Disneyland Resort Christmas in Julyby Lisa Stiglic, contributing writer
Holiday time at Disneyland Resort is one of, if not the, most anticipated events featured annually. From the icicles dripping down Sleeping Beauty's wintry castle to the festive food fare to our favorite characters dressed in seasonal costumes, there is something for all of us in the immersive, magical wonderland. So, while we impatiently await Disneyland Resort's main gates to reopen, what better way to celebrate the holiday magic than with a reminiscent trip down Mickey Claus Lane? Here are just a few of my all-time holiday favorites I'm looking forward to upon my return to Disneyland Resort.
I'll start with the big one. The seasonal eats have escalated so much over the years that there is now a specific holiday menu supplement you can pick up on your way into the parks or find it on the Disneyland Resort App. Whether you're a sweet treat fan or love to savor the sumptuousness of a rich, holiday feast, Disneyland Resort has options for everyone.
Hand-pulled candy canes: These minty mouthfuls date back to the late 1970s. Disneyland Resort candy makers work their Elven magic to create these one-of-a-kind treats to take home and savor (or enjoy during your visit.) If the candy canes are too much, you can still pleasantly partake in a minty bite on various menu items including candy cane beignets (Cafe Orleans) or with crushed candy cane topping for ice cream sundaes and cones (Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor and Clarabelle's Hand-Scooped Ice Cream).
Cookies: Although the resort offers cookies year-round, a holiday cookie tastes just a bit more magical. Choose from snowman sugar cookies, berry Linzer cookies (at Starbucks locations), or you can even decorate your own sugar cookies at Disney California Adventure's Festival Marketplace. Oh, and the gingerbread cookies? Just WOW! The soft dough with the deep ginger and cinnamon warm flavors are holiday on point! Hurry though. These sell out quickly daily.
Savory: Most of the locations offer some sort of holiday option on the menus. Traditionalists might enjoy the chicken mole at Rancho del Zocalo or holiday pozole at Harbor Galley. I'm always happy to try the seasonal pizza slices offered at Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta and Alien Pizza Planet. It's a surprise each year! But my favorite savory treat is the specialty made sourdough bread loaves to take home. Boudin Bakery at Pacific Wharf Cafe bakes these treats in the shapes of candy canes, snowmen, and even Christmas trees.
The focal point of Disneyland Resort decor is the 60-foot tall, sparkling evergreen in Disneyland's Town Square. Although a photo op is a must for all of us, there are still several beautiful and whimsical holiday trees scattered throughout the resort.
In Disney California Adventure Park, Buena Vista Street houses its own picture-perfect Christmas tree, located outside of Elias and Co. shop near the Walt and Mickey "Storytellers" statue. Bright scarlet poinsettias surround the tree which is adorned with sparkling, vintage ornaments. Look underneath and you'll see toys reminiscent of the 1920s and 30s when Walt and Roy Disney first paved their way in Hollywood. This lovely tree is often overlooked for Disneyland's iconic evergreen but is quaint in its own right. And bonus points—no long line for photos!
Motor down the esplanade and put on your left turn blinker to head into a Cars Land version of the holidays. What's so fun about visiting Radiator Springs during the festive season is each establishment hosts its own tree. Flo decorates her aluminum, silver tree with bright blue and purple ball ornaments and with her records! Mater's tire tree is covered with snow and lights, and even Fillmore has a metal tree with peace sign ornaments. Sally's Cozy Cone Motel tree is the epitome of whimsical—a tower of bright orange construction cones wrapped with garland and mini cones as decorations.
And, be sure to stop in at any of the three hotels on property on your Christmas tree tour. Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel's lobby usually displays a beach-themed tree, decorated with aquatic critters. Check the Adventurer Tower at Disneyland Hotel for an Adventureland-themed tree complete with rope garland and a familiar fedora topping the look. Finally, Disney's Grand Californian Hotel and Spa boasts the most elegant tree on property. This stunning evergreen sits smack-dab in the center of the grand lobby. Adorned with bulbs, lights, and mini stained-glass lanterns that reflect the hotel's inside decor, this behemoth stretches up to the rafters.
Nothing says Christmas more than a 7-foot-tall, neon orange tiger wearing a winter scarf. Only at Disneyland Resort would you expect Tigger and his friends from Critter Country to be ready for a snowstorm. But that's what makes seeing these characters dressed for the holidays so special. We know that Mickey and Minnie will be wearing Dickens-esque style clothes on Main Street USA and that the princesses will have on their pretty shawls to match their dresses. It's a given and I absolutely embrace it! Aside from Roz wearing her Santa Hat as you disembark Monsters, Inc. Mike and Sulley to the Rescue!, my personal favorite is Grizzly River Rapids Grr Bear wearing his favorite ugly Christmas sweater. He's always a photo stop on my holiday tour.
Grr Bear gets into the holiday spirit with donning his traditional, annual sweater. He also has a Halloween jack-o-lantern trick-or-treat candy bag he showcases during September and October. Photo by Lisa Stiglic.
It's hard to know exactly what Disneyland Resort will have available for us once the gates do open, especially during the holidays. But, most of us have been nice this year so hopefully, we do get what we want for Christmas—a trip to the Merriest Place on Earth! Stay safe everyone!