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Questions about Disneyland, going first week of December.

Phoenix, AZ
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Questions about Disneyland, going first week of December.

This will be the first time we have gone to Disneyland close to Christmas time. We are staying from 12/1 to 12/4/2009. My husband is turning 40 and really wanted to do Disneyland when the Christmas decorations are up. From what I've read on this forum, it sounds like the decorations will be up by then. If I'm mistaken, please let me know.

I'm a bit concerned that we are going the week after Thanksgiving. Is that time more crowded than other times in December? I know Christmas season is big, just wondering if the crowds are worse later in December or the same throughout.

Redlands Redhead, I think I saw you mention a Candlelight processional the first weekend in Dec. Is it usually on Sunday or Saturday? We are still flexible with our dates as we have only made hotel reservations at this point, which can be changed.

Thanks everyone!

Goldfield, Nevada
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1. Re: Questions about Disneyland, going first week of December.

I have read that the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is actually the least crowded time of the year at Disneyland. I can't remember where I read that. If you go on a weekday you will benefit from the sparse crowds and short lines. Also the hours may be short on those days, typically closing at 6 p.m. Once school is out, though, for Christmas break it will become more crowded and the hours may be longer. You might want to study mouseplanet.com for more details about the holiday decorations and hours open.

Yucaipa, California
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2. Re: Questions about Disneyland, going first week of December.

Although it's not official yet, the dates of the Candlelight Processional are traditionally on the first Saturday and Sunday of December. This year the dates should be December 5 and 6 (2009).

There are two performances for each evening. The performances feature area choirs (dressed in robes)singing traditional Christmas carols in procession with candles down Main Street U.S.A. to Town Square. As they enter Town Square they proceed up the steps of the Main Street Disneyland Railroad station to bleachers, where the form a "human Christmas Tree". In Town Square there is an orchestra and the singers join the orchestra in more carols. Then there is a reading of the biblical account of the Nativity by a celebrity reader, usually an actor. The name of the choose reader is kept secret until close to the performance dates and always the subject of discussion on Disneyland fan sites. If I am remembering correctly last year it was John Stamos and the year before was Jayne Seymour.

The Candlelight Processional is a tradition that was begun by Walt and is not heavily promoted. There are limited amount of somewhat pricey reserved seats in Town Square (flag pole area). Everyone else uses "standing room" to watch the performance. The cast members direct guests as to where they can stand. With reserved seats, which go fast, guests get dinner at a choice of Disneyland Resort restaurants. Prices vary according to restaurant. To stay in the park beyond the performance, guests using reserved seats must pay admission or have a premium annual pass.

I've never seen the Candlelight Processional and if I ever get a chance, I will most likely view it from standing room. I have seen some good suggestions about where to stand for the best view, but I can't remember them right now.

If you think you would like reserved seats for a performance of the CP, joining Disney fan sites and Disneyland discussion boards would be good as it seems that is a good place to track rumors about when priortiy seating will begin. You must jump on it when you hear they start.

Crowds for that Saturday and Sunday will be heavy down Main Street way during the performances. You can see one performance and then use that to your advantage during the others. Any parades or fireworks during those nights are pushed up to earlier times.

Operating hours during those weekend days are lengthy, Fridays hours may be fairly long. And other weekdays are shorter that week.

Christmas decorations, including the tree in Main Street, should all be up by the time the Christmas entertainment begins, although the decorations are worked on continually from right after Halloween. Christmas entertainment will probably begin the weekend before Thanksgiving. (Guessing.)

You may also wish to visit Knott's, which has nice Christmas shows, decorations, and a holiday crafts fair. You will want to avoid the Saturday and Sundays at Knott's, which has a Toys for Tots special that draws huge crowds. If you want to visit and not do any rides, you can enter at a special rate (Crafts Fair) just to see shows and crafts and shop. They have an ice skating show, simple and short versions of A Christmas Carol and Gift of the Magi, a holiday saloon show, and an evening tree lighting show with the Peanuts Gang. Also, strolling Victorian carolers.

Alamosa, Colorado
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3. Re: Questions about Disneyland, going first week of December.

We've been a few times this first week of December. It used to be fairly quiet, but the last couple of years, it's gotten more crowded, although nothing compared to summer crowds! Disneyland and DCA may have shorter hours and I know the CM party usually happens that week which will also close Disneyland early. DCA may accomodate and have extended hours for that, but obviously we won't know till they post the dates. I haven't gone to the Candlelight event, but I've heard you shouldn't miss it. Christmas decorations will be up and they are beautiful! Great time of year to go!

Edgewood, New Mexico
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4. Re: Questions about Disneyland, going first week of December.

This is the perfect time to go. Very low crowds, Friday may pick up in the afternoon after every gets off work. The last time we went in December, the rides were a walk on and the weather was perfect. The christmas decorations are magical, especially It's A Small World with all it lights.

