ANAHEIM, Calif. — It’s not quite Thanksgiving, but it’s already beginning to look a lot like the holidays at Disneyland Resort. Christmas trees are decorated, wreaths and garlands hang from Main Street U.S.A.’s buildings, and Sleeping Beauty’s Castle is adorned in lights and icicles.
Now through Jan. 9, 2022, Disneyland and Disney California Adventure have been transformed into theme parks that celebrate various seasonal holidays, including Christmas, Hanukkah, Diwali and Kwanzaa.
“We have a big team of people that work tirelessly for weeks overnights, lots of transformations happening overnight,” a Disneyland official told Spectrum News. “So, when you come into the park, sometimes you’ll notice things little by little and then all of a sudden on the first day of holidays — bam! It’s all in your face.”
Disneyland ticket holders don’t have to venture far past the entrance to see the central holiday decoration. A 60-foot-tall Christmas tree greets visitors near Main Street and features more than 1,800 ornaments.
Cathy Carson has worked for 18 years in the resort enhancement department that creates the Halloween and Christmas decorations.
“Those are our two main holidays that we do,” she said. “And we have a props team that handles all the props in the attractions. We have a seamstress team, and they do all of the fabrics for the windows. They make all the curtains and windows in the park.”
Carson and her colleagues tie all of the holiday bows by hand. There are 2,000 just on Main Street. Many can be reused from the last year, but more than half are created new each year.
Her colleagues don’t just decorate the two parks. They also look after adornments for the three Disney hotels on the property and the Aulani Disney Resort in Hawaii.
Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse are just two of the Disney characters sporting new holiday attire this season.
A few of the rides in both parks have been given a holiday makeover. Haunted Mansion Holiday has new holiday decorations, such as a giant gingerbread house, throughout the ride. The popular “it’s a small world” attraction has also been decked out in festive decor, but it has been closed for days after the ride was flooded. There is no word on when it will reopen.
Decorations aren’t the only holiday highlight. Many new food options are available for a limited time, including holiday cookies, tarts, chocolate pecan churros with maple glaze and toasted pecans, holiday stuffing mac & cheese, and an apple fritter bread pudding.
Adults in the party might be tempted to try the Hibiscus Ginger Mezcal Mule, Disney California Adventure’s take on the popular Moscow Mule cocktail.
Parents can also bring their children to see Santa Claus to make their Christmas wish lists known to the jolly old elf.
This year, for the first time, Disneyland Resort is offering a separate after-hours ticket Christmas holiday event, “Disney Merriest Nites.” It’s similar to the popular “Oogie Boogie Bash” event that allows Disney fans to dress up in Halloween costumes and go trick-or-treating throughout the park.
“We’re always looking to bring new stuff to the guests,” a Disneyland official said.
Tickets for the event are sold out.
Carson, on the resort enhancement team, said that once the ornaments and decorations come down after Jan. 9, it will be time to think about holiday decorations for late 2022 — a process that starts all over and lasts the rest of the year.
For her team, “It’s Christmas all year,” she said.