Taking Special Holiday Photos at Disneyland Resort

While visiting the Disneyland Resort over the holiday season, there’s just so much to see, do and eat to celebrate the season! Whether you want to share them on social media, use them for a Christmas card or save them in a memory album, there are lots of sweet places and things to photograph at Disneyland during the holidays. Capture those memories with these must-do tips for taking holiday photos at Disneyland.

Please note that I use affiliate links in this post.

Taking Holiday Photos at Disneyland

Dozens of ideas for taking special holiday photos at Disneyland Resort

Christmas Trees

The Disneyland Christmas tree towers over Main Street U.S.A. and is decorated with over-sized ornaments that look like classic toys. Take a full shot of it and then move closer to capture individual ornaments on the tree.

Dozens of ideas for taking special holiday photos at Disneyland Resort

A photo with the family is a must and there are many PhotoPass photographers standing here to snap a shot. This line moves quickly since they pose families around the entire circumference of the tree. We were able to use this photo for our Christmas card this year!

Dozens of ideas for taking special holiday photos at Disneyland Resort

Photo Credit: Disney PhotoPass

The Holiday Treats

Eat all the treats! But first…take a photo of them. Capture the moment just before you bite into that soft gingerbread cookie or take a sip from your holiday eggnog. Unwrap your treat and take a snap of it in front of a favorite attraction (much better than a photo of it laying on the plate). Or hand it over to your child and photograph them nibbling, even cuter! Don’t want to indulge? Snap a photo of the sweet treats in the case or shop windows.

Dozens of ideas for taking special holiday photos at Disneyland Resort   Dozens of ideas for taking special holiday photos at Disneyland Resort

Sleeping Beauty Castle

Draped in icicles and snow, the iconic castle is dressed up for winter. Take a few photos of the castle alone and also with your family posed in front. I like to take photos with the family from the pathway on the right-hand side. Foot traffic is lighter than directly in front and you won’t have anyone else in the background.

Dozens of ideas for taking special holiday photos at Disneyland Resort

Favorite Characters

Even the characters get into the seasonal spirit with costumes that reflect the holidays. I recommend arriving at rope drop to catch the “Fab 5” in the hub of Main Street U.S.A. and catch photos with them all. We took this one with Donald a few years ago next to the Cove Bar (don’t you love the snowflakes on his outfit?)

Dozens of ideas for taking special holiday photos at Disneyland Resort

Seasonal Landscapes

I adore the care and thoughtfulness of the landscaping and flowers that are updated with the seasons. Christmas at Disneyland brings amazing arrangements like these bright poinsettias on Main Street U.S.A.

Dozens of ideas for taking special holiday photos at Disneyland Resort

Themed Land Decor

Christmas in New Orleans? A wacky holiday in Toontown? A bright splash of Latin American festivities? Even Cars Land revs up the holiday decor! Take a wide angle shot of the decorations and then capture close ups to see the thoughtful detail that goes into keeping the theme of each area.

Dozens of ideas for taking special holiday photos at Disneyland Resort

Photo Credit: Disney PhotoPass

Seasonal Ride Overlays

Haunted Mansion Holiday, it’s a small world – Holiday and Jingle Cruise have seasonal overlays that disappear shortly after the new year. The details in each attraction are fantastic so don’t miss photographing everything both inside and out.

Dozens of ideas for taking special holiday photos at Disneyland Resort

Christmas Fantasy Parade

This classic parade is chockful of sweet holiday memories you’ll want to capture. Dancing reindeer, gingerbread cookies and of course, Santa and Mickey as well. We stood in the it’s a small world – holiday area and it was an ideal backdrop for taking pictures of this colorful parade.

Dozens of ideas for taking special holiday photos at Disneyland Resort

Hotel Lobby Decor

Take a walk over to the hotels of the Disneyland resort and be rewarded with decor galore! We stayed at the Disneyland Hotel several years ago and walked inside each of the towers to check out the themed trees inside the lobbies.

Dozens of ideas for taking special holiday photos at Disneyland Resort

A stop inside Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa is both a visual and aromatic treat; a larger-than-life replica of the hotel in gingerbread is set up here and it smells delicious! Take a shot of the towering Christmas tree in the lobby and the rustic garlands hung throughout. Ride up the elevator to the second floor and capture an overhead view of the lobby in full holiday dress.

Santa

Naturally our favorite elf is greeting guests at the Happiest Place and there are several spots to find him. At Disneyland he’s in Critter Country. In Disney California Adventure park, we had a visit in the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail. Santa will also be visiting at the hotels of the Disneyland resort at special times over the winter season.

Dozens of ideas for taking special holiday photos at Disneyland Resort

Photo Credit: Disney PhotoPass

During our recent visit, there was a “Nice List” book set up on a table where my son wrote in the names of our entire family. What a precious memory I was able to capture as he carefully noted each of us in Santa’s special book!

Dozens of ideas for taking special holiday photos at Disneyland Resort

Save Those Memories

Please note that I use affiliate links in the following section. If you click & purchase through the link you help me in a small financial way, thank you!

Don’t let those beautiful holiday pictures sit unseen in your camera or computer; get them printed out so everyone can see. I love Shutterfly for the versatility of their products as well as their great prices. I’ve been purchasing from Shutterfly for a very long time and am happy to have them as an affiliate partner. They are always having great sales and offer coupons as well.

