THEME PARK ROUNDUP
Steve Zall and Sid Fish
Disneyland Resort Celebrates Joyful New Fun at Cars Land, Plus Festival of Holidays and More
Guests Will Experience New Mater’s Jingle Jamboree and Luigi’s Joy to the Whirl, Along with Returning Holiday Traditions Including ‘World of Color – Season of Light,’ and ‘A Christmas Fantasy’ Parade
At the Disneyland Resort, the holidays begin here and the magic is endless at both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Parks. Now through Jan. 7, 2018, guests will experience festive cheer as the entire resort transforms into a winter wonderland filled with seasonal attractions, joyful entertainment, jolly décor and themed treats that make every day feel like a holiday. This is the place where traditions are shared, memories are made and new experiences make the spirit of the season shine even brighter.
Guests will enjoy holiday favorites throughout the Disneyland Resort, along with the debut of new seasonal transformations in Cars Land as Mater and Luigi put a holiday spin on two popular attractions. Delicious eats and treats also come in holiday themes, from Mickey Santa caramel apples to spiced peanut brittle. Merry new merchandise includes fun items with the “ugly sweater” theme, along with home décor and festive holiday headwear. Another seasonal favorite is meeting Disney characters who appear in their holiday best to share magical moments with guests.
At Disney California Adventure
- The residents of Radiator Springs decorate their establishments with festive fun along Route 66, while two Cars Land attractions put the magic in overdrive as they transform for the first time this holiday. Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters becomes Luigi’s Joy to the Whirl and Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree becomes Mater’s Jingle Jamboree. Mater and Luigi add even more cheer to the seasonal fun by singing new holiday tunes for the occasion.
- The popular Festival of Holidays is back with the sights, sounds and tastes of diverse cultural festivities and plenty of Disney magic! This heartwarming holiday celebration is inspired by Christmas/Navidad, Hannukah, Diwali, Kwanza and Three Kings Day. Guests will experience:
- The new Holiday Sunset Concerts: Fun dance parties featuring performing groups Phat Cat Swinger (Friday-Monday) and Mariachi Divas (Tuesday-Thursday) at Paradise Park
- The soulful a capella group The Sound, which joins returning holiday performances by Mostly Kosher, Blue13 Dance Company and the Holiday Toy Drummers
- The lively “Disney ¡Viva Navidad!,” with authentic music, dance, décor, crafts and special greetings by Disney characters, including Princess Elena of Avalor
- The Festive Foods Marketplace, serving multicultural holiday fare at marketplace kiosks, including a range of flavors: beef corn tamale a la plancha with spicy rojo sauce, braised lamb cheeks with Mediterranean cauliflower, sweet potato pie and fruit and nut rugelach
- Fun family activities, with holiday arts and crafts, face painting and cookie decorating
- The nighttime spectacular, “World of Color – Season of Light” celebrates the warm and heartfelt spirit of the holidays as it illuminates Paradise Bay with a sparkling winter fantasy that combines classic holiday songs with memorable moments from treasured Disney and Disney•Pixar animated films.
- In anticipation of the new Disney•Pixar film “Coco,” guests will enjoy the Coco Sneak Peek experience at Bug’s Life theater from Nov. 5-Jan. 7, along with special décor.
- “a bug’s land” transforms for the holidays, as Flik and his bug friends deck their land with oversized lights and ornaments.
- At Santa’s Holiday Visit, at Redwood Creek Challenge Trail, guests will play festive Elf Games, enjoy cookie decorating and maybe have a chance to meet Santa Claus and his mischievous elves.
- Carthay Circle along Buena Vista Street features a 1920s-inspired holiday theme to emulate Los Angeles as it appeared when Walt Disney first moved to California. A stunning, 50-foot Christmas tree features vintage-style ornaments and surrounding buildings are adorned in old-fashioned seasonal decorations.
At Disneyland Resort
- Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle is a guest favorite with shimmering icicles and more than 50,000 twinkling LED lights. In the evening, the spectacular “Believe … in Holiday Magic” fireworks and its magical snowfall finale captivate guests and create unforgettable holiday memories.
- The beloved “A Christmas Fantasy” Parade returns with daily performances. Some favorite Disney characters join Santa Claus to spread holiday cheer along with marching tin soldiers, gingerbread cookies, dazzling floats and lively holiday music. Santa also welcomes the young and young-at-heart for a visit at his special location in Critter County.
- A 60-foot Christmas tree with nearly 1,800 ornaments welcomes guests on Main Street, U.S.A. This picturesque sight is a popular backdrop for family and friends to take holiday photos year after year.
- The “it’s a small world” attraction shines brighter than ever as it transforms into “it’s a small world” Holiday to celebrate children around the world and the holiday traditions of their countries. The iconic music of “it’s a small world,” written by the legendary Sherman Brothers, is weaved in between the joyous caroling of holiday favorites “Jingle Bells” and “Deck the Halls.” As a special treat this holiday season, FastPass will be available for this attraction.
