Lyndsay is a huge fan of all things Disney, and she enjoys finding ways to incorporate its magic in everything from crafts to recipes.
Halloween is behind us and the year is quickly coming to an end. It is winter and the holiday season is upon us. It is time to pull out our scarves, gloves, wool coats, and of course our Mickey Ears! Disneyland comes to life in a beautiful wintery fashion that celebrates the magic of the holidays. The magic is everywhere you look and it is a great time to come make memories at the happiest place on Earth! This is one of the most popular times to come visit so be prepared for long lines and lots of people. My advice is: if you want to avoid the crowds go as early as possible because once December hits it gets very crowded. Even if there are crowds don't be discouraged from going! There are plenty of things to do and see in both parks! Don't want to spend money on a ticket? Check out Downtown Disney! Disneyland leaves no stone unturned when it comes to the festivities!
A Touch of Winter Magic at Disneyland
As soon as you enter the park, everywhere you look is dressed to the nines! In the middle of Main Street, you cannot possibly miss the giant Christmas tree covered in lights and ornaments! This is a great place to stop and take some pictures. I usually get a shot in front of the tree if the line isn't too long.
Moving down Main Street there are swags and wreaths that connect both sides of the streets and they light up at night! If you pay close attention you will see the wreaths are in fact the shape of a Mickey head! Every store window has a touch of holiday magic as well. Take a deep breath in as you walk down Main Street and you will notice the aroma of peppermint in the air. I love looking through the shops on Main Street during this time of year because it is so festive and charming. There is also a really great Christmas store that sells ornaments and pretty much everything Christmas right next to the photo shop on Main Street! I love walking through this store every year even if I am not looking to spend money only because it is a seasonal store.
Sleeping Beauty's Castle Transformation
The castle is especially beautiful this time of year! It is covered in white lights that make it sparkle, white snow, icicles, and soft blue and purple lighting. It is especially pretty at night when it is all lit up! This is another great place to have some pictures taken during the night and day! This is probably the prettiest the castle looks all year round and it is truly magical! The castle is also the center of the Believe In Magic Holiday Firework Show.
Christmas Fantasy Parade
Take a break from walking around and find a good spot to watch the Christmas Fantasy Parade! Watch some beloved Disney characters celebrating the holiday season along with some special friends. The parade is so much fun to watch and a great way to celebrate the holidays! At the end of the parade, you will see Mrs. and Mr. Claus!
Believe In Magic Holiday Firework Show
The firework show is especially spectacular this time of year! The show is set to holiday music with beautiful colors, fireworks, and lighting. Do you believe in holiday magic? The show features holiday music ranging from traditional to the light-hearted side of the season! The castle also has special lighting effects that are synced with the fireworks. The show ends with a beautiful snowfall set to the song I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas! I highly recommend seeing this firework show! My favorite thing to do is have a nice cup of peppermint hot cocoa or Abuelita hot chocolate while waiting for the show to start, especially if I am sharing it with someone special!
It's A Small World
It's A Small World undergoes one of the biggest transformations in the park during Winter. The outside is covered in festive colorful lights and every 15 minutes or so there is a special video show that is projected onto the outside for guests to watch. Inside the ride, there are some special additions as well. Inside you will get to visit the North Pole, see Santa, and get a look at some other cherished holiday traditions from all cultures. The music is also transformed into a holiday melody that brings happiness and cheer to the festivities showcased on the inside.
Big Thunder Ranch
At the Big Thunder Ranch you can meet Santa's Reindeer! There are also games and crafts for the little ones to enjoy. Right outside of the Big Thunder Ranch there is Santa's Sled where you can take some pictures! There are also shows and music that the whole family can enjoy including Billy and the Hill Billy Jamboree.
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New Orleans Square
New Orleans Square is very festive this time of year decorate with large ornaments and lots of colored lights! Of course, this is no ordinary Christmas spot. It is true to itself and is decorated in the French Quarter style it is so famous for! There is a large Masquerade mask that marks the entrance to the streets of New Orleans Square.
The Jingle Cruise
This is a new feature this year! The Jungle Cruise turns merry for the Christmas season at Disneyland. There are many safari/jungle-style decorations that transform the Jungle cruise into the Jingle Cruise! The skippers have all personalized their boats for the Holidays as well as made some winter updates to their jokes. Each boat has a holiday-themed name on top as well. This is the first year of the Jingle Cruise and is a very cute addition to the merriments of the season. If the line is long don't worry! Time passes pretty quickly because the queue has decorations throughout as well as holiday music playing! I think that this was a great addition to the merriment of the season and seems to be pretty popular already!