Dozens of ideas for taking special holiday photos at Disneyland Resort

Consider adding your Disneyland holiday photos to a calendar, ornament or a seasonal canvas that you display along with your decorations each winter. I’ve already ordered my Shutterfly Christmas cards, featuring our family photo in front of the Disneyland Christmas tree!

If you want to capture crisp and clean images but the budget isn’t ready for the investment of a new camera, consider renting your gear pre-vacation from my affiliate BorrowLenses. You can rent just a lens, camera or the entire kit to take with you on vacation. I borrowed a lens before my trip to Europe several years ago and was thrilled with the images I captured on a lens I wouldn’t have been able to purchase outright.


Save money at DISNEYLAND!

Purchase discount Disneyland tickets and vacation packages from my affiliate Get Away Today.

Use the Promo Code REWRITTEN and receive an extra $10 off any 2-night or longer Southern California package. (Hotel and 2 ticket minimum purchase to qualify for the discount). 


Dozens of ideas for taking special holiday photos at Disneyland Resort

For Disney Parks Christmas must dos,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Red | Christmas Must Dos at Disney Loop:

Adding a Touch of Disney Magic to Your Christmas

How to Add a Touch of Disney Magic to Your Christmas

How to Add a Touch of Disney Magic to Your Christmas

Christmas is a magical time, of course. And what makes it even more sweet is adding a touch of Disney magic to your holidays. Whether it’s in the house decorations, the Christmas tree or even in the kitchen, Disney fan welcome a generous helping of pixie dust in everything they do! Here are my ideas for adding Disney magic to your Christmas.

Please note that I use affiliate links in this post. Clicking through and purchasing through these links helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Disney Details for the Home

Fill the house with Christmas cheer, Disney-style! This personalized Christmas tree skirt has a cute retro look. These clever Holiday Mugs hold milk and have a slot underneath for your cookie! And when it’s time to cuddle up with a favorite movie, this Mickey & Minnie Fleece Throw will keep you cozy.

 

 

Deck the Tree with Disney Ornaments

We’ve been collecting Disney ornaments for the Christmas tree since I was a little girl. It’s fun to pick them up while on vacation as a memento of your trip. Choose an ornament that reminds you of a special time (like the first spin on the Mad Tea Party teacups) or holds a cherished photo from that time you met your first Disney princess. I adore this Fantasyland Castle Ornament, a perfect blend of the parks along with good cheer for the holidays!

Hallmark Teacup for Two Mickey and Minnie Mouse Ornament and Hallmark 2016 Disney Princesses Photo Holder Holiday Ornament

Bake Disney-inspired Holiday Treats

Make anything Mickey shaped or that has Mouse Ears and my kids think it’s fantastic! Here are some simple recipes that can be tweaked just a bit to make them “Disney” including these Mouse Ears Snowman Cookies from Family.com and Mouseketeer Gingerbread Cookies from the Disney Food Blog. It wouldn’t be too difficult to make Rice Krispies treats like this Mickey shaped one I had at the Disneyland Resort. I have more Christmas recipe ideas on this post.

Adding a Touch of Disney Magic to Your Christmas      Adding a Touch of Disney Magic to Your Christmas

Adding a Touch of Disney Magic to Your Christmas

Cook up Disney Magic in the Kitchen

This cookbook is very merry and full of Disney fun for the holidays! A Merry Christmas Cookbook is geared for kids to cook under adult supervision with holiday recipes inspired by favorite characters. For more discerning tastes, try the The Ultimate Disney World Cookbook with over 300 recipes from Disney parks restaurants. Serve up those Disney delights (or cookies for Santa!) on these adorable Mickey & Friends Plates from the DisneyStore.

    

Decorate the Yard Top to Bottom

Bright and colorful, these Disney yard decorations let everyone in the neighborhood know your love for the Mouse! We love to walk through our neighborhood and look at the holiday decorations and my kids always love when someone has Disney inspired decor. I want one of these Disney Mickey Mouse Ears LightShow Swirling Multicolor LED Christmas Spotlight Projectors so much! Paired with the Inflatable LED Mickey and Minnie’s Sled Scene, you’ll have a house that all the kids will want to see each night. Hang this cheery winter Disney Parks Holiday flag all winter long!

How do you add Disney magic to your Christmas? Share with me in the comments!

Julie-signature

Peppermint Mickey Holiday T-Shirt Disney DIY

Disney DIY Craft for Kids - Peppermint Mickey Holiday T-shirt

Looking for a unique and adorable Mickey holiday T-Shirt to wear to the parks this season? Or just something fun to add a bit of Disney magic to your at-home holidays? I whipped this one up for my son in about 30 minutes and you can too, it’s really easy!

I think this design would be really cute for the entire family to wear at Disney during the holiday season. I made this on Friday night and my son wore it Saturday when we celebrated #DisneylandHolidays! He received so many compliments on it (even from Santa’s elves!)

Disney DIY Craft for Kids - Peppermint Mickey Holiday T-shirt

You’ll only need a few things to create this Peppermint Mickey Holiday T-shirt!

Please note that I use affiliate links in this post. Clicking and purchasing through these links will help me in a small financial way, thank you!

