By Anne Taylor Hartzell, on November 1, 2014

Celebrating holidays at Disneyland Resort

Around our house in suburban Seattle, the arrival of fall signals the start to a festive and fun family holiday season—a season filled with spooky Halloween decorations, aromatic turkey for Thanksgiving, and the warm gathering and celebration of Christmas with family. The holiday season always is a feast for the senses, from the bright colors of fall to the smells of mulled apple cider and sweet treats.

If you are looking to take your holidays to an epic sensory level, consider planning a visit to Disneyland Resort during one of the many festive holiday celebrations. When it comes to making magical holiday memories, Disneyland Resort, in Anaheim, California, takes it to a whole new level of fun and celebration. Here is a round-up of how the Disneyland Resort celebrates the season.

Halloween Fun

During the day, “Halloween Time” around the Disneyland Resort is adorned with brightly colored, orange pumpkins, and spooky decorations. This is the time of year when Disney’s favorite villains get their time to shine—villains such as Maleficent (from her self-titled movie), Ursula from The Little Mermaid, and Mother Gothel from Tangled. Another good idea: head over to Big Thunder Ranch at Frontierland to snap a picture with Disney characters in costume at the Halloween Carnival.

In Frontierland and in other areas of the park, you can grab a sweet treat such as candy corn cotton candy, an Ursula cupcake, or quench your thirst with a Maleficent Dragon Sipper. For 14 nights during the Halloween season (and with a special separate ticket), your family even can dress up in costume and join Mickey’s Halloween Party for an evening of partying. The experience enables you to mingle with Disney villains, listen to spooky tunes during “Halloween Screams” fireworks display, join Mickey’s cavalcade down Main Street, U.S.A, and go trick-or-treating Disney-style (in the park).

Viewfinder Tip: Tickets for Mickey’s Halloween Party sell out fast, so look to buy tickets early in mid-summer when they go on sale.

Disneyland Resort holiday season

Halloween is just the start to an incredible holiday celebration at Disneyland Resort. For a festive holiday vacation the family will never forget, consider visiting for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, as well.

Disneyland Resort kicks off a festive holiday season in mid-November with a tree-lighting ceremony on Main Street. The holiday party doesn’t end until after New Year’s Day. During our family’s last holiday visit to the Disneyland Resort, we enjoyed many of the traditional holiday experiences at Disneyland Resort, including the daily “A Christmas Fantasy” parade, Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle adorned in twinkling icicle lights, and the “Believe…in Holiday Magic” fireworks show. At the end of all of this fanfare, it actually snowed on Main Street U.S.A., a rare sight in Southern California (to say the least).

Guests in California Adventure Park will love the “World of Color—Winter Dreams” holiday spectacular narrated by Olaf, the snowman from Walt Disney Pictures’ hit animated feature, Frozen. This 28-minute laser light show projects images into curtains of mist created by cannons in the fountain near Paradise Pier. It debuted last year and fans have raved. Another holiday-themed show is “Disney ¡Viva Navidad!”, a celebration of Latin culture with food, fun music, and a festive street party near Paradise Gardens.

If all of these suggestions aren’t enough, don’t forget about Downtown Disney as a fun place to visit. Here, kids can feed their Frozen fever with ice skating on “Olaf’s Frozen Ice Rink,” part of the seasonal Downtown Disney Winter Village. (And Mom and Dad can catch up on some retail therapy.)

The end-of-year holiday season is spectacular at Disneyland Resort, but no matter what season you choose to visit, your family will enjoy taking in all of sights, smells, and thrills of a magical family holiday vacation at this great spot.

Header and tile photo by Paul Hiffmeyer. All photos courtesy of Disneyland Resort.

What is your favorite season to celebrate at Disneyland Resort?