Going on a Disneyland holiday trip? 3 things you’ve got to experience during the Christmas season
From nighttime shows to meeting Santa to securing a hard-to-get handmade candy canes, Disneyland makes Christmas season special
When it comes to Christmas, Disneyland pulls out all the stops — that’s why the holiday season is always so busy at the Happiest Place on Earth.
Even though parkgoers are willingly trading the snow and cold so synonymous with Christmastime for the California sun, Disneyland feels right at home during the holidays.
And it’s not just because there’s an oversized 60-foot Christmas tree lighting up Main Street U.S.A.
Here’s three things to make sure to check out if you’ll be at Disneyland during the holiday season. The 2022 holiday season will run from Nov. 11 to Jan. 8, 2023.
The nighttime shows
When the sun goes down at Disneyland during Christmastime, that’s when the party gets turned up.
Whether you’re on the Disneyland side or in Disney California Adventure, there’s a nighttime show that celebrates the holiday season.
In Disneyland, there’s the Believe … in Holiday Magic fireworks show, which includes projections along Main Street U.S.A. and simulated snowfall (and yes Virginia, it’ll make you want to bundle up even in the California weather).
In Disney California Adventure, there’s the World of Color — Season of Light, a holiday twist on the classic attraction that incorporates Disney characters and Christmas music into the show.
There’s also the holiday overlays on select Disneyland attractions, with “it’s a small world” leading the way. The popular attraction is adorned with festive lights and is a must-see, both on its facade and inside the ride.
Santa and the A Christmas Fantasy parade
Need a little bit of Santa, mixed with Mickey and Minnie, and throw in some Frozen characters just for fun?
Then the A Christmas Fantasy parade is for you.
This parade runs along Main Street at night and includes all these iconic characters, and it’s not often when Mickey and Minnie are overshadowed by someone else at Disneyland.
During this parade, though, Santa steals the show, as he sits atop his sleigh — a gigantic float — and waves to the crowd while Christmas parade music plays.
For the kids wanting to visit with Santa, he’ll be available for meet-and-greets, too, at a variety of spots throughout the resort — in Disneyland, head on over to Critter Country, while in Disney California Adventure, it’s at the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail.
The handmade candy canes and all the Christmas treats
Disneyland is famous for its treats, not just at Christmastime, though the park pulls out its bag of tricks when cooking up food during the holiday season.
From classics like sugar cookies — they’re oversized and delicious — to its rich, creamy hot chocolate that’ll warm you up, or even a turkey cranberry sandwich if you need some real sustenance, Disneyland has Christmas food covered.
The real star of Christmas treats, though, is the handmade candy canes, and you’ve got to plan ahead — and wake up early — if you want to get one.
Disney makes its own handmade candy canes at both the Candy Palace (in Disneyland) and Trolley Treats (in DCA). They are only available for purchase on certain dates — the dates for the 2022 holiday season aren’t out yet, they are typically released around Thanksgiving.
To snag one, you’ve got to get to the parks early — think like at least an hour before opening.
In the past, guests lined up at either location and received a wristband, but last year Disneyland employed a virtual waitlist to distribute the opportunity to purchase a candy cane.
“Once the mobile waitlist is activated, you can add your name and phone number at the location to receive a text back with a time to return to the location for the opportunity to purchase your candy cane, subject to availability,” Disney said in a press release.
“Candy canes are not available through mobile order.”
From there, guests who procure a spot on the wait list are given a time to return to either the Candy Palace or Trolley Treats when they can purchase the candy cane.
There is a limit of only one per guest, and because of the limited quantities, they those wait list spots can go fast.