The Holiday Season is in full swing, and as usual The Disneyland Resort is the perfect place to celebrate the holiday festivities. This year both parks are overflowing with holiday cheer. Among the highlights at Disney California Adventure (DCA) are the “Festival of Holidays,” where you can experience a wide variety of cultural foods and entertainment, and “Season’s Speedings” at Cars Land with “Mater’s Jingle Jamboree” and “Luigi’s Joy to the Whirl” musical ride overlays. Across the esplanade, Disneyland welcomes back all the classics that have become Southern California holiday staples: “Haunted Mansion Holiday,” “Small World Holiday,” “A Christmas Fantasy Parade,” and “Believe...In Holiday Magic” Fireworks. Disney invited us to come experience all the holiday magic at the resort, and we can’t wait to share it with you below! On with the report…
We’re at The Disneyland Resort to check out all the Disney Holiday magic for 2018!
First up we’ll head in to DCA where the Festival of Holidays brings tons of delicious food to the park.
They had a food table set up so we could photograph some of the delicious holiday desserts!
The Alien Macarons from Pixar Fest have received a holiday makeover!
There’s definitely something for everyone!
The Funnel Cake Fries look DELICIOUS!
Candy Apples are equal parts beautiful and tasty.
Souvenir popcorn buckets are all the rage right now, and the 2018 Holiday ones are some of the coolest ever!
You can even get decorations for your straws!
Pluto looks super warm in his holiday sweater! It’d be a tough choice between this popcorn bucket and the alien popcorn bucket.
But Holidays at The Disneyland Resort isn’t ONLY about the food! There’s tons more to see and do! And since Brittney has a clinically diagnosed addiction to taking character photos, we obviously had to take a picture with Mickey in his winter attire!
Get ready, there’s going to be lots of park hopping today! Notice the snow overhead as we pass through the turnstiles to enter Disneyland.
The lawn in front of Main Street Station is covered in vibrant red poinsettias. Our Mickey and Minnie plushes said they wanted to take a photo in front of the gorgeous sight!
A photo behind the scenes! Shhh, don’t tell Brittney!
Have you ever felt lambs ear? It’s a fuzzy plant. Brittney has never met lambs ear that she didn’t want to touch.
But more importantly, Brittney has never met a character in holiday attire that she didn’t want a photo with!
Wow! Now THAT’S a Christmas Tree!
There are holiday decorations everywhere you look! Everybody’s smiling and happy! Is there anywhere better in the World to be?
A wintery Sleeping Beauty Castle draws guests forward down Main Street.
Mr. Turtle (Yes, we named him) basks in the So Cal winter sun, admiring the decorations on Sleeping Beauty Castle.
Mr. Turtle had trouble choosing a favorite decoration on the Castle , but he narrowed it down between this giant wreath…
… and the snow-capped peak. He also quietly pondered to himself what the top pointy part of the castle is called, because it’s certainly not called a peak.
We left Mr. Turtle to ponder life’s challenging little questions and headed over to New Orleans Square to check out our favorite ride overlay, Haunted Mansion Holiday! The movie that inspired this ride overlay, Nightmare Before Christmas, celebrates its 25th anniversary this year!
Xmas is here!
And so is Halloween for that matter!
We step inside and are instantly surrounded by an eerie glow.
Jack has clearly made lots of changes to the mansion!
New portraits line the walls.
And Zero can be seen flying in the halls.
Madame Leota hosts a holiday seance.
Breathe deep! The smell of fresh cookies fills the air as we encounter this year’s incredible (and real!) gingerbread house! Each year Disney makes a brand new gingerbread house for the ride, and this year’s is one of the best ever! It actually moves as it’s attacked by that hungry spider! (And yes, we named the spider too. It’s “Mr. Spider” for those wondering. See a trend?)
Brittney loves Oogie Boogie and insisted that I include his photo in the report.
I love the Hatbox Ghost and I insisted that I include his photo in the report.
Everyone loves Jack Skellington and everyone insisted that I include his photo in the report.
Yep, even Sally insisted that Jack’s photo be included.
After Haunted Mansion Holiday we ate at Hungry Bear Restaurant where you can catch a view of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge rising up behind the Rivers of America. It’s hard to believe that in less than a year this new land will be open!
