This year celebrate the holiday season in a place you and your family will never forget - Disneyland!
If you are looking for a fun and memorable way to celebrate the holidays this winter you should strongly consider going to Disneyland. Each year the entire Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, CA transforms into a beautiful and magical holiday theme park. It starts around Veterans Day, with a few decorations appearing here and there throughout the park. Within a week the entire park is decked out to celebrate the holiday. But it’s not just about decorations. Disneyland adds a variety of fun elements to their park to “make the season bright”. This year the Disneyland holiday experience takes place beginning November 14, 2011 and continuing through January 8, 2012. Below are many of the experiences you will be able to enjoy at Disneyland during that time.
The entire park is bedecked with Garlands, wreaths, poinsettias and many other traditional decorations. These are most obviously noticeable on Main Street U.S.A. and in New Orleans Square, but they are everywhere you look in the parks.
Over the years Disneyland has found that guests enjoy seeing a holiday theme added to some of the more popular attractions.
- It’s a Small World Holiday
- Every room and scene of It’s a Small World have holiday decorations added. The decorations represent the traditional décor of the lands in which they are employed.
- The outside of the attraction is also decorated with 300,000 lights and other decorations. At night It’s a Small World is world-famous for its beauty.
- Haunted Mansion Holiday
- Jack Skellington and his friends, from A Nightmare Before Christmas, have taken over the haunted mansion and decorated it for Christmas. This is a delightful ride overlay that creates a completely different experience than the regular Haunted Mansion attraction. It is appropriate for younger ages than the normal Haunted Mansion, too.
- Storybook Land Canal Boats
- This is the ride where you ride a small boat on a tiny river through Monstro the Whale’s mouth and into a land of bonsai plants and miniature display so of many beloved fairytale scenes such as Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Pinocchio and Gepetto, and Aladdin, to name a few. Many of these tiny homes are decorated with Christmas decorations.
This is a traditional Christmas celebration that takes place on Main Street U.S.A. It features a full orchestra, a “living Christmas tree” chorus, traditional Christmas carols, and a retelling of the Biblical Christmas story that is narrated by a different celebrity each year. There is limited VIP seating in front of Main Street Station, but plenty of standing room viewing in the rest of Town Square. If you get there early enough try to get a spot on the landing outside Guest Services. You will be able to see over everyone else’s heads and have a terrific view.
Main Street Snow Fall – ‘When You Wish…’
Each night on Main Street a miracle happens… twice! There are two showings of a brief show that includes a gentle “snowfall” and a castle/Main Street light display. The entire show only lasts a few minutes, but is one of the most magical parts of the holiday season at Disneyland.
Fireworks – “Believe… in Holiday Magic Fireworks Spectacular”
Beginning with a child’s wish for snow the castle lights up and snow falls. This is followed by an extravagant fireworks display that is set to a number of favorite holiday songs. At the conclusion of the show, while ‘White Christmas’ is playing, icicles magically form on the castle and snow falls once again in Main Street, New Orleans Square and at the Small World mall. The castle takes on a shimmering ice-jewel appearance and it continues to shimmer and glisten for some time afterwards.
A Parade – “A Christmas Fantasy Parade”
Of all the parades that have been run through Disneyland this is many people’s favorite. All the main Disney characters and princesses are in it, as well as holiday-themed floats and characters. You’ll see wooden soldiers on parade, “ice” skating snowflakes, gingerbread men, and most importantly Santa and Mrs. Claus!
Right at the head of Town Square towers a 60 foot tall Christmas tree. The tree is packed with lights and ornaments, and underneath is a huge pile of gift-wrapped presents. The tree lights up each evening with the first snow-fall and it is visible even from the other side of the castle as you look through the drawbridge tunnel. As you can imagine the tree is a favorite spot for photographs.
Santa’s Reindeer Round up
In the back of the park, in Frontierland at the Big Thunder Ranch, there is a Christmas-themed activity area that is fun for the whole family. You will find live reindeer and other animals, crafts, reindeer games, dancing, holiday cookies, and much more. And best of all, Santa and Mrs. Claus are there and you can meet them! Sit on Santa’s lap, tell him what you want for Christmas and take a few pictures!
Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle
The castle is always the centerpiece of the park and a favorite place to just sit and relax while enjoying its beauty. During the holiday season, however, the castle is covered with a fresh layer of new fallen “snow”. It is also beautifully decorated with icicles and, at night, myriads of little flashing lights. You will be transfixed by its winter grandeur during the day and enamored of its glistening beauty in the evenings. The castle also features prominently in the nightly snow fall and parade events each night, as mentioned above.
All the Disney Characters are out in full force, and they are dressed in the winter/holiday garb. It is great fun to see Mickey and Minnie in their holiday garb, Pooh and Tigger with Santa hats, and all the characters seem to embody an extra measure of joy and magic.
World of Color
Over in Disney’s California Adventure you will find many of the same features – decorations in every land, characters in holiday dress, a giant tree and Santa. But, this year (2011), for the first time ever a holiday segment is being added to the World of Color show, featuring Lanny and Wayne of “Prep & Landing” fame. This night-time water-themed show is sure to be an extra-big hit, so make sure to get to the park when it opens to get in and get your show pass for that evening.
Phineas and Ferb Street Party
These Disney Channel favorites already have a street party that runs several times a day. But now their show is going to take on a holiday theme! You can sing and dance along with Phineas, Ferb and the Fireside Girls to all your favorite holiday classics!
Downtown Disney and the Hotels
Yes, these areas get the full holiday treatment, too. Everywhere are decorations reminding you of the season and bringing a smile to your face.
Sometimes carolers can be seen roaming the halls of the hotels or popping up in unexpected places. You can even find Santa ready for your children to climb on his lap for a picture at the hotels.
On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
Special buffet meals are offered on these days, but you will need to call for reservations. Call (714) 781-DINE (3463) for information and reservations. Note that Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are two of the busiest days of the year at Disneyland. The park usually reaches full capacity by mid-day and it is possible that you will be turned away at the gate for this reason.
Yes, the Christmas season is a wonderful time to visit Disneyland, whether you’ve never been before or if you’ve been many times and want to experience the park in a new way. You are guaranteed to make magical memories that will last you and your family for years to come!