The Disneyland holiday season is my favorite time of the year to visit the parks. Southern California weather is just right to get in the festive mood; warm during the day and crisp at night. Disney characters in their holiday finest stroll through streets decorated with garland wrapped lamp posts and wreaths tied with giant red bows. Familiar Christmas tunes play in the background.
For many guests, celebrating the holidays at Disneyland is a yearly family tradition. One step down Disneyland Main Street and the Christmas spirit hits you.
Must-see Holiday Attractions
Must-see holiday attractions include It’s a Small World, Haunted Holiday Mansion and A Christmas Fantasy Parade – who can resist giant-sized gingerbread men? And for families that can make it an all-day event the Believe … in Holiday Magic fireworks event at 8:45 PM complete with falling snow and thousands of lights over Sleeping Beauty’s castle is another must-see attraction.
Gingerbread men dancing along the parade route
What’s New in 2012
Debut of Holiday Cars Land
The biggest news is that Disney California Adventure is now celebrating the holidays in classic Disney-style. Buena Vista Street evokes the nostalgia of 1920’s holidays and leads guests past the garland wrapped trolley car, past the handmade eggnog marshmallows at Trolley Treats, around the fountain and the 50-ft Christmas tree in Carthay Circle and right into 1950’s Cars Land.
The snowcar welcomes visitors to Cars Land
Cars Land holiday decorations are creative and jaw-dropping when lit up at night. The view from the entrance of Cars Land looking down Route 66 toward the red-orange sunset glow of Ornament Valley is filled with neon road signs and strings of Christmas lights crisscrossing the road.
We counted at least seven different car-themed Christmas trees throughout Cars Land; this is a fun scavenger hunt with kids!
The hubcap tree is just one of many car-themed trees in Cars Land
Jingle Jangle Jamboree Activity Area
Jingle Jangle Jamboree is a new holiday activity area for kids located behind Thunder Mountain Ranch in Disneyland. The reindeer may have stayed at the North Pole this year but Jingle Jangle Jamboree offers all kinds of reindeer games, cookie and craft decorating and live music by Billy Hill and the Holiday Hillbillies.
Jingle Jangle Jamboree games are complimentary and lead by cast members
Take a break here when everyone needs a little R & R but parents should know that kids may not want to leave, even my nine year old wanted to spend more time here. Cookie decorating is very popular but we opted to take the $6, six-inch tall sugar cookie shaped Mickey Mouse gingerbread man with us as an edible souvenir to decorate at home – it’s quite a large cookie to eat on the run.
If You Go:
Disneyland Holiday Dates: Celebrate the holidays at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure through January 6, 2013.
Quick Tips: Get Fastpasses for Haunted Holiday Mansion and Radiator Springs Racers (Fastpasses for Radiator Springs were sold out for the day by 9:30 AM on the Saturday we visited) as lines are long for these popular attractions. For all the sweet tooths out there many of the restaurants and candy stores offer special treats only available during the holidays.
New in 2013: Watch for special Limited Time Magic events and attractions at Disney parks in 2013 – each week guests will be surprised with something out-of-the-ordinary.
Editor’s Note: Kristi and her family received complimentary admission to Disneyland as part of a holiday blogger event. Photos courtesy of Kristi Marcelle