This year my family spent Thanksgiving at Disneyland. It was a very different choice for us in terms of how we typically spend our holiday, but with all the stuff happening in our lives we decided we needed a break from reality. We were even joined by our Elf, Spot, on the trip. Santa gave my son permission to hold him on the trip as Disney is magical enough to sustain his Elf powers, or whatever. It was very cool.
I have never seen Disneyland dressed up for the holidays and I was basically enthralled every minute. From the moment you enter the parks you are met with decorations and smells and smiles that transport you into the land of Christmas.
During our first night there we were able to walk down Main Street and it ‘snowed’ on us….a fine bubble mist that smelled of gingerbread and candy rained down on us under purple glowing lights as Christmas music played. I think I saw 200 people crying tears of joy, my husband and I included. It was very magical and very emotional. As we walked down Main Street to exit the park under the mickey shaped garland and wreaths hanging overhead we had our eyes glued to the gorgeous tree with a million twinkling lights. It was beautiful.
We had eaten at Cafe Orleans and slept like babies that night after being stuffed with delicious New Orleans inspired food and Holiday Magic.
The next day was Thanksgiving Day and it was somehow, even more magical than the first day of our trip. We went on the Walk in Walt’s Footsteps Tour and it gave us a very amazing perspective on Disneyland and Walt Disney’s dreams coming to fruition. The tour included 3 hours of walking through the lands of the Disneyland park and hearing Walt’s recorded words played to us on a device as well as being educated on Walt’s history by our amazing tour guide (Shout out to very tall tour guide Adrian!!). We were able to go on two rides and into one attraction without waiting and the tour included a lunch at private tables in the tour garden as well as a special pin commemorating the tour.
Possibly the best part of the tour, the day and maybe our entire year so far in general, was having the opportunity to go inside of Walt Disney’s private apartment in Disneyland above the fire station on Main Street. It was the place Walt stayed while he was at the park, where he visited with his grandchildren and watched the parades down Main Street. It was where he sat and came up with some of his most amazing and magical ideas. It was a place we never thought we would be able to see with our own eyes.
If you aren’t a Disney fan, a true hardcore fan of the history and legacy of Disney, I can see why you might not understand the excitement about all of this. My family is a pack of hardcore Disney nerds. For us Disney is a way of life, not just some animated films and a theme park. We like to follow our dreams and spend time as a family experiencing magic whenever we get the opportunity. My son was blown away by the ability to stand where Walt stood and to learn about his life from his youth to his death and legacy. I don’t think we could have asked for a more amazing experience.
The next day and a half we tried going on the rides we typically didn’t take time to enjoy on past visits. We went on the Casey Jr. train, the Storybook canal boats, and Snow White’s ride. We also went on the Nemo submarine ride and of course, experienced the fun of It’s a Small World with it’s Christmas makeover. Then we headed to California Adventure and took some time to explore the Bug’s Life area and eat some delicious food from the Festival of Holidays. We also had fun watching Fantasmic with all of it’s exciting updates.
All in all I’d say our trip did exactly what we needed it to do…it refreshed and recharged us for the holiday season. Our family has been going through so many difficult things the last few months and being able to get away and spend time in such a magical place with the people I care the most about has made the future seem more exciting. Learning about how Walt Disney overcame so many challenges and followed his dreams despite the obstacles in his way made me feel like I can do anything to reach my own goals and follow my own dreams.
I will be doing a Giveaway soon with a very cool Disneyland Holiday exclusive item…so stay tuned!