Pixelmania West - Christmas 2023

Discussion in 'PIXELMANIA!' started by ddindy, Dec 29, 2022.

  1. ddindy

    ddindy Member Staff Member

    I've had connections at Kansas City, Las Vegas, Denver, Phoenix and Dallas. Kansas City was horrible, but they're opening a new terminal this spring that will probably raise it to number 1 on my list. Vegas is cramped and can have long walks between gates. Denver is big and relatively modern. Dallas (Love Field) is small and pretty nice but it's a longer route.

    And if you're serious about the vest, I want a specific tartan, not some generic red plaid. (Message me if you want the name.)
  2. gary

    gary Member

    no i was referring to the hampton inn by jfk. i am really looking forward to this, this will be the first time i will have enough time to ride and see it all. i am already flitting around trying to figure out the camera bag, i really want a good shot of the hatbox ghost, but not sure if i want to haul around the f1.4, 24mm. so far it looks like the 11-20 f2.8 tamron i just got, i am checking out the new tamron 20-40 f2.8, some happy users out there so far, the tamron 28-200 f2.8-5.6, that is a real good walk around. these are all pretty lightweight for a bag that i can probably have on my back all day without too much pain.

    tripods, drag them around all day, rent a locker? or go back to the room to get them?

    oh, and my layover both ways is dallas/ft worth
    Nancy AK likes this.
  3. ddindy

    ddindy Member Staff Member

    That's not surprising. I think every east-west American flight connects at either DFW or O'Hare.

    The kit sounds good so far. You don't really need anything very long, unless you want close-ups of parade characters or other details.

    I've used all three options for the tripod. It all depends on how you want to spend your day. Before park reservations, it was easy enough to put the tripod and other night accessories in the park I was going to be in at night, then go back over to the other park until sunset. With park reservations and hopping at 11 am, if we don't want to go back to the room we can carry the stuff until 11 am, hop over and put it all in a locker then hop back. That's the advantage of having the turnstiles 300 feet apart.

    When I tour parks on both coasts, I like to spend the day in one park and the night in another. With five days to play with in Disneyland, we should be able to do everything we want when we want. Fortunately, it looks like there will be a full schedule of shows every night. In December 2022 every day Disneyland had two Christmas parades, two Fantasmic shows and one fireworks and DCA had two World of Color shows. Be aware that the fireworks are frequently cancelled because the wind is too strong or from the wrong direction.

    One thing I want to be sure we do is get to the parks early enough to get one of the legendary giant (12 inch long, 1/2 inch diameter), hand-rolled candy canes. They are only available in one park per day (alternating from day to day) and you can either stand in line or get a "fastpass" to come back at a certain time. I was lucky in 2018 when I arrived just after the gates opened but before rope drop; the candy canes were available and the line wasn't too long. I promptly put it in a locker to keep it pristine.
    Joanie Eddis-Koch likes this.
  4. gary

    gary Member

    i will donate my candy cane acquisitions to whomever wants them, since it's not really a good dietary choice for me, and i am not a fan of them anyway.
    great news this morning, the american flight scheduled opened up, so i now have a return booked, depart sna 8:47 am, arrive jfk at 7:18 pm, with a 65 minute layover in dallas/ft worth. and the best of all news, i am able to be in first all flights, and the cost of the return was $350 cheaper this morning, purchased directly from american. i suspect that is because they need the plane in new york, and at least it's meat in the seat towards the jet fuel

    i think eventually we need to decide our park reservation schedule, i would vote for mon, wed,fri at mk, tues,thursday at california adventure, and around 11-1 each day hop over to locker up tripods and bags. i like the idea of nighttime in the other park. i am thinking 3 days in mk because there are a lot of rides, and many that i want to do more than once, we can plan our morning schedules over breakfast. i will not rest until i have an acceptable shot of the hatbox ghost, i understand his head goes from his shoulders to the box and back??
    Nancy AK likes this.
  5. ddindy

    ddindy Member Staff Member

    I think your plan for reserving Disneyland on Monday/Wednesday/Friday is an excellent place to start. We can always change on the fly if necessary, and hop back and forth later in the day as needed. Plus, we have until August to finalize our plans since they're currently only taking reservations four months in advance.

