Holiday Trip to the Disneyland Resort in 2020

Updated November 13, 2020

The holidays ahead will look different in many parts of life.

And, without an opening date for Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, you’ll want to know how to get the MOST HOLIDAY out of your visit to Anaheim, California.

I’ve put together some ideas for a merry merry trip to the Disneyland Resort so you don’t miss a thing!

In this post, find information on where to park, my favorite shops for all things Christmas, dining, Santa, and more.

Let’s get busy!

Recommended Hotels

The following hotels are ones I’ve stayed in personally and recommend for the 2020 holiday season:

If you are looking to splurge this season, consider the all new luxury resort that just opened in August 2020. The JW Marriott is gorgeous. Find my review of it with lots of photos here.

For all of your options, visit this link or call the only travel agency I recommend, Get Away Today, at 855.GET.AWAY. They’ve been in business for over 30 years! No one knows Disneyland better.

Transportation & Parking

If you’re flying into Anaheim, I highly recommend my favorite transportation service, Lansky Enterprises. They have taken thousands of Disneyland Daily readers to Anaheim from 5 local airports. And, they’re still driving! 

Check out details on Lansky here.

Book with them here.

If you drive in, you’ll need to park at the Simba Lot. This is your only option right now. And, the lot will fill up early in the day. I recommend arriving before opening to ensure you can find a spot to park.

Parking is free until November 19, 2020. On the 19th, parking will change to $10/day.

Disney is working diligently to keep cast members and guests safe while visiting. Capacity is lower than you’re likely accustomed to, and parking has to sync with the limits in place. If you have a dining reservation and arrive to a full lot, let a cast member on duty know this. He or she will confirm your timing and try to work you into the lot asap. Have your dining reservation confirmation easily accessible just in case.

Strategies

For a one day visit, follow my recommended strategy here.

If you have more than a day, consider following that same plan so that you are sure to get into all of the stores to shop. Then, add on a few other destinations.

My favorites for November and December of 2020 include:

  • Have a cocktail or snack at the new JW Marriott Resort. Their rooftop bar has fantastic food and drinks. And, a gorgeous view! Find out all about this new resort in this post.
  • Visit the Bowers Museum, which is just 10 minutes from the Disneyland Resort. “Inside the Walt Disney Archives: Fifty Years of Preserving the Magic” is a fun exhibit that is only running until February 2021. I share all about it here.
  • Have Breakfast with Santa at Catal Restaurant. While this location isn’t currently open for Alfresco dining, they are hosting my favorite holiday event! Nothing can stop Santa, guys. This is the fifth year I’m sharing about this precious experience, and I sincerely can’t say enough good about it. Check out the details in this post and book your reservation asap. This event sells out every year, and with limited options for meeting Santa, they’ll go even quicker in 2020.

Downtown Disney

For everything you need to know about visiting Downtown Disney right now, review this post.

In it, I detail so much of what you can expect from your visit.

Between that post and this one, you’ll be totally ready for a holiday visit.

Favorite Dining & Shopping in Downtown Disney

*Browse through this post, for a peek at merchandise available this holiday season.

For all things Christmasy, check out the following shops:

  • World of Disney – The ultimate location for souvenirs, apparel, toys, etc.
  • Marceline’s Confectionery – Churro Toffee, Candy Apples, and English Toffee are my favorites from this bakery/candy shop. But, everything is good.
  • Backlot Premiere Shop in Stage 17 at Disney California Adventure – This shop allows you to walk into Disney California Adventure, even though the park is technically closed. Find an extension of what World of Disney carries here.
  • Buena Vista Street (when it opens on November 19, 2020) – Don’t miss Trolley Treats for more candy options, Elias & Co. for apparel and jewelry, Julius Katz & Sons for souvenirs. 

My favorite places to dine include:

  • Ballast Point – Try their Sculpin IPA if you haven’t already. I love their Bavarian Pretzel, Impossible Lettuce Cups, and the Ballast Point Burger. This restaurant doesn’t always show up on the Disneyland app, so check OpenTable.com for a reservation if you don’t see it there.
  • Naples – The Pepperoni Pizza is one of my favorites. Sounds simple, but they do it so well. Consider the Caprese Salad or Classic Caesar for something lighter. Make a reservation on the Disneyland app.
  • Black Tap – People often go to Black Tap for their crazy milkshakes. But, they return for the food. It’s so good! Their Fried Pickles are the best I’ve ever had. (Even better than Carnation Cafe on Main Street!) Also consider the Queso & Chips, Crispy Brussel Sprouts, Guac & Chips. This restaurant does not accept reservations. Avoid the lunch rush (11:30am – 1:30pm) if possible. 

For snacks, don’t miss:

  • Salt & Straw Scoop Shop – Unique flavors of ice cream.
  • Kayla’s Cake Kiosk – Yummy macarons.
  • Marceline’s Confectionery – Disney run bakery/candy shop.

Breakfast With Santa

One of my absolute favorite events each year is Breakfast with Santa at Catal Restaurant in Downtown Disney.

They have made some changes to ensure guests can dine in a safe and sanitized space.

Check out this post for what’s ahead in 2020.

Notes

  • This post will be updated with lots more info as the season progresses.
  • Please consider tipping well when you dine. Most of the servers at the Disneyland Resort have been in and out of work since March of 2020. Let’s do all we can to support them during this tough year.
  • Questions? Leave me a comment in this post. If I don’t have the information you’re looking for, I’ll find out who does.

Seasons Greetings to everyone!

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

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