Disneyland in Winter

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    Disneyland in Winter: December, January, February

    Disneyland's Castle in Winter
    ©2009 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

    Disneyland in winter is almost like three seasons in one. It starts the winter dressed up for the Christmas holidays. It's quiet for a while after Thanksgiving before the busy, end-of-year holiday season begins. 

    The end of the year is busy enough to try the patience of even the jolliest of souls. After the new year begins, Disneyland settles into it a quiet period.

    In a poll, about a third of TripSavvy readers said they like to visit Disneyland best in the winter. One-fourth of them planned to go then, especially during the Christmas holidays.

    Disneyland in Early December

    Christmas is festive with seasonal decorations. Both the Haunted Mansion and it's a small world get seasonal makeovers. it's a small world plays holiday music, making the holidays the only time of year you can ride it without getting that repetitive little tune stuck in your head. Take a look at the decorations and find out what else Disneyland does for the holidays.

    Disneyland During the Christmas Holidays

    Christmas week through New Year's weekend is the busiest of the entire year. In fact, that time of year is one of the unholy trinity of worst times to go to Disneyland (along with summer and spring break) because of long lines and jostling crowds that can suck all the magic right out of your visit.

    Prices are also high everywhere around Disneyland during the busy holiday time. According to Mousesavers.com, Disneyland sometimes raises Character Meal prices during busy times, charging almost 25% more from Christmas through New Year's Day.

    Disneyland Events in Winter

    The Star Wars Half Marathon draws crowds in January. Even though the racers are out of the park before it opens, many of them hang around to enjoy the park for the rest of the day.

    What to Expect from Weather at Disneyland in the Winter

    California never gets too cold, no matter what the season. To get an idea of what it's like all year long, you can check the average weather month by month.

    Winter is California's rainy season. Disneyland doesn't close when it's raining, and they don't give rain checks just because it's a wet day. On the plus side, many of the rides are indoors, and you'll find even fewer people in line than usual. 

    It also gets dark early in the winter. Both Disneyland and California Adventure get even more magical after dark, and even if you're getting tired, you may find yourself still there when the lights come on.

    On the downside, the parks also close earlier and are open fewer hours, making your cost per hour higher. That is, assuming that you had the energy to stay at the park for of the 15 to 16 hours it's open.

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    Disneyland in January and February

    Mickey Mouse in Holiday Attire at Disney California Adventure
    Loren Javier/Flickr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    After New Year's weekend, things are quiet for the rest of January and into February, except for President's Day weekend (the third Monday of February).

    Disneyland is exceptionally laid back and pleasant this time of year. You can get a chance to meet (and kiss!) Donald Duck — or your favorite character — without standing in line for hours first. Even better, groups of random strangers have been spotted spontaneously singing to a woman wearing a Happy Birthday button. It doesn't get any better than that.

    After the holidays, discounts are abundant, and Disneyland often offers special deals for Southern California residents or ticket specials for everyone.

    In January and February, you'll find more rides and attractions closed for repairs.  Haunted Mansion and it's a small world close in early January to take down the holiday decorations.

    These monthly guides will give you more detailed insights about weather, hours and what to expect at Disneyland in January and February.

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    More About Visiting Disneyland

    Goofy's Playhouse at Disneyland
    Loren Javier/Flickr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    More Seasons of Disneyland

    If you're thinking about going to Disneyland and want to compare Disneyland in winter to other seasons, see the guides to Disneyland in Spring,​​ Disneyland in Summer,​ and Disneyland in Fall.