This post was one that was vastly different than the one that ended up on the Disney Dads website, but I like both equally. Each has a slightly different focus, but I hope you enjoy this one, too!
Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year. I don’t think there’s another season so devoted to family and building memories together like this one. So what better way to spend it than at the place dedicated to bringing families together – Disneyland. Christmas always has a magical air to it, but at Disneyland that magic seems to truly come alive! From the music playing almost subconsciously in the background, to the smells of peppermint wafting out into the streets from the Candy Palace, to the big, ain’t-no-mistaking-it, Christmas tree right in town square on Main Street, the ambiance of the season completely surrounds you. It just makes you feel like it’s Christmas Day no matter what day you are there.
As beautiful as it is in the daytime though, there’s something amazing about what happens when the sun goes down and the lights go on. The entire park is alive with sparkling, twinkling bulbs woven through the trees, and the castle becomes the most amazing Christmas decoration on the planet. The look of wonder in the eyes of my girls as they walk through the Park is enough for me to know that every penny was worth it.
But Christmas is about traditions. Each family builds their own and they become meaningful parts of our lives. When my wife, Cassie and I got married we brought our traditions with us but we also created our own and one of those has been to make a point of coming to Disneyland with our girls. Nearly every year we’ve been together, we’ve come to the park to see it transformed into a winter wonderland and as amazing as it is other times of the year, there is no better time to visit than during the Christmas season. We’ve even developed our own traditions for visiting the park. We start the morning with one of those amazing cinnamon rolls from the bakery. We should probably go and run to some ride or another, but beginning the morning with our tummies warm and happy is a great way to start the day. After letting the girls ride their favorite rides, we also make a point of riding It’s A Small World Holiday together, trying to not only pick out our favorite Disney characters in the ride, but singing along to that mixture of Christmas standards and the song for which it is named. We always buy a pin as a souvenir of our day together and some time during the evening we get a cup of hot chocolate and warm ourselves back up again. The hot chocolate has been something new the past couple of years but that’s part of the fun, watching our holiday traditions evolve and grow as we grow.
One time when Emma was only a year old and we were living in Georgia, I brought Emma out after Christmas to spend some time with my folks out in California. We spent one of those days in the Happiest Place on Earth. I was trying to decide on whether or not I should rent the stroller or simply carry my little girl around the Park. I chose to carry her. After all, how heavy can a one-year old be? Plus, I didn’t want to miss out on the joy of carrying my little munchkin all day long. Word of advice: Get the stroller. We had a blast together and it will always be a memory I hold fondly but by the end of the day I had gained five pounds of muscle mass all in my arms and was more exhausted than ever before. Still we visited with Santa Goofy, rode the carousel (another tradition that developed over time), and took our picture in front of the tree not to mention a dozen other fun things.
If you’ve never been to Disneyland during the Christmas holiday season, be sure to take the time and take your kids and go. Create your own traditions at the park. Maybe you’ll be there the day they make candy canes or watch the Candlelight Procession. Maybe you’ll go on Haunted Mansion Holiday or watch it snow after the fireworks. Or maybe you’ll simply make your time your own, but there is nothing better than doing it with your kids because these will be the things they carry with them into their own futures.