    One good way to guarantee multiple chances at the Hatbox Ghost is to arrive early and head straight to the Haunted Mansion for the first ride, then, depending on crowd levels, use Genie+ to guarantee a second ride later in the day. Since the locals tend to fill up the park in the late afternoon and evening, Genie+ is the only way to guarantee a relatively short wait during that time. And yes, his head switches between his shoulders and the hatbox. (Sorry for the spoiler.)

    I don't have any experience with Disneyland in mid-December. My 2018 trip was at the end of November. My only complaints were that I didn't make the effort to see the second Christmas parade of the day, which runs at 6 pm when it is dark at that time of year, and that it rained most of my final day there.
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2023
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  6. gary

    gary Member

    haunted mansion advice noted, i think if we make plans and stay focused on the mission we should bring glory to our houses
  7. ddindy

    ddindy Member Staff Member

    The Disneyland version of Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway is about to open. The ride itself is identical to WDW, but the queue looks fantastic! It's so full of details that you'll want top stop and study them all. If you want spoilers, here they are, courtesy of Theme Park Insider: Take Two's a Keeper for Mickey & Minnie's Runway Railway
    Joanie Eddis-Koch likes this.
  8. gary

    gary Member

    then by all means, put it on the list. i read that it will be virtual que, which will probably still be in effect when we get there
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2023
  9. ddindy

    ddindy Member Staff Member

    Don't worry, we'll have plenty of time to do whatever anyone wants.
    Nancy AK and Joanie Eddis-Koch like this.
  10. I just changed my dates to add some more nights to the Candy Cane inn.
    I'll be arriving there on Saturday December 9th and then checking out on Sunday the 17th.

    I have family in the area and I'm trying to figure out what's going to be happening with them. The last time we spoke they said that they wanted to do Disneyland with me.

    I'm definitely NOT going to be trying to do Pixelmania West and then run around the parks with them, So I'll keep THE DATES separate. If that plan falls through I can always run around Los Angeles and California which is also something that I'd like to do.

    I'll have to figure that out the closer I get but since they both work and they have kids in school I know it's probably going to be on a weekend.

    The other main factor which made me add weekend days was that Disney only has fireworks on the weekends and it can be canceled because of weather. I was thinking that I didn't want to miss this so, I added a day on each end to have more chances (3?) To try and see the fireworks.

  11. ddindy

    ddindy Member Staff Member

    Whatever works for you. We should have seen everything that we can by Wednesday so if you want to spend Thursday and/or Friday with your family, that won't be a problem.

    I looked at the TouringPlans historical calendar and for my trip in September. They listed the Halloween Screams show for every night. That was true, but Friday was the only night that I was there that the show had fireworks. The other nights it was just a projection show. I guess the city of Anaheim has tightened up their noise regulations or something, limiting fireworks to the weekends. And even then, wind that is from the wrong direction or too strong can cancel the show at short notice.

    I haven't had much luck seeing the fireworks, much less shooting them. There was one time I stood at the end of Main Street and took a few hand-held shots. One problem is that there are a bunch of trees in the hub which block the view of the castle. Getting a spot in the prime viewing area on the castle side of the hub takes an effort similar to getting near the front for Hyperspace Hoopla - hours of waiting. And I'm really not sure that the CMs will allow that. You can see everything launched from behind the park from Small World, and they do projections there as well. That's an option if you can live withoiut the castle.

