The Disneyland Resort Puts on Its Winter Coat for the Holidays

Disneyland is called “The Happiest Place on Earth” for some very good reasons (many of them churro-related), and now that we are officially in the holiday season it is also the “merriest.” They’ve earned that, too.

I’ll admit, I’m biased. My family has tried our best to visit the Disneyland Resort at least once every holiday season (although we missed a couple years when we lived in Seattle–it happens), and it is our favorite time of the year to do so. Granted, we are big Disney fans all year round, but there is something about the holidays that makes the magic even more so, and the memories we have made there are pretty special.

This is where you may ask what the festively (and aptly) named Holidays at the Disneyland Resort actually entails? Answer: a lot. First, the entire resort is overlayed in seasonal decor with Disney’s legendary attention to detail. You may be wearing shorts and a t-shirt (take a light sweater, it cools down), but everywhere you look it is winter–from “Olaf’s Snow Fest” in Disney California Adventure to “Olaf’s Frozen Ice Rink” in the Downtown Disney Winter Village and all the snowmen built between.

Some favorites have returned: “it’s a small world” glows bright on the outside and goes holiday sing-a-long within, The Nightmare Before Christmas takes over the Haunted Mansion (complete with the return of the Hatbox Ghost), the skippers put some “jingle” in the Jungle Cruise, Disney California Adventure welcomes back Disney ¡Viva Navidad!, and Cars Land goes Christmas. There are parades, photo ops, beautiful trees, spectacular fireworks, two World of Color shows, and, of course, Santa. You know, holidays (but mostly Christmas).

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Then there is the food, including, but not limited to, the peppermint bark gourmet apples found around the resort, because PEPPERMINT. BARK. APPLE. This is serious, people.

For all of you trivia types, here are some fun facts about the Holidays at the Disneyland Resort (supplied by Disney, so they’re legit):

  • The facade of “it’s a small world” Holiday comes to life at night with more than 60,000 colorful LED Christmas lights and nearly 300,000 miniature LED lights adorn the trees, hedges, and topiaries outside the attraction. On the inside guests will smell freshly cut pine as they pass a 20-foot tall Christmas tree inspired by The Nutcracker.
  • Inside Haunted Mansion Holiday, which has more than 24 additional figures for the holidays, there are 13 gingerbread zombies creating a teetering gingerbread “house of cards” that stands nearly 8-feet tall and was made from over 120 pounds of gingerbread, 50 gallons of frosting, and 47 pounds of fondant.
  • The nighttime spectacular “World of Color” uses about 1,200 synchronized, dancing fountains, a 380-foot wide water screen for digital projection, and more than 30 million pixels (the average HD television image uses 2 million pixels).
  • “Olaf’s Snow Fest” features a 2,000-square-foot play area inside its Arendelle-inspired courtyard, plus a slide made of snow nearly 40-feet long. In all, there are close to 40 tons of real snow. It’s Frozen. Get it?
  • More than 19,000 poinsettia plants and 2,600 feet of greenery decorate the resort, including more than 100 live, miniature Christmas trees.

The Holidays at the Disneyland Resort are currently underway and will run through January 6, 2016. Not only that, Disneyland is celebrating the 60th Anniversary Diamond Celebration and Star Wars Season of the Force, so there is plenty of magic for everyone.

Note: I was invited press for a preview event of the Holidays at the Disneyland Resort and was allowed to bring my family. All opinions are my own.

All photos courtesy of Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland Resort.

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Whit Honea

Whit Honea is the author of “The Parents’ Phrase Book” and co-founder of the philanthropic organization Dads 4 Change. Deemed “the activist dad” by UpWorthy and one of the “funniest dads on Twitter” by Mashable, Whit lives in the suburbs of Los Angeles with his wife, two boys and an endless collection of assorted pet hair.

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