Holiday time at Disneyland is my absolute favorite time of year at the Disneyland Resort. It’s better than summer and Halloween combined (in my opinion). This year, holiday time is extra special because of the Disneyland Diamond Celebration. Here are 10 reasons why I love holiday time and think you should plan a visit before it ends January 6.
“it’s a small world” Holiday
I know there are a lot of people who hate the idea of starting Christmas before Thanksgiving, but for me, I say, “BRING IT ON!” In my heart each year, I start celebrating the joy and happiness of Christmas at Disneyland when I experience the first two things on this list: “it’s a small world” Holiday and the Christmas Fantasy Parade (below). These two things kick off my holiday season each year. While they are pretty much neck-and-neck for my two absolute favorites on this list, “it’s a small world” may nudge out the parade by just a tiny bit.
For those of you who have never taken a ride aboard the merriest cruise that has ever sailed, “it’s a small world” Holiday, is an attraction overlay for the holiday season. This basically means that the original attraction receives a special holiday dressing with beautiful decor and new music. It is so incredibly beautiful and the attractions message of piece on earth is so comforting and happy, it’s hard to not fall in love with it. The best part is that my kids love it too, and seeing the looks on their faces when they experience it each November is priceless
Here is a video ride-through from last year.
A Christmas Fantasy Parade
If you are struggling to get into the holiday spirit, A Christmas Fantasy Parade is the anecdote you need to feel jolly. From the song to the floats, it’s pure holiday fun. Although the photos below are taken during the day, I prefer seeing the parade at night. It seems extra magical when it’s cold out.
I will admit that this year, I am a bit sad to see that the Pinocchio unit has been turned into a Toy Story unit for the parade. I would really love to see it back in the future.
While some guests adore the see of pumpkins at Disneyland during Halloween time, I prefer pine wreaths and garland. This year is particularly special, as the holiday decorations have been blended with the Disneyland 60th decorations.
One of the most festive and creative places in the resort to check out decorations is Cars Land in Disney California Adventure. The decorations make for the best holiday family photos. Below, my boys are posing in front of the Christmas tree at Disney’s Grand Californian last holiday season.
Everyone knows that the real Santa can only be found at Disneyland. This year, he can be found in Critter Country in Disneyland and at Elias and Company on Buena Vista Street in Disney California Adventure. The latter is our favorite of the two and our family’s tradition every year.
Special Holiday Food
It’s no secret that I am crazy about the specialty food items at Disneyland. Over the years, we have published a lot of the holiday recipes (straight from the Resort!) on the blog so that you can create many of Disney’s special treats at home. Click here for our Disneyland baking guide. Below is a video featuring many of the special treats offered at Disneyland this year and step-by-step instructions on how to create this year’s gourmet candy apple. It is to die for!
Haunted Mansion Holiday
Although this attraction premieres at Halloween Time each year, it remains a fan favorite throughout the holiday season. If you have never experienced Haunted Mansion Holiday, it is a holiday version of the Haunted Mansion in which Jack Skellington and his friends take up residence and bring a bit of cheer to 999 ghosts who normally scare guests. Although the video below is from Halloween Time this year, it features information on what you can see in this year’s version of Haunted Mansion Holiday.
Disney and Christmas go together like to peas in a pod, and while the holiday merchandise you can get at the Disney Store is great, the merchandise offered at the Disneyland Resort is really, really great!
Much like Haunted Mansion Holiday and “it’s a small world’ Holiday, the world famous Jungle Cruise get dressed up for the holidays (and gets a new tour script) and becomes the Jingle Cruise.
The Weather is Delightful
Southern California has great weather year round, but the weather at holiday time is particularly wonderful because we usually have sunny, cool days. Sure, the parks can be crowded, but I’ve always felt that a crowded cool day is much better than a crowded HOT day. The heat can put guests (and sometimes Cast Members) in a less-than-jolly mood, but most people don’t get grumpy from the cold.
Amazing Memories You Can’t Get Anywhere Else
When it comes to holiday gifts, kids ask for a lot of stuff… but that’s what it all is: “stuff.” A trip to Disneyland is a gift of time and memories. Learn more about the memories that await families in the video below.
And of course, where else can you make family memories like this? Although this location is no longer available, it just shows how simple moments at Disneyland can become lasting family memories.
Tell us about your favorite Disneyland holiday memory in a comment below or share your memory and a photo on our Facebook page!