    I don't believe the Disneyland has fireworks dining packages, They do have packages for the parade, Fantasmic and World of Color. We can debate it we want to do one or more of those closer to the ADR window.
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2023
    Joanie Eddis-Koch likes this.
  12. Here is Tom Bricker's click bait contribution to understanding where to "park yo ass fo fireworks"


    Where to Watch Disneyland Fireworks: Best & Worst Viewing Areas
    By Tom Bricker Photography, Tips & Tricks

    Our guide to the best & worst Disneyland fireworks viewing locations offers a ‘where to watch’ Wondrous Journeys map and photos so you can see how it looks from each spot. We also share lesser-known views of the nighttime spectaculars, so you can avoid heavy crowds on Main Street. (Updated February 2, 2023.)
    For starters, Disneyland has a new fireworks show for 2023! Wondrous Journeys is Disneyland’s new nighttime spectacular for the 100 Years of Wonder celebration. The new Wondrous Journeys fireworks are in honor of Disney’s 100th Anniversary, and in particular, the Walt Disney Animation Studios. (Consult our Guide to Disney’s 100th Anniversary Celebration at Disneyland & DCA for everything you need to know about that.)
    Wondrous Journeys features nods to every film released by the iconic studio over the past century. This means music, characters, and iconic moments from movies including Encanto, Beauty and the Beast, Mulan, Hercules, The Princess and the Frog, Peter Pan, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Frozen, Treasure Planet, Big Hero 6, Moana, and many more.
    There are a few big things you need to know about Wondrous Journeys. The first is that it’s going to draw heavy crowds for the foreseeable future. Wondrous Journeys has been met with rave reviews from fans, and Disneyland diehards are going to turn out in full force to see the nighttime spectacular throughout 2023. Accordingly, expect Main Street to be jam-packed for Wondrous Journeys.
    Second, Wondrous Journeys has two versions: “with projections” and “with fireworks.” Both versions have projections, so really it’s with or without pyro. As a good rule of thumb, Wondrous Journeys is presented with fireworks Friday through Sunday nights, and on weekday evenings that are busier (e.g. Presidents’ Day, Spring Break, Easter, etc). Check out the Disneyland Entertainment Schedule or the Disneyland app for dates and showtimes.

    Finally, Wondrous Journeys is subject to cancellation without notice due to weather or other circumstances. Really, this means that the fireworks in Wondrous Journeys are subject to cancellation. Santa Ana winds at higher elevations are notorious for causing cancellations, even when things feel fine on the ground. This has been an issue for years, with locals cursing the Santa Ana winds. If there’s a light breeze or someone even coughs in the wrong direction, the dreaded pyro balloon comes out to see whether it’s safe to run the show with fireworks.
    As a result of this, Disneyland started creating B-modes for the fireworks shows several years ago. As a result, all of the fireworks shows–new and old–have had projections show alternatives created for windy and weeknights. This is actually a good move, as it gives people who camped out for hours something to see, even if the fireworks themselves have to be cancelled. It also gives Disneyland something to show on weeknights that previously did not have any nighttime spectacular. Another plus is that Wondrous Journeys with Projections is still a really good show, and far less crowded!

    One final note is that Disneyland has several fireworks shows that are presented on a rotating basis. Aside from Wondrous Journeys, other ‘regular’ nighttime spectaculars include Mickey’s Mix Magic, Disneyland Forever, and Remember… Dreams Come True. Our expectation is that Wondrous Journeys will be presented uninterrupted until at least mid-September 2023.
    After that, it’s possible that Halloween Screams runs during Halloween Time at Disneyland and Believe… In Holiday Magic is shown during Disneyland’s Christmas season. We’ve seen all of these fireworks shows countless times from every conceivable spot in the park. Regardless of which fireworks show is running, the best viewing spots are the same.
    With that in mind, here’s the map of best Disneyland fireworks views:

    Crowds and viewing obstructions can make finding the best spot to watch the Disneyland fireworks difficult. As with my Best Magic Kingdom Fireworks Views post, you should use discretion before blindly following the map, and not to do anything stupid like standing behind a tree even if it falls into a “Good” zone on the map.
    If you pick a spot that is yellow or green on the map and a tree blocks your view of Sleeping Beauty Castle or the sky above it (and to a lesser extent, the Matterhorn), that’s not actually a good spot. The trees don’t retract into the ground when the fireworks start.

    The map plus my various sample photos from these locations should give you visual thinkers a great idea of what to expect from different fireworks viewing places in Disneyland. All of the Disneyland fireworks shows were designed to be viewed straight-on from Main Street, USA.
    Personally, I am strongly biased towards these. But I’m also a photographer who prioritizes capturing photos of Wondrous Journeys and the other Disneyland fireworks from the “perfect” perspectives. For me, that means anchored by Sleeping Beauty Castle. If I were just watching Wondrous Journeys for fun (and didn’t have my camera with me for whatever reason), I’d be much more inclined to view from one of the “other spots” (see below). It’s simply not worth enduring the crowds for some of these spots.

    To that point, Disneyland also has a number of good alternative views, which can be great to avoid the throngs of locals who show up after work and camp out at the best spots for hours prior to the fireworks. If you’re a tourist with limited vacation hours, you have to do your own cost-benefit breakdown to figure out whether the long wait for the best views is worth it to you–I’d say it probably is not. After I go over the specific Main Street, USA views, I’ll touch upon some of these quiet spots and offer my thoughts on them.
    Here are views of Wondrous Journeys with Fireworks that you can expect from each numbered location on the map…

    1. Front and Center – Unlike Walt Disney World where the front and center spot is a location to avoid, at Disneyland, it’s a spot to stake out. The reason is Sleeping Beauty Castle. It’s not tall. This means that the fireworks bursts that fire behind Disneyland in Toontown aren’t nearly as blocked from your view in this location like the back of the park bursts are in the Magic Kingdom.
    This is the best location for viewing the fantastic projections during Wondrous Journeys, plush ⁹ [spoiler alert] having an up close view of the Blue Fairy and Baymax when they fly over Sleeping Beauty Castle. These characters make appearances even when there is not pyro during Wondrous Journeys, so grabbing this spot is recommended even on projections-only nights. In fact, that would be our advice–watching Wondrous Journeys from here on a projections-only night, and then again for the fireworks from somewhere else. Otherwise, you’ll need to stake out this spot hours in advance.
    To that point, note that this area fills up very, very early–hours before the fireworks start. If you really want this spot, get here at least two hours early. It’s pretty awesome to see the fireworks in this spot with literally no one in front of you, but perhaps not worth camping out for multiple hours…especially given the risk that the winds will cause the fireworks to be cancelled.

    2. Partners – Part of the reason I don’t have as many photos from around the various spots in Disneyland is because I absolutely love this location. It’s a popular spot, but in comparison to the other great views in Disneyland, it’s slower to fill up as compared to other top views. Partners doesn’t block your view of projections on Sleeping Beauty Castle, and doesn’t have trees directly in front of or behind it, making this view a prime spot in my opinion.
    With that said, a few notes on The Hub in general that probably aren’t evident due to the small size of The Hub in the map above. First, unlike the Magic Kingdom’s Hub, Disneyland’s is still filled with trees. This means that a lot of locations inside The Hub and behind it offer poor views. The area where I setup, directly behind Partners, offers a great view without obstructions.
    Directly on the other side of Partners would be a great view as well, but this area is often roped off for VIP viewing, so your mileage may vary. Much like the front and center area, The Hub is generally better from the Tomorrowland side, as moving closer to the Frontierland side makes the area with heavy bursts more difficult to see. By this we mean slightly off-center, not all the way by the Tomorrowland entrance.

    3. North of Refreshment Corner – This spot isn’t all that impressive. It’s okay if you can’t get a spot in The Hub, but it will still be really crowded around here, and you won’t have the full immersion of The Hub nor will you have a complete view of the projections. You also will have to turn around to see the projections on Main Street.
    To that end, I guess it is somewhat immersive (stuff in front of and behind you). It’s not a bad spot by any means, and Sleeping Beauty Castle is still prominent enough here that it should be considered an iconic location for viewing and photographing the fireworks. Plus, you won’t have to arrive here 2 hours before the show to grab a spot. (Don’t plan on being able to grab a spot here at the last minute, either).
    Further to the left and right of this spot, you’ll notice that I’ve marked the outdoor seating areas of Jolly Holiday Bakery and Plaza Inn as being good or okay spots. Most of these views will be bad due to obstructions (from table-top umbrellas to trees), but there are a handful of locations within these areas that should be real gems. Tables with some elevation on the north side of the Plaza Inn, especially. Scope out the sight lines during the day, grab some delicious fried chicken, and stake out a table.

