My in-laws have been going to Disneyland every July since the dawn of time. Disneyland in July is . . . hot. It's also crowded. I'm impatient when you mix those two things together.
Disneyland for Christmas? Glorious. Manageable. MAGICAL. Of course the weather is better, the crowds are fewer (especially onweekdays), but throw in all the holiday shimmer and shine, and it's a done deal. Here's why:
1. Snow on Main Street
Main Street in and of itself is a sight to see all decked out for the holidays, but what's really magical is watching the snow fall on Main Street at the end of the night. I'm in debates with my father-in-law as to what the snow is actually made of. He thinks it's special bubbles made to look like snow. I think there are tiny snow-making machines hiding in street lamps. Whatever it is, it gives Disney's Main Street a touch of the North Pole.
2. It's a Small World
I'm a sucker for this ride. In the summertime, it's the place I like to go to get out of the heat and sit for awhile. During the holidays, it's literally transformed into a holiday spectacle. The facade of the attraction is covered with 50,000 glittering lights. I'm not lying when I say that I got choked up a couple of times because I loved it so much.
My mom, who can't stand the song "It's a Small World," gave in and came on the ride. Even she got off the ride saying that it was well worth it. It's my favorite ride. End of story.
Here's a peek at the Small World Holiday Clock Show:
3. Sleeping Beauty's Castle
It's even more enchanting during the holidays! We loved seeing it all lit up at night!
4. Haunted Mansion
Just as good at Christmas time as it is during Halloween. My kids loved seeing the Haunted Mansion made over for the Nightmare Before Christmas. Our family's favorite is Zero. You'll find him lots of places throughout the mansion.
5. Cars Land at Christmas
It wins. Cars Land in and of itself is so amazingly true to the movie, but you add the Christmas element to Radiator Springs, and it's even better. This was our first time going to Cars Land and the entire family, grandparents included, have put it at the top of the list. I'm hanging on to Small World just because it's a classic. But Cars Land is a close second.
6. Jingle Cruise
The Jungle Cruise has turned Jingle Cruise for the Christmas. Jingle Cruise skippers have mixed things up for the holidays and are cracking their ever-so-festive jokes.
7. World of Color Winter Dreams Light Show
Photos really can't do this light show justice. It was incredible. Our highlights were the "Virtual Honor Choir" and the Toy Story rendition of the Nutcracker.
8. Viva Navidad!
The Disney Viva Navidad! celebration takes place in Paradise Gardens in California Adventure. There is a daily celebration with food, crafts, face painting, music, dance lessons and a street party. We highly recommend the Champurrado Casero (Mexican Hot Chocolate).
9. The Christmas Parade
As with all other Disney parades, snag a spot early! The parade is adorable and ends with Santa checking his list.
10. Holiday Ears
They are the cutest. Period.
11. The Characters!
Our youngest was most excited to see Pluto, but a trip to Disneyland is not complete without running into Mickey and Minnie.
Other Holiday Attractions:
- 12. Olaf's Ice Skating Rink in Downtown Disney
- 13. The carolers on Buena Vista Street in California Adventure. I think they were plucked straight out of the 1920s
- 14. A Bugs Land in California Adventuredecorated with oversized ornaments and giant Christmas lights
- 15. The "Mad T Party" with a holiday twist in Hollywood Land in California Adventure
- 16. "Phineas and Ferb's Rockin' Rollin' Dance Party - Holiday Edition" in California Adventure
- 17. Anna and Elsa from Disney's upcoming film "Frozen" are greeting guests in Fantasyland
- 18. Visit Santa at the "Jingle Jangle Jamboree" at Big Thunder Ranch in Frontier Land. There are games, music, and crafts.
- It's a Small World Holiday runs from November 13th 2014 - January 6th 2015. It's my most favorite thing. I cried. For reals.
- Anna and Elsa have joined the parade this year! Be sure to check out the "A Christmas Fantasy" parade down Main Street, U.S.A.
- The "World of Color - Winter Dreams" show is still running and is absolutely amazing.
Have you been to Disneyland around the holidays? What's your can't miss?