Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Feels Like The First Time: Holidays at Disneyland

Last weekend we were invited to experience Holidays at Disneyland, where Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure are transformed for the holidays. We've been lucky enough to have been guests at the park during this magical time before, but as I've mentioned my kids never, ever get tired of it and squeal at the spectacle as if it's their first time. If only they could bottle that emotion and apply it chores – I'd love to see that enthusiasm when I ask them to empty the dishwasher.

So if my girls get that excited after seeing it a few times, imagine how fun it was this trip when we took one of my daughter's friends for his first ever trip to Disneyland. I KNOW. My older daughter couldn't make it, so it was my 13-year-old, her BFF (another Disneyland veteran) and their first-timer friend on this trip. Seeing someone take their first Disneyland adventure is exciting – it was like watching one of my babies take their first steps, except this time I didn't cry and scream at anyone to grab a camera. Well, maybe only a few times.

Who doesn't get goosebumps when you walk in and see the giant Christmas tree on Main Street? I tried to get a picture of all the kids in front of it, but they had already taken off running to the Haunted Mansion. Which of course has been given a Christmas makeover and is now Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas with Jack Skellington and his crew. The first-timer (for lack of a better moniker) loved this one, although he admitted it wasn't as scary as he thought it was going to be. I told him the real terror was coming up, when I left him alone with the two 13-year-old girls and I took off to get some dinner. (At the Wine Country Trattoria, of course.)

Taking his first ride on It's A Small World would have been special enough during any other time of the year, but it was that much more enchanting when the ride has been transformed for the holidays. Although, being a 13-year-old boy, he wasn't going to get as excited about this ride as *some of us*. But I know he was screaming inside.

I don't think anything sums up the magic that is Disneyland like Sleeping Beauty's Castle, and especially when it's lit up for the holidays. The three of them just stood and stared at this for awhile, and you now it's mesmerizing when it holds the attention of three teenagers and they're oblivious to the cart full of churros and Cokes just a few feet away.

The Believe In Holiday Magic fireworks are one of my favorite parts of the day, but unfortunately they were cancelled on this night because of the severe winds we'd been experiencing for a few days. They did go on with the famous snowfall on Main Street, though, and I got to see the excitement from my place in the line at the coffee cart. (There is something so ironic and metaphoric about that last sentence, my life going by as I wait to buy yet another cup of coffee. Oprah, call me please.)

Aside from some of the rides being transformed for the holidays, the entire park is decorated and the shops are stocked with seasonal items. My daughters wear their Santa hats with the Mickey ears every Christmas – like their time at Disneyland, they seem new every year. As for the first timer - he declared his first trip to the Magic Kingdom "THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE!" I know he meant it, too.

Holidays At Disneyland will be going on until January 8, 2012 – check the website for park hours and special activities.

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Heather said...

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