    4. Main Street – I firmly believe that the Castle is a big part of any Disney fireworks show (well, at least shows in the Castle parks!), and by this point, it’s difficult to see what’s going on with Sleeping Beauty Castle. The farther down Main Street you get towards the Train Station, the more difficult it is to see the Castle projections.
    The Main Street Train Station is another potentially good spot on Main Street as it provides views of both the Main Street projections and the Sleeping Beauty Castle projections. Part of the seating is reserved, but there are also usually open benches for the general public.
    Everything is more distant from here so you’re really removed from the action, but you have an unobstructed view of Sleeping Beauty Castle in the distance and are close to the park exit (although this is a con if you plan on swimming upset back into the park to do more attractions after the fireworks).

    5. Carthay Circle Restaurant Terrace – If you want to view the fireworks outside of Disneyland, chances are you want to do it from a free location, and those will be discussed in the “Other Spots” section below. However, another in-park straight-on view worth mentioning is actually in Disney California Adventure, at the Carthay Circle Restaurant terrace.
    This is like Disneyland Resort’s version of the TTC location at Walt Disney World, except this spot isn’t free. It’s actually more expensive than any other spot, as it requires dinner at the Carthay Circle Restaurant. On the plus side, it isn’t crowded, it’s straight-on, and the fireworks appear much larger. On the downside, there’s no view of Sleeping Beauty Castle and no music. Because of these downsides, I do not highly recommend this spot.
    In fact, I don’t even recommend requesting a table out here. The ambiance inside is much nicer overall, and you can always go out to the terrace during your dessert course to enjoy the fireworks then. However, if you have the time, you should just try to make it back to Disneyland before the fireworks start. Unless you don’t have Park Hopper tickets or really hate crowds.
    OTHER SPOTS We always try to watch the fireworks straight-on at Disneyland. However, Main Street can be chaotic around fireworks time, and snagging a good spot can be flat out impossible if you don’t camp out. And as noted above, the fireworks are often cancelled due to the Santa Ana winds at higher elevations, so you could end up wasting time for no good reason. Because of that, some of the alternative views for the Disneyland fireworks bear mentioning here.
    The best place to view Disneyland fireworks outside of Main Street is from the Rivers of America, particularly before or after Fantasmic! This spot has gotten better and better over the last several years thanks to the addition of projections on the mist screens. Disneyland has taken that to the next level with Wondrous Journeys, which had Rivers of America projections designed from the ground up. In fact, some of the scenes here aren’t visible on the Sleeping Beauty Castle or Main Street projections.
    The other upside is the convenience of watching Wondrous Journeys from your Fantasmic seat, meaning you don’t have to ‘work’ for a viewing spot twice. You won’t have enough time to run back to Main Street, and you’ll just get frustrated and end up packed like a sardine in no-man’s land as you try. We know from experience! See our Viewing Guide for Fantasmic at Disneyland for info on that nighttime s The next best non-Main Street location is the “it’s a small world” mall in Fantasyland. Much like Sleeping Beauty Castle, the “it’s a small world” facade is enhanced during the fireworks with projections. The pluses to this location are that, lower crowds, and close proximity to the Toontown launch site.
    The biggest downside is that you only have a good view for some bursts, and not for the bursts near Sleeping Beauty Castle. This is probably the best spot to go if you want to enjoy the show element of the fireworks (not just the bursts), but really don’t want to deal with the crowds.
    The best attraction experience for the fireworks is the Storybook Land Canal Boats in Fantasyland. The downside is that this can be difficult to time. The boats here continue to load until the fireworks start, but once they start, they stop loading. If you time it right, you can enjoy the fireworks from this immersive location (bursts in front of and behind you) and have your own “Disneyland Fireworks Cruise,” but if your timing is poor, you’ll be stuck in a line that offers poor visibility during the show. Monitor wait times and make sure you line up at the perfect time to ensure the cruise.
    As for a spot outside the park that is “free,” there’s not really a whole lot in the way of good views. The Esplanade between Disneyland and Disney California Adventure gets very popular at fireworks time, and it’s about the best–and closest–view you’ll find.
    Otherwise, you can see the Disneyland fireworks from just about anywhere in Anaheim (including the I-5 freeway!). Nearby hotels have rooftop bars that offer interesting views, and another unique location is the top of the Mickey & Friends parking structure, but to get up there you need to go park there.
    You can see the fireworks from ground level all down Harbor Boulevard, but these views are nothing special (unless you find a hotel room on a high floor). If you’re looking for a “free” fireworks view from Disneyland on your arrival night, the Esplanade between the two parks is a great option. You won’t be the only one with that idea–this area gets busy around fireworks time!
    So there you have my “review” of Wondrous Journeys fireworks viewing spots around Disneyland, along with some sample photos. If this is all too much to remember, just remember The Hub is great so long as trees don’t block your views of Sleeping Beauty Castle or the sky above it.
    Generally speaking, the farther back from Sleeping Beauty Castle, the worse the experience–but Main Street projections do help offset that. Finally, both the Rivers of America and ‘it’s a small world’ are good spots to avoid the crowds, but you won’t get the full experience. In short, there are a lot of great options–it all depend upon how important a particular view is, degree to which you’re willing to tolerate crowds, and whether you want postcard-perfect photos of Sleeping Beauty Castle with the fireworks behind it.
  14. https://www.disneytouristblog.com/december-disneyland-crowd-calendar/