Solid color cotton t-shirt (like American Apparel Childrens/Kids Plain T-Shirt)

White cotton fabric (I always use Kona Cotton White Fabric)

Fabric Adhesive (I only use Thermoweb Heat’n Bond Ultra Hold Iron-On Adhesive)

Red fabric paint & a paintbrush (I use DecoArt SoSoft Fabric Paint and Martha Stewart Crafts Detailing Brushes)

Disney DIY Craft for Kids - Peppermint Mickey Holiday T-shirt

Other things you’ll need:

A print out of a Mickey silhouette. I just did a Google search and found one online.

Iron

Sewing machine with white thread

Disappearing Ink Pen for Fabric

Instructions:

Prewash and dry the t-shirt and white fabric, then iron both smooth.

peppermintcollage1

Lay Heat’n Bond adhesive on the Mickey silhouette (bumpy side down) and trace the shape.

Cut around the Heat’n Bond silhouette, then iron onto the white fabric.

Cut out the silhouette carefully on the line.

Peel off the adhesive backing and center the shape onto the t-shirt. Once you have it in position, iron/press according to the Heat’n Bond instructions.

peppermintcollage2

On your sewing machine, sew along the scant edge of the silhouette to secure the design to the t-shirt.

peppermintcollage3

To recreate the peppermint design, I did a Google search for “peppermint candy” and found a simple image. Using your disappearing ink pen, carefully replicate the design on to the large circle of Mickey’s silhouette. Repeat the design inside each of the smaller circles of Mickey’s ears.

peppermintcollage4

Using red fabric paint, paint the peppermint design. Use a thicker brush to fill in the design and a small, thin brush along the edges to create a clean edge.

Keep the shirt flat for at least 12 hours to dry.

DIY Craft for Kids - Peppermint Mickey Holiday T-shirt

Ta-da! A quick and adorable holiday Mickey design that will add a sparkle of Disney magic to your holidays! (Even if your mom poses you for photos on Main Street U.S.A. and all you really want to be doing is going on the Matterhorn Bobsleds…sorry kid!)

Disney DIY Craft for Kids - Peppermint Mickey Holiday T-shirt

“Enough pictures, Mom…let’s go to the Matterhorn!”

Where will YOU wear your Peppermint Mickey DIY Holiday T-shirt?

Julie-signature


Celebrating Christmas at Disneyland Resort

The Christmas season is a beautiful time of year and no better place in my opinion, to celebrate it than at Disneyland! From the dazzling holiday decor, spectacular entertainment, special holiday rides and attractions, wow! Christmas at Disneyland is pure magic. And you can still have all the usual Christmas fun, from presents to Santa!

Please note that I use affiliate links in my posts. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Celebrating Christmas at the Disneyland Resort is simply magical! Here are a few tips on maximizing your Christmas at Disneyland vacation.

Practical Pre-Vacation Christmas at Disneyland Advice

Planning a visit to Disneyland during the holiday season requires a certain amount of preparation that you might not need other times of the year. Normally you can just “wing it” at Disneyland but during the holidays you’ll definitely need to plan a bit more in regards to full-service dining, FastPasses and viewing shows.

Please read my post on TravelingMom, 11 Tips for Navigating Holiday Crowds at Disneyland. You’ll learn lots of holiday hacks on having the best visit despite the extra crowds.

Celebrating Christmas at the Disneyland Resort is simply magical! Here are a few tips on maximizing your Christmas at Disneyland vacation.

The ocean-themed Christmas tree at Paradise Pier inside California Adventure park.

Park and Resort Decor for Christmas at Disneyland

My most favorite part of visiting the Disneyland Resort during Christmas is seeing the detailed decorations that cover every corner! The resort hotels have special decor that’s worth checking out, including themed Christmas trees inside each of the Disneyland Hotel towers.

As you walk from your Disneyland resort hotel through the Downtown Disney District, there are more holiday decorations to get you in the mood.

Celebrating Christmas at the Disneyland Resort is simply magical! Here are a few tips on maximizing your Christmas at Disneyland vacation.

Retro themed Christmas trees inside the Disneyland Hotel lobby

Inside Disney’s Grand California Hotel & Spa, the lobby is totally decked out for the holidays. On our Christmas at Disneyland vacation last year, we were in awe of the larger-than-life gingerbread replica of the hotel!  You can even purchase a small version right there in the lobby to nibble on yourself.

Celebrating Christmas at the Disneyland Resort is simply magical! Here are a few tips on maximizing your Christmas at Disneyland vacation.

Christmas at Disneyland Park

Start off the day at Disneyland Park by posing in front of the huge Christmas tree in the Main Street U.S.A. square. Each Land has its own holiday themed decor, from rustic in Frontierland to tropical in Adventureland. Even Toontown gets an appropriate holiday splash of color that’s bright and festive, with lots of large ornaments and over-sized bows!

Celebrating Christmas at the Disneyland Resort is simply magical! Here are a few tips on maximizing your Christmas at Disneyland vacation.

Christmas comes to Toontown at Disneyland!

My favorite seasonal attraction is it’s a small world Holiday, when the facade is bejeweled with tiny colorful lights and our favorite clock dons a Santa hat! Even the ride inside receives an amazing holiday makeover with songs of the season and an entirely new look that celebrates the holidays in each country represented.

Celebrating Christmas at the Disneyland Resort is simply magical! Here are a few tips on maximizing your Christmas at Disneyland vacation.

Be sure to return after dark: More than 300,000 lights glitter and every 15-minutes, the façade of the attraction is transformed with advanced 3D-projection technology.

Celebrating Christmas at the Disneyland Resort is simply magical! Here are a few tips on maximizing your Christmas at Disneyland vacation.

