I think just about everyone can agree that spending the holidays at Disneyland is a special time. With such a special place, how could it not be?! Here’s everything you need to know about the 2018 Disneyland Holidays, including if you should purchase MaxPass for your trip!
Thanks for partnering with me for this post, Disneyland!
I just got back from a quick trip to Disneyland— between seasons. This was a great time to visit, but I was bummed to miss Disneyland Christmas by a few days.
Protip: if you don’t want to worry about crowds and don’t mind missing Halloween and most of Christmas at Disneyland, the week right after Halloween is your sweet spot!
But… you will miss a lot of Disney Christmas awesome, so I’d encourage you to make that trip during the actual season.
2018 Disneyland Holidays | Special Holidays at Disneyland Events
People plan for this trip all year long and, trust me, the planning is worth it. You’ll want to follow these tips for a Disneyland Christmas if you are heading there this year! And if you need help planning your trip, send me an email at email@example.com
Disneyland is my love language, and I am happy to help you make your holiday dreams come true!
Disneyland kicked off the Holiday Season on November 9th and it runs through January 8, 2019.
Disneyland Holidays: Enjoy the 2018 Festival of Holidays
Back for 2018 is the popular Festival of Holidays, with heartwarming holiday festivities inspired by cultural traditions from around the world.
Disney California Adventure Park is the place to be for this special holidays at Disneyland event!
The Festive Foods Marketplace is back after a 2017 debut season with a mix of holiday comfort dishes that bridge many diverse cultures and family traditions.
Kiosks offered this year- and you don’t want to miss a single one!- include:
- Brews & Bites— Chorizo queso fundido with house-made tortilla chips, beer flights and beer by the glass
- Favorite Things—Holiday ham shanks with brown sugar-pineapple glaze, Reuben potato tots with Russian dressing and rye toast, cranberry sangria with lime garnish, egg nog cocktail with whipped cream and nutmeg dusting
- Holiday Duets—Shrimp and grits with Andouille sausage, holiday Mickey and Minnie cookies, curry cauliflower soup with braised lamb and mintchurri, warm peppermint chocolate float
- Making Spirits Bright— Mimosa flight, white and red wine flights, sparkling wine
- Vision of Sugarplums— White chocolate cranberry blondie, eggnog wreath éclair with white chocolate icing, warm sticky toffee pudding with butterscotch sauce, horchata fudge, warm Bourbon cider with house-made Bourbon-infused whipped cream, s’mores frozen chocolate milk
- Merry Mashups— Turkey and stuffing tamale with cranberry relish, lox & everything bagel nachos, holiday punch with lime sherbet and sprite, “hot cocoa” marshmallow macaroon, sparkling wine punch
- Winter Wonders— Pumpkin soup with maple cashew cream, chana masala with grilled garlic naan, vanilla & cranberry trifle, pomegranate lemonade (non-alcoholic)
- Blissfully Braised— Braised pork belly adobo with garlic fried rice, cornbread cakes with braised collard greens and smoked bacon gravy, blood orange ginger mule
- Grandma’s Recipes— Candied yams with marshmallow cream and toasted pecans, beef pot roast on a potato roll with horseradish cream, gingerbread Mickey
- Winter Sliderland— Roasted turkey slider with cranberry sauce, milk chocolate candy cane pot de crème, holiday stuffing mac & cheese, frosty frosé
- Spicy Celebrations— Nashville hot fried turkey with dill pickles, jalapeño latkes with chipotle crema featuring Horizon organic sour cream, pomegranate margarita with chipotle-smoked sea salt half-rim
- A Twist on Tradition— Black Forest yule log, “chicken-less” mole with Spanish rice, pozole rojo beef with hominy polenta, winter michelada with Modelo Negra and brown sugar rim
My stomach is growling already!
A daily lineup of entertainment will include unique shows including special Disney characters, street parties, cavalcades, music, and dance.
- Festival of Holidays entertainment includes musical and dance performances by the mischievous Holiday Toy Drummers, Mostly Kosher, Blue13 Dance Company, The Sound, and the GRAMMY® Award-winning Mariachi Divas, and Phat Cat Swinger
The celebrations include Diwali, Hanukkah, Christmas/Navidad and Three Kings Day.
