If you have only one day to spend at Disney for the holidays and do not want to buy two park tickets/the park hopper, then I would highly suggest you experience the Holidays at Disneyland Park over the Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure Park. The spectacular lights, the holiday themed rides, and the Christmas parade make for a magical day.
Things to Know About Holidays at the Disneyland Park:
- I would suggest scheduling your day around the Christmas Fantasy Parade. The parade goes down Main Street usually twice a day, at 1:00pm and 3:30pm, and it is worth the effort and time of finding a good seat ahead of time. Different Disney characters show up in their Christmas best along with holiday additions like gingerbread men and nutcrackers. Of course Santa finishes out the end of the parade and every float is over the top.
- Similar to the Disney California Adventure Park, every section of the Disneyland Park has been touched with Christmas magic. However, the light display on Main Street and Cinderella’s Castle is particularly magical.
- Besides the holiday decorations and shows, Disney also changes up two of the rides at Disneyland for the holidays, It’s a Small World and Haunted Mansion. I did not have a chance to actually ride It’s a Small World, but the outside of it turns into a magnificent light display at night. Haunted Mansion is called the Haunted Mansion Holiday but really it becomes The Nightmare Before Christmas Ride. I was so impressed at how they were able to completely change it into a new ride.
- Since I saw Believe In Holiday Magic Fireworks Spectacular at Disneyland but did not get a chance to see the World of Color – Season of Light show at the Disney California Adventure park, I am not sure which night show is better. However, any show that ends with fake snow gets my vote. The fireworks go off right above the Cinderella Castle. The castle also lights up as music from the Nutcracker plays in the background, but it can be difficult to see the castle itself if you did not get a close spot up front. The park starts to rope off the street about an hour before the show for people to get a spot, but for some reason the workers at the park were being very particular about how you are supposed to stand while you wait for the fireworks show and you are not allowed to sit down. If you have the energy to stand and wait for the show then you can see it around 9:30.
The “snow” falling from the sky was actually tiny balls of foam blown off the top of the buildings on Main Street, but it looked so real from the ground.