Grab a FASTPASS for Haunted Mansion Holiday which receives new effects every year! It’s a holiday season can’t-miss and you should grab a FASTPASS early in the day. Be sure to look for the gingerbread design inside the ballroom scene. It changes every year (and you can smell the gingerbread!)

Celebrating Christmas at the Disneyland Resort is simply magical! Here are a few tips on maximizing your Christmas at Disneyland vacation.

Another Christmas at Disneyland overlay is the transformation of the Jungle Cruise into the Jingle Cruise. Story goes that a shipment of Christmas decorations was mistakenly dropped over the jungle. You just have to see what the animals and natives have done with the plethora of garland, ugly Christmas sweaters, ornaments and fruitcakes!

Celebrating Christmas at the Disneyland Resort is simply magical! Here are a few tips on maximizing your Christmas at Disneyland vacation.

Christmas at Disney California Adventure Park

At Disney California Adventure Park, the buildings around Buena Vista Street are decorated with 1920s-approprate garland and vintage-style ornaments. “a bug’s land” is decorated with giant Christmas lights and over-sized ornaments. This is a fun area any time of year but even more whimsical with the wildly-large decor!

Celebrating Christmas at the Disneyland Resort is simply magical! Here are a few tips on maximizing your Christmas at Disneyland vacation.

Festival of Holidays offers flavors of the season at a variety of kiosks in the Park. Southern Home Holidays served up sweet potato pie, Mistletoe Morsels offered Swedish dishes and Treats for Santa had traditional cookies and punch. There is also beer and non-alcoholic drinks. We found the lines to be reasonable mid-day and very crowded in the evening. Get your fill of these appetizer-sized dishes during lunch to maximize your time.

Cars Land is amazing during the holidays with auto filter garlands, white-wall tire wreaths and a Christmas tree decked out in shiny hubcaps! Be sure have your picture taken with the “snowcar” complete with top hat and pylon nose!

Celebrating Christmas at the Disneyland Resort is simply magical! Here are a few tips on maximizing your Christmas at Disneyland vacation.

!Viva Navidad!

Several times a day The Three Caballeros (Donald Duck, Panchito  and José Carioca host a dance party and Latin celebration. I’d suggest watching during the day time hours when it’s still light enough to see clearly. We arrived after dark and the area was poorly lit so it was hard to see the action.

Send Your Holiday Presents & Gifts Ahead of Your Trip

Save space in your luggage by having gifts sent ahead to your hotel. Pre-order presents on Amazon and have them sent to you so they’re waiting at the hotel! Just make sure the address includes the word “Guest” on the front and the date of your arrival at the resort hotel. You’ll be able to pick up your boxes at mail services upon arrival.

While staying at a Disneyland Resort hotel, you can also have packages delivered back to your hotel so you don’t have to tote them around the parks all day.

If you have family that will be at Disneyland and you want to send them a special something, contact Disney Floral & Gifts to order stockings stuffed with Disney goodies, delicious treats, or even a full “in-room celebration” with a bounty of gifts and delights. It’s a great way to show the kids that Santa didn’t forget them, even when they’re away from home!

Celebrating Christmas at the Disneyland Resort is simply magical! Here are a few tips on maximizing your Christmas at Disneyland vacation.

Christmas at Disneyland Entertainment & Shows

Be sure to check out the beautiful Disney California Adventure Park World of Color – Season of Light! This nighttime water show features classic Disney movie moments and holiday favorites.

The ever popular “A Christmas Fantasy” parade will return to Disneyland, with 100+ performers in the parade including Mickey,  Minnie and a special guest from the North Pole…Santa Claus!

Stay in the parks until dark and be rewarded with entertainment that lights up the night! Believe…In Holiday Magic, the fireworks spectacular will include more than 80,000 twinkling lights illuminating Sleeping Beauty Castle and a magical snowfall as well!

Paint the Night parade is expected to return to Disneyland parks over the holiday season. This is a can’t miss!

Celebrating Christmas at the Disneyland Resort is simply magical! Here are a few tips on maximizing your Christmas at Disneyland vacation.

Meeting Santa and Other Characters

Greet the characters dressed up in their holiday finest on Main Street U.S.A. We always make a point to take pictures with our favorites first thing in the morning because this is a very popular feature during the holidays.

Celebrating Christmas at the Disneyland Resort is simply magical! Here are a few tips on maximizing your Christmas at Disneyland vacation.

Meeting Santa is a magical part of Christmas and no more so than at Disneyland! This year Santa Claus will be meeting children at Redwood Creek Challenge Trail at Disney California Adventure Park and in Critter Country at Disneyland Park. My son even had the opportunity to sign Santa’s “Nice List” guest book!

Celebrating Christmas at the Disneyland Resort is simply magical! Here are a few tips on maximizing your Christmas at Disneyland vacation.


Save Money on a DISNEYLAND Vacation!

Purchase discount tickets and vacation packages from my affiliate Get Away Today. Use the Promo Code REWRITTEN and receive an extra $10 off any 2-night or longer Southern California package. (Hotel and 2 ticket minimum purchase to qualify for the discount). 


Insider tips on celebrating Christmas at Disneyland Resort

Best Times of the Year to Visit Disneyland (and Why)

Planning to visit Disneyland? Find out when you'll best be able to avoid crowds, what dates to skip completely and what to expect of the weather!

