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Parenting in the Park
Tips and ideas for the traveling family
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Adrienne Krock, editor
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

I know, it's not even Thanksgiving yet, but Disneyland already has most of their Christmas decorations and special events running already. One advantage for you is that I've been able to check out what Disneyland has running so far and I can give you some information and tips!

it's a small world holiday edition

I know many adults (mostly men) who refuse to ride this attraction any time of year except for the holidays. There's something special about the Holiday edition of it's a small world. The traditional elements of the attraction are still up and running: the clock chimes every 15 minutes with the parade of the dolls and the dolls inside sing bits of the traditional "it's a small world" tune. But the added decorations for the holidays along with "Jingle Bells" and a very special version of "Deck the Halls" compliment the seasonal festivities of the park very well.

small world holiday
small world holiday

There is a full description of the holiday edition of this ride on the D-I-G Christmas page here on MousePlanet. It's a classic kids' ride and my kid loves it. Don't miss it! Fastpass should be available for this attraction as you read this.

Believe... in Holiday Magic (the fireworks show)

Maybe I'm a sap, maybe it's pregnant hormones, but this show gives me goosebumps and makes me tear up a bit. Matthew loves watching the fireworks bursting over the castle. Main Street can get crowded but it's still my favorite fireworks and snow viewing location.

For a great view of the fireworks and snow, Matthew's small enough to fit on Daddy's shoulders. (as anyone who has read any fireworks article here on MousePlanet in the past 2 weeks already knows -- every time I turn around that infamous photo is posted somewhere else! And here it is again!)

My son watches snow on Main Street
For those of you who haven't seen this image often enough here at MousePlanet: My son watches snow on Main Street.

I know that look on his face does not exactly scream enthusiasm, but that's my kid. He's the king of lack of emotion during an event or ride, then afterwards, he's clapping and happy and talking all about it. Like his Daddy, he takes his time to absorb it all in.

I'll admit that the snow seems to be lacking something for me. In "real life" snow doesn't just disappear; it should land on my arm so I can look at it and see that yes, it really does have five points, it really is a crystal. But the only snow my California- born son has ever seen was at Mt Lassen in June, 1999, and that was a bit old and melting. The effect at Disneyland really does look neat.

Cookie Decorating: Three Bucks Well Spent

I was a bit skeptical. Three dollars for a cookie sounded like a bit much. After our recent trip, I can say: Wow, this was a great experience for our family! Here's how it works. There are two cookie decorating locations: The Fire House on Main Street and New Orleans Square, between the Cafe Orleans and French Market restaurants.

After paying $3 to a helpful and very friendly Cast Member (CM), we had to choose between a gingerbread person cookie or a sugar cookie shaped like a snowman, a Christmas tree, or a star. We decided on a Christmas tree sugar cookie.

Decorating goodies
Decorating goodies

We found a table inside the Fire House and sat down. The CM offered us an artist's palette full of plastic cups. We were able to choose two frosting colors from green, red, royal blue, white, and yellow. Then we had to choose two toppings from assorted types of sprinkles, various colored sugars, and mini- m&ms. We picked green and red frosting, mini m&ms and yellow sugar.

Gentlemen... start your cookies!
Gentlemen... start your cookies!

Here's a tip: the portions in the cups are quite big. If you have two people decorating cookies, you can expand your selections by sharing frostings and toppings. For example, one person can get red and green frosting, the other blue and white (although if you want to cover two trees with green, you might want 2 greens...). Even after we shared frosting and toppings with our friend Tony we still had "leftovers."

Your mission, should you decide to accept it is...
Your mission, should you decide to accept it is...

Matthew spread his frosting (with lots of help from mom.) He started to delicately place m&ms on his tree, that is, until he just dumped the whole cup upside down so he could eat them faster... We spent about 15 minutes decorating and with Matthew eating the M&Ms off his cookie. At that point, we wrapped the rest of his cookie up "to go." We used the wet wipes provided on the tables to clean up a bit and then go on our "merry" way.

I wonder if Tweedle Dum's cookie looks like this?
I wonder if Tweedle Dum's cookie looks like this?

One unique part of our particular experience was some character interaction.  Tweedle Dee sat at a nearby table and decorated a snowman cookie while he interacted with guests.

This was a totally fun experience for our family. We went early in the day so Matthew was not too tired, the fire house crowd was very light, and it was very easy to take our cookie with us for later.  We kept the cookie in our stroller basket while we ate lunch and rode a few rides.

All done!
All done!

The reviews on the cookie quality were pretty good, too. Tony thought that his cookie was tastier than he expected it to be. When Matthew ate his later that afternoon, the frosting was still soft and tasted fresh.

The character of the month sugar cookies are smaller than these cookies and cost $2.25. For 75 cents more, we were able to stop and have some fun decorating our Christmas tree. Like I said, this was three bucks well spent. Cookie decorating is available now on weekends only and will be available daily after Thanksgiving.

Coming up after Thanksgiving: the Christmas Parade and St. Nick himself!


Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact Adrienne here


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Adrienne gathered experience taking children to amusement parks when she worked as a day camp counselor and director. She was an elementary school teacher before she started her favorite job: being Matthew and Spencer's mom.

Adrienne, Matthew and Spencer visit Disneyland several times a month, usually with Daddy.

Besides Matthew and Spencer, Adrienne and her husband Kevin created and maintain the award-winning Happiest Potties on Earth here at MousePlanet.

You can contact Adrienne here.

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