Thanks to Disney for inviting our family to participate in the Disneyland Holiday Blogger Preview. All opinions are my own.
One of the reasons our family loves Disneyland so much is because there is something for everyone, every age, every gender. My fairly mature and well behaved teens at Disneyland can enjoy safe solo wandering away from the rest of the family for a stint, and we can regroup for meals and tamer rides with the littler kids. We all have our favorite things to do at Disneyland during the holidays (and all year round) but my teenagers have surprising ideas about what you MUST do at Disneyland during the holidays. They made this video detailing their “can’t miss” activities. Scroll to the end of the article for a few of my (additional) favorites and a link to all the special magic that’s present in the Parks at this most magical time of the year.
#1 Dole Whip
Dole whip is available at the Disneyland Parks all year round. The lines to get your Dole whip are only slightly shorter during the (colder) holiday months. It’s that good. It’s not a holiday treat but according to my teens, no trip to Disney is complete without the Dole Whips.
#2 Jingle Cruise
One of the reasons we love the Jungle Cruise is that it never really changes… “back side of water” etc. At this point we can almost recite the script which makes the already slightly campy experience even better. But lo and behold the Christmas miracle that is the Jingle Cruise. The hippo tries to eat fruitcake. The tiger rips into the gifts. The headhunter has seasonal specials. This is pure genius.
#3 Thunder Mountain
Another classic, made better by recent renovation. Does’t matter the time of year. Do it.
#4 Selfie with a Goat
Those poor Disneyland goats are a little overlooked this time of year, what with their inability to fly and lack of a rack of antlers. Nevermind. We like to get a #selfie with a goat every time we visit the parks and we also follow @DisneylandGoats on instagram. Goats are cool.
#5 The Holiday Edition Peppermint Cotton Candy
It’s puffy and white like snow and it’s not around for very long. Get it while you can!
#6 The Holiday Parade
One of the most spectacular parades of the year, you will be forced to smile. Even Eyore appears festive. The dancing snowmen and nutcrackers are adorable. My daughters especially love the holiday parade as they attend a local performing arts school and have several friends and teachers who are cast members. They know how hard everyone works to bring these performances to life.
#7 Small World
The holiday transformation of the Small World ride is legendary. I like to look for the Elvis bobblehead on Lilo’s surfboard and the fish that Ariel leaves out for Santa. There’s a hidden Mickey in the snow on the way out this year, if you have good eyes you might catch it! This is a ride you might want to save for the evening because the lit up facade is as wondrous as the inside.
Yup. Pickles. Ever since they were small kids, it’s not a trip to Disney till we buy a giant pickle. Maybe hold off on this, the dole whip and the cotton candy till after the roller coasters? You can buy pickles from carts throughout the park.
#9 Carsland in CA Adventure
Carsland’s holiday transformation is so fabulous. The lights are just spectacular and so cleverly done. Tire trees and wreaths. We always love to ride Radiator Racers after dark. It feels more magical this time of year.
#10 World of Color Winter Dreams
For Frozen Fans this is a MUST SEE. World of Color is already a crowd pleaser, of course but there are some wonderful holiday additions that you have to see. For my fellow MOTs (member of the tribe) keep an ear open for the Dreidel song.
My additional suggestions:
Note: I am not a teenager, but I have been known to act like one at Disneyland!
- Find the menorahs – there are two, one on Main Street in Disneyland above the Jewelers, another in California Adventure, in the Julius Katz window
- Experience the snow – it falls nightly after the fireworks
- Experience the fireworks
- Visit the redecorated Haunted Mansion – Jack Skellington is still in residence and he does a bang up job redecorating each year a little differently
- Take a reflective #famfie selfie in one of the ornaments on the big tree on main street
- Get a photo holding a bunch of balloons. The vendors will let you take these pics if they are not too busy.
- Catch the Dapper Dans performing
- Share your magical day on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and/or Snapchat!