But it’s not hard to believe that in less than a few minutes after eating Brittney wanted to take more holiday character photos!
We then headed across the park to It’s A Small World Holiday.
Mid-century modern inspired holiday decorations adorn the queue and outdoor areas.
Once inside, we head straight to the North Pole!
Santa appears to be making his list and checking it twice! (Spoiler alert: Mr. Turtle made the nice list. Mr. Spider didn’t because he stole and ate the entire gingerbread house.)
The holiday decorations add another layer of awesomeness on top of Small World’s iconic scenes.
Holiday music and sound effects perfectly intertwine with the Small World theme music!
In fitting with the spirit of the ride, holiday celebrations from all different cultures and locations around the world are featured!
Just looking at these photos has made the music get stuck in my head again!
Gifts for Santa from under the sea!
Who knew that sea creatures celebrated the holidays too? This is Mr. Serpent. Yep, we named him. And yep, he’s on the nice list.
I’m liking that raffia mustache!
The Ho Ho Holidays are almost here!
The grand finale room is bright and festive!
There are white holiday lights all around.
The ride ends with a wish for Peace on Earth.
Brittney just wishes for more holiday character photos. And boy did her wish come true when as a special media perk she was allowed to stand with Goofy on a float from the Christmas Fantasy Parade! You can really appreciate the details of the float when you see it up close! More on the parade later!
Let’s hop back over to DCA. The DCA tree is a nice complement to Disneyland’s. Different, but also impressive.
But Brittney doesn’t care about trees when there are character photos to be had!
We stopped in at Carthay Circle Theater where there’s a special holiday drink on the menu. It’s called “The Sleigh Ride,” and it includes a light-up Mickey snowflake glow cube. The drink has gin, vermouth, lime juice, and lavender liqueur - delicious!
The only thing Brittney likes more than character photos is food!
The Festival of Holidays brings delicious food and lots of cultural entertainment to DCA. Here Blue13 Dance Company celebrates Diwali with traditional dances.
Disney ¡Viva Navidad! Street Party in Paradise Gardens Park is a ton of fun!
There are folklórico dancers…
Appearances by Mickey and Minnie…
Donald Duck, Panchito and José Carioca dance to the music of mariachi and samba musicians.
Minnie says hi!
We love the giant mojiganga puppets that dance along to the celebration!
As night began to creep in, so too did hunger, so we headed to the Festival of Holidays booths to grab some small bites.
We loved the Pumpkin Soup with Maple Cashew Cream.
And for dessert, a Vanilla and Cranberry Trifle! Yum!
While we ate we watched Mostly Kosher, a band that honors Hanukkah with an eclectic blend of musical styles from klezmer and jazz to Latin and rock.
Back over to Disneyland, it’s time for A Christmas Fantasy Parade!
The parade kicks off with some marching soldiers!
Mickey and Minnie look festive and cozy in their holiday sweaters!
Chip and Dale are making sure that letters to St. Nick are properly delivered.
Skiers carve a path through the parade route.
Brittney insisted that the cute snowmen make it in the report.
I always feel like my 6 foot tree at home is going to fall over just from the weight of the ornaments, yet somehow Disney manages to safely drive a ginormous tree covered in snow and ornaments all over Disneyland.
TPR loves Frozen!
These storybooks introduce each of the acts of the parade.
Hey look, it’s the float that Brittney got to stand on earlier! And Goofy is waving - he must have spotted Brittney!
Belle and The Beast are looking very dapper.
Santa’s Toy Factory is always one of my personal favorite floats.
Even the wheels are themed! How cool!
The float pops toys out the back, ready for Santa to give away on Christmas!
There are lots of dancers.
And not only human dancers, the reindeer get in on the fun too!
It wouldn’t be a Christmas parade without Santa! And there’s good news - Santa has decided to forgive Mr. Spider for eating the gingerbread house and he put Mr. Spider back on the nice list!
I told you there’d be lots of park hopping today! Let’s head Back over to DCA to check out Cars Land.
On the way we admired Carthay Circle Theater which is adorned with a giant holiday wreath.
A look down Route 66.
