Its been a few decades since I was a kid but I remember dreaming of waking up on Christmas morning, running into the living room to find a trip to Disneyland wrapped up in a clever oversized box.

Yeah, no matter how nice I was or how much I wished upon a star…it never happened.

BUT if it did…I dreamt it would be something like what’s going on at Disneyland now. Here are a few ideas to maybe…just maybe make that dream come true for your kids.

Christmassy Mouse Ears - Hide Disneyland under the Christmas Tree

FIRST – Canadians should make sure they check details out on the Canadian site for all things about the mouse at

Disneyland (and Walt Disney World) have incredible offers for Canadian residents that you should consider – like tickets under the tree that can be used anytime between now and December 31, 2017 that are 25% off. Go at Christmas or go in the off-season. Details are below.

Disneyland is festive any day of the year but they really kick up the sparkle from mid-November on. Seasonal music intertwines with the regular Disney tunes. Bright presents wrapped with bows are stacked under enormous Christmas trees and miles and miles of ribbon and shiny tinsel adorn lamp posts, palm trees and street signs. If you love the spirit of Christmas and the magic of Disney – this is the motherlode starting with the ‘it’s a small world’ attraction.

Outside its's a small world during Christmas - Hide Disneyland under the Christmas Tree

For twenty holiday seasons the boats floating through ‘it’s a small world’ have been drifting through a joyful display of cultural celebrations from around the world. Hundreds of thousands of lights glimmer as you drift through pine scented forests and past peppermint scented candy canes. It’s cheery and fun. Festive songs intertwine with the regular earworm tune so that you roll out singing “Jingle shells, Jingle shells,” with Arial instead of just “it’s a small world after all.” During the evening the front of the attraction turns into a backdrop for a 3D-projection of whimsical holiday celebrations. It happens four times per hour so there is no need to rush or line up for the performance.

Jack Skellington takes over the Haunted Mansion during the holiday season - Hide Disneyland under the Christmas Tree

Jack Skellington and his crew from Nightmare Before Christmas take over the Haunted Mansion for Halloween and keep the twisted celebration going right through the festive season. You’ll love the weird snowmen, the nightmare-ish Christmas presents and the snake that weaves through the scenes like Santa’s list of naughty and nice. You smell gingerbread as you drift over the grand ball room. Pick up a fast pass for this popular attraction to speed up the wait time.

The animals on the Jungle Cruise got into the Christmas Decorations! Hide Disneyland under the Christmas Tree

The animals along the Nile on the Jungle Cruise broke into the decorations shed and really messed up the place. Those stand-up comics/ship captains relish the opportunity to spice up the dialogue with Christmas themed puns turning it into a “Jingle Cruise.” The jokes are endless and the Christmas cakes and ornaments are everywhere. Watch for the tribesmen decked out in tacky Christmas sweaters and the pride of lions making a feast out of the plastic reindeer.

“Season of Lights” is the cheery transformation of the nighttime water spectacular “World of Color.” The submersible platform that’s bigger than a football field, with more than 18,000 points of control and revolutionary lighting blasting neon colour up nearly 1,200 fountains is amazing any night of the year. But at Christmas, it’s like a great big group hug. Favourite moments of animated Disney characters are projected on the fountains and fluffy heart-shaped bubble hearts float to the sky. The biggest cheer happens when the light show goes warp-speed with flames and flashing lights set to the “Wizards in Winter” song used on many house displays.

Pull into Cars Land at night to see the red-neck display of lights. Tires, oil cans, and jumper cables are the perfect level of tackiness for wreaths, ornaments and garland.

Cars Land at the Holidays is just one reason to Hide Disneyland under the Christmas Tree


What’s a celebration without a parade? And boy-oh-boy is it a spectacular. The Christmas themed parade is bright, dreamy and beautiful. People toss down a blanket an hour ahead of the parade on main street to make sure they get a good view. While mom or dad holds the fort the others sneak in a few more rides but here is an interesting idea. Find out where the parade starts and head there. The crowds don’t go there.

Christmas Fantasy Parade at Disneyland

Other things about the park that aren’t about Christmas that you need to know.

The Twilight Tower of Terror is no longer taking reservations. Yup, in January 2017, the last ride for thrill seekers in the service elevator will happen. The attraction will go under extensive renovations to re-appear in the summer of 2017 as Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! The new attraction will transform the structure into an epic new adventure, enhancing the breathtaking free fall sensation with new visual and audio effects to create a variety of ride experiences. Guests will experience multiple, random and unique ride profiles in which the rise and fall of the gantry lift rocks to the beat of music inspired by the film’s popular soundtrack.

Explore a bit of Anaheim using the ART or the Anaheim Resort Transportation to get to Disneyland from the popular hotels and over to other attractions like Angels Stadium and the new Packing District of Anaheim. Day passes are cheap and its convenient.

Visit Huntington Beach -Hide Disneyland under the Christmas Tree

If you’ve rented a car, take in sunset at Huntington Beach but do it in style. Pick up the makings for s’mores and make the melted goodness over a fire pit on the beach.

Here are the details about the Canadian Residents ticket offer.

Purchase the tickets via a travel agent or by calling 1 (866) 543-4763. You need to have a Canadian Passport or valid proof of Canadian residency. The tickets have to be purchased before February 28, 2017 and activated before December 31, 2017 for the length of the ticket. That means you can wrap the tickets in a ridiculously large box for this Christmas and have kids trying to stay on the nice list for an entire year.

More Anaheim Resort Transportation information can be found here

More about Huntington Beach here


All photos courtesy Joanne Elves