Disneyland Holidays Review (and thoughts coming “home” after WDW trip)

*Note – this blog is also posted as a news article on Disneyland Inside Out. Sometimes I cross post things to keep my sanity. 🙂

This weekend, we made our first Disney outing after our fun Walt Disney World trip over Thanksgiving. It’s always fun to come back to our “home park” after going elsewhere, and reflect on what we love bout it, as well as appreciate things at others we wouldn’t mind bringing to Disneyland.  As mentioned in another blog, I’m definitely all for the Annual Passholder lines and Bag Free lines at DL – although, based on Sunday crowds (a notoriously heavy locals day), I don’t know how much good they’d do on a regular basis with the large number of AP Holders.

Things that weren’t as fun at Disneyland after coming from WDW – the general attitude of other Guests.  I found while stressed and tired, most guests at WDW were still pretty gracious on the bus, in security lines and beyond – while not all, the vast majority were extremely polite, and friendly.  At Disneyland, within 5 minutes in line at Toy Story, we heard a mom cussing loudly at HER mom (grandma) in front of her kids (and mine), and had a few people bump into us or even completely face plant into my four year old in a stroller – all who were locals, not tourists.  C’mon Southern California, lets get your reputation together! 😉

That being said, we still all loved seeing our little castle and feeling the true magic that comes on Disneyland Main Street (especially during the holidays) I don’t think you can find anywhere else! 🙂  The kids had lot of fun exploring the new Santa hunt additions at Redwood Creek Challenge Trail, seeking out hidden gifts and solving the puzzles.  Santa is hanging out there as well, and is the same jolly soul we saw last year, with a long line of popularity to prove it. 🙂

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SANTA Treasure Hunt Map in Redwood Creek Challenge Trail is a lot of fun!

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Found one! 

I was ecstatic to see Festival of the Holidays at DCA much like what is offered at Epcot. Though it’s a smaller sampling of foods and in a much more contained and crowded space, even the kids tried some new foods and I sampled both food and drink. I love how all the holidays are represented!  The musical entertainment schedule from various groups is really cool as well, and I hope to see more of this on repeat visits.   An Annual Passholder Festival Pass is bringing the locals in like crazy, as the pass offers 8 food samplings (doesn’t include alcohol) through the end of the Festival on January 7th.  The Food and Wine Festival is expanded at DCA next year, and I can see why as the popularity of such occasions with “foodies” has really expanded in recent years.  While I still want to revisit the Epcot Worldshowcase, I will definitely revisit DCA’s version!  We didn’t make it to Viva Navidad this year, but this is a great show (featuring the Three Caballeros) in the Paradise Pier area that is a super tribute to the Spanish American festivities!

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Festival of Holidays Booth inside Redwood Creek Challenge Trail by Santa

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Pomegranate Margarita and Tamale 

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Kiddos loved the Mac ‘n Cheese

The best part of the holidays at Disneyland include “it’s a small world holiday”, which in my opinion is still worth the longer than normal wait times. Of course, Fast Pass is also available, and if you spring for Max Pass during your stay, you’ll have no time at all visiting this awesome attraction! Of course, it’s even better to see it light up at night!  Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, while smaller than her counterpart in Cinderella’s at WDW, is still simply magical and so fun to see each year. The Christmas “Believe… In Holiday Magic” fireworks show, complete with “snow fall”, is also fantastic with the projections on the Main Street buildings and surrounding magic.   My kids also always have to see “A Christmas Fantasy” parade, which is one of the longest and most festive day parades Disneyland has to offer! The talent and floats they put together never disappoint – my particular favorites are still the toy soldiers and gingerbread men. 🙂    Of course, it ends with Santa, and that’s always a hit!  Truly, Disneyland is one of the most magical places on Earth, and will always have my heart during this season!

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The scene inside “it’s a small world holiday” 

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Soldiers on the march! “A Christmas Fantasy Parade”

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Elsa is a hit in “A Christmas Fantasy Parade”

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The best is seeing “it’s a small world holiday” at night!

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The lovely Sleeping Beauty’s Castle looking amazing

Have you been to a Disney Park during the holidays? What are your thoughts on the festivities?

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The lobby is so pretty at the Grand Californian – Santa is here every night too! 

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Great to see the completed Gingerbread House! 

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