- Haunted Mansion becomes Haunted Mansion Holiday, celebrating the collision between Christmas and Halloween with Jack Skellington and his friends from “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas.”
At Downtown Disney
The Downtown Disney shopping, dining and entertainment district and all three Hotels of the Disneyland Resort join in the holiday festivities with twinkling lights and ornaments, holiday displays, special entertainment and holiday dining with themed menus. Guests can follow the scent of gingerbread into the lobby of Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa to find a big treat – a giant gingerbread replica of the hotel itself.
A very special “Holiday Time at Disneyland” tour is available for guests who wish to experience a close-up look at this festive transformation of the Disneyland Resort. This walking tour shares favorite Disneyland holiday traditions from around the world, along with reserved seating for “A Christmas Fantasy” Parade, delicious holiday treats, a collectible pin and more.
The Disneyland Resort features two spectacular theme parks – Disneyland (the original Disney theme park) and the reimagined Disney California Adventure Park – plus three hotels and the Downtown Disney District, comprising unique dining, entertainment and shopping experiences. The Resort’s hotels are the luxurious, 948-room Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, which also features 50 two-bedroom equivalent Disney Vacation Club units; the magical, recently renovated, 975-room Disneyland Hotel – both AAA Four Diamond properties – and the 481-room Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel with its “day-at-the-beach” fun. For information on attractions and vacations at Disneyland Resort, visit Disneyland.com, call (866) 43-DISNEY or contact local travel agents.
Disneyland Resort in Anaheim is open daily year round, and Holidays at Disneyland Resort runs through January 7. For more information call 866-603-4763 or visit www.disneyland.com.
Celebrate the Holidays at Knott’s Merry Farm
Enjoy All Things Merry at the Farm with Holiday Entertainment, Christmas in Calico, Delicious Seasonal Treats & Festive Holiday Activities
Joy is in Season again at Knott’s. Now through January 7, Knott’s Merry Farm provides the perfect backdrop for your family’s holiday memories with a park transformation that surrounds you with the glorious sights, sounds and scents of the season. Guests of all ages can enjoy classic shows like Merry Christmas, Snoopy!, the festive ice show. Stroll through the merry streets of Calico for unique seasonal treats that can’t be found anywhere else, traditional live Christmas Carolers, a Christmas Crafts Village offering unique and personalized gift ideas, Santa’s Christmas Cabin, the enchanting Snow and Glow show with nightly falling snow set to thousands of sparkling lights and traditional Christmas music, plus so much more.
Charming holiday shows remain at the core of the Knott’s Merry Farm experience and continue to delight. Audiences can dance and sing along to the live performance of It’s The Merriest Christmas Show Ever, Charlie Brown at the Calico Mine Stage. The Peanuts Gang star in this toe-tapping, merry musical sure to bring out the Christmas joy in all. Select dates through January 7, 2018.
The seasonal live entertainment continues with special showings of the breathtaking ice show, Merry Christmas, Snoopy! starring the Peanuts Gang and a cast of world-class ice skaters. In this whimsical show, Snoopy enjoys all of the best parts of the season including trimming the Christmas tree, awaiting Santa’s arrival, and attending the Christmas Ball! Showing select dates through January 7, 2018 at the Charles M. Schultz Theatre.
Brand new this year, our culinary team is introducing the Christmas Pizza, a dish that deliciously combines the exquisite flavors of a holiday meal into one perfect bite. The Christmas Pizza, which can be found at Hollywood Hits, has soft dough covered with holiday toppings like sliced turkey, stuffing, turkey gravy and sweet cranberry sauce. Santa’s Christmas Cabin opens its doors to spread the joy of the holidays through delicious seasonal food items and a visit with the jolly fellow himself, Santa Claus. Guests can indulge in one-of-a-kind seasonal treats like freshly-baked cookies, mouthwatering pastries, exquisite chocolate-dipped cheesecake on a stick, seasonal craft beers, gourmet hot chocolate with marshmallows and hot spiced holiday wine, plus new offerings such as hand-made chicken and beef tamales. Knott’s world-famous holiday treats including delectable homemade holiday churros can be found throughout the park.
Families visiting Camp Snoopy won’t want to miss the holiday show, A Peanuts Guide to Christmas, performing daily at the Camp Snoopy Theater. The Peanuts Gang offer their take and unique wisdom on surviving the holidays, while singing you a mashup of their favorite holiday tunes.
Holiday shoppers can stroll through Ghost Town’s Christmas Crafts Village featuring dozens of local artisans selling their unique crafts and gifts. Also available in Ghost Town, inside the historic Bird Cage Theatre, Knott’s melodrama company brings to life Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and O. Henry’s A Gift of the Magi. Performances available on select dates through January 7, 2018. The Birdcage Theatre is also home to the toe-tappin’, hand-clappin’, comedy and bluegrass of Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies who continue their Knott’s Merry Farm residency this holiday season on select nights.