    December 2023 Disneyland Crowd Calendar
    By Tom Bricker

    Crowds, Tips & Tricks along with a multitude of spammy pop ups If you're not viewing this article in an ad blocking browser.

    Our guide to December 2023 at Disneyland offers a free crowd calendar for picking best days to visit & avoiding the busiest ones during Christmas at Disney California Adventure and Disneyland. Plus, what’s new, ride closures, what you should expect from a winter visit to Southern California, and more.

    As with November, December features highs and lows, with some of the absolute worst crowds of the year, along with weekdays earlier in the month that are not nearly as bad. This is a result of mostly-light tourist numbers earlier in the month, coupled with Christmas vacation and school breaks in Los Angeles and Orange Counties (and around the country) later in the month.

    Then there’s the the big reason so many people descend upon Disneyland in December: Christmas. It’s the most wonderful time of the year at the Happiest Place on Earth! Truly–not just in the cliched sense. Disneyland Resort is normally a magical place, but during the holiday season, it just oozes magic.

    For more on what makes this season our favorite time of the year in the parks, read our Ultimate Guide to Christmas at Disneyland. We aren’t the only ones who think this is the most wonderful time of the year at Disneyland, and the crowds bear that out.

    Fortunately, this has improved a bit in recent years, and that trend should continue this year. As with this Halloween season, Disneyland Resort has gradually increased the Christmas offerings at Disney California Adventure to better distribute crowds between the two parks.

    To accomplish this, Festival of the Holidays–which includes both a foodie event and more entertainment–has been added to the slate of seasonal offerings at DCA. You can read our Guide to Festival of the Holidays at Disney California Adventure for tips on the best way to experience that.


    Weather is a bit of a mixed bag. First, it’s Southern California’s rainy season. This is almost meaningless, as average rainfall during the month is only around 2″, but that’s still much more than the norm. The average high in Anaheim during December is around 70º and the average low is around 47º.

    Personally, we like these cooler daytime temperatures, as this type of weather is perfect for racing around a theme park, especially if you’re carrying a backpack or have kids in tow. However, once the sun goes down, it can be a bit too cold, especially if you stay past 9 p.m. or watch World of Color.

    Due to the potential for rain and frigid temperatures in the evening (or even during the day if it gets unseasonably cold), we recommend consulting our What to Pack for Disney in Winter post. Some of that might seem like overkill for Southern California, but it’s better to be over-prepared than under-prepared. Trust me, I’ve made that mistake before.


