Disney Parks Holidays

Disneyland Holiday Events Happening In 2018

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Last Updated on January 8, 2019 by Allyson

Not too long ago I shared a post detailing all of the holiday events happening at Walt Disney World this year. Well, I’ve now created a list of the 2018 Disneyland holiday events going on at both Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure through January. If you’re heading to either park for the holidays this year, you’ll definitely want to read through all of the magical happenings so you don’t miss out on all the festive fun!

Disneyland Park

There are all kinds of holiday celebrations going on at Disneyland Park that you won’t want to miss! The following events run through Jan. 6, 2019.

‘A Christmas Fantasy’ Parade

You definitely need to make sure you grab the perfect spot for the A Christmas Fantasy Parade. The parade features a handful of festive floats with beloved Disney characters, including Anna, Elsa, and Olaf from Frozen, Mickey, Minnie, and Chip ‘n Dale, Woody and Buzz from Toy Story, and Disney Princesses. Of course, Santa Claus makes an appearance at the end! The parade runs daily at 3:30 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Photo of A Christmas Fantasy Parade

‘Believe…In Holiday Magic’ Fireworks

Every evening at 9:30 p.m., you’ll want to make sure you make time for the Believe…In Holiday Magic fireworks spectacular over Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle.

“it’s a small world” Holiday Lighting

In addition to Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle, this just might be the most joyous and beautiful site to see at Disneyland park. Beginning at 5:15 p.m. daily, “it’s a small world” lights up with the most stunning holiday lights! After the first light-up, every 30 minutes throughout the evening a projection show animates the attraction’s façade with festive colors and images. Don’t forget that like the outside, the inside is also transformed into the happiest holiday cruise that ever sailed with gorgeous decorations and Christmas songs mixed into the classic tune of “it’s a small world”.

Photo of it's a small world Holiday Lighting

Haunted Mansion Holiday

If you didn’t have a chance to go through the holiday version of The Haunted Mansion during Halloween, then good news, you can still enjoy it! Inspired by Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, the attraction located in New Orleans Square has been transformed with scenes and music from the 1993 film. I’ve yet to experience it myself, but I’ve heard it’s better than the original, so you’ll want to put the ride at the top of your holiday Disneyland to-do list!

Wintertime Enchantment At Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle

During the day, you won’t be able to miss Sleeping Beauty’s Castle decorated with icicles, wreaths, and other holiday decorations. Well, every evening at 7:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., Princess Aurora’s palace comes even more to life with twinkling lights, music, and snow falling (yes, snow!)

Photo of Sleeping Beauty's Winter Castle

Disney California Adventure

And you most certainly won’t want to miss all of the special events and experiences at DCA that are so fun and different compared to Disneyland park! The following run through Jan. 8, 2019, unless otherwise noted.

Disney Festival Of Holidays

The celebration at Disney Festival of Holidays gives you the chance to celebrate other cultural holiday traditions and festivities through multicultural music, food, and entertainment! Here’s what’s part of the festival located across DCA:

Festive Foods Marketplace

You will definitely want to experience the Festive Foods Marketplace. You’re able to taste different dishes and beverages from across the world. There are 12 locations, which include:

  • A Twist on Tradition: Holiday classics infused with a festive kick like pozole rojo beef with hominy polenta or “chicken-less” mole with Spanish rice.
  • Blissfully Braised: Slow-cooked plates like pork belly adobo with garlic fried rice or cornbread cakes with collard greens and smoked bacon gravy.
  • Brews & Bites: Variety of brews followed by chorizo queso fundido with house-made tortilla chips.
  • Favorite Things: Holiday ham shanks and Reuben potato tots or sip an eggnog cocktail with whipped cream and nutmeg dusting.
  • Grandma’s Recipes: Time-honored treats like beef pot roast on a potato roll, candied yams and gingerbread Mickey cookies.
  • Holiday Duets: Perfect pairings of shrimp and grits with Andouille sausage or curry cauliflower soup with braised lamb and mintchurri.
  • Making Spirits Bright: Pomegranate, pear, or white cranberry mimosas and imported and domestic wines.
  • Merry Mashups: Turkey-and-stuffing tamales, lox-and-everything-bagel nachos or “hot cocoa” marshmallow macarons.
  • Spicy Celebrations: Nashville hot fried turkey, jalapeño latkes, and chocolate chipotle pot de crème.
  • Visions of Sugarplums: White chocolate cranberry blondies, warm sticky toffee pudding, or horchata fudge.
  • Winter Wonders: Pumpkin soup with maple cashew cream, chana masala with grilled garlic naan, or a vanilla-and-cranberry trifle.
  • Winter Sliderland: Roasted turkey sliders with cranberry sauce, holiday stuffing mac & cheese, and milk chocolate-candy cane pot de crème.

