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By D’land Diva

It’s that time of year again! The Disneyland Resort transforms into the Merriest Place on Earth with special holiday decorations, parades, activities and ride transformations. If you have never been to the Disneyland Resort around the holidays, you are missing something! In my humble opinion, this is THE BEST time of year to visit. Yes, it is crowded. I know that those of you who have been to Walt Disney World think you have been to Disney when it is crowded. I am telling you, THIS is truly crowded. Think less space than WDW and the same amount of people. You might in fact, be carried through the crowd down Main Street. You will need to wait 30 minutes or more for rides (in fact, most rides will probably be closer to a 45-60 minute wait) and you may get very irritated with the sheer madness of trying to navigate through people to reach your destination.

Once you step through those snowflake decorated gates, however, you will not be sorry that chose to visit the Disneyland Resort in November or December. While those crowds may intimidate you, the happiness and cheer will infect you. This article is to tell you all about what makes the Disneyland Resort the Merriest Place on Earth around the holidays.

Diva Tip: Arrive at or slightly before park opening. Yes, there will be lines, but the park absorbs those waiting in line and many folks show up fashionably late to the park. By arriving early, you will get to enjoy more of the rides.

So what is it that makes the Disneyland Resort worth all the madness at holiday time?

The Decorations

Many of the lands are decorated individually with garland, lights, holly and Christmas bulbs. The Christmas music is also set to the theme of the land, with a lot of string Christmas tunes in Frontierland and some jazzy tunes in Hollywood Land. Be sure not to miss details, such as the large Christmas trees on Main Street and Buena Vista Street. Also worth noting are the decorations in Cars Land. This is the first year Cars Land has been open and the decorations are amazing. There is cone garland near the Cozy Cone Motel, hubcap trees, air filter garland hanging between the buildings and a fun snow covered car at the entrance to the land. At night, everything at the Disneyland Resort looks even more incredible. It’s A Small World, at the back of Fantasyland is so bright it practically lights up the entire back of the park!



                                                                                    


Jingle Jangle Jamboree

The Holidays have taken over the Big Thunder Ranch area. It is here you will find the jolly holly man himself, and be able to get your picture taken with him! There’s cookie decorating, holiday themed stage shows, crafts for the kids and carnival games. There are also many other characters roaming around for your signing and picture pleasure.

Diva Tip: This is a great place to get your yearly Santa picture with the kids! The area usually opens around 10 a.m., but check for times. You will want to to get there early, as the line to visit Santa can get very long. Santa can also be found on Buena Vista Street, and the lines here tend to be less crowded.


                               Candy Canes on Main Street

A little known tradition for visitors, but a well known one for annual passholders, is the making of candy canes on Main Street. The Candy Palace is the place to go and this year it is on Mondays and Fridays. Get there early and get the wristbands they hand out. This is very popular for locals, and from what I hear, worth the wait. These are freshly made candy canes and oh so very delicious! For more information you can look here.  

Diva Tip: This year, the candy canes are also being made on Buena Vista Street at California Adventure on Tuesdays and Thursdays.   




Holiday Themed Rides

If you take one look at the Haunted Mansion ride or It’s a Small World, you will know that something different is going on! The Haunted Mansion is decorated like the Nightmare Before Christmas movie, complete with candy cane themed queue. It’s a Small World is a holiday spectacle, with bright lights and a Christmas themed version of the normal Small World song. Both attractions cannot be missed during the holiday season!

Over at California Adventure, Elves have taken over the Muppet Building for a screening of Prep and Landing. This cute shows runs about every half hour in 3D.

Diva Tip: Get there early for both rides, as they are popular! The Haunted Mansion has a fastpass available this time of year and you SHOULD use it. 
 


A Christmas Fantasy Parade 


One of my favorite parades at Disneyland (besides the Electrical Light Parade, which I miss terribly), is the Christmas Fantasy Parade on Main Street. This is a magical parade that sparks all kinds imagination, with live toy soldiers, your favorite characters and even a gingerbread scent that floats through the air thanks to a Goofy and Max cookie baking float. This is one parade you will not want to miss! It is usually held around 3 p.m. in the afternoon and again in the evening time.

The Candlelight Processional

This year, Disneyland announced that there would be 20 nights of the Candlelight Processional instead of the usual two night extravaganza. The Candlelight Processional has been an annual tradition on Main Street since 1958. There is a beautiful Christmas performance of holiday music and a telling of the Christmas Story in Town Square. Each year there are celebrity narrarators, and this year, there are more than ever!There are also two nightly shows. In the past, this experience has been beautiful- but super crowded. It sounds like Disneyland is trying to do something about the crowds by adding shows and show times.

Have a magical holiday season!


As a Disneyland Annual Passholder for over fifteen years, it is clear that I love to be in the parks! I am a huge fan of all things Disney, but mostly the Muppets and Flynn Rider. On many weekends you can find me sipping a Mint Julep in New Orleans Square at Disneyland with my Disney loving husband and my two Disney loving children plotting which ride to go on next. I am Editor and Co-Director of the Tips from the Disney Diva site.