Holidays at Disneyland 2010

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If you have never been to Disneyland for the holidays before it is one of those things you have to put on your “must do” list with your family because to sum it up in one word, it is just simply magical! I know that Disneyland is ALWAYS magical, but there is just something extra special about how they celebrate the holidays that makes the resort sparkle with holiday cheer going on now through January 2nd, 2011.

My family was invited to go on the opening holiday weekend and as you can imagine, my 4-year-old Emma was just a tad bit excited.

First stop per her request?

it’s a small world of course, which is her favorite ride in the entire park. The ride is transformed for the holidays with darling holiday decorations in each country and upbeat “jingle bells” playing as you float through this wonderland. Impossible to not immediately be in a good mood on that ride!

And at night they have 300,000 glittering lights on the outside!

Second stop per Emma’s request?  Santa! Yes, it would be our first time to see Santa for the season and she was antsy to get her gift request in.

In Frontierland they have a  Reindeer Round Up with REAL reindeers and adjacent is a cozy little cottage where the kiddos can wait in line to see Santa.  Emma was mesmerized looking at Santa’s real reindeers.

Then we headed over to wait in line to see Santa.  Even though it was a crowded Saturday afternoon, we only had to wait 10 minutes to get to the front of the line. I guess someone wants the Barbie house with an elevator that she saw at her friend’s house.

After our Santa visit it was time for the parade, so we grabbed seats and waited for the special “A Christmas Fantasy” parade.  This is by far my FAVORITE parade!  It is just so cute!  The characters wrap gifts, bake holiday treats and prepare for the arrival of Santa Claus. It’s a great combination of holiday themes but they still include appearances by the princesses and all of our favorite Disney characters!

And you can’t miss the famous Haunted Mansion Holiday where the the traditions of Halloween and Christmas collide.  The ghoulish but well-meaning Jack Skellington from the film “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas” has come to Haunted Mansion to transform it with his skewed vision of the holidays.

All around you there is holiday decor – the whole park is decked out for the season and at the beginning of Main Street, U.S.A there is a beautiful, ginormous Christmas tree! Other holiday highlights include sparkling icicles on Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle and a fabulous presentation that unfolds throughout the evening in three acts, each of them featuring a touch of winter snow on Main Street!!  The finale of the show includes the legendary “Believe … in Holiday Magic” fireworks show, AMAZING which ends with a sentimental rendition of “White Christmas,” and a  snowfall swirling down on Main Street, U.S.A., “it’s a small world” Mall and New Orleans Square.

For California kiddos not used to the snow, this is quite a scene to behold!

And I didn’t know this fun fact!  Guests are able to book guided holiday tours that provide entry into “it’s a small world” Holiday and Haunted Mansion Holiday, reserved seating for the Disneyland “A Christmas Fantasy” parade, a keepsake remembrance, and entertaining information about the history behind Disneyland holiday traditions.  For information and reservations guests can visit Disneyland City Hall or call 714/781-4400.  Wouldn’t that be fun?

And the holiday fun continues over at Disney’s California Adventure where the park celebrates the season with fanciful park-wide decorations and lively entertainment!  We walked over to California Adventure in the late afternoon and it was so cute to be greeted with candy cane striped CALIFORNIA letters!

And this decor on the Golden Gate bridge…

We actually haven’t been to California Adventure that many times, so each time we go I am floored at everything it has to offer. Our first stop was to check out Soarin’ Over California.  If you can believe it, we have never been on this ride before as my daughter was always too small.  We were SO happy to find out that the height requirement was 40″ and Emma is measuring in at about 40 1/2″. Just made it! But then the wait was 55 minutes and we didn’t have time to wait.   So, next time around the first thing I would do would be to go get a FASTPASS.  On Twitter, people couldn’t believe I haven’t been on this saying it is the BEST ride, people’s favorite ride. Next time for sure.

The hit of the day for my daughter at California Adventure were the rides over at Paradise Pier!  This time her favorite was the newly enhanced Silly Symphony Swings.  The minute she got off that ride she yelled “we have to go AGAIN!!!!!!” And we did!

Here are a few of the holiday festivities in store for you at California Adventure!

* “a bug’s land” transforms as Flik and his bug buddies spread giant Christmas lights and oversized ornaments throughout their realm.

* Santa Claus will greet guests on the boardwalk near Ariel’s Grotto on Paradise Pier.

* “World of Color” nighttime water spectacular, which brings its own brand of after-dark magic to the Paradise Bay lagoon.

*“ElecTRONica” nighttime street party will put guests of all ages “on the grid” and into the environment of the new Walt Disney Pictures feature, “TRON: Legacy.”  “ElecTRONica” parties take place Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and nightly from Dec. 17 through Jan. 2.  “ElecTRONica” will continue into spring 2011.

And SO SO SO MUCH more!

Click HERE for information on the holidays at Disneyland and click HERE for information on Disney’s California Adventure!

And a very happy holiday season to YOU my friends!

Disclosure: My family was provided with complimentary tickets as a part of a special media event! Thank you Disneyland for creating a day of memories for our family!


{Most photos courtesy of Disney!}


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  1. 1
    CindyC says:

    I’m a SoCal native and have never been to D’Land during the holidays. We can’t afford it right now, but hopefully next year. 🙂

  2. 2
    kelly says:

    wow! you got some amazing pictures. that picture of the castle is incredible! my kids were going crazy while i tried to get some good pictures… it was just too hard. i should have just “borrowed” yours!

  3. 3
    Jen says:

    Hey Kelly! Some are mine, some are Disney pics! I added that into my post! Let me know which you want and if it is mine you are WELCOME to it! The castle one is Disney’s – isn’t it amazing???

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