One of the big questions when it comes to planning a Disneyland vacation is WHEN should we go? You not only have to figure out a perfect date between work and school schedules but you want to take weather, holidays and special events into consideration as well! So many things to consider before you visit Disneyland.

Here is my guide to the seasons, with tips on the best times of year to visit Disneyland!

Please note that my post contains affiliate links. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Planning to visit Disneyland? Find out when you'll best be able to avoid crowds, what dates to skip completely and what to expect of the weather!

When Will We Be Able to Avoid Crowds?

The parks will be packed anytime that kids are out of school, which would be all holidays and breaks. This would include weekends, summer, Christmas vacation, Thanksgiving weekend, Spring Break, Labor Day, President’s Day, and Memorial Day.

There are also random days through the year when you will find it’s busier than normal like Bats Day in early May and Gay Days in late September. I’ve personally been during both of these times and the park is much more crowded than it would be usually during this time of year.

There is also an assumption that Superbowl Sunday is a good time to go but really, I’ve been twice on Superbowl Sunday and it’s just as crowded as any other weekend (probably more so, because everyone else had the same great idea that the park wouldn’t be busy!).

Planning to visit Disneyland? Find out when you'll best be able to avoid crowds, what dates to skip completely and what to expect of the weather!

Photo Credit: Jeff Holz

Dates to Avoid if You Don’t Like Crowds

  • Martin Luther King Jr. weekend
  • Superbowl Sunday
  • President’s Day weekend
  • Spring Break for the local schools
  • Easter weekend
  • Bats Day (aka Goth Day)
  • Memorial Day weekend
  • 4th of July weekend
  • Labor Day weekend
  • Gay Days Disneyland (traditionally late September/early October)
  • Columbus Day weekend
  • Veteran’s Day weekend
  • Thanksgiving break for schools
  • Holiday/Winter break for schools, including Christmas and New Years

For more details on what dates to avoid, check out this post for 2017.

Purchase your discounted Disney Park tickets ahead of your trip from Park Savers!

Park Savers affiliate link

What Does More Crowded Mean?

  • It means waiting…lots and lots of waiting.
  • It means standing in line for 60+ minutes for a ride that you might be able to walk on without ANY line during a non-peak time of year.
  • It means waiting in line for the bathroom.
  • It means waiting in long lines for food.
  • It means that you might be standing to eat once you finally do get your food because there aren’t any tables or chairs left.
  • It means not being able to see the sidewalk in front of you in congested areas of the park.
  • It means being shoulder to shoulder at certain times.
  • It means if you want to watch a parade or attraction you’re going to have to get there very early if you want a seat or even standing room to watch it.

I’ve been during those times and it’s a miserable feeling to stand in line and wait for everything, especially with children.

Planning to visit Disneyland? Find out when you'll best be able to avoid crowds, what dates to skip completely and what to expect of the weather!

Ideal Disneyland conditions…free and clear!

Plan an Off-Peak Vacation

If you hate to wait (and really, who doesn’t?), consider going to the park during off-peak times. The most optimal days of the week to visit the park are in the middle: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Obviously Saturday and Sunday will be the busiest days of the week but Monday and Friday (especially Friday evenings when locals get off work) may be heavy as well.

Planning your Disneyland vacation takes preparation, especially if you’re a newbie. A good research book helps and I highly recommend these for everyone!

The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland 2017 and Birnbaum’s 2017 Disneyland Resort: The Official Guide
   

I’ve found these are good times to visit:

The first weeks in January – though you might experience some rain & cold weather.

Twice we went during the early part of the year and did experience some heavy rain. Navigating through the park, pushing a stroller and carrying an umbrella (which conveniently turned itself inside-out mid-gust!) wasn’t the easiest thing to do and we stuck to inside amusements like the show in the Golden Horseshoe and the Enchanted Tiki Room.

I wouldn’t recommend that first-timers visit this time of year at the risk of having your entire vacation rained out. (See the next section for more information about weather).

Then again, you might not have any rain at all and have a very warm visit, as we did on one very hot January visit!

Planning to visit Disneyland? Find out when you'll best be able to avoid crowds, what dates to skip completely and what to expect of the weather!

Late April to Mid-May– just after Spring Break is over and before kids are out for summer. Springtime at Disneyland and the flowers are in bloom. You might have a few light spring showers.

September – just after Labor Day but before Gay Days (late September). You’ll have to take the kids out of school but weather is warm and lines are short. It’s a great time to go if you like to take breaks at the pool for swimming.

Planning to visit Disneyland? Find out when you'll best be able to avoid crowds, what dates to skip completely and what to expect of the weather!

Mid-October through November – ending before Thanksgiving. And the park is all dressed up for fall, it’s just beautiful!

The weather is still usually warm (and sometimes VERY hot). Consider avoiding days on which Mickey’s Halloween Party takes place because the parks will be more crowded. If you choose to attend Mickey’s Halloween Party, don’t use a Park ticket that day because you’ll be able to access the Parks early with your special event hard ticket.

If you’re going to have the kids dress in costume, keep the warm weather in mind!

Late-November through first two weeks of December – the few weeks just after Thanksgiving.

Fortunately my son’s birthday falls during this time and I’ve taken him there a few times. The park is decorated for the winter holidays, there are special activities, shows and parades and the crowds are still thin enough.

