Disneyland (CA)

This Month at Disneyland Resort: December 2012

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Gingerbread house at DCA's Carthay Circle Restaurant (all photos copyright Disney)

Festive trees, twinkling lights, holiday treats — and massive crowds. Santa is on his way, but by the time he arrives at the end of the month, record crowds are expected to descend upon the Disneyland Resort. With Cars Land celebrating its first Christmas season, and the popular Candlelight Ceremony across the Esplanade greatly expanding, you can expect attendance at the Anaheim property to be propelled to previously-unseen peaks before December is out. While weekdays for the next couple weeks should see reasonable crowds, if you are visiting the parks closer to the 25th you'll want to pack your touring plans and plenty of patient holiday spirit. Ho Ho Ho!

Crowd Calendar

Quietest Day: Weekdays through mid-month should be moderately crowded. Tuesday 12/11 is predicted to be a 5 out of 10 at the resort, with a 4.8 at Disneyland, and 5.5 at DCA.

Busiest Day: Attendance will be at its annual apex from 12/21 until the end of the year. Monday 12/31 should be a 10 out of 10 at the resort, with a 10.0 at Disneyland, and 9.9 at DCA.

Subscribe to the Touring Plans Disneyland Crowd Calendar for full details on predicted attendance for the next 30 days.

Special Events

  • Disneyland's Holiday season runs now through 1/6/2013, with the Holiday Fantasy daytime parade performing daily.
  • The Candlelight Processional at Disneyland Park begins tonight, and runs every day until 12/20. All tickets have already been distributed to VIPs and Annual Passholders, but limited standing-room-only viewing may be available around Town Square. Due to stage equipment for the show, access to the Main Street Train Station is currently through the exits. Expect extreme congestion on Main Street during parade nights; look for the backstage bypasses (if open) to escape from the hub.
  • Fresh hand-made candy canes will be prepared at Disneyland's Candy Palace on December 3, 7, 10, 14, 17, 21, 23, & 24. The canes will also be made at DCA's Trolley Treats on December 1, 4, 8, 11, 15, 18, 22, & 25. Arrive at park opening to secure a wristband and be prepared for a long, long, wait if you want one of the $13 sweets!
  • Santa Claus poses for (paid) photos in the mornings at the Paradise Pier hotel, and in the evenings at the Grand Californian and Disneyland hotels.
  • A modest “holiday village” of merchandise and snack vendors is operating near the ice skating rink in Downtown Disney.
  • Disneyland Resort is now allowing guests with 4 or 5 day passes to enter the parks through any turnstyle, but is still checking photo IDs. This results in slow entry procedures; be prepared this holiday season to arrive extra early (at least 45 pre-opening) to be one of the first people into the park.
  • Themed gingerbread houses are on display at Carthay Circle Restaurant; Fiddler, Fifer, & Practical Cafe; and Flo's V-8 Cafe in DCA.

Openings, Closings, and Refurbishments

  • Indiana Jones Adventure: Reopens on 12/8 after an extended refurbishment.
  • Construction continues through 2013 on the new Princess Fantasy Faire and Fantasyland Theatre.
  • MuppetVision 4D has been temporarily replaced with the Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice 3-D short film for the holiday season.
  • A Prep & Landing sequence has also been temporarily added to World of Color performances.
  • Mickey’s Fun Wheel is closed for refurbishment 11/26 through 12/6.


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Seth Kubersky

Author of The Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando. Co-author of The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland and Beyond Disney. Contributor to Unofficial Guides to WDW and Las Vegas. Live Active Cultures columnist for the Orlando Weekly. Travel and arts journalist. Theatrical director and producer.

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