My 5 Favorite Things About Visiting Disneyland During the Holidays
Long time no see, friends!! Okay, really it’s just been a couple of weeks. I took some time off for vacation/family/holidays, but I’m back and ready to share some awesome content with you!! I know Christmas is over, but Disneyland keeps their holiday decorations/celebration going through January 6, so I don’t feel weird sharing my 5 favorite things about my visit there earlier this month!
When Shawn invited me on this trip, one of the first things he said was “I hope you’re okay with spending a day at Disneyland.” and I obviously answered with a resounding YESSSSSSSS. Because what human doesn’t dream of going to Disneyland their entire life?! I waited until the last minute to get my ticket because I’m poor and did a Facebook closet clean out to pay for it, but it took a while for everyone to get their stuff. Once I got the money, though, I hopped on the Disney website and got myself a one day pass to Disneyland, minus California Adventure. We decided since we wouldn’t be getting to the park until after 2 pm, it just wasn’t worth trying to cram in both parks. And the stuff at Disneyland looked more up my alley than the CA side, if I’m being honest!
It took us 45 minutes to get there from the airport, 15 minutes for parking, 10 to wait for a shuttle, and another 15-20 waiting to actually walk into the park! It looked like a parade was about to start on Main Street when we finally entered, so we took a detour to find lockers for our stuff and STARBUCKS. I had a massive caffeine headache, so coffee was a priority. The line was long, but went surprisingly fast and my drink was perfect. IMPORTANT: Apparently Starbucks at Disneyland cannot redeem rewards. Never again will I make the mistake of ordering a $7 drink for the sole reason of FREE. Because it was most certainly not free. It was $7.
One of the best decisions we made was getting MaxPass on the Disneyland app! It was only $10 and gave us the FastPass for a bunch of rides AND the ability to download any of the pictures they took of us (you know the ones – your beautiful roller-coaster-I-just-peed-my-pants face). Also the app has a map of the park with wait times – super helpful!
NOW. You came here to hear my favorite things about visiting during the holidays, right?? I suppose it’s about time I told you!
Two words: Holiday. Churros.
I’m telling you, you haven’t lived until you’ve had a Disneyland churro. I scarfed mine down so fast I forgot to take a picture! They have so many holiday flavors right now and I wish I had the stomach (and the wallet tbh) to try them all!! Here are all of their flavors, per the Disneyland website:
Churros near Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters: Sour Apple Churro with option to add side caramel sauce
Churros near Big Thunder Mountain Railroad: Churro with crushed pretzels and peppermint
Churros near Sleeping Beauty Castle: Gingerbread Churro
Churros near Haunted Mansion: Sugarplum Candy Churro
The Golden Horseshoe: Churro Sundae: Peppermint ice cream and a cajeta-filled churro garnished with chocolate brownie crumbles, chocolate sauce, and whipped cream
Hungry Bear Restaurant: Churro Bites with eggnog gelato and caramel sauce
The Nightmare Before Christmas-fied Haunted Mansion.
So I have a confession to make. I don’t like Nightmare Before Christmas. Actually, I don’t like most of Tim Burton’s stuff (whoops). Claymation freaks me out!! BUT I did think the amount of detail that went into transforming the mansion was super cool. I tell you what, if there’s one thing Disney is good at, it’s the little details. I tried to take some pictures while on the actual ride, but they all just ended up being dark and blurry! Sad day. I did manage to get some outside and walking in, though!
The live jazz band in New Orleans.
This one was actually a happy accident. As I was waiting in line by the water for a churro in New Orleans, I realized the music wasn’t coming from a speaker. On a raft in the pond/lake were several men holding musical instruments! And upon further listening, I discovered they weren’t just playing jazz music – it was Christmas jazz music (my favorite kind)!
I can’t tell you how serene it was, listening to them play with the decorations and lights all around, their reflections rippling ever so slightly in the water. It felt like I was in a movie! Seriously, I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed standing in a line that much. Right around the time I got my churro, their little concert ended and fake snow drifted down from above! My inner child almost exploded right then and there. Which brings me to my next favorite thing…
Allllll the fake snow.
This time I’m referring to the snow on Main Street. I’m sorry I’m not a Disney aficionado (the last time I went was Disney World when I was 12ish), but I didn’t know it was going to happen until it started!! Shawn and I didn’t care much about the parade or the fireworks, so we perused the gift shops while everyone was crammed into the middle of the “street.” Once we figured it was over, we stepped outside to a ton of “snow” in the air and projected onto the buildings! The only thing more magical I can imagine would be the snow at Hogsmeade (which they just started this year!) – I can’t help it, Harry will always have my heart!
The castle at night!
I know, I know, super cliché, right? But it’s true!! I’m a sucker for Christmas lights, and the ones on the castle were no exception. PRO TIP: We looked forever for a good place to take a picture. It was so hard to find somewhere without a ton of people! We finally ventured over to the right of the castle, past a group of people taking pictures, and found a little bridge with no one nearby! We took a few, but it was just so incredibly dark. After giving up and getting back on the well-lit main trail, Shawn said “Look! Right here is perfect!!” and sure enough, you could see the castle through the trees AND I wasn’t just a big black blob.
Moral of the story: don’t just try to take pictures where everyone else is. Think outside the box! You might get a shot even better than the one you wanted originally!
There you have it! My favorite things about Disneyland during the holidays. If you enjoyed this post, you might want to check out my post all about Universal Studios in Orlando!