This holiday season, especially in wake of such a terrible tragedy at Sandy Hook, many of us are stopping to reflect on what the holidays are really about.
It isn’t really the gifts that matter. Time spent with your family is priceless. Memories you make together can never be taken away from you.
As my family made our travel plans over the holiday season, there was one destination that was at the top of our wish list — Disneyland.
We typically go a bit overboard for Christmas but there are far better things that we can take away from the holiday season.We’ve been really trying to scale back on toy clutter this year and focus on making memories rather than spending time and money on gifts we don’t need. Ironically, the morning we found ourselves at Disneyland was the day of the Sandy Hook shooting.
I was standing watching my older kids on a ride and holding my baby as the news came through on my phone and I stood there stunned. I pushed aside my shock and grief at the news though and took it as a reminder to really focus on being there, and being present, for my kids. It was a reminder about how fleeting life is. The result was an amazing day that will be a memory we will all treasure.
I promise you, that Disney magic is very real. And Disneyland during the holidays is phenomenal.
Our first stop of the day was California Adventure. I have 3 boys and they weren’t going to let anything stop them from seeing the new Cars Land. We’ve all been looking forward to Cars Land since it was first announced and it was amazing! Definitely my new favorite part of California Adventure!
The rides were spectacular but that’s a topic for another post. I was so impressed with the technology and creativity used in the rides that there’s no way I could condense it down into this post without making it 5 miles long.
I loved just soaking in all of the festive energy as we walked around the park. There were holiday decorations everywhere and great photo opportunities everywhere you turned. I slacked off a bit in the holiday decorating department this year but walking around the park gave all of us our holiday fix.
My kids loved the tire Christmas tree in Cars Land (and I suspect they may be asking for Cars themed holiday decorations from here on out.
After thoroughly exploring California Adventure, we were onto Disneyland.
We were very impressed by California Adventure, but Disneyland was breathtaking. Every inch of Disneyland was decked out with holiday decorations.
If you don’t believe in Disney magic, come during Christmastime.
I can’t even imagine the work that it took to decorate the entire park for the holidays. I’m overwhelmed at the thought of decorating my own house most of the time!
There was such a great vibe as we went through the park. I expected huge crowds (and I seriously hate crowds) but everyone I encountered was in a great mood and very friendly.
It’s very rare that we get the opportunity to simply be together as a family. I mean we are there, but we’re not always there.
It was amazing to ignore all the holiday tasks on my to-do list for the day, put away our cell phones, and really take the day to reconnect with my family. My kids are growing up way faster than I would like them to do but I’m amazed at what awesome little people they are turning into.
Disneyland does a great job of decking the rides out during the holidays as well. It’s a Small World is one of our favorites and it undergoes a heavy makeover during the holiday season, inside and out.
Even my little Disney princess agreed that the Christmas overhaul made the ride one of the best in the park this time of year. I’ll be sharing my tips for Disneyland with an infant soon so keep your eyes posted for that.
At the end of the night, we were exhausted but my kids still had huge smiles on their face. As I sat and waited for them outside their third visit to the updated Star Tours ride, holiday music filled the air and I could see bright lights come from the direction of the castle. I was nearly asleep on my feet but the music drew me in. As I turned the corner and the castle came into view, it literally took my breath away.
I’ve seen the castle many times before but the holiday lights were just stunning. I stood in the rain and just stared until my baby protested. It was the perfect end to a magical day and one that my kids are still talking about.
Happy Holidays everyone! I hope you have a magical day tomorrow.
Go here to check out the latest Special offers from Disneyland.
Disclosure: Disney provided media passes for me and my family to attend Disneyland, however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.