It’s the merriest time of year at the Disneyland Resort. I had the pleasure of starting the holiday season at Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure. As I walked along the garland lined streets to gaze about the snow-capped castle, the spirit of the holidays bubbled up inside of me. The holidays at Disneyland.
The Holidays at Disneyland
All throughout the resort are signs of the season. Downtown Disney appears as though a giant has sprinkled the shopping and dining district with ornaments. Planters are filled with reflective balls, plus the fauna of the season.
The Holidays at Disneyland Resort
I’ve lived in Anaheim for the majority of my life. There were the college years when I thought I needed to get away, only to realize my heart yearns for a mouse named Mickey and my mama, too. Never have I seen snow fall in Anaheim, but magically somehow the resort glistens.
Atop the park entrance welcoming snow designs let guests know they are being transported. That’s where Disney imagineers, or maybe they’re elves, have decorated the 60-foot Christmas tree! The amazing Disney PhotoPass photographers will snap photos for your holiday cards.
As I strolled along Main Street, my holiday-loving heart swelled hearing jingle bells draped on the horses pulling carriages. And because it is a magical time of year, I saw Peter the Clapping Man of Disneyland. Excuse me while I completely geek out over this. Peter is an elderly man who shares my love for Disneyland. You’ll know it’s him by his tan hat and ability to get an entire crowd to clap in unison.
But no sight is more impressive than Sleeping Beauty’s castle, covered in 50,000 twinkling LED lights. The snow-capped trestles are another perfect backdrop for taking photographs.
Disney Super Fan Tip: For an unobstructed angle of the castle, shoot photographs from the sides. On the left you’ll be able to capture both the castle and its reflection in the water.
It’s the castle that provides the backdrop for the holiday fireworks spectacular, “Believe…in Holiday Magic.” Living close to the resort, I can see the fireworks from my backyard (thanks to the neighbor’s willow tree falling down). But just seeing them from my yard doesn’t do it justice. I got a little emotional as I experienced the holiday magic. The impressive pyrotechnics were complimented with a holiday score and projections on the castle. The finale brings a flurry of snowflakes that fall upon you. There truly is magic at Disneyland.
While you’re enjoying the resort, you’ll want to check out these themed attractions.
it’s a small world holiday: Take a cruise on the merriest voyage. Sing along as the children of the world share “Jingle Bells” and “Deck the Halls.” The ride’s facade is covered in colorful lights and the iconic clockface has even put on its Santa cap. This holiday favorite now offers a FastPass.
The Haunted Mansion Holiday: Decked out with a Nightmare Before Christmas overlay, the Haunted Mansion offers guests a trip through HalloweenTown in their doomsbuggy. I always find pleasure in pointing out my husband’s name on Sandy Claw’s list of naughty boys and girls.
But this is just the beginning. Download the Disneyland app before your visit so you can check out wait times, schedule FastPasses with MaxPass, and more.
The Holidays at California Adventure
With the charm and wintery magic that captivates me at Disneyland, California Adventure is a must-see this holiday season as well. With a park hopper pass, you can go from one park to the other but with so much to see, do, and EAT, I’d recommend planning multiple days this holiday season.
Disney’s California Adventure takes us back to the days where Walt Disney first came to California. Newsboys carol and vintage charm decorate the park.
The residents of Radiator Springs have gone all out preparing for the holidays. The automotive-themed decorations are unique for each character’s section of town. Last year, Cars Land was my preschooler’s absolute favorite place to explore. As I was visiting by myself this trip, I kept having flashbacks of my sweet little girl admiring the lights on the tree and the piles of tires.
Luigi’s Joy to the Whirl: Spin with Luigi’s cousins to a new holiday sound soundtrack.
Mater’s Jingle Jamboree: Everyone’s favorite tow truck is in the holiday spirit. It’s the holidays, dabnabbit.
Redwood Creek Challenge
Always a fun place to let the kids run and frolic, Redwoood Creek Challenge is extra fun this time of year with the holiday fun. There are elf games to play as you climb, slide, and run. Last year we took our family photo with Santa there and it turned out so cute we used it for our Christmas card.
With the newly announced Pixar Pier coming to Disney’s California Adventure, I wanted to explore this section of the park and suggest you do too before it closes for transformation.
Festival of Holidays
If you’re like me, the holidays are about enchanted experiences with my family, but also about the food. Back for its second year is the Festival of Holidays. Imagine a holiday potluck where diverse cultures share their seasonal best. Christmas/Navidad, Hanukkah, Diwali, Kwanza, and Three Kings Day are all represented in the food festival.
There are also great learning opportunities for the kids with crafts offered. Included at each station is an explanation of the holiday so parents can turn the fun into a teachable moment.
You won’t want to miss the curated musical entertainment. I got to check out the swingin’ set of the Phat Cat Swingers. Guests got swept up in the fun and were dancing to the holiday music.
I had so much fun exploring the festive fun of the Disneyland Resort. But I’m equally looking forward to sharing the magic of the season with my family this weekend. If you’re looking to share Disney this holiday season, check out The Gifts of a Disney Vacation. Here you can purchase gifts card, physical cards or e-gifts, that loved ones can use at the Disney parks, cruise line, or other vacation experiences.
Will you be celebrating the holidays at Disneyland Resort?
Learn more about the holidays at Disneyland: