Merry Holidays at Disneyland, IMG CreD: Colleen Lanin

Holidays Get Colorful at Disney California


The magic of the holiday season is made all that more magical with cheap flights to Disneyland. Disney goes all out to create a winter wonderland at Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure theme parks. Expect holiday-themed attractions and parades, decadent decorations and sweet treats, and even snow at this popular sunny Anaheim, California tourist destination.

Two rides are given a complete makeover every holiday season. “It’s a small world” Holiday is aglow with colorful lights on the outside and jam-packed with holiday decorations inside. Winter holiday traditions from around the world are represented–like Santa’s house at the North Pole, Chinese New Year faux fireworks, and signs wishing riders “Mele Kalikimaka” in Polynesia and “Feliz Navidad” in Latin America.

The Haunted Mansion Holiday is a playful blend of Halloween and Christmas a la The Nightmare Before Christmas starring the beloved Jack Skellington. The elaborate gingerbread house in the banquet scene? Yep, it’s real.

Rest your tootsies and grab a spot on the curb along Main Street to take in A Christmas Fantasy Parade. Toy soldiers playing real trumpets, floats festooned with greenery and glittery touches, and characters donning their season’s best would put even Scrooge in the holiday spirit.

Take a peek at some real-live reindeer at Santa’s Reindeer Roundup. These cuddly-looking creatures, also known as domesticated caribou, are borrowed from “up North” and therefore sport coats that turn whiter as the season gets snowier. Wait in line to snap a photo with Santa Claus or Pluto sporting antlers here and then chow down on barbecued chicken and ribs while singing along to Christmas songs at the Holiday Ho-Ho-Ho Hoedown.

Elaborate Christmas decorations include candy cane-colored flower beds on Main Street USA, evergreen and poinsettia displays in Frontierland, modern wreaths representing various cultures near “it’s a small world” and over-sized ornaments on display at Disney’s California Adventure’s “a bug’s land.”  The highlight is Sleeping Beauty’s Castle twinkling with lights and draped with make-believe snow and icicles.

What would the holidays be without special treats? Choose from snowman shortbread, snowflake crispy treats, mint chocolate cupcakes, giant handmade candy canes, and more. Wash it all down with a cup of hot cocoa or eggnog.

The “Believe…in Holiday Magic” Fireworks Show provides a fantastic finale. My children had never seen fireworks before our recent visit to Disneyland and I think it may be tough to top this experience for them. After a bursting display of fireworks set to Christmas music, through the magic of Disney, it began to snow on Main Street. My six-year-old summed up the magic of a Disney holiday visit when she said, “It’s so beautiful, it’s making me cry.”


Photo: Colleen Lanin

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