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For 8 weeks out of the year, The Disneyland Resort is magically transformed into a Holiday Wonderland, complete with festive holiday decor, Santa, real reindeer and snowfall. Whether it’s your first time or your fiftieth, there is always something new to discover at the resort. Here is what you can expect this season at The Disneyland Resort.

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As you enter the park, you’ll likely be awed by the beauty and magnificence of the 60 foot Town Square Christmas tree, which towers above Main Street. After you’ve preserved your immediate memories of your visit with a photo, take note of the decor that adorns Main Street’s shops. And while you’re on Main Street, be sure to stop by Candy Palace for a hand-made candy cane. But act fast because these highly sought-after treats will sell out on those special days when they’re made and sold to guests. This year, guests will receive a voucher at the entrance to the park which will entitle the bearer to purchase one hand-made candy cane. It should be noted that tickets which include Magic Morning admission benefits will be allowed to enter the park an hour early, thus allowing the receipt of a voucher before the park opens to the public.

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Perhaps the most spectacular transformation at the resort is that of Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle, with it’s traditional snowdrifts and icicles. Each evening during the season, guests can marvel in wonder at the holiday lighting and special effects show. The finale includes a holiday favorite…”Believe…in Holiday Magic” fireworks show, complete with snowfall down Main Street. Of note, Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle light show is actually comprised of three acts, each of which begins at the castle and travels down Main Street, U.S.A., concluding at the Town Square Christmas Tree.

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Every year, “it’s a small world” and Haunted Mansion are completely re-themed for the holiday season. “it’s a small world” Holiday depicts celebrations throughout the world. New this year is a 14-foot sparkling snowman, visible in the finale holding a sign that spells out Happy Holidays. The facade of “it’s a small world” Holiday is quite the sensation, particularly at night when the 50,000 Christmas lights which adorn it shine bright. Don’t miss “The Magic, The Memories, and You!”, a nightly show where images of guests celebrating their holiday visits are projected onto “it’s a small world.” The presentation features a holiday sequence complete with wreaths, candy canes, Christmas paper and ice.

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Haunted Mansion Holiday is the result of the collision between Halloween and Christmas traditions. Jack Skellington’s influence is evident throughout the “mansion” including the 100+ jack-o’-lanterns and 400+ flickering candles that adorn the exterior. Of interest, the gingerbread house, which is visible in the Mansion’s Great Hall, is made of real gingerbread and icing. Each year, the resort enlists the creativity of the resort’s food and entertainment divisions to create an original design.

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Memory making is integral to the experience at the park. Be sure to stop by Santa’s Reindeer Round-up in Big Thunder Ranch for meet and greets/photo opportunities with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Perhaps you could use this opportunity for a holiday family photo.

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“A Christmas Fantasy” parade has become a tradition at the resort. This upbeat celebration features your favorite Disney characters singing and dancing as they prepare for the holidays and the arrival of Santa Claus.

If you want to make the most of your visit this season, you can book a guided holiday tour which includes entry into “it’s a small world” Holiday and Haunted Mansion Holiday, reserved seating for “A Christmas Fantasy” parade, a keepsake remembrance, and a bit of history surrounding the holiday traditions and celebrations at the resort.

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Disney California Adventure Park is getting a makeover, and in 2012, the park will take guests back to 1920’s Los Angeles, as Walt experienced it when he first arrived in California. Despite the undertaking, the park has also been festively made over to celebrate the holiday season. Holiday highlights include a brand new street show titled Phineas and Ferb’s Rockin’ Rollin’ Dance Party, which is performed several times a day at Paradise Pier. The show is highly interactive and invites guests to sing and dance along with Phineas and Ferb to classic songs from the show as well as holiday favorites.

One of the most spectacular and innovative shows to date, World of Color continues to amaze audiences. This season, guests can enjoy a special holiday prelude sequence featuring Lanny and Wayne from Prep & Landing. Also noteworthy are the holiday transformations visible on The Little Mermaid – Ariel’s Undersea Adventure and in “a bug’s land.” Lastly, guests can enjoy meeting Santa Claus on the Paradise Bay boardwalk, adjacent to Ariel’s Grotto.

Caryn Bailey is a mother of two and the blogger behind Rockin’ Mama.