    Before consulting this or any December 2023 crowd calendars for Disneyland, it’s worth understanding the limitations of projecting attendance, wait times, crowds or congestion. Our main post: 2023 Disneyland Crowd Calendars: Best Times to Visit & When to Avoid goes into extensive detail about why Disneyland crowd calendars are currently unreliable, which is why there’s no color-coded calendar or numerical scores for each day of the month.

    Suffice to say, this is due to changes in attendance trends, reservation availability for Magic Key passholders, staffing shortages, ticket promotions, and other factors. General trends are a bit easier, but it’s difficult to say a particular day will have low, moderate, or heavy crowds–or how one day of the week will compare to days around it.

    What happens going forward with Magic Keymaster demand is an unknown. Pent-up demand among locals could fizzle out, but that could be offset by more reservation availability. If you’re planning a last minute visit, consult Disneyland’s Magic Key Access Calendar. This shows blockout dates and reservation availability all in one handy location—both offer insight into crowd forecasting. Similarly, there’s the Disneyland Theme Park Reservation Calendar for single and multiple-day tickets. (Those are only useful on short notice—dates fill up a couple weeks in advance, at most.)

    With that said, here are the best and worst times to visit Disneyland in December 2023…

    We’ll start predictions here with high-level advice and narrow it from there. As a general matter, earlier in December 2023 is better than later in the month, which is probably patently obvious given the school breaks for Christmas and New Year’s the last two weeks. However, we still encounter people who are surprised the holiday season is busy because they expect everyone to be at home with their families.

    Second, weekdays are all better than weekends. Saturdays and Sundays will be the two busiest days of the week despite the lower tier Magic Key passholders being blocked out.

    In past years, evenings were busier as many local Annual Passholders would visit Disneyland and Disney California Adventure after work to get their Christmas fix, and for the holiday season entertainment. Consequently, even “light” days on the crowd calendar would be much busier at night.

    That’s still true to some extent, but less so given that only the highest tier of Magic Key passes includes free parking. Now, more locals start earlier in the day, often taking a half-day off work to get more bang for buck from their visit. The most popular day for doing this, without question, is Friday. Even other days of the week, it’s common to see crowd levels spike in the mid-afternoon.

    Mondays through Thursdays are going to be the best overall days of the week to visit in the first half of December 2023. Tuesdays and Wednesdays will be your absolute best bets, but there’s not a huge difference among Monday through Thursday.

    Expect this to hold true December 1-15, 2023. Weekday crowds should be fairly moderate, whereas weekends will be bonkers. Think approximately 6/10 v. 9/10 on a numerical scale as a general rule, with some variance among dates.

    These daily crowd trends go out the window beginning the weekend before Christmas, and continuing through the end of the year. At this time, Disneyland and DCA will see far fewer Annual Passholders (most will be blocked out) and far more tourists.

    All Magic Keys are blocked out December 20, 2023 through January 2, 2024. The top tier being blocked out was a new development as of last year, and it had a slight impact on attendance the first few days, but crowd levels still hit 10/10 almost every day after that. We expect the same to be true this year–expect every day starting December 22, 2023 to have peak season holiday crowd levels of 10/10.

    This also makes us pretty confident in the prediction that the weekend before those blockouts will be bonkers, as locals try to get their last visits prior to Christmas. Accordingly, expect December 15-19, 2023 to be particularly busy. Various lower tier passes have blockouts within that time frame (particularly Saturday), but it’ll still likely be a 9/10 crowd level.

    The biggest wildcard is the days of December 20-21, 2023. That’s right after the blockout starts, but before tourists arrive in full force. To be sure, those days won’t be uncrowded; they will be some degree of ‘very busy’ regardless. Los Angeles and Orange County school districts are on break, and those weeks are tremendously popular with tourists. It’s simply a question of whether they’ll be 10/10 days or maybe there will be a bit of drop-off and they’re “only” 8/10 or 9/10 days. Or 10/10 days, but with slightly lower wait times. That’s a big difference this time of year.

