Holiday Time at Disneyland Tour 2016 Review

Updated March 6, 2020

I attended the holiday tour last year and thoroughly enjoyed it.
The Holiday Time at Disneyland Tour is a limited time tour that takes guests through both parks highlighting holiday stops and ending with reserved seating for the Christmas Fantasy Parade.

Follow me for all the details!

Basic Info

The tour is set for two times each day, at 11:00am and 2:00pm. It lasts about 2.5 hours, leading up to the parade that follows it. Meaning, the 11:00am tour will end with reserved seating at the 1:30pm Christmas Fantasy Parade. The 2:00pm tour will end with reserved seating at the 4:15pm Christmas Fantasy Parade.

You will meet at the guided tour gazebo to the left of City Hall. Arrive about 20 minutes prior so that you can get set up with audio, get your cute nametag and use the restroom if needed. There is a little known restroom in this area.

The tour costs $85 and AP discounts do apply. You must call to make this reservation, rather than booking online. You must also pre-pay. There is no refund if you have to cancel.

The tour is open to kids and adults, although I don’t think young children would enjoy it. It really is a historical walk through with little that would keep a young child’s attention. I took my then 12 year old on the Walk in Walt’s Footsteps Tour and he enjoyed it, but I’m not sure he would enjoy this one.

This tour is wheelchair friendly and open to guests of all abilities. 

I attended the 11:00am tour, but if I had to do it again, I would choose the 2:00pm option. The mid-day sun was tough at times for the earlier tour and I prefer the later Christmas Fantasy parade over the earlier.

What You Will Receive

In addition to 2.5 hours of nerdy Disney history (which I love), you’ll take home the following….

A cute button personalized with your name:


At the Candy Palace, a sample of the chocolate peppermint bark will be offered to you:


You’ll take home this commemorative pin:


Just before the parade, you’ll enjoy this yummy gingerbread cookie:


And, hot cocoa in this mug for you to keep:


What to Expect

Prepare to visit California Adventure for about 30 minutes at the beginning of your tour. You’ll walk down Buena Vista Street, into Cars Land, over to Grizzly Peak and then back down Buena Vista Street again.

At Disneyland, you’ll walk through Town Square, down Main Street, into Fantasyland, into Adventureland, through New Orleans Square, over to Critter Country, through Frontierland, and finally back to Fantasyland again.

You’ll set up about 15 minutes prior to A Christmas Fantasy Parade in lovely wooden chairs with front row or second row viewing.

You won’t enjoy attractions on this tour like in years past. While many seem upset by this, I prefer it this way. Enjoy the attractions on your own time and instead, savor the history and details you can’t find outside of the tour.


I loved that this tour included both parks. Take a look at some of the stops we made….

Cars Land – Learn about the creative decor here.


Adventureland – Jingle Cruise!


New Orleans Square – Such beautiful garland.


Critter Country – Find where Winnie the Pooh added to Disney’s details.


Fantasyland – Learn about attractions in the park that you might not know incorporate a holiday theme.


Other Details

The tour covers so many fun holiday points throughout Disneyland and California Adventure.

You’ll learn fun facts like how the DCA Christmas tree stands 50 feet tall, uses LED lights in 6 colors and included unique garland in 2016 for the first time ever. Below the tree, you’ll find little hidden gems like the train that pays homage to Walt.

Disneyland’s tree is 60 feet tall and is set on “Christmas Tree Point”, a term now used year round by cast members. You’ll learn how it’s stored – with ornaments on – in Critter Country while not in use and that some people have seen it peeking behind Splash Mountain.

Walt’s apartment, the tree that replaces the lamp, and more are discussed, as well:


Other specifics to look forward to:

  • Festival of Holidays with specifics on each holiday celebrated
  • Cars Land Christmas tree info
  • How the airfield of Grizzly Peak ties into the holiday theme
  • Audio of Walt Disney talking about Lillian’s favorite Christmas gift ever
  • How the DLR Christmas tree uses forced perspective like Main Street buildings
  • Candlelight Processional history
  • Hanukkah on Main Street
  • Candy Palace and the scents piped into the park
  • Candy Cane traditions at DLR
  • Matterhorn star of past years, why it didn’t work and how the Monsanto House of the Future turned into a Christmas gift under the “Matterhorn tree”
  • Sleeping Beauty Castle holiday history with the most lovely story about its creator, Herbert Ryman, how he loved Christmas as much as Walt Disney and how there’s a special part of him with us today, at the castle, tied to Christmas.
  • Papa Noel in New Orleans Square
  • Country Bear Jamboree and how it was the first holiday overlay
  • Haunted Mansion Holiday and how it was first pitched to include a Charles Dickens themed overlay
  • it’s a small world Holiday details including how it includes 50K lights in 6 colors on the outside of the ride and 300K on the interior. 12 cast members take 35 days to create the exterior and 18 cast members use only 20 to perfect the interior.
  • How Walt was the first to lead a tour through Disneyland


This tour is perfect to help you get in the holiday spirit. Book early because the days do fill up and there is limited space.

Our tour guide, Jess, was Disney perfection and her love of the history of the parks shined through. I could listen to her talk about Disneyland for hours.


I really loved the reserved seating at the parade, too.



Take a look at what else you can expect from Holidays at Disneyland before you visit, too.

As always, let me know if you have any questions.

Take a look at how Get Away Today can help with your vacation


    • Hi Amy! I did the Grand Circle Tour in January and I really enjoyed it. I took my dad who is a huge model railroad enthusiast who was with me on his first ever trip to Disneyland and we did the tour together. You get to ride in the LillyBelle car and talk with some of the CM’s that keep the trains running. From a mechanical perspective, The Magic Behind our Steam Engines at Walt Disney World was a more interesting tour, but this one was very nice as well. I already knew the bulk of the history presented, but I always enjoy hearing it again. We were greeted with a special donut when we arrived at Tour Gardens to check in, so that was a nice touch. And of course we received a pin and a map of the railroad.

  1. We did the Holiday Tour December 2017. We were not impressed with the tour and do not recommend it. The tour was promoted as a “backstage” look at the Holiday Decorations. The information was not particularly insightful and there was NO sense of being “backstage” — on the contrary, we walked through all the busiest parts of the park (ugh, crowds!) during the busiest part of the day with headsets to hear the guide. In addition to trying to make those work (they were ponderous and had poor sound) there was a background soundtrack to the tour that competed with the Christmas music being played along the streets. We did enjoy the treats, parade seating, and a “fast pass” on Small World good for anytime after the tour that day. The pin was nice, the ornament okay, and the “mug” not worth the luggage space. The cast members couldn’t have been nicer or more helpful, but it was not something I would repeat. My kids were bored and irritated by the walking pace (ages 7&8). This is a tour to skip.

  2. Currently on hold to book this for my December trip! So excited! It’s also eligible for a discount if you book with your Chase Disney rewards VISA, just FYI 🙂

  3. I thoroughly enjoyed the tour. In fact I took it because of this amazing post! Thanks Casey!! Already saving up for the next tour. ?

  4. Found this page after I called an book my spot. My first ever time going to Disneyland and I don’t get eat to go on rides with a plaid ? Super sad now

    • It didn’t bother me. I’ve been on tours that include such, but I would rather spend my own time on the attractions and have more tour time with the tour guides. Sorry for your disappointment, though. 🙁