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The Top Southern California Amusement Parks for Holiday Fun

By Edited Jan 21, 2016 5 8

Holiday Fun

Are you looking for something different to do this Holiday season? Well, if you live in or are visiting the Southern California area during the months of November or December, you can find holiday fun at many of the top Southern California Amusement Parks.

The Top Southern California Amusement Parks for Holiday Fun



It's a Christmas Wonderland at the Disneyland Resort! From November through the first week in January, the park is transformed into a winter spectacular. Enjoy special parades, shows and entertainment, all created to provide a memorable holiday season for the entire family.

There is a 60 foot Christmas Tree in the Town Square and the streets are trimmed with garland and wreaths. There are special events planned throughout the park, join Santa, Mrs. Clause and their Reindeer for "Christmas Western Style" at the Big Thunder Ranch in Frontierland. Children will love decorating cookies on Main Street and New Orleans Square, where they might see one of their favorite Disney characters.

In addition, many of your favorite rides have been magically transformed into holiday-themed attractions that you will want to enjoy over and again! See what happens when Christmas and Halloween collide as the Haunted Mansion is taken over by the characters from Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas. Also, check out It's a Small World and enjoy an international celebration of Christmas with 300,000 dazzling holiday lights. Join in the singing fun as 'Jingle Bells' is performed in several languages.

Get a front row seat at Disney's Christmas Fantasy Parade with dancing gingerbread men, snowflakes and the Disney characters in their finest holiday attire. Also, just for the holidays, The Disneyland Christmas Candlelight Procession, a holiday tradition that takes place on Main Street.

One of the highlights of this season is "Sleeping Beauty's Winter Castle" and the three part show that takes place each day of the holiday season. The castle is covered in freshly fallen 'snow' which creates the perfect backdrop for those holiday photos. But the magic isn't over; at twilight you will hear the wind blow and the voice of a small child wishing for snow. Then you hear a mother's voice saying, "In order for your wishes to come true, you must believe." After that, you can view the "When you Wish" show and see snow flurries fill the air and watch as the Castle begins to glisten.

Later in the evening you'll want to catch the "Believe in Holiday Magic Fireworks Spectacular." Once again, you will hear the voice of a child wishing for snow, magic, and icicles. Then, snow falls in the park, and the Sleeping Beauty Castle is illuminated. Then fireworks light up the sky and the grand finale follows as White Christmas is performed, and icicles appear on Sleeping Beauty's Castle and the snow on the castle becomes a "jewel-like display." Snow also falls on Main Street, New Orlean's Square, and Small World mall.

Lastly, don't forget to visit Disney's California Adventure Park for additional holiday fun, with lanterns throughout Pacific Wharf and wreaths and lights along the Golden Gate Bridge entrance.



Every holiday season Knott's Berry Farm is transformed into Knott's Merry Farm and the spirit of Christmas is evident with the participation in the 'Toys for Tots' program. From December 4th through 19th, enter the park for only $15.00 by purchasing a special Toys for Tots ticket, the proceeds will go to purchase toys for the needy.

Visit the Ghost Town section of the park and walk into a Winter Wonderland, filled with display after display of the finest handcrafted items. You can also visit Santa Claus during the days and hours when he's in the park. Listen to Christmas Carolers strolling throughout the park, on the dates and times they are scheduled to perform. Don't forget to visit the Crafts Fair and the Christmas Crafts Village for unusual gifts and keepsakes.

You can watch Christmas stage plays at the Bird Cage Theater during scheduled holiday performances, and catch Snoopy's Ice Skating Show on selected dates throughout the Christmas holiday season.

Spending all day at the park may not give you enough time or energy to cook. Don't worry, you and your family can enjoy a holiday meal without the work! Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant will once again offer their Holiday Take-Home Feast. The meal includes enough food for 6 to 8 adults, with a choice of either a turkey dinner or a juicy ham dinner and includes a Knott's boysenberry pie or a traditional pumpkin pie. All meals must be ordered in advance.



The world's largest LEGO Christmas Tree made up of more than 245,000 forest green DUPLO blocks and standing 30 feet tall is on display. Watch this unique Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony with nearly 400 LEGO ornaments and 1,000 lights, every night from December 1st through the 24th. (The park is closed the first three Tuesdays and Wednesdays of December.)

Also this holiday season, the Master Builders have added extra touches in their decoration of the U.S. Capitol plaza in Miniland USA. Throughout the park, you will find many Christmas surprises such as Santa and his reindeer made out of LEGO bricks.


Ocean Bird

Christmas fills the air at Sea World's Christmas Celebration. The Skytower sparkles after dark and Shamu's Christmas show brings the season to life beneath the stars.

Enjoy live shows in Sea World's wintery, watery, wonderland. Experience The Polar Express 4D. Go ice skating with the whole family and don't forget to catch the all new Christmas Tails show.

With everything from elves to Elmo and Santa to Shamu, SeaWorld's Christmas Celebration is sure to be a memorable experience!


Ferris Wheel

Get into the spirit of the season with the annual "Toys for the Holidays" toy drive. Six Flags Magic Mountain will offer free admission to anyone bringing a new, unwrapped toy valued at $15 or more to the theme park on December 5, 6, 12 and 13. The price tag or receipt should accompany the toy.

Do your part to help others this season and then enjoy all the holiday attractions at Magic Mountain.



Universal Studios

Celebrate the holidays at Universal Studios Hollywood and play in real snow, catch celebrity readings of Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas and experience the fun of a Whoville Celebration.

Visit City Walk® and celebrate the City Rockin' Holiday with 37 nights of continuous holiday entertainment from November 26th through January 1st. Catch the nightly City Rockin' Christmas Tree Show with the one and only Rock n' Roll Santa. The festivities begin November 26th, with a tree lighting ceremony.

This year, enjoy one or all of the top Southern California amusement parks for holiday fun!

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Nov 23, 2010 7:15am
Great article and you definitely make we want to go over there. If I wasnt scared of (terrified)flying I would love to go to disneyland. Thanks for the trip through your eyes.
Nov 23, 2010 9:37am
I live in Orange County, California, and believe that you put together an excellent list of some of the more popular amusement parks here in Southern California. Great job!
Nov 23, 2010 12:39pm
Shame on me! I live here and haven't experienced any of the holiday park events. Sounds like tons of fun!
Jan 25, 2011 7:52pm
I am a self-professed amusement park junkie...one of the reasons I will always live in California, but visit/travel everywhere else. There's something magical about going on a themed holiday as opposed to regular times. Terrific article!!
Apr 27, 2011 8:03pm
I want to try and make it to knott's berry farm
Apr 9, 2012 2:50pm
Thanks everyone!
Dec 11, 2014 2:58pm
I used to work at Knott's, and Magic Mountain has always been one of my favorite places in the world.
Dec 11, 2014 4:24pm
Growing up, I thought it would be so fun to work at Disneyland. I never did, and now I'm not so sure it would be that fun . . . I guess it depends on what your job is. Thanks for the comment!
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