What to Know about Spending the Holidays at Disneyland

Walt Disney World started the week by revealing more of its Halloween plans and even a few in-park decorations. Now, Disneyland Resort has announced its Christmas 2023 plans. Here’s what you need to know about spending the holidays at Disneyland. 

The Holiday Season Begins in November 

Disneyland Resort will start its Yuletide celebration on November 10th, with this year’s holiday event lasting through January 7th. The calendar configuration plays a role in the extended length of this year’s event. New Year’s Day falls on a Monday, allowing some vacationers to spend the start of 2024 at The Happiest Place on Earth. 

What will these tourists find at the parks? Disney has sprinkled plenty of magic into the holiday season. For starters, Disney California Adventure will once again host the Festival of the Holidays. Here are some highlights from last year’s version:

At the Disney California Adventure version, the festival highlights various traditions and customs of Christmas, Navidad, Diwali, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Three Kings Day. This year’s event will cover more territory, too. In addition to Palisades Stage and Sonoma Terrace, the Hollywood Backlot will host a portion of the Festival of the Holidays. And yes, the Holiday Marketplaces will return!

Disney will offer a Sip and Savor pass with “eight entitlement tabs.” You may exchange your entitlements for food and beverages at the various marketplaces and participating restaurants as well. One Sip and Savor pass will last through the entire Festival of the Holidays. You can also grab another one after you’ve used your first batch of entitlements, which might happen faster than you think. 

The park will also host Disney ¡Viva Navidad! at Paradise Gardens Park. It’s the tenth season of this show. Here’s the 2021 version as a reminder of its charm:

Disney promises that the Three Caballeros will appear in this area as well. Meanwhile, Paradise Garden Grill will offer an entirely new menu. So, plenty of your DCA favorites will get a refresh this holiday season. 

Disneyland Will Display Plenty of Holiday Decorations

Disneyland Park will decorate its treasured landmark with a special holiday theme. You won’t want to miss Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle! Also, each evening will end with magical “snow” falling at Disneyland. 

Disney indicates this will only happen in “select areas,” though. You might want to ask a cast member about where to go to watch the snow. 

Not to be outdone with holiday decor, The Villas at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa will host a gingerbread house again in 2023! Here’s a quick reminder of last year’s offering:

Both Disney parks and Downtown Disney will display holiday treats complete with thematic ornaments. Speaking of theming, several park attractions will introduce their annual holiday overlays. You’ll want to ride It’s a Small World Holiday, Haunted Mansion Holiday, Luigi’s Joy to the Whirl, and Mater’s Jingle Jamboree. 

The Parks Blog indicates that several characters will wear holiday outfits that are entirely new for 2023. These costumes put “a spin on the classic red and green with midcentury modern-inspired looks!” Here’s a small taste:

Of course, if you prefer the classics, jolly old St. Nicholas will appear. Santa will take pictures with guests from November 10th through Christmas Eve. 

At Disney California Adventure, you’ll find a hodgepodge of characters and performers. According to the Parks Blog, you’ll see “Mexican folklórico dancers and mariachis, Brazilian samba dancers and percussionists, giant mojiganga puppets and Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse.” Also, Mirabel from Encanto will make special appearances at the park. 

Disneyland Will Host Holiday Events and Spectaculars

Disney has also promised the return of several of your favorite holiday events and spectaculars. For example, this year’s iteration of A Christmas Fantasy Parade will feature characters from Frozen and Toy Story. 

At night, Disneyland Park hosts Believe…in Holiday Magic fireworks presentation. This year, guests can also purchase an upsell option, the Holiday Time at the Disneyland Resort Guided Tour

Disney advertises this package as “2.5-hour walking tour (that) will share favorite Disneyland holiday traditions from around the world. You’ll also enjoy reserved viewing for A Christmas Fantasy Parade, delicious holiday treats, a wonderful wintry ride on “it’s a small world” Holiday and more.”

At Disney California Adventure, World of Color – Season of Light will anchor the holiday evenings at Paradise Bay. Meanwhile, Downtown Disney will host a handful of “mistle-toe-tapping” musical performances. 

The only thing Disney hasn’t revealed about the holidays yet is whether the new San Fransokyo themed land will participate in 2023. San Fransokyo opens on August 31st, which gives it plenty of time to add holiday décor. But Disney may prefer to leave it untouched during its first few months. 

Similarly, we have no idea how The Villas at Disneyland Hotel will treat the holidays in its first year. If either place decorates, that’s even more holiday magic you’ll find at Disneyland Resort starting on November 10th!

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