Disneyland News — Week of December 29, 2018 (with Star Wars Update)

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We’re ringing in the New Year, the Festival of Holidays at California Adventure nears its end, and the whole resort is overrun with people! Read on to find out about this and more in this week’s Disneyland news.

Special Events and Notes

Expect HUGE crowds this week as the kids are out for winter break.  If you’re going to be at Disneyland on New Year’s Eve, there are a few special events on tap. First and foremost, Disney will be doing two showings of its Fantasy in the Sky fireworks show — once at 9, to ring in the new year as the big ball drops on the east coast (which happens to work well for those that can’t make it to midnight), and again to properly ring in the new year at midnight in California.

If you’re looking for food, Disney’s PCH Grill and Napa Rose are both featuring special menus and dining events for the occasion. Reservations are recommended. The PCH event also includes an Incredibles-themed after-party at the Pacific Ballroom to usher in the new year.  Details can be found here.

Also, keep your eyes open for special treats, entertainment, and — of course — merchandise for the occasion.

All week long, you will find seasonal decor, character costumes, and treats celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Diwali, Kwanzaa, and other winter holidays. Make sure you check out our photo tour of the resort, and Guy’s recent write up of the best seasonal treats to be found throughout!

Special holiday events continue at Disney’s California Adventure, but are winding down. Disney’s Festival of Holidays includes the Festive Foods Marketplace, a collection of kiosks serving small bites of all manner of seasonal food and drink. You can check out some edible highlights here.  Additionally, Disney’s ¡Viva Navidad! is a cultural holiday celebration leading up to Three Kings’ Day that includes authentic music, dance, decor, and food.

Disney’s parades and evening shows get the holiday treatment, with A Christmas Fantasy Parade and Believe… in Holiday Magic Fireworks taking place regularly. Several attractions also get a seasonal overlay for the holidays, including Haunted Mansion Holiday, it’s a small world HolidayMater’s Jingle Jamboree and Luigi’s Joy to the Whirl.

Finally, looking ahead a bit, we got another update on Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge during the Christmas parade broadcast. Did you get a chance to see it?

Suffice it to say, we’re looking forward to seeing this open, and Disneyland gets it first!


Crowds this week are as high as they are all year long.  Lots of red, with level 10 crowds on Saturday, and 9s the rest of the week. Remember, crowd levels are primarily a function of attraction lines, so even though New Year’s Eve is “only” a level 9, you can nevertheless expect the park to feel very busy from all of the people that are there primarily for the fireworks and other New Year’s festivities.

Full details, including park-by-park crowd levels, are available on our Crowd Calendar.


Another relatively cool week at Disneyland, with temperatures hitting 70 only one day this week, and some legitimately chilly lows in the evening. Note that there is a significant chance of rain on Friday, so keep your eyes on the weather if you’re targeting that day.

As always, it’s wise to double check the weather as the day of your visit approaches. Check out the most up-to-date forecast here.


Disney has a full slate of shows all week long. Detailed show schedules, including smaller diversions like The Disneyland Band can be found here.

Show Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri
Fantasmic! 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
Christmas Fantasy Parade 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
Holiday Magic Fireworks 1 1 2* 1 1 1 1

* On New Year’s Eve, Disneyland will show its Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks twice — once at 9 p.m., and again at midnight.

Admission and Hours

Be aware of Passholder blockouts this week; basically, unless you have a Signature Plus Annual Passport, you’re blocked out all week. For those of you buying tickets as day guests, single-day tickets are Peak Price ($135/$127) all week.

Regular park hours (excluding Extra Magic Hours/Magic Mornings) are as follows this week:

Sat Sun Mon Tues Wed Thur Fri
Disneyland 8-12 8-12 8-2 a.m. 9-11 9-12 9-11 9-12
California Adventure 8-10 8-10 8-1 a.m. 9-9 9-9 9-9 9-9

Early entry is being handled differently this week. Early entry at 7 a.m. is available at both parks every day this week through Monday.  There will be no early entry on New Year’s Day.  Normal rules — Disneyland on Thursday, DCA on Wednesday and Friday — apply thereafter for eligible guests. Resort guests can take advantage of these hours every day of their stay for Extra Magic Hours, while guests eligible for Magic Mornings can use that benefit one day at Disneyland Park only. Full park hours can be found by clicking on each date in the Crowd Calendar.


Most everything is running at Disneyland! With the exception of World of Color at California Adventure, which remains offline until further notice with technical issues related to the redo, everything else that would normally be operating is operating. As always, be aware that refurbishments can pop up unexpectedly, so check out our refurbishments page to make sure your favorite ride is still running, and for details on exactly what will be down and for how long.

That should do it for this week’s news. Check back next week and every week to find out what’s coming down the pike. Got questions? Aware of anything else that prospective guests should know about? Let us know in the comments.

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Jamie Rosemergy

When not planning for or traveling to Walt Disney World with his beautiful wife and impossibly adorable daughter, James practices law in St. Louis. He also really likes cheese -- and loathes kale. He can be found on twitter at @jrtoastyman.

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