Holidays at Disneyland Resort: Seasonal Parade and Fireworks Return Along With Cultural Celebrations and First-Ever Merriest Nites After-Hours Event

‘Tis the season for all things merry and bright and no place does it better than the Happiest Place on Earth. Disneyland Resort will officially begin the holiday season Nov. 12, following the Nov. 11 launch of Merriest Nites, a new after-hours, ticketed holiday event at Disneyland Park. From the return of beloved holiday parades and fireworks to Disney Festival of the Holidays, highlighting a diverse mix of seasonal celebrations at Disney California Adventure Park, here’s what’s happening during the holidays at Disneyland, Nov. 12, 2021 – Jan. 9, 2022.

(Disneyland Resort)

Decking the Halls at Disneyland Park

A shimmering 60-foot Christmas tree will be the first focal point guests see when they enter Disneyland Park for the holidays (hint hint: snap those photos for your holiday cards!).

Parades made their triumphant return to Disneyland during Oogie Boogie Bash at Disney California Adventure, which kicked off Sept. 9. During the holidays, guests at Disneyland Park will be able to see “A Christmas Fantasy” Parade several times a day.

(Joshua Sudock/Disneyland Resort)

At nightfall, Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle will be illuminated, with holiday music completing the magical scene.

During the “Believe in Holiday Magic” fireworks, “snow” will fall along Main Street U.S.A. and projections will light up the buildings along Main Street as well as the façade of “it’s a small world.” The attraction will get its annual holiday overlay as “it’s a small world” Holiday. Haunted Mansion Holiday, the “Nightmare Before Christmas”-themed overlay to Haunted Mansion will continue to be open to guests throughout the holiday season.

(Brooke Geiger McDonald)

Disney Festival of the Holidays at California Adventure Park

Christmas/Navidad, Diwali, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Three Kings Day will all be celebrated at Disney California Adventure Park during Disney Festival of the Holidays. Seasonal food marketplaces, holiday-themed menus, live entertainment, and themed merchandise will all be 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.

(Disneyland Resort)

Another fan favorite, the Holiday Toy Drummers will also perform several times a day, joined by Mickey Mouse and pals for a festive dance party.

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, opening Sept. 16 to guests staying at a Disneyland Resort hotel.

Grand Californian Disneyland
(Joshua Sudock/Disneyland Resort)

Disney Merriest Nites

Hot on the heels of the successful launch of Oogie Boogie Bash, an after-hours, ticketed Halloween event being held at Disney California Adventure this year, Disney has announced Disney Merriest Nites, an all-new after-hours separated ticketed event coming to Disneyland Park for five nights in November and December.

The party will have limited capacity and will feature six themed parties held throughout Disneyland Park: a Victorian-themed Muppets soiree on Main Street, USA, a bayou-inspired affair with Tiana in New Orleans Square, a “Coco”-themed fiesta in Frontierland, a tropical party with Lilo & Stitch in Adventureland, a winter fete in Fantasyland with Elsa, and an out-of-this world celebration with Buzz Lightyear in Tomorrowland.

Party guests will get to enjoy lower wait times, “A Christmas Fantasy” Parade, special holiday décor, themed photo spots and unlimited Disney PhotoPass digital photo downloads, plus special event exclusive holiday treats.Disney Merriest Nites will be held on Nov. 11, 16, 30, Dec. 7 and 9. Tickets will be available for purchase on Disneyland.com no earlier than 9am PT.

Ready to plan your trip to the Happiest Place on Earth? Disneyland Resort has begun sale 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 editor in chief 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 Parents, TravelPulse, Attractions Magazine, MSN, Disney Food Blog, and more. At home, she is outnumbered by her husband and two sons, and the four of them are certifiable Disney and Star Wars fanatics, always counting down the days to their next Disney vacation. Her favorite nonprofits to support include The Walt Disney Birthplace and Shedd Aquarium. Follow her on Instagram @brookegmcdonald and Twitter @BrookeGMcDonald.