Create a Disney Holiday to Remember

by Jenna Kahl, contributing writer

I am a sucker. An emotional, sentimental, cries during the parade, giddy with delight when I see Mickey, mess when it comes to almost anything related to the Disneyland Resort, sucker. With the holidays, I can barely handle myself. Holidays at the Disneyland Resort will kick off on November 10 and, instead of highlighting all the great events, I wanted to provide some ways to make your time at the park that much more memorable and add a little extra magic.

Gifts From Mickey

When I was growing up, in addition to my presents from Santa, I would receive a gift from Rudolph, and it was always something extra special. What better way to establish a tradition with your little ones and big ones alike than a special present from their favorite Disney character? Use your time at the park to select a special gift, even if it’s something small, like a charm for a bracelet from Princess Sofia or a special book of stories from Peter Pan. Even if you are not visiting the Disneyland Resort close to the holidays, finding a special gift is still easy to do. Make sure the wrapping paper and gift tag are unique, as well, unless you have a good story as to why Santa and BB8 use the same wrapping paper supplier.

Holiday Ornaments

While this is not my most creative idea, it is a classic way to build a collection of memorable holiday ornaments and allow every member of your family to be reflected in their choices. If you can, find a place on the ornament to document the year, so you can reminisce for holidays to come.

Secret Santa in the Park

I will admit that this item is on my holiday bucket list, and I have yet to see it in action, however the whole concept gets me excited. The idea is easy enough: prior to your trip have those in your party draw names and set some parameters about the number of gifts, spending limits, etc. and then get ready to have some fun. After all the logistics are figured out, you can get creative by hiding small gifts in a backpack or stroller, surprising your selected person with a cup of hot chocolate, a sweet treat, or arranging for a stocking-full of Christmas goodies upon returning to your hotel room. If you are looking for something romantic, imagine packing a bag of special treats for a picnic along the parade route, or during the Viva Navidad! show at Disney California Adventure.

Make sure to check out Viva Navidad! at Disney California Adventure. Photo by Jenna Kahl.

Hot Chocolate

This is the smallest, and most likely cheapest, item on this list, but the hot chocolate at the Disneyland Resort is by far my all-time favorite hot chocolate. Find a special spot, show, parade, or bench, then pick up some hot chocolate for the whole group and settle in. Take some time to enjoy the decorations, listen to the music, and appreciate the little things about the holiday season. If you need a snack to accompany your warm, chocolatey beverage, I would recommend the beignets from the Mint Julep Bar in New Orleans Square (keep an eye out for special holiday beignets, as well).

Holiday Time at Disneyland Tour

While I said this would feature more personalized ways to make the holidays special I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about the Holiday Time at Disneyland Tour. My husband and I experienced this great tour in December 2015, with the perfect mix of Disney and holidays from around the world, and it made our time at the park even more special. I loved learning about the holiday preparations in the park and the attention paid to honoring unique holiday traditions. It includes VIP seating for the Christmas Fantasy Parade (with hot chocolate and a yummy cookie to boot), as well as a holiday-themed collectatble pin. This tour was worth the money and would make a great holiday gift for any Disney enthusiast. Book in advance, as the tour does tend to fill up (there is a discount for annual passholders).

As I mentioned, the Disneyland Resort does an amazing job enchanting the holidays with delight and sparkle. However, it's the little things—from the heart—that can make this holiday a time to remember.