Disneyland for the Holidays

The holiday season kicked into full gear with the magnificent display of music, lights, and fireworks at Disneyland with their amazing holiday celebration. Upon entering the park, my wife and I were dazzled by the festive holiday decor that adorned every aspect of the Park. Main Street USA whisked away to a magical holiday setting complete with a 60 foot Christmas tree and beautiful decorations adorning the buildings, with Mickey-shaped wreaths leading the way. The famous Cinderalla’s Castle looked absolutely amazing adorned in winter lighting and was a captivating sight to behold. This certainly stirred the holiday spirit in both of us and enhanced the magic with every step we took.

After taking numerous pictures and roaming the shops of Main Street, we stopped for a quick bite to eat before taking in the attractions.Our first stop was the Haunted Mansion to experience the holiday-themed “A Nightmare Before Christmas.” As you can expect, the line was very long, so we opted to use the FASTPASS option so we could take in other attractions while waiting for our return time for the attraction to arrive.

Since this was Thanksgiving weekend, the park was packed with guests taking full advantage of the long weekend to enjoy the magnificent splendor of Disneyland decked out for its holiday celebrations. I opted to spend my time going on Splash Mountain while my wife took pictures of the characters at Pooh’s corner. Since I was riding alone, I took advantage of the single rider option for Splash Mountain and boarded immediately rather than face a 55 minute wait. My wife had been concerned that she would get drenched on the ride, as has been our experience in recent visits, but thankfully sitting at the back of the log I managed to stay relatively dry.

After a few more pictures, we used our FASTPASS and quickly entered the Haunted Mansion. As before I was amazed at the utter immersion the attraction offers including the musty scent that greets guests as they enter. The attraction had undergone a total conversion that featured Jack Skellington and other characters from “A Nightmare Before Christmas” seamlessly integrated into the beloved attraction. Everything from the pictures, holograms, and decor was enhanced to feature a haunted Christmas celebration. A couple of delights for us was smelling the gingerbread house as we rode past it, and seeing the traditional holographic hitchhikers replaced with twisted holiday gifts. Words cannot fully do justice to the amount of new features that were added but suffice it to say it is even more elaborate than we first experienced over six years ago and is truly a must-see attraction.

The sun had set and Disneyland was even more alive with lights when we returned to Main Street to catch the holiday parade. A huge crowd lined the streets and were not disappointed by a dazzling parade of floats, music, and beloved characters all celebrating the holidays. From Mickey and Minnie ice-skating on top of a float, to the toy soldiers, and Jolly old St. Nick himself, you would have to be a Grinch not to be delighted by the magic of the event. Seeing the big tree as well as Main Street lit up was also a breathtaking sight.

Next we went over to Disney’s California Adventure and had to take a few detours around the numerous construction projects that were going on at the Park. Everything from a new entrance to Car’s Land is set to open in 2012 and from what we could see, it is truly going to be a magnificent addition to the Park.

I took advantage of Grizzly Rapids very short line, and thanks to my windbreaker, managed to avoid getting too wet on the ride. The guest who shared my raft were not so lucky but gleefully went back in line as they told me they were on their ninth straight time. Indulging my wife’s preference for gentler rides, with the ulterior motive of drying off, we made our way to the pier and took a ride on the Golden Zephyr and Silly Swing Symphony, both rides guaranteed to bring out the kid in you who always wanted to fly.

Since we wanted to get back to experience the holiday fireworks show, and the lines were long, we did not get to as many attractions as we had hoped to, but after taking a break for a filling dinner at Taste Pilot’s Grill, we made our way back to Disneyland for the amazing holiday fireworks show that was truly epic even by Disney standards. Following the fireworks, we made our way It’s a Small World, and were dazzled by amazing light and music show over the beloved attraction. Next up we headed over to Fantasmic and passed by the reindeer that were being attended to by staff. Even though we were unable to visit them during the normal hours of the attraction, it was still a joy to see them from afar.

The rest of the evening was spent visiting many of our favorite attractions, shopping, and taking in the numerous holiday decorations, lights, and attractions. At the end of our visit, we agreed that not only was this an amazing holiday event, but a new tradition that we look for to experiencing each year. The holiday celebration runs from Thanksgiving to the first weekend of the new year and is an amazing spectacle that every member of the family will enjoy.