My Top 5 Favorite Holiday Offerings at the Disneyland Resort

by Megan Walker, contributing writer

The holiday season is always a special time, no matter what holiday you celebrate, how you celebrate, or who you celebrate with. Especially at the Disneyland Resort, each holiday season brings new and exciting ways to celebrate and enjoy the season. I personally feel like every seasonal celebration at the Disneyland Resort is special and a lot of fun, but none more so than the winter holiday season.

Shortly following the conclusion of the Halloween Time season (my second favorite), the Disneyland Resort undergoes many magical changes, redecorating every single inch of the entire resort to reflect the upcoming winter holidays. Snow falls on the castle, trees are put up featuring thousands of decorations, and garland is strung from each building. It really is a magical sight to see and it doesn't even end there; there are numerous other ways the holiday season at the Disneyland Resort is truly special, and though it's hard to narrow any of them down, the following are my personal top-five favorite holiday offerings at the Disneyland Resort.

The Trees

One of the things I look forward to the most each time the holiday season rolls around is when the Christmas trees at both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure are put up. I absolutely adore these trees! They are larger than life, towering over the park, and covered top to trunk with decorations. Both of the trees have their own distinct style of decorations that accurately reflect the theme of both Main Street, U.S.A. at Disneyland Park, and Buena Vista Street at Disney California Adventure Park. The Disneyland tree features classic and traditional Americana style ornaments and decorations, while the Buena Vista Street tree's decorations definitely feel like something you would have seen featured in home in the 1920s. They are both equally beautiful, and equally mesmerizing. I think you could definitely spend a lot of time just hanging around the trees and looking at every decoration to see what is being displayed.

Disneyland Park's Christmas Tree. Photo by Megan Walker.

Disney California Adventure Park's Christmas Tree. Photo by Megan Walker.

Candy Canes

Years ago, I might have been able to call this a "little-known" tradition at the Disneyland Resort, but I think it's become much more popular over the years. You all may already know about this, but the handmade candy cane tradition is one of my favorite offerings at the Disneyland Resort during the holiday season, and I highly recommend you take part if you haven't before. Each year, for a few weekends during the holiday season, the fantastic and talented candy-making team at the Disneyland Resort get up early; head into a hot, stuffy candymaking room; and handmake a batch of fresh candy canes for Disneyland Resort guests. To purchase one of these candy canes though, you must receive a wristband at park opening, which means you'll need to arrive early, and come on the right date. They do alternate between the candy shops at Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park so make sure you're at the right park on the right day.

  • Disneyland Candy Palace – December 7, 10, 12, 14, 17, 19, 21, 24
  • Disney California Adventure Trolley Treats – December 6, 8, 11, 13, 15, 18, 20, 22, 25

Candymakers making the candy canes. Photo by Megan Walker.

"it's a small world" Holiday

Seasonal attraction overlays are one of my favorite things at the Disneyland Resort, and "it's a small world" Holiday is perhaps the best overlay the Resort does. This may not be a popular opinion, but I'm actually not a huge fan of "it's a small world" on a regular operating basis. I know, I know…most people love this ride, but let me pacify that by saying I adore the holiday overlay, and every year it becomes my favorite attraction. There's just something about the showcase of every country's holiday celebrations, the gorgeous array of lights on the building, and the heartwarming soundtrack that really hits a home run with me every year. If you haven't experienced this attraction…get on it. And if you have, then you likely know already how amazing it is. It really is an attraction that cannot be missed.

"it's a small world" Holiday. Photo by Megan Walker.

Wintertime Enchantment at Sleeping Beauty Winter Castle

Everyone knows how beautiful Sleeping Beauty Castle is on a regular basis, but when the holiday seasons rolls around and the lights and snow-capped towers get added on, it somehow gets more mesmerizing and more beautiful. It's a gorgeous sight to see of course during the day, but nighttime is when it really shines (pun absolutely intended). If you'll be visiting Disneyland Park at any point this holiday season, please do yourself a favor and hang out in the front of the castle to watch the nightly show Wintertime Enchantment at Sleeping Beauty Winter Castle. Each night, the park shuts off all of the lights on the castle and turns them on sequence by sequence, paired with a nice story and music until all of the lights come back on and snow falls around the castle area. It's really magical and beautiful and I feel like most people just pass by without stopping to appreciate it, so please keep an eye out for it next time you're at the park.

Wintertime Enchantment at Sleeping Beauty's Winter Castle. Photo by Megan Walker.

Decorations and Characters

What would any celebration at the Disneyland Resort be without a wide array of decorations, and everyone's favorite friends joining in on the fun? The Disneyland Resort wrote the book on decorating, no matter the time of year—or the celebration occurring—the cast members at Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park do an incredible job of creating an entirely new environment through decorations, making every month you visit different from the one before. I truly believe you could spend an entire day at either park just walking around and looking at all of the decorations, appreciating the work the Resort team does each season. Finally, you can't forget the many friends that roam the Disneyland Resort: Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, and the rest of the gang all mingle with guests throughout both parks and the best is they're always dressed in their best holiday attire, which means for a lot of fun pictures and memories!

Santa Goofy. Photo by Megan Walker.

Carthay Circle Restaurant during the Holidays. Photo by Megan Walker.

Santa Claus during the Christmas Fantasy Parade. Photo by Megan Walker.

The winter holiday season is by far one of, if not the, best celebration at the Disneyland Resort. Whether it's attraction overlays, seasonal foods, shows, or just the decorations that are showcased throughout the parks, the holiday season is incredibly special and serves as one of the best times to visit. While these are just my top-five favorite offerings during the winter holiday season, there are many, many more to experience and enjoy. Whether you're planning a return trip, or it is your first visit, you will definitely not be disappointed!