Disneyland in December: A Guide for the Holiday Season

Disneyland in December is my favorite time of the year to visit the parks! The holiday celebration is in full swing with attraction overlays, holiday parades and fireworks, plus plenty of great treats to enjoy.

Everyone has personal preferences to consider when planning the date of their Disneyland trip- each season will have its pros and cons and guests' choices will vary based on those. Make sure to read our Disneyland crowd calendar to get an idea of what to expect when picking a date to visit Disneyland.

Keep reading for everything you need to know about visiting Disneyland in December including current events, what weather to expect, crowd level predictions, and what to pack!

Disneyland December 2022 EventsImage result for disneyland christmas fireworks

Here are all the current events to know about impacting Disneyland in December!

Holidays at Disneyland 

The holiday season at Disneyland runs until January 9th 2021. The celebration includes a holiday parade, fireworks, entertainment, decorations and holiday overlays of attractions!

A Christmas Fantasy is the name of the Disneyland Christmas parade and shows a variety of Disney favorites along with holiday characters like snowmen, gingerbread men, reindeer, and Santa himself. The breathtaking fireworks display is called “Believe… in Holiday Magic” and features Disneyland themed Christmas music, breathtaking fireworks, and scented gingerbread snowfall in front of the castle.

Disneyland also gives its a small world and the Haunted Mansion their own holiday overlays for the season. The façade for it's a small world is transformed with thousands of twinkling lights and the tune of the ride changes to a Jingle Bells melody. The Haunted Mansion receives a Tim Burton Night Before Christmas theme which is so well done that some guests prefer this version over the original!

The celebration that takes place inside California Adventure is the Festival of the Holidays with international food kiosks featuring holiday food from all over the world and features a Latin inspired street parade called ¡Viva Navidad!

Universal Studios Hollywood Christmas Celebration

Universal Studios Hollywood celebrates Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter with beautiful decorations, a nighttime show on Hogwarts castle, holiday theme entertainment, and more. They also celebrate the Grinch with their own themed celebration called Grinchmas featuring the Who village, characters, entertainment plus themed food.

Discount Disneyland Tickets

Our favorite Disney-approved re-seller, Get Away Today, offers the best Disneyland discount tickets around. In addition to great discount prices, their customer service and easy support is absolutely fantastic. They have an entire department dedicated to making sure every order has a wonderful experience and they are on-call to help you during your vacation if you need them.

Buying tickets from Get Away Today is easy and convenient since all their tickets are sent electronically. You can take their vouchers and head straight to the gate without needing to wait in any ticket booth lines. They also offer layaway plans so you can pay off your vacation over time.

Disney just announced a huge ticket sale for travel before May 21, 2020. When you combine this new discount and our exclusive added discount from our travel partner, you will save $91 when you purchase tickets for children 3-9.

You can read my review on my personal experiences booking through Get Away Today and how much you can save here!

Disneyland in December ProsChristmas Fantasy Parade

The biggest pro of visiting Disneyland in December is the amount of entertainment due to the holiday season! There is so much to see and do in addition to the regular park attractions making it a perfect time to be at Disneyland. I especially love the themed overlays of Haunted Mansion and it's a small world. The holiday parade, Christmas fireworks, and food festival in California Adventure are all must dos this time of the year.

Another pro for many visiting Disneyland in December is the weather which can be pleasantly cool but with some sunny days. The average temperature is a high of 67 degrees and an average low of 48 degrees. The low typically never falls below 58 degrees and the high rarely exceeds 79 degrees. If you don't like visiting theme parks in hot weather, December is a good time of the year to visit as you won't have to worry about the heat!

Since December is considered a peak travel time of the year, Disneyland will offer longer hours and more entertainment schedules which is a great perk if you want to spend a long day at the parks and have flexibility with what time you watch the parades, fireworks, etc.

Disneyland in December Cons

The biggest con of visiting Disneyland in December is the amount of crowds you may encounter at the parks. The holidays at Disneyland are an extremely popular time of year for people to visit the resort. Although, if you visit earlier in the month (the first two weeks of December) you will encounter smaller crowds than you will at the last two weeks of the month which can be the busiest time of the year at Disneyland.

But even if the parks are crowded you can still have a great vacation if you arrive to the parks early, make advance dining reservations and come with a dedicated plan each day.

How to Handle Crowds at Disneyland in December

Disneyland in December can be a crowded time of the year to visit but you can effectively manage the crowds and have a great day if you plan ahead!

Here are some of my best strategies for maximizing your time at Disneyland in December:

  • Arrive to the parks at least 30-60 minutes before park opening! The first two hours of the day can also be the shortest for lines so fit in those longer wait times during the day.
  • Watch the A Christmas Fantasy parade over by it's a small world for more room to breathe from the crowds and easier access to close by restrooms and snack carts.
  • You can also watch the holiday fireworks by it's a small world to avoid the heavier crowds in front of the castle. If you have your heart set on seeing the fireworks in front of the castle, plan on lining up at least two hours before the show.
  • Make advance dining reservations for each day so you have a guaranteed rest break built into your day. Crowded days can also mean long lines at food kiosks so having a dining reservation will be helpful.

What Should I Wear to Disneyland in December?

I always recommend dressing in layers for visiting Disneyland in December! During the day when the sun is hot it can feel pretty warm while the nights can get chilly. Bring a little bit of everything so you're prepared for any drastic weather changes. You can always rent a locker to store your jackets in if you don't end up needing them. Don't forget your coat! It can be surprising how chilly it can get at night and you don't want to be left unprepared.

You can should read our Disneyland packing list to make sure you show up prepared for literally anything you need while you're visiting Disneyland.

Ready for the Christmas Season at Disneyland?

There is always a lot of information to consider before planning an Disneyland vacation. Make sure to spend time planning your days in the theme parks and become familiar with everything Disneyland has to offer. Don’t forget to subscribe to our FREE Deals Newsletter to stay on top of the current planning tips, strategies, and deals.

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