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Disneyland at Christmas

All images © Christine Knight

5 Reasons to visit Disneyland at Christmas

Disneyland with Kids

Now Christmas is done and dusted, it’s the perfect time to start planning your 2018 travels. Our must-do trip for any family takes a lot of saving and planning ahead - celebrating the holidays at Disneyland.

A Disney holiday is magical at any time of year, but during the holidays it is extra special. The Disney folks go all out to create an incredible festival of food, lights and decorations across both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Parks that must be experience at least once in a lifetime for any Disney-lover.

1. The Decorations

Both parks, Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park are dressed to the nines with festive decorations. Storefronts, lampposts and rooftops are adorned with festive wreaths, garlands, baubles and lights. Both parks feature an incredible 50-foot-tall Christmas tree.

Several of the rides in each park get a special makeover in the holiday season, too. In Disneyland park, the iconic facade of “It’s a Small World” ride is lit by over 50,000 lights and video projections, while the Haunted Mansion is taken over by Jack Skellington and the crew from Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas for a particularly spooking experience.

Over in Disney California Adventure Park, on our recent visit, the town of Radiator Springs was given a particularly fun makeover, including the cars themselves, plus the ride Mater’s Jingle Jamboree.

Disneyland at Christmas

2. The Food

Delicious treats are available in the holiday season at both parks. Disneyland Park is the place to find delectable delights such as peppermint Mickey Mouse beignets, seasonal candy apples, gingerbread men, snowman-shaped shortbread cookies, the famous handmade candy canes and snowflake cake pops, while Disney California Adventure Park features a Festive Foods Marketplace filled with holiday favourites from around the world.

We love to grab a holiday-themed popcorn bucket while we’re at the parks, too! They’re great take-home souvenirs.

Disneyland at Christmas

3. The Characters

Holiday garb makes those character meet-and-greets particularly special. We made a game of getting photos with as many seasonal characters we could find, from Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas Jack Skellington and Sally to festive Mickey and Minnie Mouse and the characters in ¡Viva Navidad! attire.

Disneyland at Christmas

4. The Lights

Once the sun goes down, the parks sparkle with an ocean of twinkling lights. Particularly spectacular is Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle, which undergoes a stunning transformation during this time. During the day it’s adorned with snow-capped turrets and icicles, but after dark it is lit with 80,000 shimmering lights that are just dazzling to behold.

Disneyland at Christmas

5. The Entertainment

It’s not Disney without incredible shows! Both parks pull out all the stops to provide special entertainment that is geared towards families. Disneyland Park features a twice-daily Christmas Fantasy Parade, where all your favourite Disney characters appear in seasonal attire, accompanied by dancing gingerbread men, prancing reindeer, and marching toy soldiers.

Over at Disney California Adventure Park, the Disney Festival of Holidays brings seasonal celebrations from around the world to Disney goers, our favourite being the colourful Disney ¡Viva Navidad! Street Party featuring mariachi and samba musicians and 12-foot-tall mojiganga puppets.

Christine Knight writes about navigating the world and parenthood on her site, Adventure, Baby!. You can find her sampling gelato and cake around the world with her preschooler, or building sandcastles at the beach in her home town of Sydney.

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