Disneyland is one of my favorite SoCal destinations. I truly love visiting any time of the year, but Christmas is by far the happiest time for my family. Walking through the gates of Disneyland, seeing the holiday decorations and that amazing tree??? It’s Winter Wonderland, California style. There is so much to see and do. Strolling down Main Street has always been a favorite. I love looking in at all the window displays. Make sure you don’t miss the candy makers when you visit. Someday I secretly want to make Olaf cake pops at Disneyland. Here are my five top reasons I love Disneyland during the holiday season.
Disneyland at the Holidays!
5) The Food — I’m a kid in a candy store when I visit the park during the holidays. You can usually find me drooling at the Candy Palace and Candy Kitchen in Disneyland or Trolley Treats in California Adventure. Here you can watch the candy artists create delicious confections. My daughter was excited to see how the masters made Olaf marshmallow cake balls. Then we checked them out in the display. There’s a huge menu of holiday items, some of the sweets even include candy cane shavings. The Mickey Mouse popcorn buckets are really cute too. Definitely stop by Pacific Wharf Cafe for a turkey pot pie. Delicious!
4) Main Street & All the decorations — That tree! Disneyland’s 50′ gorgeous Christmas tree towers over Main street. Definitely pull out that wide lens to capture the entire tree. Stand at the end of main street (towards Sleeping Beauty’s castle) for a cool shot. The window displays are fun to walk by. It reminds me of the iconic window displays in NYC. It’s a must-see! One of my favorite traditions is picking out our annual Christmas ornament. A great memory for the entire family when we decorate our tree each year.
3) It’s a Small World and Haunted Mansion — These two rides are transformed for the holidays. Both of these rides were favorites when I was a kid and they still are to this day! It’s a Small World is the perfect opportunity to sit down, relax, sing that song (I won’t plant an ear worm) and enjoy the beautiful decorations. I’m part Korean so finding the dolls was something my Mom and I used to do. Now my daughter and I look for them. Do your kids have a favorite doll or Disney character? It’s a fun activity during the ride. Haunted Mansion has always been a scream! Jack Skellington makes his appearance and it takes the ride to the next level. Look for the gingerbread house in the main hall! That room is memorable. The ghosts dancing is always creepy! Oh, I can’t forget to mention that The Jungle Cruise becomes the Jingle Cruise. Make sure to ask for a map of the ride at the end. They usually run and they asked me to make monkey sounds to earn my map.
2) Parades — Disneyland hosts epic parades and fireworks displays. Often I find myself disappointed by typical Fourth of July firework displays. They just don’t hold a candle to the Disneyland shows. A Christmas Fantasy Parade features Mickey, Minnie and Santa himself. A team of reindeer lead the way as Jolly Saint Nick asks the crowd if they’ve been good this year. This 40 minute parade gets us ready for the most wonderful time of the year! California Adventure offers World of Color, a breathtaking display of video footage and color against bursts of water. Sing-a-long with Olaf during this 20 minute water art display. Definitely grab a spot early for Disneyland Parade and make sure to pick up a Fast Pass for World of Color. Santa is also meeting kids at Elias & Co on Buena Vista Street in California Adventure.
1) Say cheese — Trips to Disneyland means family day! This time we also ran into friends! Seeing my daughter smile, calling out to her favorite characters is fun and she loves sharing these moments with her friends. Now that my daughter is older, she can ride California Adventure’s California Screamin’. This was her first “big girl” roller coaster and this is one she does with her dad. I can’t handle the thrill or stomach drops anymore. Many of our holiday family photos come out of our visit to Disney. Our holiday card is going to feature Chewie this year! Plus, we leave with dazzling photos with Mickey, Minnie, Donald and a few selfies. Disney World was a part of my family’s vacation as a child. I’m grateful that I can create new memories here at Disneyland with my family.
Psssst, so Disneyland is undergoing a major change, you might have heard of their plans – Star Wars Land? Disneyland hasn’t given us a date yet for the opening day, but they have given us Season of the Force. Are you on the Dark Side or the Light Side? Grab a nibble at the Galatic Cafe for a choice of Star Wars-inspired fare, or visit the launch pad to meet Chewbacca and Darth Vader. Shop until you drop at the store, or take an out-of-this-world ride on Hyperspace Mountain. Since this area gets crowded I highly suggest grabbing Fast Passes for Hyperspace Mountain and Star Tours. Stay left of the Astro Orbiter. The area around Star Tours gets extremely congested!
Another tip from a frequent visitor — I suggest planning out your day. Time flies when you’re having fun, and wait times can gobble up your day! If there are rides you absolutely need to ride then look for Fast Passes (not all rides offer them, for example It’s a Small World doesn’t take them) If you want to see the parades make sure to schedule them into your day as well so you can pick your perfect viewing spot.
What’s your favorite thing to do, see or eat at Disneyland?