All the decorations are Car themed, of course! Car parts make up the garland and wreaths that are strung over the roadway.
Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree is now Mater’s Jingle Jamboree. The ride has a musical overlay for the holidays.
Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters also has a musical overlay, turning it into Luigi's Joy to the Whirl. I love the names of the two ride overlays!
Near the exit to Luigi’s is the famous Radiator Springs Horn-O-Plenty.
The residents of Radiator Springs are all dressed up as well! Mater’s hat looks great!
I’ve heard of a white Christmas and a blue Christmas, but never an orange Christmas. The Cozy Cone Motel is here to change that!
After checking out Cars Land we headed back to Buena Vista Street to see some of this year’s holiday merchandise. On the way we couldn’t help but marvel at DCA’s tree all lit up.
The Red Car Trolleys are in the holiday spirit as well! (Report continued below...)
Last edited by ILoveRides on Fri Dec 21, 2018 6:33 pm.
Disney always has some of the coolest merchandise. Let’s check it out!
The store windows are filled with holiday items.
So much holiday stuff!
Brittney is handing you a countdown to Christmas calendar, fresh out of the oven!
These hats were neat and had references to Small World Holiday and Haunted Mansion Holiday.
You can never have too many socks!
One final park hop! This time to check out Small World Holiday’s facade at night!
This ride looks so magical during the holidays.
All the topiaries are covered in thousands of glowing lights.
Every 30 minutes throughout the night there’s a special holiday show projected onto the Small World facade.
The show uses projection mapping technology to bring the facade to life!
There’s lots of holiday imagery!
It’s a really fun show, and it’s definitely nice to have entertainment while waiting in line to ride!
Finally, let’s head back to Main Street where the warm glow of Christmas lights puts you instantly in the Christmas spirit.
Garland, ornaments, and lights line the balconies of the buildings.
The ornaments on the giant Christmas tree are enormous!
Each ornament is as big as a human head!
Due to high winds, fireworks had to be cancelled on the night we were there. We’ve seen them many times before though, and can confirm you’re in for a treat if the weather cooperates on your visit! But even if the weather doesn’t cooperate, the good news is that you’re still in for some Disney magic!
Disney has a special show that plays in the event that fireworks are cancelled, and like magic it begins to snow all down Main Street while projections light up all the buildings.
Watching snow fall on Main Street always gives me goosebumps. It’s so magical! What a way to end the night!
Walt and Mickey proudly stand in front of the snow covered castle, and as cliche as it is to say, I think Walt would be proud. The parks really look beautiful right now. We had such an amazing day and night taking it all in.
Disney magic, plain and simple.
Holidays at the Disneyland Resort is one of the best ways to celebrate the holidays. Whether it’s your first time experiencing it or you make it an annual tradition like us - there’s so much to eat, see, and do that it always leaves you wanting more. Thanks to Disney for inviting us to attend, and thanks to you for checking out our report! Holidays at the Disneyland Resort runs through January 6, 2018, don’t miss it!
Fantastic report! Due to my flight back home, I had to leave Disneyland before nightfall, but now I can see everything I missed. I'm not surprised the park does such an awesome job lighting up the park.
Also I take objection to one caption.
ILoveRides wrote:Chip and Dale are making sure that letters to St. Nick are properly delivered.
Those chipmunks are mischievous! And that's why I love them.
Top 3 Wood- Lightning Rod, Voyage, Coaster (PNE Playland) Top 3 Steel- Steel Vengeance, Untamed, Expedition GeForce Most Recent Trip Reports- Rainbow MagicLand & Gardaland
These pages are in no way affiliated with nor endorsed by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Cedar Fair, Legoland, Merlin Entertainment, Blackstone, Tussaud's Group, Six Flags, Universal Theme Parks, the Walt Disney Company or any other theme park company.
photos and videos on this website were taken with the permission of the park by
a professional ride photographer.
For yours and others safety, please do not attempt to take photos or videos at
parks without proper permission.
You need a sense of humor to view our site,
if you don't have a sense of humor, or are easily offended, please turn back
Most of the content on this forum is suitable for all ages. HOWEVER! There may be some content that would be considered rated "PG-13." Theme Park Review is NOT recommended for ages under 13 years of age.