Moving on down Main Street, Sleeping Beauty’s Castle is all decked out for the season and is the focus for the evening’s “Believe … in Holiday Magic” fireworks, which is worth seeing if you can stay into the evening. The best part is that at the end of the show, snow comes swirling down! It’s so awesome to watch the kids see it for the first time. As you head through Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, make your way to “It’s a Small World” which is redone for the season inside and out (with more than 300,000 glittering lights on the facade). Next, head to Frontierland and my FAVORITE part of the holidays at Disneyland: Santa’s Reindeer Round-up. Being in this area is like being in a rustic mountain village, it’s just such a nice relaxing area. If you are hungry, you should stop into my favorite restaurant, Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue. After you’ve filled up on the all-you-can-eat chicken, ribs and fixin’s, mosey on over to check out Santa’s Reindeer, just relaxing and storing up their energy for The Big Trip on the 24th. Then around the corral, there is a fun arts and crafts area staffed by cast members. When we were there, they had reindeer cut-outs for the kids to color. There are also various characters stopping by. We saw Pluto sporting his Christmas sweater. Santa and Mrs. Claus’ house is next to the crafts area. We met Mrs. Claus standing on her front porch and waited about 10 minutes to sit on Santa’s lap. It was funny because Chip didn’t want to see Santa a first so he stayed outside with Surfer Guy while Lulu and I waited. Then after a while, I saw Chip talking to Mrs. Claus and she apparently talked him into meeting her husband. So he stepped inside and joined us in line. Of course, when it was our turn to see Santa, Lulu, refused….I can’t blame her, strange guy, big beard….But he was really nice and Chip gave him a laundry list of what he wanted for Christmas, so it all worked out.
Next on your “must-do” holiday adventure is The Haunted Mansion, which is celebrating it’s 40th Birthday this year. I really get a kick out of “The Nightmare Before Christmas” theme that features Jack Skellington and his skewed vision of the holidays. This ride is not scary at all (for my kids). Both Chip and Lulu had a really fun time looking around at everything. Once you’ve done Haunted Mansion, you have covered all the rides on my list. Next you can focus on the entertainment. New for the holidays is “Tiana’s Showboat Jubilee!” – inspired by the new Walt Disney Pictures animated film “The Princess and the Frog.” The rousing, colorful show has a jazz-filled holiday celebration vibe. It begins with a Mardi Gras-style cavalcade from New Orleans Square to the Mark Twain Riverboat
in Frontierland. At the landing, Princess Tiana, Prince Naveen and other “Princess and the Frog” characters move onboard and, as the boat takes to the river, Tiana and company entertain guests on shore with a musical show that includes songs from the movie. The parade, “A Christmas Fantasy” is a nice chance to take a break and soak in the holidays. The parade is so fun because it has every Disney character doing something fun and festive. There are dancing reindeer, toy soldiers playing real horns, Mickey and Minnie ice skating and of course Santa Claus. Although we didn’t do this, I did see some guests taking the guided holiday tour, “Holiday Time at Disneyland Park,” that provides entry into the “it’s a small world” holiday and Haunted Mansion Holiday, reserved seating for the Disneyland “A Christmas Fantasy” parade, a keepsake remembrance, a sweet surprise and entertaining information about the history behind Disneyland holiday traditions. You can get information about this tour at City Hall.
Chip and Lulu’s favorite activity this year as well as last is the cookie decorating. This year, it’s at Plaza Plaza Pavilion, the restaurant at the end of Main Street, U.S.A. near the entry to Adventureland. The cookie kits come in three designs to choose from: Gingerbread Man, Christmas Tree, and Snowman. The kits include the cookie (nice size and quality) frosting of different colors, m&m’s, sprinkles of various colors and candy cane sprinkles. I think the cookie kits are a really good deal and really fun and a nice way to pace the day. Chip and Lulu loved, loved, loved making their cookies. And when we got home, they kept wanting to look at their creations and take little bites at a time. I tell ya, those kids got a ton of fun out of those $6 kits!
I also had the opportunity to test out the Mobile Magic phone application from Verizon Wireless. Mobile Magic is the first Disney-developed mobile application that enables Verizon Wireless customers to easily navigate Disney parks. When I used it I was able to check on the wait times of rides, look up where I could find a certain character and get an overview of dining options across the resort. This is exclusive to Verizon Wireless customers and is available for download and purchase for $9.99 for a 180-day subscription. Although I don’t think this is a “must have” for Disneyland, I can see it being useful for some guests. I found it to be a fun application and fairly easy to use. You can check out the DisneyParks.com/blog and DisneyParks.com/mobile for more info.
The Holidays at Disneyland runs from November 13, 2009 to January 3, 2010.
Coming up in 2009 Disney Parks is launching a program that celebrates the spirit of volunteer service with a simple proposition: “Give a Day. Get a Disney Day.” Disney hopes to inspire families to volunteer in their communities during 2010 through this first of its kind program. One million people who perform volunteer service for a participating organization will receive a free one-day admission ticket to a Walt Disney World Resort or Disneyland Resort theme park. Starting Jan. 1, 2010, guests can go to www.DisneyParks.com for the United States and Puerto Rico or www.DisneyParks.ca for Canada to search for volunteer opportunities available in those areas through HandsOn Network, the nation’s largest volunteer network, and sign up for a day of volunteer service. Many of the opportunities will be for projects that entire families can participate in together.
Disneyland has some vacation offers going on now as well as just after the new year. For more info about Disneyland Resort at the holidays, visit www.Disneyland.com/holidays
I also recommend a visit to UpTake for a compilation of information about Disneyland from all over the internet.