Monday, December 8, 2014

Disneyland Just Got Merrier for Our Family

Disneyland Just Got Merrier!
While we love visiting Disneyland any time of year, going during the Christmas holidays is particularly special!

We had the opportunity to head down to Disneyland Resort just before Thanksgiving to check out the park's transformation into a winter wonderland. Not only did the theme park just get merrier, its sister park Disney California Adventure got in on the holiday action, too.

And it was magical! (And that's not only because we ran into Gwen Stefani and her family ... but more on that later.)

We kicked off our busy day with a trip on the always charming It's a Small World ride. We loved how the attraction had been transformed for the season. The singing global community inside boasted twinkly lights, snowmen and "Season's Greetings" wishes.

CC and Will embark on the It's a Small World ride at Disneyland.
In fact, according to Disneyland Resort, the park installed about 150,000 lights inside the ride. So pretty!

The decorations all around Disneyland and Disney California Adventure are so festive. We loved the 60-foot tree that greeted us on Main Street, U.S.A, along with its 1,800 ornaments.

Photo courtesy of Disneyland Resort
After we caught the It's a Small World ride, we also had a chance to ride the hilarious and "punny" Jungle, er, Jingle Cruise ride, which had its own holiday theme this year, with the animals donning Santa hats and even a few ornaments. Very silly, indeed! We also caught the "Christmas Fantasy" parade, with 16 floats, including Santa Claus and Woody from "Toy Story," as well as classic Disney characters.

We even caught a glimpse of rock star and mom Gwen Stefani taking her boys to the park. I definitely had a "Just Like Us" moment, when I saw her balancing water bottles, bags and a stroller. Ian got a great snap by the Main Street Christmas tree.

CC, Gwen Stefani, her son Apollo and me.
We moved on to Disney California Adventure, which was Will's and my first time at the Disneyland-adjacent park. (Ian had taken CC with friends several years ago.)

It was magical, and the Cars Land section is amazing! It's as if you're walking through a rugged landscape with Monument Valley-like rock formations in the background. CC and Ian rode the Cars ride, which I'll have to check out another time, but they said it was so fun. Meanwhile, Will and I caught the actual "Cars" characters driving through Radiator Springs.

Cars Land is decked with holiday cheer.
We took a break for dinner and then joined several bloggers at the Disney Grand Californian Hotel & Spa for some kid-friendly dancing and delicious desserts. CC even got the chance to meet Anna and Elsa from "Frozen."

Queen Elsa and Anna from "Frozen" join CC for a snap.
One of the most amazing features of Disney California Adventure has got to be the "World of Color -- Winter Dreams" attraction. The gorgeous water display, which creates a 19,000 square-foot projection screen all from fountains, features amazing colors but also projections from films such as the newly added "Frozen." They've even thrown in a bit of snow.

"World of Color -- Winter Dreams" (Photo courtesy of Disneyland Resort)
All in all, we had an amazing time. And if I had a couple more hours with you, I'd make you sit through our rows and rows of photos. We took so many! It was such a great treat, and the kids went crazy.

I feel so lucky that we live so close to Disneyland, but even though we've been to the park several times, it's always magical. Every time. There's something especially wonderful about each trip, and this one was no different. I would definitely recommend taking a day trip or a weekend down in Anaheim during the holidays. What a super-cool staycation that would be!

Besides, you never know what rock star you might run into!

Disneyland Resort "Just Got Merrier" (through January 6)
1313 Disneyland Drive
Anaheim, Calif. 92802
Tickets: $96 (ages 10+); $90 (ages 3-9); $54 (additional fee for each Park Hopper ticket)

(Note: Media passes were provided for this event.)

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