Photo of Holiday Mickey and Minnie Cookies at Disney Festival of the Holidays

The Sip and Savor Pass: In addition to them park admission, for $54 (including tax; Annual Passholders receive a discount and also get a special Passholder lanyard and buttons), you can enjoy food and beverages from 11 of the above locations (Making Spirits Bright not included). You’ll also recieve a commemorative credential, lanyard, and eight coupons, redeemable for food and beverage offerings, except for alcohol. You can purchase the Sip and Savor pass at Festival Merchandise Carts, Seaside Souvenirs, Holidays CentralKingswell Camera Shop, and Rushin’ River OutfittersYou can view the Festival of Holidays Tasting Passport here.

Disney ¡Viva Navidad!

The celebration of Disney ¡Viva Navidad! includes authentic holiday music, performances, decorations, and so much more! Here are all of the details:

Disney ¡Viva Navidad! Street Party: The street party runs daily in Paradise Gardens Park and includes beloved characters like Donald Duck, Mexico’s Panchito, and Brazil’s José Carioca and even 12-foot-tall mojiganga puppets of Santa and Mrs. Claus. You won’t be able to sit still as you listen to mariachi and samba musicians and watch folklórico dancers.

Photo of Disney Viva Navidad Street Party

Three Kings’ Day: At Paradise Gardens Park Three Kings’ Day is celebrated honoring the Epiphany, or twelfth day of Christmas. The holiday knowns as El Día de los Reyes Magos is celebrated in Central and South America and Mexico. There are kids’ activities, including the coloring of themed pictures or designing custom crowns with sparkling “jewels.” The celebration also features Magi “bearing the gifts they brought to Bethlehem, then delight at the sight of children’s shoes, left outside to be magically filled with toys by the Three Kings during the night.”


There are all kinds of entertainment across DCA for you to enjoy, as well. They include:

  • Mariachi Divas: The Grammy-winning musicians perform bilingual holiday tunes daily at the Pacific Wharf Stage.
  • Blue 13 Dance Company: The group of dancers salute Diwali with traditional Bollywood dances several times throughout the day at Paradise Gardens Park.
  • Mostly Kosher: The klezmer band incorporates jazz, Latin, and rock traditions to create a 21st-century sound daily at Sonoma Terrace in Pacific Wharf.
  • The Sound: This a cappella group performs Christmas and Kwanzaa holiday hits daily at the Pacific Wharf Stage and Paradise Gardens Park.
  • Phat Cat Swinger: The live swing music puts a fun spin on holiday classics daily on the Palisades Stage at Paradise Gardens Park.
  • Holiday Toy Drummers: You definitely don’t want to miss these amazing drummers dressed up as toy soldiers, who are not only talented, but funny, as they play festive beats at Paradise Gardens Park several times daily.
Princess Elena’s Musical Grand Arrival

Throughout the day at Paradise Gardens Park, you can watch Princess Elena’s Musical Grand Arrival as she arrives on a gorgeous float. You can also meet Princess Elena daily at Paradise Gardens Park.

Meet Santa Claus & Santa Goofy

Through Dec. 24, guests can meet Santa Claus at the Redwood Creek Trail Challenge. And just as exciting as it is to meet Santa himself, visitors will also be able to meet Santa Goofy in the same location from Dec. 25 through Jan. 8, 2019. Also, upon entering Redwood Creek, you can get a map to explore the trail and see how many decorations and toys have been hidden!

Cars Land

While visiting Cars Land’s Radiator Springs, be sure to check out both Mater’s Jingle Jamboree and Luigi’s Joy to the Whirl. You won’t be able to get enough of the holiday-themed attractions, which maintain their festive transformations through Jan. 6, 2019.

Photos of Cars Land's holiday decorations

Buena Vista Street Holiday Tree Lighting

Of course, you’ll want to watch the Buena Vista Street Holiday Tree Lighting at 4:55 p.m. through Jan. 6, 2019. The tree lighting ceremony in the plaza outside Elias & Co. includes the lighting of the 50-foot tree and you won’t be able to take enough photos and videos!

Holiday Annual Passholder Corner

Through Nov. 30 at Paradise Gardens Park, Annual Passholders can enjoy the Holiday AP Corner, which includes seasonal treats like: a special holiday photo op, a themed 2-in-1 magnetic photo frame, and a station for APs to create postcards for members of the military serving overseas.

Finally, don’t forget about all of the holiday-themed food, beverages, and merchandise and the beautiful decorations across all of the Disneyland parks and resorts! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. I’ll also be sure to update you if any other exciting holiday events or news are announced!


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Images:  Courtesy of Disneyland Resort

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