Being at the Disney Parks during the holidays is a truly magical experience. I recently visited Disneyland Resort so that I could take in all the holiday cheer and experience some of the holiday offerings that you can't experience at Walt Disney World. Here are my favorites.
- “it's a small world” lighting and projection – One of the main reasons I was thrilled to visit Disneyland during the holidays was to finally get a chance to see the ”its a small world” façade lite up in a colorful dream. It was worth all the waiting. Twinkling lights turn off every 30 minutes throughout the evening when a projection show animates the façade with a kaleidoscope of charming holiday colors and images. You'll see the time animated and even see the train travel through the ride.
1.5 “it's a small world” holiday overlay – While the outside is really something, the ride inside also gets a holiday makeover. Celebrate the holidays from all over the world with this festive ride. Make sure to look out for the Disney and Pixar characters throughout the ride, and they also have cute Christmas flair.
2. Giant Christmas Tree – the decorated tree that stands at the entrance of Disneyland on Main Street USA is the biggest tree I've ever seen. It is a sight to behold! There is another massive tree on Buena Vista Street at Disney Calfornia Adventure.
3. Holiday Decor. Nothing compares to seeing a castle in person, except maybe seeing that castle covered in icicle lights and wreaths. The colors pop and you'll see a wonderful “Believe… in holiday magic” firework show and then it will snow in California. There are Mickey wreaths and poinsettias everywhere too. Pop over to Disney Calfornia Aventure to see Radiator Springs decorated for the holidays as well.
4. Haunted Mansion Holiday Overlay – Jack Skellington is still stealing Christmas and sharing it with guests of the spooky mansion. The Nightmare Before Christmas overlay is amazing to see. Zero traveling down the haunted hallway. Sandy Claws wishing you a Merry Christmas where the scared caretaker stands as Saly watches her love. Even Madame Leota gets a festive makeover. This is something that they can't do at Walt Disney World so if you get the chance to visit Disneyland between the Halloween and Christmas season make sure you check it out.
5. Holiday Food – Disney does food better than anyone and they love to change up their food offerings not only every season but every year as well. When you are visiting Disneyland and Disney California Adventure you have to try the holiday churros. There is also the Festival of Holidays at Disney Calfornia Adventure that has a festive food marketplace much like the ones you see at Epcot that serve tastes from all over the work. The Yule logs are beautiful.
6. ¡Viva Navidad! – This street party is the best one I've ever seen. It happens multiple times through the day in case you miss it. The Three Caballeros sing and dance along with mariachi and samba musicians, folklórico dancers, and your favorite mice of course. There are so many wonderful colors. By the end of the show, my face hurt from smiling so hard. It is so amazing. During the holidays is the only time to see the Thre Caballeros all together for a character meet and greet!
Take a look at our video from the front row.
7. Holiday Characters – Meet characters that aren't in the park year round. Aside from the obvious Santa Claus, you can see the Three Caballeros, and most of the characters dressed in their holiday outfits.
While Disneyland Resort doesn't have the Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, there are lots of things to see and do for the holidays. Some of which you can't see in Florida making them more of a draw. I'm glad that I can finally check to visit Disneyland during Christmas off my bucket list!