I spent the Christmas holidays in Southern California and found myself faced with the challenge of how to occupy my time on Christmas Day after presents had been opened. Growing up, I could usually be found on December 25th riding my new bike in the street or playing with new toys outside, but as an adult my options have waned. My mother and I contemplated going to the movies, but in the end we decided to go to Disneyland. We had heard rumors that Christmas Day was an opportune time to go to Disneyland as it was not that crowded so we decided to test this theory. The result? Unfortunately these rumors of an empty Disneyland are untrue. Disneyland was very crowded and the lines for rides were long. I can only guess that a lot of other people had heard these rumors and thought to go to Disneyland as well.
I had never been to Disneyland at Christmastime so I was eager to view the decorations and holiday splendor. Disneyland did not disappoint in this regard. Christmas decorations appeared everywhere, all around the park. From the enormous Christmas tree at the beginning of Main Street covered in lights and ornaments, to the snow-topped turrets of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, to the lit up façade of It’s a Small World, Disneyland transforms itself into a holiday winter wonderland.
The most impressive decorations had to be at the Haunted Mansion. During the holidays the Haunted Mansion is taken over by Jack Skellington and the cast of The Nightmare Before Christmas and transformed into the Haunted Mansion Holiday. The outside of the mansion is decked out in Christmas decorations and jack-o-lanterns. Throughout the ride Jack, his ghost dog Zero, and other characters can be seen wearing their Christmas finery and enjoying Christmas. A variation of “Twas the Night Before Christmas” is narrated throughout the ride, describing how Jack celebrates Christmas.
The fireworks show was holiday themed and the weather that day couldn’t have been nicer. It was a balmy 75 degrees in Anaheim with not a cloud in sight. The air did get a bit chilly when the sun went down, though. I thought to buy something to keep me warm but I didn’t feel like draining my 401k to afford something – I’m talking to you, $59.95 sweatshirt. The only big disappointment with Disneyland was the crowds.
I thought Disneyland would be empty and there would be no lines and we would be able to walk on to any ride. Cast members who had the misfortune to work on Christmas would look at us and smile because we were providing validity for them to be working that day. We would give them something to do. Because who wants to go to an amusement park on Christmas when you could be at home opening presents, sipping eggnog, and lounging in front of the fire? Who wants to eat hot dogs, churros, and popcorn for Christmas dinner? Lots of people, it would seem.
If you want to spend the day with people who are rude, have no concept of how to navigate the walkways, or have no respect for personal space, then Disneyland on Christmas is the place to go. There were shoves a plenty, with strollers and scooters being used as battering rams. I spent the entire time in line for the Indiana Jones ride trying to inch away from people standing Right Behind Me. But that’s okay, because I made sure to move around a lot and accidentally kept hitting them with my bag. Hey, just because it’s Christmas and I’m filled with holiday cheer doesn’t mean you can invade my personal space. I guess next year I’ll stay home and watch Christmas movies all day.