A Frozen Meet and Greet
So I will be very honest: I had no idea this was in Fantasyland and it was a very pleasant surprise! I just happened to be walking through this part of the park and I spotted it out of the corner of my eye. It was a very serendipitous moment. I immediately went over to take pictures naturally! As I was taking pictures in all of my excitement I was actually scared by Olaf. I literally jumped. Clearly, I did not know that he is an animated Olaf that moves and talks and appears to be sleeping until he starts making noise! This is such a cool addition (no pun intended), especially during the winter season! Inside the Frozen house, you can go and meet the two princesses Anna and Elsa from Disney's Frozen!
The tour takes guests on a holiday journey throughout the park. Guests get no line access to some of the most popular rides such as It's A Small World and the Haunted Mansion. They also get VIP seating for the holiday parade and a collectible souvenir to take home. If you are a pass holder you get a 20% discount on the tour price!
Holiday Magic in California Adventure
Disneyland is typically the first park that you will think of when you think of all the Christmas festivities but you will be pleasantly surprised with all the holiday cheer that California Adventure has to offer you! Buena Vista Street and Cars Land are very cute and festive this time of year and definitely something to check out!
Obviously if you choose to go to California Adventure you will have to walk down Buena Vista Street to get to the rest of the park! It is decorated in the style of the 1920s and is very lovely to see. You will get a very warm and homey feel as you stroll down the street that ends with a giant decorated Christmas tree. The shop windows are decorated as well and there are lots of holiday goodies to eat and drink along the way!
Seasons Speedings from Cars Land
All the residents in Radiator Springs have worked really hard to deck the streets for the holiday season. From a Christmas tree made out of tires to wreaths and a snowman car, there is plenty of cheer to go around! I myself love cars so I love to see all the creative things around Christmas time that are made out of car parts! Take a close look because most of the time it is very subtle. Also, keep an eye out for some of your favorite Cars characters wearing festive Santa hats! You will also hear holiday music throughout Cars Land! It makes the season very fun and festive to walk around and you are sure to get revved up for the Holidays!
World of Color Winter Dreams
This Winter there are some new additions to the World of Color show! In fact, the whole show is new! It is hosted by Olla the snowman from Frozen and has a brand new carol sung by hundreds of people on the internet! There are going to be featured clips from Disney's Frozen as well as Toy Story's version of The Nutcracker! There are appearances from beloved characters such as Bambi, Tinkerbell, Mickey, Minnie, and Lady. There is also a very special fun feature that has been added for guests to have fun with. I am sure you are all familiar with the really big Ferris wheel that is on the pier. It is called Mickey's Fun Wheel and this year guests get to control the lights on it before World of Color! How do you do it? Well simply log onto the pier's WiFi connection and play against the other guests! If you win you get to control the light show from your smartphone! Sounds fun right?
Downtown Disney is also transformed this time of year to carry on the spirit of the holidays! There is an outdoor ice skating rink you can skate on this time of year.It is very cute and hosted by Olaf from Frozen! There are also little "cottages" surrounding the rink that sell merchandise for the Christmas season. Don't have your own skates? No problem! Disney has you covered by providing rental skates. There is also a decorated Christmas tree that will be sure to make your day merry and bright located right in the middle of the rink! ! All throughout Downtown Disney there is Christmas music and holiday decorations in a majority of the stores. The Lego store has a Santa made out of Legos which is super cute and fun to take pictures of!
There are many delicious holiday treats for you to choose from! There are adorable gingerbread men with chocolate Mickey ears, caramel apples decorated for the season, peppermint bark, and gourmet marshmallows in flavors such as eggnog. Speaking of eggnog you can order it to drink at the Jolly Holiday Bakery as well as peppermint mochas, eggnog lattes, and apple cider. If you prefer the holiday drinks at Starbucks then by all means go right over and get some because there is now a Starbucks open on Main Street in addition to the one in California Adventure!
Picture Perfect Spots
There are many spots in both parks that are great for creating and capturing memories. Like always you can ask someone to take a picture for you or at most spots, there are cast members who will gladly take your picture for you!
Here are some great spots to get a picture in front of:
- Sleeping Beauty's Castle
- Main Street's Christmas Tree
- Main Street Train Station
- It's A Small World
- Frozen Meet and Greet House
- The Haunted Mansion Holiday Takeover (still decorated in the Nightmare Before Christmas fashion)
- Cars Land
- Buena Vista Street's Christmas Tree
- Paradise Pier's Christmas Tree
- Downtown Disney's Ice Skating Rink