Keep in mind that Disneyland often schedules revamps and maintenance during slow seasons or off-peak times. You can find that information on the Disneyland Daily Calendar Park hours might also be shorter, so check the calendar for the days you’ll be in the park.

Planning to visit Disneyland? Find out when you'll best be able to avoid crowds, what dates to skip completely and what to expect of the weather!

When Will the Weather Be the Best?

Fortunately, Disneyland is in Southern California and weather is generally pretty nice year-round. There are times of the year however when you can expect it to be quite hot (July through September). And there are times when it might rain (December through March). There are times when it will be very overcast and cloudy for most of the day (usually May and June). But an overcast day never hurt anyone and you’ll be at Disneyland, so who cares about a little May-Gray or June-Gloom?!

And the rest of the year is usually in the mid-70s so you’ll be comfy in shorts!

Planning to visit Disneyland? Find out when you'll best be able to avoid crowds, what dates to skip completely and what to expect of the weather!

Cold Weather

If you are going during cold weather, dress in layers. Don’t be shy about bringing that hat and those gloves. Wear socks and not flip-flops!

I had the pleasure of sitting on the cold concrete one icy winter day to watch a parade at the Park…brrr!! It was at that time I thought about how nice a blanket would have been to sit on!

If the weather warms up and you find yourself overdressed, you can always stuff everything into a rented locker and fetch it later if you need it again (you get in/out privileges for the day). Pack a poncho if rain is in the forecast as it’s much easier than dealing with an umbrella.

Planning to visit Disneyland? Find out when you'll best be able to avoid crowds, what dates to skip completely and what to expect of the weather!

Warm Weather

I would recommend similar advice for warm weather as well, layers are best. Evenings can still be cool in the summer, so bringing a light jacket or sweatshirt will be necessary or risk having to buy one at a premium price at the park when you get chilly! Believe me, I have many souvenir jackets from the park because of this very reason.

And it’s always smart to bring an extra set of clothes and socks anyway because you never know when you might get wet (or soaked!)

So what is your favorite time of year to visit Disneyland? Share your reasons in the comments!

 

 

Disney-Themed Stocking Stuffers That Don’t Break the Bank

Disney-Themed Stocking Stuffers That Don't Break the Bank

You’ve carefully budgeted your Christmas shopping and then you remember…you didn’t buy anything for the STOCKINGS! Or is that just me? Depending on how well you “stuff the stocking”, this could be a very expensive endeavor! Here are some last-minute practical and inexpensive stocking stuffers that won’t compromise your budget.

I’m a practical gal, I’ll admit it. I tend to gravitate towards stocking stuffer items that my kids already need. A new toothbrush, crayons, winter gloves, bubble bath and yes, even a package of undies make it in to the stocking.

Keep reading for my practical but still fun stocking stuffer ideas and a list of tips at the bottom of this post.

Please note that this post contains affiliate links


 Cozy Up

‘Tis the season to keep warm and these gifts will keep them toasty and stylish. A warm scarf, hat, gloves, slippers or socks are always welcome, especially if they feature a favorite character. Socks in a stocking? Kids will get a kick out of that!

from left to right,  BB-8 Knit hat (Disney Store), Doc McStuffins Kids Lambie Slippers, Star Wars Socks (both from Amazon)

 


 Art Supplies

Always a family favorite in our house. A fresh box of crayons or markers and a coloring book rolled up into the stocking is always a hit. Older kids might like a personalized pen.

from left to right, Disney’s Frozen Magic Ink Pictures Activity Book (Amazon), Walt Disney World personalized pen (from Disney Store), Disney Pixar Cars 12 Jumbo Crayons (Amazon)


Bathroom Fun

My little one  is obsessed with the Disney Magic Timer app that encourages longer brushing. He already has Star Wars mouthwash, Cars toothpaste and an Avengers toothbrush. I was able to find this Frozen-themed set for his stocking that I know he will love. And what’s better to balance out holiday sweets than oral hygiene products! *wink*

from left to right, Star Wars Oral Hygiene Set, Disney Frozen Oral-B Crest and Pro-Health Junior Toothpaste, Doc McStuffins 3pc Bright Smile Oral Hygiene Set (all from Amazon)

Get ’em clean with fun bath time goodies like bubble bath, soap and scrubbers. My older kids like something a little more “grown up” in a more sophisticated scent like the Disney H2O products.

from left to right, Disney Princess Bubble Bath (Amazon), Sea Salt & Marine Spa Collection (DisneyStore) and Bubble Bath Set Disney Pixar Cars (Amazon)

        


Stock Up for the Year

Make practical things a gift. Kids just want to see their favorite character and they are things that you would normally buy through the year anyway!

from left to right, Band-Aid Disney-Pixar Inside Out, Disney-Pixar Nemo SPF50 Sunscreen Stick, Bonnie Bell Disney Mickey Mouse Lip Balm


Vacation Goodies

Think ahead to what your kids will need things for vacations, like sunglasses, a sun hat or a t-shirt. Roll ’em up and stuff it in the stocking!

from left to right,  Elsa Costume Tee (Disney Store), R2-D2 Sunglasses and Minnie Mouse Toddler Girls Pink Bucket Hat
(both from Amazon)


A Little Something Just for Fun

Don’t forget at least one fun little thing that your kids will enjoy through the year. Little ones might enjoy a little stuffy and older girls would love a classy make-up set in a Disney-theme. And don’t forget the Force in the form of a cool new Lightsaber!

