Christmas at Disneyland What You Need To Know And Tips For a Great Trip.
Christmas time at the Disneyland Resort is the most fantastic time of year to experience Disneyland. For those of you who are fortunate enough to come and experience it is something that you will remember forever. You can have the full Christmas experience before Thanksgiving.
The only pitfall is that Christmas time at the Disney resort is one of the most crowded times of the year. It’s almost impossible to avoid the crowds. However, I have written down my best tips, and suggestions help you avoid the crowds.
Let’s get a few things out of the way there’s a big misconception on a lot of travel websites that say if you come to Disneyland when it’s raining (during Christmas espically) it’ll be less crowded. Many sites suggest planning your trip during the winter when it’s going to be raining.
If you saw that suggestion on the Internet how many other people do you think read that same advice? I go to Disneyland 1 to 2 times a week I can tell you right now that is a misnomer.
In fact, I see people who will get on Disney Facebook groups and say hey it’s raining I’m heading to Disneyland because it’s not crowded. I have been there when it was raining more people were showing up thinking that there would be no one there. A lot of pictures you see of the empty rides and lines are rides that no one can ride when it’s raining like the teacups they don’t operate the teacups when it’s raining.
So don’t try to find a week when it’s going to rain to come it’s a waste your time.
You want to come early in November when they first put the decorations up, or you want to wait until after December 14 when most of the Disneyland annual passes are blocked out from coming into the park.
Parking can turn this trip into a nightmare, and you can miss rope drop easily.
Many people try to park in Mickey and Friends. Sometimes there will be a line of cars all the way to the road blocking traffic to get into it. I highly suggest either parking at the Toy Story lot or the Pumbaa lot. If the park opens at 8 AM try to be in the parking structure or lot before 6:30 AM.
That gives you plenty of time to park and get through security and get to the ticket booth. Even with getting there an hour and a half early sometimes you won’t make it into the park before rope drop so please check isitpacked.com before planning your trip and look at the crowd calendar.
Disneyland park usually has three rides themed for Christmas. The first one being the Jingle Cruise which has no overlay this year. Let's hope it is back in 2018. The second is the Haunted Mansion Holiday. The third is It’s A Small World Holiday. It's A Small World was added to the fast pass system recently.
If it is still really empty in the park, you can walk right over to Pirates of the Caribbean first because that line can get very long and there is no Fastpass or Maxpass for this attraction. and then walk over to the Haunted Mansion Holiday.
Once you have exited, it’s Haunted Mansion Holiday go ahead and take either a left and go to Critter Country and visit Santa before it gets crowded. Or go right take a left near Big Thunder Mountain and take Big Thunder Trail to Fantasyland and go left. Ride It’s A Small World Holiday. I also recommend popping into Toontown since it's right next to It's a Small World and seeing the decorations. You can come back later at night to enjoy the It's a Small World lights and the light show that usually happens every 15 minutes after dark.
Another thing people like to wait in line for is the handmade candy canes. If you check the Disney parks blog for information about the candy canes will be posted there. You must arrive very early and get a wristband to get the candy canes. I don't think they are worth the hassle, but that is just me.
There’s also the Festival of Holidays offered at California venture. Twelve Kiosks offer different food and drinks from all over the world. The Festival of Holidays are worth experiencing but don’t forget to save room if you want to try unique treats like the candy apples or holiday cookies.
There are three things you’re going to have to wait for sure though, and that is the Christmas Fantasy parade. I see people claiming a spot hours before. It is a waste of time especially if you’re paying to be here. I honestly suggest getting to the sidewalk about 45 to 30 minutes before the parade. You should still be able to find a perfectly good spot. Ask a cast member on Main Street if the parade is starting in Fantasyland or on Main Street because if you’re on Main Street and the parade is starting in Fantasyland, it will take about 20 minutes to get you.
Viva Navidad is something you do not want to miss. You should arrive about 20 minutes before the parade. Also, check out the activities by Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta.
The World of Color Season of Light is fantastic. Fast Passes are available, but you cannot choose where your viewing area is. I recommend taking advantage of the World of Color dining package; you receive priority “seating" this is a standing room type of event.
Sleeping Beauty Castle on Main Street USA also lights up at the night time and does "snow" it gets crowded, and it will be shoulder to shoulder. It snows over at It's a Small World after the fireworks there is a little more personal space over there. There is also a light show every 15 minutes at night.
The Redwood Creek Trail in California Adventure offers the chance to visit with Santa. The wait can be very long, and I don’t feel it’s worth waiting. Now I suggested earlier to go left and see Santa in Critter Country if you’re at the Haunted Mansion Holiday to avoid a wait to see Santa.
It’s cold in winter, and nobody wants to go on Splash Mountain, and not everyone wants to go on the Winnie the Pooh ride. Usually, the line isn’t half as bad as the one at the Redwood Creek Trail. Pooh Corner is also an excellent place to pick up Holiday sweets because there is a shorter line.
Christmas decorations are everywhere. Even the shops will have Christmas trees. The Grand Californian Hotel is decorated elaborately. I highly recommend going and checking out the Christmas tree.
Speaking of Christmas trees, the one on Main Street usually has a pretty long line. If you want to take your picture with a Christmas tree, I recommend going over to California Adventure where the Christmas tree has vintage decorations, and the line is much shorter.
Buena Vista Street had bell ringers for many years. The Bell Ringers were one of the best parts of coming into California Adventure during Christmas. I hope they will be back next year.
I suggest reading a previous article I’ve written on how to avoid standing in line at Disneyland. There is a way to get some front of line tickets, and I strongly suggest that you exercise this option at this time a year.
Avoid the hub at Disneyland if you can find a route to get around going that way do it. Especially at night. This time of year Disneyland is a major tourist destination, so there are always crowds. You just have to plan and try to make the best of it. Hopefully, this guide will make your visit more enjoyable.