It’s that time again that we’re all tempted by vacation deals at our favorite parks. Here’s what our local parks are offering this year:
The Disneyland Resort
The holiday season at Disneyland Resort runs from November 11th to January 8th this year, with several opportunities to celebrate. Learn more at Disneyland.com.
Disneyland Park: At one end of Main Street stands a 60-foot-tall Christmas tree begging for photo opportunities, while at the other end, Sleeping Beauty’s winter castle is covered in twinkling lights and shimmering icicles. Recurring attractions include the “A Christmas Fantasy” parade and the “Believe…in Holiday Magic” fireworks display on select nights. Santa will be holding court in Critter Country, while It’s a Small World and The Haunted Mansion will feature their traditional holiday overlays.
Disney California Adventures: The Disney Festival of Holidays features various celebrations including Christmas, Navidad, Hanukkah, Diwali, Kwanzaa and Epiphany. The popular water show “World of Color – Season of Light” returns. Look out for Santa at the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail and other live events including live music, a Mickey’s Happy Holidays character celebration, the Viva Navidad! Street Festival and the Holiday Toy Drummers. The Festive Foods Marketplace also returns with nine different kiosks offering holiday treats. People can buy a Sip and Savor Pass to try them.
Knott’s berry farm
Holiday fun is planned in Knotts this year from November 18th to January 8th. The organizers are promising a “winter wonderland-inspired decoration” with twinkling lights, garlands, snowflakes and more. Special shows include the musical revue Home for the Holidays, as well as the classic ice show featuring Snoopy, the Peanuts Gang and a cast of world-class ice skaters. Holiday foods will be available, including crispy breaded turkey bites, while the streets of Calico are home to a craft village and more. Also check out Santa’s Christmas Cabin, night tree lights and a light show at Camp Snoopy. Knotts.com
This year the holidays at Legoland California Resort in Carlsbad will run from November 19 to January 8 in Carlsbad. The fun includes nighttime tree lighting of the park’s LEGO Christmas tree, which will be covered in lights and Lego ornaments.
And then there’s the special New Year’s Eve party for children on December 31st, which includes live music and other entertainment, as well as a New Year’s countdown at 6pm – a move that’s sure to please many parents. All holiday activities are included in the entrance fee. (Note that Legoland no longer accepts cash, according to its website. Reservations are required in some cases.) For more information: 760-918-5436 or visit legoland.com/california/
Sea World San Diego
Holiday season at Sea World runs from November 14th to January 8th this year. Look out for live entertainment, celebratory food and drink, and special holiday exhibits like the 320-foot SkyTower Tree of Lights. seaworld.com/san-diego/events
Sesame Square San Diego
A Very Furry Christmas runs from November 12th to January 8th on select dates in Chula Vista. The park is decorated to offer a winter wonderland including Sesame Street Christmas Shows, Sesame Street Christmas Parade, Furry Friends Christmas Dance Party and more. Shop for holiday games, special merchandise, and photos featuring Sesame Street characters in holiday attire. sesameplace.com/san-diego/events/a-very-furry-christmas/
Six Flag Magic Mountain
Holiday in the Park runs on select dates November 24th through January 1st, including a new Merry Marketplace near Katy’s Kettle. It promises millions of lights, festive foods and special shows including a traveling toy soldier troupe, live music and dancers, choreographed lights and visits to Santa Claus. Treats for sale include fudge, peppermint bark, and white chocolate apples. Fire pits offer the opportunity to roast marshmallows. sixflags.com/magicmountain/events/holiday-in-the-park
Universal Studios Hollywood
Put on your walking shoes because the holiday season begins the day after Thanksgiving at Universal. It runs until Sunday January 1st. Events include “Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter” and “Grinchmas”. All holiday activities are included in the price of admission. Check out Hogsmeade Village being decked out for the holidays and host fun activities including a cappella performances by the Hogwarts Frog Choir. Hot Butterbeer is also for sale. The village shops offer holiday items including personalized ornaments and notebooks. Holiday dinner at Three Broomsticks. After dark, Hogwarts Castle offers a light projection show with animation and music entitled “The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle”.
At Universal Plaza, “Grinchmas Who-bilation” includes the 65-foot-tall decorated tree with a nightly tree-lighting ceremony where the Grinch shares his own story with the Whos of Whooville. The Grinch and his dog Max host daily photo ops and more. Special treats are on sale. Universal Citywalk will also have a decorated tree and other decorations. UniversalStudiosHollywood.com.
Warner Bros. studio tour
A special winter holiday feature called “Holidays Made Here” is planned from December 22nd to January 1st as part of the Studio Tour. (The tour is closed on December 25th). The holiday special features the Midwest Street backlot, which is the filming location for Stars Hollow from the TV series Gilmore Girls. Also find holiday trivia, guided tours and behind-the-scenes stories from Gremlins, Elf, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and many other holiday fan favourites. Gilmore Girls fans will especially enjoy seeing Stars Hollow, Connecticut decorated for the holiday season. Shop for hot chocolate and pop tarts, explore Gilmore Girls sets, and see actual props and costumes from the show. Find special photo opportunities and merchandise from various hit TV shows. Learn more at wbstudiotour.com.