Christmas Day is one of the busiest days of the year at Disneyland parks, and the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve is always packed. However, when planned correctly, this can also be the most magical time of year to visit the park. Always arrive early and plan to spend the entire day at the park (if you have a multi-park pass, choose just one park for the day—there’s plenty to see and do!).
If possible, visit during the first two weeks of December when schools are still in session. You’ll get all the fun of the festive season without the additional crowds. Visiting on a rainy day is always a good idea. Rain is rare in California, but December is the “wettest” month. Map out which attractions you want to see and head to those first—otherwise, the lines might be too long to complete your itinerary.
Christmas at Disneyland is famous for the It’s a Small World and Haunted Mansion attractions, both of which get a seasonal touch you won’t want to miss. The Nightmare Before Christmas takes over the mansion, and you have to check out the nearby gingerbread display with its intoxicating aroma. It’s a Small World gets about 250,000 extra lights on the exterior and 30,000 inside. You’ll find icicles, snowflakes, snowmen and carols here. (Even if this isn’t your usual ride, you’ll want to check it out).
Make sure you see the Believe … in Holiday Magic fireworks show, set to popular Disney holiday music. Meet Santa at the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail throughout the month, and don’t forget about the A Christmas Fantasy parade on Main Street. Keep an eye on the Disneyland calendar for updates, and swing into any of the restaurants and food trucks for once-a-year delights.