The Disneyland Resort is always a magical destination, but it’s extra magical following Halloween and Thanksgiving.
The majestic Christmas tree is lit up on Main Street, jolly holiday tunes play and the sweet smell of fall foods permeates the air—all while Mickey Mouse and the gang take a playful stroll dressed in their wintery duds.
While the shopping frenzy of Black Friday was in full swing, my wife and I instead headed to the happiest place on earth. Disney California Adventure was our first stop to grab some grub at this year’s Festival of Holidays.
The series of food carts serves tapas-sized bites representative of Christmas, Diwali, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Navidad holiday favorites.
Though delicious, Nashville Hot Fried Turkey with Dill Pickles turned out to be a seriously spicy start. We cooled the flames with the likes of savory Chorizo Queso Fundido with House-made Tortilla Chips and melt-in-your-mouth Beef Short Rib with Smashed Potatoes & Gravy, Topped with Cranberry Sauce. (Only Sliced Spicy Calabrese Salami with Crackers served unceremoniously in a small plastic bag left us scratching our heads.)
As usual, our eyes were bigger than our stomachs and we’ll definitely have to return before the run ends on January 7, 2018, to infill our selections.
However, so far the culinary highlights have been the wonderful Braised Pork Belly Adobo with Garlic Fried Rice and Horchata Fudge washed down with Modern Times Beer’s Fruitlands Passion Fruit & Guava Gose—appropriately from our hometown of San Diego.
After the food carts, we headed over to Cars Land to check out its overlay changeover.
Halloween quickly made way for Christmas and, like the preceding holiday, two of the three rides played up the season by way of Luigi’s Joy to the Whirl and Mater’s Jingle Jamboree. The Fiat emcees his family dancing to the cute “Joy to the World” remake, and everyone’s favorite tow truck sings a series of songs, including an amusing ode to tractors to the tune of “I Have a Little Dreidel.”
Be sure to listen in for puns such as “oil vey” and also check out the fun parody posters to Disney holiday movies down the street.
At night, DCA presents “World of Color – Season of Light,” but we opted to head across the esplanade to where it all began at Disneyland itself to finish the day and night.
As a side benefit to that decision, we got to ride Star Tours, which has been recently updated.
New scenes have been added from the upcoming “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” film as well as the park’s own new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge land coming in 2019. Both look astounding, and I can’t wait for either.
The park looks as marvelous as it always does during the holidays, especially in the evening. We watched as Sleeping Beauty Castle was transformed with bright white snowcapped roofs. On the night we attended, one of the light grids falsely flickered some during the ceremony, but once it was fully illuminated, the structure was a seamless sight to behold.
Technically flawless was the “Believe…in Holiday Magic” fireworks show, which I had not recalled seeing before.
Beautiful orchestrations of holiday music were accompanied by perfectly-timed explosions in the sky while projections animated the buildings along Main Street with precise texture mapping. It’s almost as though the carefully outlined architecture danced before our eyes in a kaleidoscope of greens and reds, ornaments and pixie dust.
Of course, no such performance is complete without “snowfall”—always delightful despite simply being emulative of soap suds blown from above.
Thanks to our annual passes, my wife and I plan to visit again before Christmas officially arrives, and there is plenty of time for you to do the same. Next on the agenda: Beef Brisket with Brown Sugar-glazed Carrots.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!
-Originally published in Travel Pulse News, by Jason Leppert, November 30, 2017
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