Disney Parks and Resorts offer countless opportunities to experience the magic and joy of the holiday season every year. Disneyland Resort transforms into the Merriest Place on Earth, and this year both of its theme parks are inviting guests of all ages to join in the holiday festivities with parades, shows, and more.
But with a fireworks show, a parade, and many live performances, it can be overwhelming to try to view every holiday show in one day. Don’t worry; that’s what we’re here for. We’ve come up with the ideal plan for you and your family to see every holiday show at Disneyland Resort with a one-day park hopper ticket. Read on to learn how it’s possible to have fun and see it all in only one day.
Note: Disneyland Resort showtimes are subject to change. If you want to see the most in one day, we suggest visiting on a weekend in order to maximize the number of shows being offered at each park.
11:30 a.m. — Holiday Toy Drummers, Disney California Adventure
Whether you arrive at rope drop or you don’t make it to Disneyland Resort until mid-morning, your holiday entertainment begins with the Holiday Toy Drummers in Disney California Adventure. These toy drummers are one of our favorite parts of the 2018 holiday season at Disneyland because of their wacky antics, whimsical expressions, and tribute to “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms,” which just hit theaters this November. Their performance is approximately 15 minutes long and occurs at several times throughout the day near the entrance to Pixar Pier and Pacific Wharf.
12:00 p.m. — ¡Viva Navidad! Street Party, Disney California Adventure
We love this show, and we’re sure you will too. The ¡Viva Navidad! cultural celebration is a family favorite and features the Three Caballeros, including Donald Duck, Panchito from Mexico, and Jose Carioca from Brazil, who invite guests to join in their fiesta, complete with live mariachi and samba musicians and folklorico dancers. There are several performances every day, but we suggest heading over to Paradise Gardens Park after you watch the Holiday Toy Drummers, since both shows are relatively close by.
12:35 p.m. — Princess Elena’s Musical Grand Arrival, Disney California Adventure
After ¡Viva Navidad!, don’t leave Paradise Gardens Park! Princess Elena of Avalor performs just a few minutes after the ¡Viva Navidad! Street Party ends, so you can stay where you are seated for a viewing of Princess Elena’s Musical Grand Arrival. This show is great for little ones who are fans of Elena and all of her friends, and it’s perfect for parents who love a mid-day break when visiting the Disney parks.
3:30 p.m. — A Christmas Fantasy Parade, Disneyland
After spending some time in Disney California Adventure, you’ll have a few hours before your next show viewing in Disneyland. A Christmas Fantasy is a classic parade that offers characters and sights that the whole family can enjoy. On weekends, the parade occurs twice daily, but we love catching the earlier showing so we have time to see every show we love during the holidays. You have plenty of time between Princess Elena’s Musical Grand Arrival in Disney California Adventure and A Christmas Fantasy Parade in Disneyland, so you can take your time finding your perfect spot to view this show.
4:55 p.m. — Buena Vista Street Holiday Tree Lighting, Disney California Adventure
Head back over to Buena Vista Street for just a little bit in the evening so you can catch the Holiday Tree Lighting ceremony in Disney California Adventure. We love this show because of the amazing characters that come out to watch the ceremony. The community of Buena Vista Street welcomes guests outside of Elias & Co. to watch as the Buena Vista Christmas tree is illuminated with thousands of dazzling lights. This show is short but it’s worth park hopping to see it.
7:00 p.m. — “it’s a small world” Holiday Lighting, Disneyland
When you’re ready, head back over to Disneyland to watch the holiday lighting of “it’s a small world.” This takes place every 30 minutes every evening, so you have plenty of chances to make sure you see it, but it’s a can’t-miss show. Every half hour, the lights surrounding “it’s a small world” turn off and holiday animations are projected onto the ride’s miraculous façade. The projection show ends with the complete illumination of the exterior of the ride, wowing park guests of all ages every time. We love watching this multiple times per night, and we’re sure you will too.
8:30 p.m. — Wintertime Enchantment at Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle
Be sure to catch the lighting ceremony of Sleeping Beauty Castle as it transforms for the holiday season. The castle comes alive with holiday magic every evening with thousands of twinkling lights, beautiful snow, and breathtaking ornaments. You will be in awe of the Disney details everywhere you look on Disneyland’s holiday centerpiece.
9:30 p.m. — Believe…in Holiday Magic Fireworks Spectacular, Disneyland
Your day of entertainment ends with a breathtaking display of the Believe…in Holiday Magic Fireworks Spectacular. This show may be difficult for your little ones to stay up late for, but we promise it’s worth it. We love viewing this from multiple areas throughout the park. Main Street, U.S.A., Sleeping Beauty Castle, “it’s a small world,” and the Rivers of America are all illuminated with holiday projections, and each area comes alive with the magical “snoap” falling during the show. We love ending our Disney holidays with fireworks, and we’re sure you will too.