While I admit that I am one of those loyal Disneylanders who thinks that any day is a great day to go to Disneyland, I think Holiday Time is the perfect time to go “home” again. My favorite time to visit the Disneyland Resort is during the holiday season thanks to all of the impressive holiday decorations, festive music and tasty treats. Over the years it has become a treasured family tradition for us to visit Disneyland in mid-November to celebrate my son’s birthday and to kick off the holiday season in grand style. This week we did just that and we were so happy to see that the last remnants of the 60th Diamond Celebration have been removed and Holiday Time is once again in full swing.

Disneyland

Holidays officially kick off at Disneyland

When it comes to holiday decorations, Disneyland cannot be beat. Sleeping Beauty Castle is decorated with seemingly countless lights, “snow” and garland and looks absolutely beautiful both during the day and when lit at night. A variety of uniquely decorated Christmas trees can be found throughout the park (other than Tomorrowland) and Main Street U.S.A. is thoroughly covered in festive holiday decor. My favorite area in Disneyland is New Orleans Square and the decorations found there are very beautiful and quite uniquely New Orleans. Each land has its own way of celebrating the holiday season and that only adds to the charm of a Holiday Time visit to Disneyland. Critter Country looks as if it was decorated by its locals and Frontierland maintains its frontier feel with holiday decorations which include cowboy boots and rustic floral arrangements. Additional holiday decorations can also be found in both Mickey’s Toontown and Fantasyland.

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Holiday snowflakes are up on the turnstiles.

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The Christmas Tree

Last week the famous Disneyland tree was not up, but with a little bit of magic it’s now here in its full glory. Did you know that the artificial tree stands 60 feet tall and has 280,000 pine-tip branches molded from actual tree branches? It is decorated with more than 2,000 ornaments, including the three-foot star on top, and nearly 4,800 energy-efficient LED lights. When the Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle show reaches its finale crescendo, more than 60,000 LED lights and 1,200 strobe lights are added to the effect.

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A Christmas Fantasy Parade

Another great holiday tradition we love is the A Christmas Fantasy Parade. This holiday parade includes classic Disney favorites as well as some newer characters. During the parade guests can celebrate with Mickey and the gang, Disney princes and princesses, Lady Tremaine and Cinderella’s stepsisters, Winnie Pooh and his pals, the Toy Story crew, dancing elves and reindeer and, of course, Santa and Mrs. Claus. I personally always get a chuckle out of seeing Santa’s very unique reindeer in the finale unit, who dance around on two legs and in doing so somehow frighten my older sister.

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Holiday Treats are Here

In honor of the holiday season guests are also able to experience classic attractions with a unique holiday twist. When Jack Skellington takes over the Haunted Mansion it becomes Haunted Mansion Holiday. Jungle Cruise becomes Jingle Cruise and it’s a small world becomes it’s a small world Holiday. The lines can be especially long for Haunted Mansion Holiday and it’s a small world Holiday but they are well worth the wait, especially the elaborately detailed Haunted Mansion Holiday. Sadly the same, however, cannot be said about Jingle Cruise. According to Disney, the skippers had been waiting for their holiday delivery of gifts, treats and decorations when they were accidentally dropped in the jungle in a supply plane drop. There isn’t much story to it and it ends up being random holiday references and bad puns. Personally I prefer the classic Jungle Cruise.

If a visit with Santa is what you are looking for, be sure to stop by Pooh’s Thotful Spot in Critter Country. Guests can talk to Santa, take photos (with or without Photopass service) and are given a mini candy cane courtesy of the big guy himself. I really like the decorations found in this area of Critter Country. They are playful and unique featuring some of your favorite Disney critters, including Pooh and his friends.

A big part of holiday merriment is eating and drinking and a visit to Disneyland during the holiday season is surely no exception. In addition to the normal offerings, seasonal foods and drinks are available for purchase. If you are a beignet fan, you can try the peppermint beignets. If ice cream is more style, seasonal flavors are also available. Popular holiday food items include the yule log at the Plaza Inn, candy cane beignets at the Mint Julep Bar, peppermint stick ice cream with crushed candy cane waffle cones at Gibson Girl, the pineapple upside-down funnel cake at Hungry Bear and handmade candy canes made at Disneyland.

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Disney California Adventure

While Disneyland Park is my favorite place to celebrate the holidays, the entire resort has joined in the fun. Disney’s California Adventure Park is offering visits with Santa, a new version of World of Color this year called World of Color – Season of Light

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Rare Treat! Get your Photo before they go away again!

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Festival of Holidays

After its first debut week the Festival of the Holidays is having very positive reviews, this holiday experience may return in future years. Have you ventured out to DCA and tried this new event? If so please comment below.

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They have plenty of merchandise to buy at the festival, if you want to read more on our thoughts about the Festival of Holidays just click here.

Redwood Creek Welcome Santa

Santa was unceremoniously evicted from Elias and Co. to return back that retail space to sell more merchandise, but now you can visit Santa at the Redwood Creek Trail.

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StarWars Land & Security Update

DarthDaver was amazed to see the project actually starting to look like…things. I walked around Big Thunder Mountain to the fence and could see rock formations! With Critter Country open again, I was able to walk from the Haunted Mansion and see the elevated tracks of the Disneyland Railroad that will pass by the waterfall next summer! Before we get into the new stuff, let’s take a look at how far the project has come so far. If you want read more on StarWars News click here!

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New Security Screening Center

Construction on the new Security Screening area is going at a feverish pace, Disney is not wasting time getting this project done as fast as possible. You can see from the below photos they are doing a lot of rerouting of the current tram and surrounding area.

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Refurbishment Round Up

Looks like the Dream Suite Balcony is getting worked done.

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The current green tarps covering the front of the Fantasmic! Stage are still up, hopefully they finish this project soon.

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Disneyland Refurbishments

  • Fantasmic!
  • Disneyland Railroad
  • Mark Twain Riverboat
  • Sailing Ship Columbia
  • Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island
  • Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes
  • “it’s a small world”
  • Jungle Cruise
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Thank you !
Christmastime is definitely a great, but very popular, time to visit Disneyland Resort. To avoid larger crowds, I suggest visiting before Thanksgiving or during the first two weeks of December. The second half of December is quite crowded but spending Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at the resort is pretty unforgettable, as long as you can handle the longer lines. If you want to experience the most popular Disneyland holiday traditions like the Candlelight Processional and candy canes, be advised that your chances are somewhat limited as both are both extremely popular and limited. Christmas at Disneyland began on November 10th and runs through January 8th. A great part about Christmastime at Disneyland is that all this merriment and entertainment (other than the tour) is included with admission.All of us on the Disneyland Photo Update crew would like to thank you for joining us today. Each week we’ll feature different photographers and commentators (often more than one). Today’s MiceChat Disneyland Update was shot by Brian Pinskyassembled by CakvalaSC & Beth Thorpe with a quick glance by Shelly Valladolid

 

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That’s it for this week’s Update.Are you a photographer? Do you love the parks? Would you like to contribute to the Disneyland Update or other MiceChat columns? Contact Dusty Sage: [email protected]