video above, there are some great gift options available right now, like park tickets, seasons passes, a dining experience and even vacation packages.

To celebrate this, we are giving away a ticket to Disneyland and a $50 gift card (Sponsored by Disneyland Resort).

To enter please leave a comment below with your favorite thing to do at Disneyland this time of year! We will randomly pick one lucky winner on November 27th.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PURCHASE DOES NOT IMPROVE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. Promotion Description: The Disneyland Ticket (“Sweepstakes”) begins on 11/16/2017 (Pacific Time) and ends on 11/26/2017 at 12:00 AM (Pacific Time ) (the “Promotion Period”). By participating in the Sweepstakes, each entrant unconditionally accepts and agrees to comply with and abide by these Official Rules and the decisions of and It’s a Lovely Life (“IALL”), which shall be final and binding in all respects. Eligibility: Open to legal residents of the continental USA who are 18 years or older. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. The winner of the Sweepstakes will be selected in a random drawing from among all eligible Entries received throughout the Promotion Period. The random drawing will be conducted within 48 hours by IALL whose decisions are final. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible Entries received. Winner will be notified by email at the email address provided in the Entry Information on or about 48 hours after the random drawing. Potential winner must accept a prize by email as directed by Sponsor within 48 hours of notification. Any winner notification not responded to or returned as undeliverable may result in prize forfeiture. Prize: 1 winner will receive (1) Disneyland Ticket and (1) $50 gift card. Failure to comply with the Official Rules will result in forfeiture of the prize. The privacy policy of IALL can be found at Limitation of Liability: Sponsor and IALL are not responsible for any incorrect or inaccurate information, whether caused by website users or by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the Sweepstakes or by any technical or human error, which may occur in the processing of submissions in the Sweepstakes. Sponsor assumes no responsibility for any misdirected or lost mail, or any error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, delay of operation or transmission, communications line failure, theft or destruction or unauthorized access to, or alteration of, Entries. If a dispute cannot be resolved to Sponsor’s satisfaction, the entry will be deemed ineligible. Sponsor: The Sweepstakes is sponsored by Disneyland. 

Heather Reese
the authorHeather Reese
Heather Delaney Reese is the storyteller and photographer behind the lifestyle and family travel blog, It's a Lovely Life®! For the past decade, she has vacationed over 150 days a year with her family. She is a vegan, and loves being by the water, spending time with her children, husband, 2 Shih Tzus and Cat.


  • These pictures look amazing. I have never been able to visit for the holidays. After these pictures, I definitely need to make it a priority!

  • This brought back memories from my time in Disney last year! We had such a blast, and honestly, we didn’t run into crazy crowds contrary to what everyone said.

  • We are WDW annual passholders and since we live in central FL we love spending time at the Disney parks throughout the holiday season. Disney does Christmas SO well! Thanks for the glimpse of how the Disneyland parks celebrate the holidays!

  • I am planning a Disney vacation really soon and so glad that I read this post. These pictures are great and I can’t wait for the vacations to begin!

  • There is no denying that Disney will always be great for families and a sure-fire hit for children. It is always a treat to see how excited they get and to enjoy the interesting and creative attractions. Nice video of the family at the 2 parks.

  • My family absolutely adores Disney at the holidays!!!! We even have done Xmas day there before 🙂

  • I’m sad we never visited during the holidays when we lived in LA. We always went during off-season to avoid the crowds. Now I wish we would have at least once!

  • Its been a long time since I’ve been to Disney and I never been to it during the Christmas months but I always heard that its so beautiful. That Jack Skellington apple makes me really happy and want an apple.

  • While I’ve never been to Disneyland in the winter when I go to Disneyworld I l9ve going to the boardwalk area. The old 1950s do-wooly feeling is personally the best feeling ever! So with that bbeing said, I think that the 1820s themed area that was based on when Walt first arrived would be my favorite thing to try!

  • This is so helpful! Now I know everything that I need to remember about Disneyland this holidays.

  • It sounds like you all had an amazing time at Disneyland. These are all great tips for visiting Disneyland Resort during the holidays. It would be amazing to try all these holiday treats and to see all the amazing Christmas lights etc. at night. Thanks for sharing the information.

  • I do really love Disney. It makes people satisfied and so happy. and It sounds like you had an amazing time there. This is very useful tips on how to enjoy Disneyland Holiday.

  • I can’t wait for the vacations to begin! as i am a disney lover. I am planning to visit Disneyland for the holidays

Comments are closed.