The Holidays at Disneyland 2012

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[Photo credits: Disneyland]

The holidays are just that much brighter at Disneyland Resort and Disney California Adventure this month with special festivities that will make your spirits bright.

Last weekend, I invited to attend a special family media day and I was able to take my girls and my mom to experience the splendor of the season at the Happiest Place on Earth.

Seeing the Holidays at Disneyland through the eyes of my girls as well as my mom who hadn’t been to Disneyland in over 16 years, was nothing short of magical.

Here are some of the holiday highlights going on now through January 6th, 2013…

Holidays at Disney California Adventure Park

We started our day at California Adventure, where Buena Vista Street greets you with its beautiful holiday decor and immediately puts you in the holiday spirit.

A sparkling 50-foot Christmas tree stands in Carthay Circle and the surrounding buildings are decorated with vintage-style ornaments reminiscent of the days the 1920’s during Walt Disney’s day. During the course of our visit, we saw cast members dressed in 20’s style holiday outfits, riding bikes through the streets and ringing bells wishing everyone a happy holiday. Almost made you feel like you were living back in the day!

Our first order of “business” was to get over to see the the new Cars Land ~ it was our first time visiting the attractions and we were BLOWN away by how adorable it is!

A whimsical “snowcar” stands at the entrance to Cars Land and each address along Route 66 had fun decor reflective of the Cars character that lives there.

The new Cars Land rides are fabulous.

We went on Luigi’s Flying Tires, Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree, and being a part of the media day meant we were lucky enough to receive FASTPASS tickets to ride the Radiator Springs Racers, which is my new favorite ride EVER.

If you are going, get your FASTPASS tickets for Radiator Springs Racers first thing, like early. The day we were there I heard they sold out by morning, and the wait was long. But oh my, the ride is so much fun it would be worth the wait!

[Top Left Photo Credit in collage above: Disney]

After Cars Land, we visited the Paradise Pier boardwalk, which included a beautifully lampposts with holiday wreaths, as well as “a bug’s land” which was also transformed with Christmas lights and oversized ornaments.

And this was an AMAZING find ~ children of all ages can tell Santa what they want for Chrismas by visiting him at Elias & Co, the main street department store.

We walked by mid-day on a crowded weekend and there was only a few people in line!  The store was reminiscent of a department store from long ago with a delightful elf with candy canes for kids and the jolliest Santa with the best sense of humor.  My daughter told him she wanted a gymnastics mat and her told her that he could do a cartwheel. She was quite amused.

The Holidays at Disneyland Resort

After a delightful morning at California Adventure, we headed over to Disneyland Resort where the entire experience sparkled with magic. Main Street U.S.A. is decked out with a spectacular Christmas tree and holiday wreaths and Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle, adorned with ornaments and icicles, glitters in the distance.

After dark, a sensational holiday lighting and special-effects show carries the magic of the holidays from the castle all the way to the Christmas tree in Town Square, ending with a spectacular “Believe…in Holiday Magic” fireworks show and a dramatic snowfall swirling down on Main Street, U.S.A, “it’s a small world” mall and New Orleans Square.

We got there at 8am, so we had to leave around 7pm and were not able to see the fireworks and snowfall, but it is on my list of one of the things we HAVE to see because I hear it is absolutely incredible.

One of our favorite highlights of the day was the “A Christmas Fantasy” parade, which, if going during the holidays is an absolute must-see.  Like, plan your day around seeing the parade type of must-see.

Disney characters celebrate the magic of the season wrapping gifts, baking holiday treats and preparing for the arrival of Santa Claus. My girls sat on the curb on Main Street U.S.A. with their eyes sparkling at every parade float and character.

Other Disneyland holiday features include Haunted Mansion Holiday which will haunt AND make you happy at the same time with ghoulish Jack Skellington and Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus greet kids at the Jingle Jangle Jamboree in Big Thunder Ranch in Frontierland.

And then we went to see it’s a small world holidays after dark, which which was a first because my kids made it to evening without tiring out. When when we turned the corner and saw it lit up in all it’s grandeur, my mom and I let out a collective gasp at the same time.


If you go to the Holidays at Disneyland and your kids can last until after dark, it’s a small world holidays will be something you remember for a long, long time.

Visit for more information and park hours.  Happy holidays friends!

[Disclosure: My family received complimentary media tickets to facilitate this review. Christmas came early for us this year!]


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  1. 1
    char says:

    We just got back from there too, and loved it! Your pictures are much better than mine though. Loved them.

  2. 2
    Susanne says:

    How fun! Your pix are so great! We went on Sunday to celebrate our girls bdays- just magical this time of year!

  3. 3
    Jen says:

    I am glad to hear you loved it too! It is hard not to!

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