During this time of year, Southern California theme parks transform into magical places to celebrate the holiday season. With the variety of activities and events offered, it’s easy to find great ways to make memories and create holiday traditions with your family.
Holidays at Disneyland Resort
1313 S Disneyland Dr.
Running through January 6, 2016, Disneyland is all decked for the season. Christmas, and the holidays turn Disneyland into quite the must-see experience. Must visit attractions include: “It’s a Small World-Holiday” and “Haunted Mansion-Holiday”. The “A Christmas Fantasy” parade is worth waiting all year for. Every Disney character participates in song, dance and holiday preparations while making their way through the park. You can visit Santa and Mrs. Claus over at Santa’s Reindeer Roundup in Big Thunder Ranch in Frontierland. They have a fun coloring station for kids right near the reindeer corral.
Wrap up your holiday memories with a spot on Main Street with a view of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle and its wonderful winter look. You’ll enjoy the legendary “Believe … in Holiday Magic” fireworks show, which takes guests on a journey of sights and sounds of the season and ends with a fun dusting of snow swirling down on the guests. Don’t skip California Adventure which is beautifully decorated for the season and Santa is ready to greet you on Paradise Pier. Be sure to check the online park schedule to help plan your trip. The park hours vary widely this time of year.
Grinchmas at Universal Studios
1000 Universal Center Dr
Universal City, CA 91602
It’s Grinchmas time again at Universal Studios Hollywood. Starting in December, the park kicks off its holiday season with the Grinch, his faithful dog Max, tons of fresh snow and a “Whoville Whobilation” at the original movie sets where the classic “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” was filmed. Nightly tree-lighting ceremonies, celebrity readings of “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and encounters with a “Who’s Who” of Whoville characters will be part of the celebration. “Grinchmas” is included with your admission ticket.
The most amusing thing for me about “Grinchmas” is its irreverence. A whimsical, curving “Grinchmas” tree towers 60 feet above the center of a snow-covered “Grinchmas” winter wonderland. The Grinch and his faithful dog Max will be on hand for meet and greets and photo opps. Families will also be able to enjoy traditional winter fun in a playground of real snow.
“Grinchmas” will also provide fans of the movie a close-up view of the original “Whoville” film sets, featured in “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” aboard the world-famous behind-the-scenes Studio Tour. The tram even makes a special stop amid the “Whoville” buildings where visitors get to see a performance by “Whoville’s” residents re-enacting favorite scenes and songs from the film. More information, including holiday promotional offers and information regarding celebrity readings of “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” is available Here.
On December 11th and 12th a “Max to the Rescue: Whoville Have a Heart Pet Adoption Fair,” presented by the Amanda Foundation, L.A. Animal Services and Universal Studios Hollywood, invite responsible pet owners to adopt a new canine pet. “Max the Dog” will be on hand to meet potential owners and officiate the dog adoptions.
Holly Jolly Holidays at Legoland
One LEGOLAND Drive
Carlsbad, CA 92008
This year it’s Holly Jolly Holidays at Legoland, now through December 31st. The entire theme park transforms into a holiday wonderland during Holly Jolly Holidays which features festive entertainment every weekend including carolers and strolling musicians; nightly fireworks December 26th through 30th and an enchanting holiday musical. One big reason to head to the park is to see the world’s tallest LEGO® Christmas tree. In nightly tree lighting ceremonies December 2nd through December 24th, a lucky child will be randomly selected to help pull the switch that lights up the Christmas tree. For a really cool family photo opp, visit Santa, his sleigh and two reindeer that are made entirely out of LEGO bricks. The festive display stands 7 feet tall. Miniland U.S.A. is also transformed into a winter wonderland with holiday scenes throughout. The season’s festivities wrap up on December 31st with Kids’ New Year’s Eve when midnight strikes at 6 p.m. in a Times Square-style party just for kids. All Holly Jolly Holidays activities are included with the price of admission.
Knott’s Merry Farm
Knott’s Berry Farm
8039 Beach Boulevard
Buena Park CA 90620
Knott’s Berry Farm has magically transformed into Knott’s Merry Farm this holiday season presenting “A Charlie Brown Christmas” with seasonal entertainment, spectacular decorations including a 65 foot tall Christmas tree, and a colorful Christmas parade. Activities include: “A Peanut’s Holiday Parade”, the ice spectacular, “It’s Christmas, Snoopy”, Knott’s Christmas Crafts Village, performances of “A Christmas Carol” and “A Gift of the Magi”, Elf Mountain Ride and Snoopy’s Christmas Light Spectacular. If the family isn’t totally exhausted after all that, then stop by Santa’s Toy Barn for a visit with Santa Claus.
Every evening in Calico Square you can catch all the Peanuts characters as they host a song-and-dance show complete with carolers and a Christmas sing-along then watch as they light the Christmas tree. The Peanuts gang is also featured in their very own live musical show, “Winter Wonderland” shown daily in Camp Snoopy. All Merry Farm events and activities are included with your admission. From December 4 through December 17 visitors get in free with the donation of a $15 toy purchased in the marketplace. Be sure to check the schedule as some activities are not offered daily.