I can’t believe it’s that time of year again. The joy of the winter holidays are by far my absolute favorite time of the year and how they celebrate them at the Disneyland Resort is one of the things that keeps me wanting to go back each and every year. And now – Disneyland has officially kicked off the season!
Disneyland is truly a bustling place during the winter holidays. Disneyland is literally decorated “head to toe” and “front to back” with the holiday spirit. Garlands abound, attractions are “plussed” or enhanced with holiday specific décor, and treats of all types are found throughout the park. In this edition of “Disneyland Gems”, I’m going to give you a sneak peek of some of the things you’ll find at Disneyland during the Holidays. Some things I’ll cover more extensively in future blogs, but for now let’s get on with our taste of the season!
When you first emerge from under the Railroad Station and step onto Main Street, in Disneyland Park, you can’t help but realize that you have been dropped headfirst into the holiday season. To say it “smacks you in the face” is a bit crass, but, well…. you get my point. I can’t help but smile at the décor. EVERYTHING is decorated! We entered via the left tunnel and were greeted with the sight of the Main Street Vehicles, bedecked with pines and ribbons. The sound of jingle bells rang out from the harnesses of the horse drawn vehicles, while honking horns alerted you to the cheery sight of holiday enhanced cars, such as the Horseless Carriage, waiting to escort you to the hub and castle!
As you continue on, your eye can’t help to be drawn to the 60-foot tall pine, decorated with thousands of lights and ornaments, which greets you in town square.
Main Street itself is strung with garlands of pine, ornaments, and Mickey wreaths.
As you wind your way back through the park, you find unique holiday touches all over the place. New Orleans Square has its own flavor, with garlands of baubles high above Royal Street.
Moving past the heart of New Orleans Square, you find the seasonal specialty – Haunted Mansion Holiday! From Halloween through Christmas, the Haunted Mansion is transformed to a holiday marvel – all the way down to the Graveyard.
Every time you turn the corner, it brings the holiday spirit home. Coming back through the park, you run into one of the two showings of the “A Christmas Fantasy Parade”. Seen in snippets on the annual Walt Disney World Christmas Day Parade special on ABC, the Christmas Fantasy Parade is truly unique to Disneyland and shouldn’t be missed. While our Disneyland portion tapes in early November, before the start of HolidayTime, it doesn’t make its official debut until the season kicks off. Now I realize that some folks say that they wish Disney would mix the floats and parade storyline up a bit, but I think it’s fine just the way it is – sort of a piece of holiday comfort!
When the Christmas Fantasy Parade is over, it’s a great time to grab a snack – and the holidays host some pretty special ones. While you can find all sorts of treats that are decorated for the season, none is as traditional and cherished as having a slice of Yule Log cake, found at the Plaza Inn. This year, there are two varieties. The pumpkin one, that I had, will be available until after Thanksgiving. Then, the more traditional version, made with chocolate and chestnut, will be found until Christmas. They are light and tasty – and enough for 2 or 3 people to share!!!!
Once you’ve finished that large portion of yule log, it’s time to head back to Small World Holiday. It seems like they couldn’t possibly make this attraction even more cheery than its normal self, but they do. The outside is enhanced with colorful garlands visible in the day, and even more colorful lights in the night! Inside, each room is filled with traditional decorations from each of the represented countries and it truly adds a spirit that you would be hard-pressed to find anywhere else. I’d love to talk more, but those details are for another story all its own.
To end your day, it’s top priority to stay and see the lighting of Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle (as shown above), as well as the Believe…. in Holiday Magic Fireworks. It combines your favorite holiday music with the Disney fireworks magic to put you into the spirit.
Hopefully you’ve enjoyed the glimpses I’ve given you. I haven’t shared all of the delights to be experienced, so if you’d like to hear more about the Holidays at Disneyland, stay tuned to this blog and you’ll be treated to some special features on the highlights of the season!
Photos by N. Johnson, K. Lam, and R. Tobe