from left to right, Minnie Mouse Hair Ties, Marvel Universal “Tsum Tsum” (both from Disney Store)

from left to right, ELF Jasmine Face Makeup Set, Maxx Action Galactic Series Photon Sabers (both from Amazon)


 Something Sweet

I bought these mini candy canes for my kids last Christmas and they were just the perfect size to toss a few of each flavor into each stocking. And how cute is that Olaf Hot Cocoa set?! My kids don’t have candy or sweets very often so receiving a special treat in their stockings is always welcome (we even let them indulge right after breakfast!) It is Christmas, after all!

from left to right, Disney’s Mini Candy Canes, Jelly Belly Jelly Beans, Mickey Mouse Special Edition, Wilton Disney Frozen Olaf Cocoa Trimming Kit and Arctic White Hot Cocoa Bundle

      


Stocking Stuffer Tips –

1. What’s your stocking budget? Those little things really add up so make sure you have a cost in mind before buying and don’t go overboard on the cost.

2. Keep size in mind. Take the size of your stockings into consideration. If a gift is too big for the stocking, wrap it up and set it next to the stocking or on the mantle.

3. How many items should you get? Keep the number of stocking stuffers between 3-5 (depending upon the size).

4. Don’t buy junk or just “things” to fill the stocking. Stick to what you know will be used and well-loved.  I want things that will actually be enjoyed so it’s worth spending a little more rather than just filling stockings with bottom-of-the-toy-box items from the dollar store.


 What are your favorite stocking stuffers? Share in the comments…and have a Merry Christmas!

Please note that this post contains affiliate links

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Disneyland in December and GIVEAWAY! Win a Trip from Get Away Today

Disneyland in December is always a magical time of year. With the entire resort decorated top to bottom in the holiday spirit, Disneyland is a great place to spend the season. This year there are several additions that make this December at Disneyland even better! Keep reading and see how YOU can win a trip to Disneyland!

Holidays at the Disneyland Resort

Christmas is always a huge draw at the Disneyland. From the amazing decor, specialty treats, and seasonal layovers to popular rides like Haunted Mansion Holiday and “it’s a small world holiday”, this is a beautiful place to celebrate the season. In addition to the usual Christmas favorites, like Candlelight Processional in Disneyland, be sure to spend a day at Disney California Adventure Park to play at Olaf’s Snow Fest, World of Color – Winter Dreams and celebrate at Disney !Viva Navidad! The Christmas feeling extends to the rest of the Resort as well, with holiday decor at the Resort hotels and Downtown Disney Winter Village, where guests can ice skate or shop.

Photo Credit: Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland Resort

Photo Credit: Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland Resort

Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration

The 60th anniversary celebration lives on this holiday season. Sleeping Beauty Castle still shines with diamonds and has the addition of a few Christmas touches. Disneyland will continue to show the new nightly spectaculars, Disneyland Forever fireworks and Paint the Night parade as well as feature the traditional Christmas Fantasy Parade.

Paint the Night - Disneyland's Nighttime Spectacular Parade

Anna & Elsa from Frozen (with Olaf in the back)

Seasons of the Force

Tomorrowland is feeling the force as Star Wars takes over during what is sure to be a successful takeover. I’ve heard nothing but good things about the overlay on Space Mountain into Hyperspace Mountain. The Innoventions building has been transformed into the Star Wars Launch Bay, complete with Meet n’ Greets (Chewbacca or Darth Vader). Star Tours – The Adventure Continues now features a new scene from the movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Photo Credit: Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland Resort

Photo Credit: Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland Resort

The Disneyland website notes that Star Wars-themed costumes are allowed for both adults & children (within the guidelines). Tomorrowland restaurants are featuring Star Wars themed dishes on their menus, including a black bun Angus beef and chorizo burger served in a Han Solo Carbonite bucket. Debuting December 8th, young Guests can participate in the updated Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple. There is no official end date to this special event, but rumor is mid-March.

Learn how you can navigate the holiday crowds from my post at Traveling Mom.

Can’t wait to visit? Me neither!!! And you have the opportunity to WIN a Disneyland vacation, read on!

I am excited to announce that our friends over at Get Away Today are giving one of you a chance to win a 2 night hotel stay and 2 adult Disneyland 1 Day/1 Park tickets so you can enjoy Disneyland and make some magical memories of your own.

Win a trip to Disneyland from Get Away Today
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 and older and will run through December 4, 2015.

You can enter to win using the giveaway widget below. If you aren’t wanting to miss out on a good deal though, be sure to check out Get Away Today’s Cyber Monday deal.

Their Cyber Monday sale will kick off on Monday, November 30, and will be good for $50 off the same package requirements: 4-night Southern California vacations w/a minimum of 2 tickets for travel January 1 – March 1, 2016. This will need to be booked by Saturday, December 5, 2015. The promo code is: CyberMonday15
You can book your vacation by CLICKING HERE.

Good luck!
ENTER HERE: Disneyland Vacation Giveaway


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How to Navigate Holiday Crowds at the Disneyland Resort #TMOM

It’s a very merry Christmas season at the Disneyland Resort! How can you navigate the crowds and still make sure to have a magical time? Follow these 11 tips on my most recent post at Traveling Moms.

