Worth every penny.
Sometimes people hesitate to take guided tours because of the cost. You paid over $100 just to get into the park and a guided tour almost doubles that amount. But sometimes the counter-intuitive thing to do is the right one and this is one such case. The Holiday Time Tour at Disneyland is one of the best tours offered (and one of the few left after the park “shelved” many of their offerings). It is filled with holiday cheer, fun, and as befits the season – presents!
Type: Guided Tour
Specialty: Highlights about holidays at the resort
Cost: $85 (but AP discount is available)
Craig’s Favorite: All of it! My favorite guided tour of all. I’d say the awesome pin you get at the end but the hot cocoa in a souvenir mug was hard to beat
The theme parks seem to come alive during the winter holidays more so than at any other time of the year. Rides get the holiday makeover, goodies come out with that Christmas flair, and only during this time of the year do you get to take part in the Holiday Time Tour at Disneyland. And be sure you do! At a cost of $85, it’s well worth the time and the price. Lasting about three hours, you traverse both theme parks (although primarily Disneyland) and end with a special reserved section for the Christmas Fantasy parade.
As tours go, this was one of my favorites. While you don’t get to go “backstage,” there were many other highlights that were lots of fun to enjoy. Probably chief among them was getting to ride all three “holiday themed” rides without having to wait in line! We were treated like VIPs on Jingle Cruise, Haunted Mansion Holiday, and it’s a small world holiday. I wonder with Jingle Cruise not coming back this year if instead we’ll go on one or both of the overlay attractions at Disney California Adventure. On top of that, we received a special treat at Trolley Treats made just for the tour and over in Disneyland we got reserved seating for the Christmas parade. While sitting down, we were given a souvenir mug of hot chocolate, a specially made gingerbread Mickey and a souvenir pin made especially for the tour and redone each year.
I also loved the holiday stories we were told. Fun facts about both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure (DCA) during this time of year were shared all throughout the tour. Last time we found out that Disneyland features red and gold color themes while DCA has many blue highlights. You won’t find tinsel on the tree at Disneyland while the DCA tree is covered in it. And even the garlands are themed differently to reflect the times.
We also learned that the tour itself is based on the 1962 special made by Walt called “Holiday Time at Disneyland” and the train under the tree at DCA is an exact scale replica of the train Walt Disney rode in on his journey to California. One of the more interesting notes on the tour is about the mezuzah on the doorframe of a particular Jewish resident (with accompanying menorah in the window) down Main Street at Disneyland. Dr. Silverstein was a close friend of Walt’s and to honor him, he placed a door on Main Street on his behalf along with a mezuzah placed correctly and tilted according to Jewish custom. Never would have noticed that before. Of course there were many more stories, but you need to hear those for yourself!
It’s such a great tour you really don’t want to miss out on it. There isn’t special pricing for kids – everyone pays the same rate – but it is worth every penny. I took my (then) 10-year old daughter and she loved it! There were other kids of varying ages with us, from 17 down to about 5 and all of them had smiles on their faces. If you get a chance, check out this tour, but make sure to make reservations in advance to insure you get a space. They are limited and it’s first come, first served. Take advantage of this great tour while it lasts! It’s only at the park during the winter holiday season.