As part of the Festival of the Holidays, Disney ¡Viva Navidad! returns.
This is a show you don’t want to miss when visiting Disney California Adventure.
It’s vibrant and exciting and you won’t be able to stop dancing.
Cars Land Holiday Overlay
Route 66 is getting in on the holiday action this year as well!
This is the second year for this event and if it’s as well done as Haul-O-Ween was, I expect it will be just darling all around.
Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters becomes Luigi’s Joy to the Whirl and Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree becomes Mater’s Jingle Jamboree.
Mater and Luigi add even more cheer to the seasonal fun by singing new holiday tunes for the occasion.
I loved the Halloween version of the land and can’t wait to experience a Cars Land decked out for Christmas too!
Disneyland Holiday Overlays
Two attractions get special treatment with holiday overlays: you don’t want to miss these!
it’s a small world and Haunted Mansion undergo special treatments during this season.
Be sure to visit each attraction for these unique experiences.
Disneyland Park Holiday Entertainment
The Dapper Dans are my absolute favorite entertainers at the Disneyland Resort. And they are going to be singing all your Christmas favorites during the season.
Be sure to check the Disneyland Park app for their appearance times; you don’t want to miss them!
The Christmas fireworks are not to be missed, either! So make those plans to stay after dark to ensure you get the perfect spot on Main Street, USA for “Believe … in Holiday Magic” fireworks spectacular.
And bonus? It snows during the finale! I am not sure things get much more magical than snowfall in Southern California, but Disneyland makes it happen.
I also think you’ll want to watch the beautiful “A Christmas Fantasy” parade that happens daily. A Disney Christmas parade is something your family will remember for a lifetime.
Grab your hot cocoa and gingerbread cookies and settle in!
Disney MaxPass Tips For The Holidays
When I was at Disneyland last week, I made a deep dive into the newest addition to the Disneyland app. MaxPass is a MUST for anyone traveling to Disneyland during the holiday season.
This is the not-so-great news about an otherwise amazing addition to your Disneyland ticket.
There is a charge for MaxPass. #WhompWhomp.
It’s $10 per person, per day. But the good news?
It is WORTH the additional cost in the time it saves you (both from standing in line and from visiting kiosks for traditional FastPass acquisitions).
How to Use MaxPass
You will purchase and activate the MaxPass option via the Disneyland App on your smartphone once you’ve entered the gates.
You cannot pre-plan FastPasses from home as you do at Disney World. If you are used to that aspect of Disney planning, you can make like Elsa and let it goooo at Disneyland.
You won’t be able to choose a FastPass until you enter the parks, which I think is a huge benefit for most guests.
But as soon as you purchase MaxPass and activate it, choose your first attraction!
And as soon as you scan your barcode at an attraction, you can reserve another one. Immediately. DO IT!
This is what makes the purchase worth it; we hit something like 10 attractions in 2 hours of park opening when we first tried MaxPass.
If you have any questions about MaxPass, ask a Cast Member to help you out. They may even have some tips to help you maximize your experiences!
PhotoPass with MaxPass
I absolutely love this aspect of MaxPass because I love taking PhotoPass pictures with my friends and family while in the parks.
And the PhotoPass pictures are included with your MaxPass purchase.
Ask Disney PhotoPass Photographers to either scan your Disney PhotoPass card or the code on your phone. Be sure to also link your Disney PhotoPass card to your Disney account- the QR code makes it super easy to do!
When you exit your rides with photos, be sure to snap a quick picture of the ID code for the attraction photo. You’ll enter the code in the Disneyland app. You’ll find the 8-character code on the photo monitor near where you exit the attraction.
Disneyland during the holidays can be one of the best times to visit – and also one of the most crowded. So grab your family, load up the MaxPass, and have the merriest of times at your Disneyland Christmas!
Happy holidays, everyone!
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Patty Holliday is a Marvel loving, Disney obsessed wife, and mother of four. She’s a travel agent specializing in Disney & Universal vacations- and loves a candid confession. Find her in Virginia (or anywhere frequent flyer miles or her trusty minivan takes her.)