How to Navigate Holiday Crowds at the Disneyland Resort #TMOM

 

 

 

 

 

 

13 Disney-inspired Christmas Delights and Desserts You Can Make at Home

I love holiday baking and a Disney-themed recipe is the icing on the cake! These ideas and recipes are perfect for adding a little Disney magic to your festivities. I’ve included edible decor, cookies & cakes, gift giving treats as well as special recipes to serve on Christmas morning.


IT’S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR!

These Frozen trees make great decorations or cake toppers (and are made simply with a frosted sugar ice cream cone, flaked coconut and a spice drop).

Image from Parents.com

Warm up with a cup of what is called the World’s Best Hot Chocolate, served at Napa Rose at the Disneyland Resort. Recipe to make it yourself, from The Disney Diner.

Image from Indulgy.com

If you can’t make an enormous gingerbread house like they do at Disney’s Grand Californian Resort & Spa, you could still make a mini version at home! I love this gingerbread recipe from Sweet Sugar Belle.

Image from Disney Parks.com


COOKIES & CAKE

Using Sweet Sugar Belle’s gingerbread recipe & paired with her royal icing recipe, this is a sweet treat that is sure to delight! You can even cut your gingerbread boys & girls into Mouseketeer versions like they do at Disneyland.

Image from Disney Food Blog.com

Sweet Sugar Belle’s sugar cookie recipe is also my favorite. Paired with the royal icing recipe and some candies, it’s a treat to make these adorable Mickey snowmen.

These pretty green holly leaf cookies have a Hidden Mickey surprise! Fan them out on a platter to create a delicious wreath.

Image from Family Disney.com

Bakerella has the original cake pop recipe (she invented them). These silhouette Mickey cake pops are precious!

Image from Bakerella.com


GIFT GIVING

A treat bag filled with Cinnamon Glazed Almonds would be a delight. These are sold throughout Walt Disney World.

Image from The Disney Chef.com

I love seeing these holiday themed caramel apples throughout the Disney Parks. Oh My Disney! has the instructions on how you can make a Disney-style caramel apple at home!

Disney Holiday Desserts & Delights!

Wrap up a Frozen-inspired popcorn ball studded with candy & snowflakes for a sweet treat to give to friends.

Image from Life Made Simple Bakes.com


CHRISTMAS MORNING

Greet the family on Christmas morning with these adorably delicious Mickey shaped cinnamon rolls!

Image from Family.Disney.com

I have a penchant for banana bread and this one doesn’t disappoint; it’s also the same recipe they serve in the Disney Parks!

I just bought my first doughnut pan and think I’ll have to try this one out…isn’t it cute!! These are Mickey’s Apple Cider doughnuts with a chocolate glaze.

Image from Family.Disney.com

I have pinned more ideas on my Very Merry Christmas Pinterest board.


What is your favorite dessert or delight during the holidays? Share in the comments below and please consider signing up for my newsletter to receive indication of future posts.

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A Disney Christmas – Holiday Decor and Ornaments Galore!

It’s so magical to include Disney themed ornaments and decor in your home during the holidays! Whether you make ’em or buy ’em, there are thousands of beautiful ornaments and decor ideas to make this season a little more merry! From left to right, Disney Store, Hallmark, Lenox & Disney Store


HANDCRAFTED BY YOU!

Pinterest has a plethora of fun ideas, of course!

     

Mike Wazowski Rudolph Nose Ornament DIY

Image from Family Disney.com

Tinkerbell’s Pixie Dust globe ornament DIY

Image from Crafting in the Rain.com

Jack Skellington sharpie marker DIY globes

Image from Theresa’s Mixed Nuts.com

Elsa’s Snowflake Ornament DIY

Image from Family Disney.com


STORE BOUGHT

If you haven’t the time or talent to make your own this year, many incredible Disney-themed ornaments can be had online! From left to right, Disney Store, Lenox, Disney Store and Hallmark.

LENOX

Lenox has some beautiful designs and high quality you’ve come to expect from them. I love the expressions on Disney’s Ariel’s Best Friend ornament from Lenox. And the pretty gold scales on her tail, so lovely!

Image from Lenox

 


HALLMARK

Hallmark has been a go-to for our holiday ornament shopping for years. My kids have a collection of fun designs with a Disney twist for the holidays. I like that there are some not-so-typical designs this year, including Baby Mine and True Love’s Kiss.

Image from Hallmark.com

Image from Hallmark.com


DISNEY STORE

Naturally the Disney Store (affiliate link) has amazing Disney-themed ornaments in dozens of designs. There is an ornament for everyone on your list!

Alice in Wonderland Ear Hat ornament

Image from Disney Store.com

Doc McStuffins and Lambie Sketchbook Ornament

Image from Disney Store.com

Mickey and Friends Holiday Ornament Set

Image from Diseny Store.com


HANDCRAFTED BY ARTISANS

Over on Etsy, a quick search under handmade for Disney Christmas Ornaments and you can find some beautifully crafted items that support small business.

Personalized Mickey or Minnie ornaments by KeepsakesbyNicolina

Image from Keepsakes by Nicolina on Etsy.com

Handpainted Buzz, Woody or Jessie ornaments by PaintnPly

Image from PaintnPly on Etsy.com

Do You Wanna Build a Snowman ornament by MelaniesCrafts

Image from Melanie’s Crafts on Etsy.com

Embroidered Felt ornaments in Mickey or Minnie design by StubbyTailCreations

Image from Stubby Tail Creations on Etsy.com


Do you have any Disney ornaments on your tree? Stop over at my Saving UP for Disney Facebook page and share with me!

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