The holiday crowds at the Disneyland Resort can get a little crazy this time of year. Toss in Disneyland’s 60th Anniversary celebration, Season of the Force and new shows and attractions and well, the crowds are even crazier than usual!
So what can you do at the Disneyland Resort if you don’t want to brave the Parks? Fortunately there are still lots of fun things to do at the Resort even without a Park ticket.
Visit the Resort Hotels
Each hotel has a different theme and at Christmastime we love to check out the hotel lobbies. At the Disneyland Resort each of the towers features a differently themed tree. There is a huge tree in the lobby of the Grand Californian Hotel & Spa and on our last visit during the holidays, Santa was greeting guests for photos next to the fireplace.
Escape into a Show
The Downtown Disney District has a 12-showing movie theater and there are always so many great films released at the end of the year. It’s the perfect time to grab a box of popcorn and escape the crowds for a while. Or make a reservation for dinner at Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen and enjoy live jazz music while you eat.
You don’t have to be a Resort guest to make a reservation for dining at any of the restaurants of the hotels. We ate at Storytellers Cafe during Christmas one year and the waiting area featured a beautiful gingerbread house. The dessert buffet even had cupcakes with tiny chocolates that featured a picture of Santa Claus…they were so special!
Special Holiday Events
While in the Downtown Disney District, stop over at Downtown Disney Winter Village. There you can take a spin on Olaf’s Frozen Ice Rink (for an additional fee). Or join in on a sing-along with a Downtown Disney carolers.
Get a jump on your holiday shopping at the Downtown Disney District. The usual stores are open for business including The LEGO Store and Marceline’s Confectionary. During the holiday season there are also special chalets and cottages selling specialty goods like personalized gifts, Ghirardelli chocolates, and Star Wars-themed items.
Yep, you can still enjoy the show outside the Parks by sitting in the esplanade between Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure Park. There aren’t any seats so you might want to bring a blanket or cushion. Though you won’t be able to see the action that goes on at Main Street U.S.A. during the Disneyland Forever fireworks spectacular, you’ll still be able to catch all the action in the sky.
What are your favorite things to do on a non-Park day?