There may not be snow in Anaheim but Disneyland has one of the best holiday celebrations in Southern California. Garland wrapped lamp posts, old-fashioned Christmas candies and parades harkens back to a simpler time and gets visitors in the holiday mood. This year there is even more for visitors to see as Disney California Adventure joins Disneyland in an all out Disney-style holiday celebration.
Holidays in Cars Land
The streets are alive with garland and Christmas lights and a 50-foot Christmas tree but it’s Cars Land that steals the show. A “snowcar” welcomes visitors to a holiday themed Route 66 circa the 1950’s. Mater and friends are decked out in holiday wear and they’ve created interesting car-themed Christmas trees around the town of Radiator Springs. At night, the neon lights and holiday decorations create a show-stopping photo opportunity.
Jingle Jangle Jamboree
Don’t miss the new Jingle Jangle Jamboree kids’ holiday area behind Thunder Mountain Ranch in Frontierland. Live music from Billie Hill and the Hillbillies plays in the background as kids do crafts, cookie decorating, play games and visit with Santa. This is a good spot to take a break and get a photo with a holiday character.
Haunted Mansion Holiday
Halloween and Christmas collide in this ghoulishly-themed attraction based on Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” While there are smells of gingerbread, there are no cute gingerbread men in this dark ride – little ones may feel the fright. Lines are long at this popular attraction and a Fastpass is highly recommended if available.
A Christmas Fantasy Parade
The parade is an annual tradition at Disneyland. Disneyland characters and friends including reindeer and gingerbread men dance and sing as they prepare for the arrival of Santa Claus. Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse show off their ice skating skills and of course there are some princesses in the mix. The parade lasts about 40 minutes and ends with the arrival of Santa on his sleigh.
It’s a Small World Holiday
It’s a Small World Holiday is a favorite and kids and adults who have been on the ride before love to point out the holiday additions. It’s usually about a 10- to 20-minute wait for this family-friendly boat ride that leaves everyone feeling a little cheerier at the end.
Believe in Magic…Fireworks Spectacular
If your crew is not too tired, the nightly fireworks show in Disneyland takes on a holiday theme with Christmas music and a snowfall on Main Street for the finale. This is a popular event and if you are coming from California Adventure plan to arrive an hour ahead as the lines to get through the turnstiles at Disneyland are long.
Disneyland and Disney California Adventure
1313 S. Disneyland Drive
Anaheim, CA 92802
Through January 6, 2013
Kristi Marcelle is a travel writer and regular contributor at Ciao Bambino. She loves planning travel adventures with her family, a good glass of wine at the whining hour and the Green Bay Packers. Follow her on Twitter @kristimarcelle.