Can’t contain my excitement–tomorrow is our first visit of the Christmas season! We;re pretty seasoned pros, but I’m still spending some time on travel sites specializing in Disneyland holidays, like this Ultimate Disneyland Christmas blog. I’m just on these sites to make sure we don’t miss anything exciting!

Last year was not as great because it was the 60th anniversary, and they had special decorations, fireworks, and parades and decided to forgo the Christmas stuff. And I really did like the Paint the Night parade, which you can see here, but I promise you that no video can do it justice. By the way, Paint the Night will still happen on select nights this season.

I never did see the 60th anniversary fireworks. We tend to get there and leave earlier in the day. I’m sure they were great, but there’s nothing like the Christmas fireworks, and I don’t even care for fireworks. They play Christmas music and illuminate the castle all neat, and then the finale is the song “White Christmas” and they make it snow in the form of gently falling bubbles in the main square, and every time I cry and it’s beautiful.

 

There are some must-dos every Christmastime visit. First, Haunted Mansion Holiday, where the Haunted Mansion is transformed into Nightmare Before Christmas-land. Seriously, going through the ride is just like entering the movie. And then there’s It’s a Small World Holiday. It’s the cruise through the world set to Jingle Bells in different languages. One of the best parts about these rides, particularly Small World, is how the outside of the rides are decorated for the season, all lit up and beautiful, so it’s really best to go after dark.

Of course, one of the other things on the list is Jingle Cruise, when Jungle Cruise gets all decked out for the season and the skippers insert some holiday puns into their monologues. That’s one of Thor’s favorites. It’s ten minutes of nonstop dad jokes.

And then of course there’s the decorations. I can spend all day just looking at the garlands and lights in the different lands. But one of the best is Cars Land at night during the holidays. I’ll be sure to take pictures. I’m not even a big fan of the movie, but the way they made a film just come to life in Cars Land is amazing.

Speaking OF California Adventure, NEW this year is the Festival of Holidays. Part of it is a similar set up to the Food and Wine Festival earlier this year; there’s a bunch of pretty little popup stalls selling various foods that are pretty good, but way expensive for a small plate of food. The range of stuff they sell is pretty incredible though, and you can check out the details of all the offerings here if you’re so inclined. I’m looking forward to the crab cakes and smoked duck & vegetable spring roll myself. Anyway, it’s just nice that California Adventure is going to be more festive this year, though I love the park all year round.

But wait, there’s more! One of the other things that is so wonderful this time of year is the Grand Californian Hotel. I’ll definitely take pictures of that. The hotel is already spectacular to begin with, and they put up this amazing tree, and at least last year sold hot drinks from a little stand, and we never got the chance to try them, but it’s definitely on my list this year.

And all this is of course besides the things we like to do every time, like eating. There is a whole page on Christmas eats here. One of the big things they recommend are the yule log desserts you can get; I’ve only had it once and was not impressed. Dry cake, gross. But they give it such an endorsement that maybe I’ll try it again. They also mention the candy cane ice cream which I haven’t had before but that’s definitely on my list.

Other foods to look forward to this weekend is the amazing soft-serve ice cream in California Adventure, and the skewers at Bengal BBQ outside of Indiana Jones and Jingle Cruise. I don’t know if they have anything seasonal, but their chicken skewers are great, as are their bacon-wrapped asparagus. And hopefully this will be the first trip this year to include their decadent hot chocolate. I don’t know what they put in it, but it’s rich and fudge-y and delicious. Hmm, they should add a peppermint flavor to that. Anyway, we’re planning on being there later in the day so maybe it will get cool enough for it. They’re calling for a high of 85, so it’ll be at least 90 during the day.

I’m writing this on my break at work and it smells like someone just microwaved mac and cheese and it smells really good.

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