    The major thing that’ll impact attendance is Holiday Time at Disneyland—in particular Disney Merriest Nites, the parade, and nights when the Believe in Holiday Magic nighttime spectacular features fireworks (mostly Friday through Sunday nights, but see the official entertainment schedule to confirm).

    During the height of Christmas season, we recommend Park Hopper tickets. Tourists with these should strongly consider mornings at Disneyland before Park Hopping to DCA. Locals from Los Angeles and Orange County who arrive after work tend to make Disneyland more crowded in the evenings.

    For most of the month, 1-day tickets have Peak Season pricing. Read our Tips for Saving Money on Disneyland Tickets post for multi-day ticket recommendations to avoid having to deal with seasonal pricing. On the plus side, there are some multi-day ticket discounts currently available for all guests.

    If there is rain in the forecast, we highly recommend visiting Disneyland on that day. Locals tend to avoid rainy days at Disneyland and DCA, making the parks considerably less busy than normal. This leads to a surge in attendance the day following the rain (avoid those days, or visit DCA the day after a rainy day). This might sound a bit odd or extreme, but (Southern) Californians are not used to rain, and tend to stay inside when it’s raining. We are not even kidding or exaggerating.

    Early December is Southern California’s off-season in terms of tourism. Even though Disneyland and Disney California Adventure can be busy in early December, it’s primarily with Californians. As such, off-season occupancy rates will be reflected in hotel prices the first couple weeks of December. With almost zero transition, the week before Christmas through New Year’s is peak season, with exorbitant rates reflecting that.

    You can find deals on off-site hotels, the first couple of weeks, but don’t expect the same for closer to the holidays. We rank our favorite (and least favorite) hotels in the area in our Disneyland Area Hotel Rankings & Reviews post. Check out discounted hotel + ticket vacation packages on Get Away Today to save money on off-site hotels.

    Overall, December tends to be busier, colder, and wetter than November, which is why it falls a bit on our Best and Worst Months to Visit Disneyland in 2023. With that said, it’s still a wonderful month to visit. Even if you’re traveling during a time with yellow or red crowds, there are ways to beat the hordes of other tourists–namely by rope dropping the parks, having an efficient itinerary, and efficiently using Genie+ and Lightning Lanes (it’s worth the money). Beyond that, Disneyland Resort’s Christmas season is incredible, with holiday entertainment that makes the hassle of any crowds worthwhile.

    Planning a Southern California vacation? For park admission deals, read Tips for Saving Money on Disneyland Tickets. Learn about on-site and off-site hotels in our Anaheim Hotel Reviews & Rankings. For where to eat, check out our Disneyland Restaurant Reviews. For unique ideas of things that’ll improve your trip, check out What to Pack for Disney. For comprehensive advice, consult our Disneyland Vacation Planning Guide. Finally, for guides beyond Disney, check out our Southern California Itineraries for day trips to Los Angeles, Laguna Beach, and tons of other places!
  15. ddindy

    ddindy Member Staff Member

    Why don't you just post links rather than duplicating Bricker's stuff?
  16. I posted the link at the beginning of the article.

    Unless you're using an ad blocker on your browser, you're going to be spammed to death with advertisements from his post.

    By posting the article, people can read it free of ads and also have a place to easily access the information in the future.

    Information like this tends to get buried in Bricker's site and it's not so easy to find after a couple months.
  17. ddindy

    ddindy Member Staff Member

    Fair enough. I use AdBlockPlus, but I'm still looking for one that (a) blocks ALL ads and (2) prevents those even more annoying "you can't see our web site until you turn off your ad blocker" messages.
  18. I use Brave as a web browser and I've had good success with it blocking all the pop-ups.
    Brave just shows you the one ad on the search screen when you open up the browser and then that's it as far as I can tell.

    I believe that it doesn't keep track of your search history and you can easily delete the web pages that you viewed.
  19. Nancy AK

    Nancy AK Member

    Order tickets ? Park tickets ? TY
  20. gary

    gary Member

    nancy i don't believe we can order park tickets yet
    dennis posted a schedule back towards the beginning of the thread for park res, dining etc.
    Nancy AK likes this.

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