With so many of us and our friends traveling out to Disneyland this week, it’s got me thinking about my upcoming trip. I had my first trip to Disneyland last summer, and wow was it amazing! You can read my detailed trip reports from last year here, here and here. This fall I’m heading back to California the week after Thanksgiving. I’m so stoked that I will get to see the Disneyland Resort in a whole new light at the holidays!
Last trip was solo with several groups of friends traveling on overlapping dates, which turned into only one day where I was truly on my own. This year, my mom is coming with me for her first trip to Disneyland. We are also celebrating both of our birthdays since it is the week after mine and the week before hers. I’m excited to see it through her eyes for the first time as she has been coming to Walt Disney World since the early 1970s and has been a passholder on and off over the past 15 years. We are staying on property at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa and splurged for a theme park view room since I was able to book at a discount through work.
I am looking forward to going back to experience some of my favorites from last time like Pirates of the Caribbean, Radiator Springs Racers, Alice in Wonderland and many more attractions. Even just the thought of exploring New Orleans Square, which is one of my favorite places on the entire planet, gets me excited for this trip! I cannot wait to see and do the special things just for Christmas time. They haven’t released any info yet, but I’m hoping I’ll be there while Disneyland is doing the Candlelight Processional. I love this show at Epcot and would like to see the differences and often they have great celebrity narrators since they’re so close to L.A.
Haunted Mansion is going to be transformed for the Nightmare Before Christmas layover called Haunted Mansion Holiday. I’ve seen the ride through on my NBC special edition dvd, but experiencing it in person has been on my list for a while. I also cannot wait to see Sleeping Beauty Castle draped in icicle lights and the special Believe fireworks show in Disneyland.
Over in Disney California Adventure I am probably most looking forward to seeing my favorite section of the park, Buena Vista Street, decked out in decorations reminiscent of the heyday of Hollywood. I saw pictures from friends last year and videos of bell ringers and I see myself with a peppermint mocha from Fiddler, Fife and Practical Cafe’s Starbucks spending a good amount of time just soaking in the atmosphere. Also, I’m interested to see the all new World of Color show for the holidays. I have to admit I’m going to miss the regular show, but I’m sure they’ll produce something just as awesome for Christmas.
And then there is the food. I will definitely be returning to Jolly Holiday Bakery for my beloved Matterhorn macaroon, Mickey beignets and a mint julep will be happening, and skewers from Bengal Barbecue again will make another great snack. I am debating making a reservation for either a character meal, which I didn’t do last time, or maybe Steakhouse 55 since I’m still unable to find a way into Club 33. I really loved Napa Rose and may do just appetizers and drinks there again and same thing at Carthay Circle since I enjoyed them both so much. Oh yes, and churros must happen too. Team churro forever!
I think I hit all of the attractions last summer, but there have been some additions since then like Mickey and the Magical Map in Disneyland and the new location for the princess meet and greet. I am also hoping that Big Thunder Mountain Railroad will be open then after its lengthy refurbishment. It’s A Small World Holiday is another thing I’m really looking forward to seeing for the first time.
Most of all, I just cannot wait to be back in Disneyland. For someone who has been coming to Walt Disney World for thirty plus years, it is like traveling home, but to a different home than what you know, and you are instantly welcomed and at ease. I’m also toying with doing either a special holiday tour or the Walk in Walt’s Footsteps tour. The ambiance and feel and coziness of Disneyland is something that I think we are missing here in Florida. I love the parks here at Christmas and can’t wait to experience the magic of Disneyland when I head back in a few months. The thought of returning to Trader Sam’s doesn’t hurt either. 😉
Have you been to Disneyland at the holidays? What are some of your favorite things to do? Leave me a comment if there’s anything I’ve missed that special for that time of year or if you have any restaurant or tour recommendations for me.
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