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Holidays at Disney, is there a more magical place to experience the beauty of the season? The Christmas holidays officially start on November 8th at the Disneyland Resort and run through January 6th for the 2019 season. We have found that the decorations and snacks don’t really differ from year to year so here’s what you can expect, based on the previous seasons.
And there are lots of yummy holiday treats to try. The pulled pork hot dog is still available at the Hungry Bear restaurant in Critter Country, and the peppermint ice cream from Gibson Girl on Main Street was a hit with Milana. Elf steins are being sold all over both parks, and just like the Halloween version, the cost and what’s inside depends on where you buy it. We chose grapes, but you can have beverages, cookies, etc. depending on where you purchase it.
Halloween popcorn buckets have been replaced with Christmas ones
Butif you want the most coveted treat of the season, get your running shoes on and make note of this year’s release dates:
Of course, there are a ton of Christmas products you can purchase at just about every store in both parks
Perhaps the most popular attraction for the holidays is Small World, all decked out for the season.
The Jungle Cruise has been transformed into the Jingle Cruise
And of course the Haunted Mansion holiday has been decked out for the holidays since September.
This year, the location of Santa at both parks has changed. In Disneyland, he can be found in Critter Country, where Pooh and friends used to greet guests.
In California Adventure, Santa is in the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail, which is a perfect location for him. There are lots of holiday activities you can do before getting to Santa, however if you want to skip walking around the entire place, turn left as soon as you enter and go down the stairs. Santa is right there!
Chip and Dale can be found on the trail too, all decked out for the season
There are characters galore in both parks, all wearing their holiday best
And the parks are decked out for the holidays
In California Adventure, there is a mail carrier riding a tricycle around Buena Vista Street. If you stop her and ask if she has a letter for you, she will hand you one! Sometimes, it’s even personalized with your child’s name.
Perhaps our favorite part of this season is the Food and Wine Festival in California Adventure. Small booths are set up all over the park, each selling different items. It’s similar to tapas hopping in Madrid! The portions are small, so you can try lots of things. We have tried something from most of the booths and hope to finish next time we go! The Swedish Meatballs and the Adobo Pork Bao have been our favorites so far!
But perhaps the coolest thing about this festival is that it’s super kid-friendly! There are kid craft tables set up all over the place, so while you eat and drink, the kids can craft. Each table has a holiday theme (Diwali, Kwanzaa, Christmas and Hanukkah) and kids can make a craft and card corresponding to that holiday. Being obsessed with arts and crafts, this was Milana’s favorite part. And because most tourists are too busy sprinting from one ride to the next, she had the entire table to herself many times!
After sampling all the yummy goodies, head to Paradise Pier for Viva Navidad! Lots of things to see, do and eat there. There are musical performance throughout the day, check the daily schedule for times. The most popular character there is Elena of Avalor, who made her debut at this festival.
You can see lots of other characters too. We happened to walk by when Goofy was there, but he rotates with Mickey, Minnie and others throughout the day.
There is also food you won’t find anywhere else in the park. One cart was selling elote:
And if you go to the area next to Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta, there is a craft area set up where your kids can make a lantern and an Elena of Avalor crown. It was completely deserted when we went!
Christmas at Disneyland is one of our favorite times to visit! We spent several days just walking around, eating and doing crafts without getting on a single ride! I will update this as we go more throughout the season.