The Candlelight Processional is on a Sunday. Tickets are hard to come by if you want to sit and watch the processional. When we were there, you were able to walk around it and listen to some music and the story. I wouldn't change my plans to come in for the Candlelight Processional. The days, 12/1-12/4, are very good days to visit Disneyland. Hopefully, that Friday, they will have parades, fireworks, or Fantasmic going on. The Tuesday through Thursday should be good for getting the most out of Disneyland without any large crowds.

Enjoy!

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Yucaipa, California
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5. Re: Questions about Disneyland, going first week of December.

Sorry to disagree, the Candlelight Processional at Disneyland takes place on BOTH Saturday and Sunday of the first weekend of December.

If you and your love Christmas, especially traditional or religious type celebrations of Christmas, I would highly recommend changing your dates.

I should add, since I suggested Knott's, that a couple of holiday shows I mentioned at Knott's can have a slight religious tone to them. Both the tree lighting ceremony at Knott's and the ice show feature the character Linus reciting the bible verse that he does in the TV special. The plays are condensed versions, with spare props, and can be heartwarming if you have a sentiment towards Christmas and giving. They take place in the Bird Cage Theater, on the old melodrama stage. Knott's (with the exception of the Toys for Tots weekend) offer a nice, slow paced, celebration of Christmas. Somewhat old fashioned. Just offering this as a choice in addition to Disneyland in case your or others are interested.

Yucaipa, California
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6. Re: Questions about Disneyland, going first week of December.

Correction:

<<<<If you and your love Christmas>>>>>

I meant to say if you and your husband love Christmas!

Phoenix, AZ
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7. Re: Questions about Disneyland, going first week of December.

Thanks everyone! Can't wait to see all the Christmas decorations.

Gilbert, Arizona
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8. Re: Questions about Disneyland, going first week of December.

I came here looking for answers on that same weekend! So, just to be clear, you DO suggest we go the weekend of the 5th and 6th? It's not MORE crowded because of the Candlelight Processional? That's the weekend my husband and I were planning on going because we were hoping for smaller crowds.

Anaheim, California
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9. Re: Questions about Disneyland, going first week of December.

OK, what to expect during Candlelight weekend.

The ceremony is held in Town Square, using the Train Station as the main stage and background, so this is the area that is most effected.

First off, the Parades will be much earlier than normal, something like 11:30 AM and 2:30 PM. This is due to the fact that Disney has to set up reserved seating for VIP's and people who are lucky enough to get a special Dinner Package, and the seats go in front of the train station in the street.

The Main Street Train station uses an exit ramp as an entrance, and closes around 4 PM for the rest of the day. The entire Railroad closes down around 5 PM so it won't interfere with the performances (2 a night, something like 6 and 8 PM on both Saturday and Sunday).

The large Combined Choir does march down Main Street, starting at First Aid at the start of each performance, so there are significant traffic issues in the evening starting at around 5 PM until closing.

Disney has a large group of CM's performing traffic control and will keep people moving (and not watching the show) in the main pathways. They run a one-way traffic pattern going counter clockwise starting at the Turnstiles until somewhere usually around the middle of Main Street. Traffic moves slowly, and it is crowded.

And yes, more locals than normal show up to see the performance, and of course, will also check out the park in the morning/afternoon prior to the show, and will stay for the Fireworks.

So what are smart things to do, first off, if you don't want to see the show, AVOID Main Street... your best bet of entering and exiting the park... using the Monorail from Tomorrowland to Downtown Disney.

The rest of the park, and of DCA should be just fine.

The other impact is to the Disney owned Hotel Restaurants, as they sell packages that include Dinner and a reserved seat for a Candlelight performance. Almost every restaurant will have special seatings at around 3 PM and 5 PM, and it will be hard to get a "regular" seat at most locations until around 7 PM or later.

And as for the Dinner Packages, they only go on sale a few weeks before the show, and are VERY hard to get, pretty much for the last few years, the computerized reservation system is overloaded and crashes at the "start" time that Disney announces. (And they are NOT cheap). So you can always try, but don't expect to get one.

Hope that helps

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10. Re: Questions about Disneyland, going first week of December.

Yes I suggest going to Disneyland Park on the weekend that the Candlelight Processional is scheduled. The crowds will be on Main Street before and during and in between the Candlelight performances. Theorically, that means less people in line for rides. There are four performances during the weekend, two each night. If you so desire, you can experience this wonderful Christmas tradition once and during the other three performances, theorically, you have the advantage of many of the guests being on Main Street, away from the rides. If you don't care for that short of Christmas performance, or don't want to be in a crowd to see it, you could skip it and, thus, have more time away from crowds. But I would say that seeing the CP don't miss.

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