‘Tis the season for all things merry and bright, and no place does it better than the Happiest Place on Earth. Disneyland Resort kicked off the 2022 holiday season Nov. 11. Coinciding with both the launch of the holiday season across the resort and the premiere of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s newest film, Disneyland also kicked off a celebration of “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” From the limited-time Black Panther-themed food, merchandise and entertainment offerings to the seasonal return of beloved holiday parades, fireworks and Disney Festival of the Holidays, here’s what’s happening at the Disneyland Resort, Nov. 11, 2022 – Jan. 8, 2023.
Decking the Halls at Disneyland Park
A shimmering 60-foot Christmas tree is the first thing guests see when they enter Disneyland Park for the holidays (hint hint: snap those photos for your holiday cards!).
Celebrating its 26th year, “A Christmas Fantasy” Parade features twice-daily performances by an eclectic combination of new and classic Disney friends and beloved holiday characters. Our favorite moment during the year’s parade was spotting Santa bringing up the rear and using American Sign Language in addition to speaking to communicate with the audience.
At nightfall, Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle is illuminated, with holiday music completing the magical scene.
During the “Believe in Holiday Magic” fireworks, “snow” falls along Main Street U.S.A. and projections light up the buildings along Main Street as well as the façade of “it’s a small world.”
The classic attraction gets its annual holiday overlay as “it’s a small world” Holiday. This year, the ride made national news when it unveiled two new characters, both in wheelchairs, adding to the inclusivity of the iconic attraction.
Haunted Mansion Holiday, the “Nightmare Before Christmas”-themed overlay to Haunted Mansion will continue to be open to guests throughout the holiday season.
Disney Festival of the Holidays at California Adventure Park
Christmas/Navidad, Diwali, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Three Kings Day are all celebrated at Disney California Adventure Park during Disney Festival of the Holidays. Seasonal food marketplaces, holiday-themed menus, live entertainment, and themed merchandise are available around the park.
Beloved street party “Disney ¡Viva Navidad!” is a fan favorite and stars Mexican folklórico dancers and Mariachis, Brazilian samba dancers and percussionists, giant mojiganga puppets, and Disney characters.
Another fan favorite, the Holiday Toy Drummers also perform several times a day, as do Mickey and friends in a festive “Mickey’s Happy Holidays” cavalcade.
Fans of Disney Pixar’s “Cars” will get their holiday kicks on Route 66, which will be decked in themed seasonal décor for the holiday season (if you’ve seen Cars Land’s “Haul-O-Ween” Halloween overlay, you know you’re in for a treat with this one). Two of Cars Land’s attractions also get holiday transformations: Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree becomes Mater’s Jingle Jamboree and Luigi’s Rolickin’ Roadsters becomes Luigi’s Joy to the Whirl.
And of course, Santa Claus will hold court at the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail, greeting guests and posing for photos.
Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa Gets the Holiday Treatment
Book a room, or just stop in at Disneyland’s grand dame hotel, Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, to see the resort’s famed gingerbread house and lobby Christmas tree. For a relaxing holiday “gift,” plan a visit to the resort’s new Tenaya Stone Spa.
(Joshua Sudock/Disneyland Resort)
‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ Celebration
To celebrate the release of “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” Disneyland has unveiled a number of limited-time experiences taking place now through Jan. 8, 2023. In Avengers Campus, Disney California Adventure’s newest themed land that showcases the heroes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, guests can meet M’Baku, chieftain of the Jabari Clan, during “M’Baku: The Way of the Jabari.” The new Black Panther also appears at Avengers Campus and interacts with guests.
In Hollywood Land, the Flavors of Wakanda marketplace serves African-inspired dishes and drinks. And in the Black Panther Celebration Garden, guests can post for photos ops in a serene space that transforms with atmospheric lighting in the evening.
There is also an extensive range of Wakanda Forever merchandise available throughout the resort as well as a beautiful mural by artist Nikkolas Smith, on display in the Downtown Disney District.
Ready to plan your trip to the Happiest Place on Earth? Disneyland Resort has just restarted sales of Magic Key Passes, the resort’s new annual pass program. To learn more about the Magic Key program or to purchase day tickets, visit Disneyland.com.
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Brooke Geiger McDonald is the national content director of Make It Better Media Group. A Chicago native, she has worked for publications like O, The Oprah Magazine and SHAPE Magazine and her work has appeared in The Points Guy, Parents, TravelPulse, Attractions Magazine, MSN, Disney Food Blog, and more. Follow her on Instagram @brookegmcdonald and Twitter @BrookeGMcDonald.