Here in Southern California, the Disneyland Resort is our mecca for all things Christmas. We don’t have a Rockefeller Square or any other wintery wonderland to call our own unless we venture up to the local mountains deep into December and maybe after the new year, if we are lucky. So many of us turn to the most magical place we know to get us in the spirit starting in early November. Here are my top reasons for enjoying, specifically, Disneyland although Downtown Disney, the hotels, and California Adventure go all out as well with special events and activities. Read more about those on the Disney Parks Blog. These are things you can enjoy on any given day during the holidays without getting there first thing and staying until dark.
1. Decor Let’s face it- Disney knows how to create a picture perfect atmosphere. The sounds, the smells, those flowers! The holidays are no exception and I feel like Disneyland went classic this year and not with an in-your-face explosion of all things red and green. Main Street is dressed up in soft garland and ribbon and New Orleans Square has plenty of festive decorations hanging high up in the trees. And of course, the castle is a sparkly jewel from every angle.
2. Goodies I mean, I could eat my way though Disneyland on any given day, but Christmas time is certainly something special. I usually like to take a day to go by myself and get some Christmas shopping started. My tradition is to get an eggnog latte from Starbucks (on Main Street), where they serve the most amazing, spicy, chewy gingerbread men. I cannot pass these up during the holidays! I also like to check out what The Mint Julep bar has to offer; usually a candy cane twist on their fluffy beignets. Most eateries will have something special for the holiday season, but I would recommend checking the Jolly Holiday bakery and the Candy Palace first!
3. Santa Disneyland always has a great setup for taking pictures with Santa. Usually, he is tucked back behind Frontierland with lots of activities and shows for the kiddos. However, due to the construction of Star Wars Land in this area, you can find Santa nestled in the 100 acre wood near the Winnie the Pooh ride. Disneyland Santas are the best Santas!
4. Themed rides Disneyland is pretty clever at changing up your favorite attractions to give them a holiday twist! The most special and drastic is, of course, the Haunted Mansion, which gets transformed into the Nightmare Before Christmas well before the Halloween season and runs through the beginning of the new year. Other rides that usually get a Christmas facelift is It’s A Small World, which also celebrates the coming New Year, and The Jingle (Jungle) Cruise.
If you want to commemorate your Disneyland- Christmas mashup experience, then there is a souvenir with your name on it. Although the rose gold Minnie Mouse ears are on everyone’s list this year, the red and green sequined pair are equally as cute or you can find one topped with a tiny Santa hat. Other Christmas specific items that are worth a looksy are the delicate ornaments themed to your favorite character, stockings for the entire family, or a Star Wars ugly Christmas sweater. Other fun favorites include the necklace of Christmas bulbs that flash so randomly, you just may have a seizure if you stare at it too long!