What Disneyland is really like on Christmas, according to former employees

Disneyland gets all dressed up for the holiday. Disneyland
  • Working at Disneyland around Christmas can be tough.
  • It can get very crowded.
  • But some employees don’t mind.
  • It’s important to be respectful and patient when travelling during the holiday season.

You would think that combining the happiest place on Earth with the perfect amount of tinsel and yuletide cheer would make Disneyland an ideal place to spend Christmas. As it turns out, that’s not always the case.

Sure, Mickey and friends dressed head to toe in holiday garb, a 60-foot tall Christmas tree, and endless holiday songs enchanting the park is the epitome of everything the holiday should be, but with long lines and unimaginably large crowds, some former employees say spending Christmas at Disneyland isn’t always magical.

According to one former Disneyland park employee, who wished to remain anonymous, Christmas at Disney isn’t always full of fun and joy – for workers anyways

“[The park is] basically overcrowded and filled to capacity,” the former employee told INSIDER. “The parking takes a long time, everything has long lines. You may wait 45 minutes in line at a quick food service.” For reference, the park filling to capacity is reported to be about 80,000 visitors within the park’s 85 acres.

In addition to having to turn away potential park goers on Christmas day due to the park being filled to capacity, lengthy lines and limited fast passes make it incredibly difficult to ride a variety of attractions.

Of course, if you do attend Disney’s Christmas in the park, be sure to get fast passes to the biggest rides, like Space Mountain and Star Tours, or risk not being able to get on them at all. As a pro-tip, skip the parades and head for Big Thunder Mountain or Haunted Mansion for a shorter-than-normal wait. While everyone’s distracted by the dancing Mickeys, you can get on one or two major rides without having a four-hour camp-out in line.

Speaking of parades, according to the anonymous Disney employee, the Christmas Parade is particularly popular during the holiday.

“The wait to see the Christmas Parade [can be] 10 people deep 20 minutes before [the] parade starts,” the employee said. Take note that if you’re not an hour early for parade seating, odds are you won’t get to see the parade at all.

But not everyone who worked at Disney on Christmas day hated the experience

Former Disneyland park employee Jennifer Chambers says this time of year was her favourite time to work and visit.

“I loved working during the holidays for a few reasons,” Chambers tells INSIDER. “Obviously, the parks look gorgeous during this season, but I found the guests also tended to be happier. It wasn’t 100+ degrees, and guests were more open to having a good time.”

Chambers notes however that the park reaching capacity shouldn’t be a surprise to any guests looking to attend Disney during a holiday. “People visit even on a holiday,” she said. “I had a British family that thought Thanksgiving would be a slow day. Most certainly not the case.”

The Haunted Mansion in Disneyland gets a
Christmas is definitely not a slow day at Disneyland. Anna Fox/ Flickr

She notes that if you are headed to the park for Christmas, try not to stress. “Holidays with high expectations can be stressful for all involved. If you find yourself getting tense, there are a lot of great shows that are a good way of getting off your feet and taking a breather,” Chambers said.

Ultimately, spending Christmas at Disneyland means preparing for lines, planning ahead, and making sure you’re always courteous to the employees you interact with. Odds are you aren’t the first person to ask them when the next parade is or where the closest churro stand is located, so be kind and remember to spread the holiday cheer.

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