As the night falls on Ghost Town, the town twinkles brightly to the beat of holiday songs as snow gently falls. With the nightly Snow and Glow, everyone can experience the magic of the holidays as the town is covered with snow, a sight that can’t be missed.
The perfect stocking stuffer is now on-sale. A 2018 Season Pass includes one free visit to enjoy Merry Farm in 2017, unlimited visits in 2018 with no blackout dates, discounts on select food and merchandise, and access to exciting year-round seasonal events. A Regular Season Pass includes unlimited admission in 2018 to Knott’s Berry Farm and a Gold Season Pass includes unlimited admission in 2018 to both Knott’s Berry Farm and the newly expanded Knott’s Soak City Waterpark with no blackout dates. Now at the lowest price of the year, Regular Season Passes start at just $92.00 or six easy payments of $15.33 and Gold Season Passes are $110 or six payments of just $18.33. These offers end January 7, 2018. Applicable taxes and fees apply online. Payment plans are only available at knotts.com.
For more information about Knott’s Berry Farm please visit knotts.com or download the Knott’s Berry Farm app for your smartphone. Join the festive conversation using the holiday hashtag #MerryFarm.
Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park is open daily year round, and Knott’s Merry Farm runs through January 7. For more information call 714-220-5200 or visit www.knotts.com, where you can also download the Knott’s Berry Farm mobile app for your smartphone, or save time and money with Knott’s Print@Home tickets.
Live Entertainment, Twinkling Lights and Festive Cheer Await at Holidays at LEGOLAND California Resort
Winter is the most wonderful time of the year as the family theme park hosts its’ holiday celebration: Holidays at LEGOLAND® California Resort! Beginning Nov. 18 through Jan. 1, children and their families can feel the LEGO® cheer at the annual winter holiday celebration and enjoy shimmering lights, live entertainment, the world’s largest LEGO Christmas tree, festive decor and more!
Fun Town will be glimmering in the night sky as buildings are trimmed with twinkling lights and décor and guests will look picture perfect in front of the world famous LEGO Christmas tree. Standing 30-feet tall and constructed out of more than 245,000 forest green DUPLO® bricks, the LEGO Christmas tree is adorned with more than 400 LEGO ornaments and 11,000 LED lights. Children can practice their belly laugh as the family poses for a photo with life-size LEGO Santa and his reindeer, then head over to the Fun Town stage to dance and sing along with The Yule Tides, Santa’s musical elves who deck all the halls with carols old and new.
The fun continues in Heartlake City which transforms into a winter wonderland for guests to enjoy. Kids can sing and dance as they watch the Friends live holiday show and join in building activities in the Heartlake City stables. A traveling brass band playing festive bluegrass music will fill Heartlake City with the jingles of the season. Guests can indulge in tasty holiday fare such as churros con chocolate, vanilla bean hot chocolate and spiced apple cider, plus enjoy character meet and greets with LEGO Santa and a LEGO toy soldier and collect holiday inspired pop badges.
All new this year, indulge in our Winter Holiday Market during extended Park hours on Saturday Dec. 9 and 16. Guests can enjoy authentic “German Christmas Market” inspired treats like traditional holiday breads, grilled sausages, giant Bavarian pretzel and more. LEGOLAND California is also offering exclusive retail deals for shoppers looking for the perfect LEGO holiday gift.
The family festivities continue at SEA LIFE® aquarium and LEGOLAND® Hotel. SEA LIFE aquarium has a special holiday themed daily dive show and winter craft activities. LEGOLAND Hotel has also gotten in the holiday spirit with festive decorations, holiday entertainment and its own LEGO Christmas tree. Kids will also enjoy special holiday themed games and story time at the castle, plus building contests themed for the festivities.
The grand finale of Holidays at LEGOLAND California Resort is when midnight comes early at our annual Kids’ New Year’s Eve party. This celebration begins with special musical performances on Fun Town Stage and Heartlake City. Then, the party moves to San Francisco in Miniland U.S.A. where, like the famous Times Square party, Kids’ New Year’s Eve features a countdown followed by a huge LEGO brick dropping 22 feet into 2018 and spectacular fireworks at 6 p.m. to end the night.
LEGOLAND California Resort is extending its Park hours for the winter holiday during these dates: Dec. 18-23 and 26-31. All Holidays at LEGOLAND California Resort activities located inside the Park are included with regular Park admission.
LEGOLAND California Resort includes LEGOLAND California, SEA LIFE Carlsbad Aquarium and LEGOLAND Water Park, all geared for families with children between the ages of 2 and 12. LEGOLAND California features more than 60 rides, shows, and attractions including LEGO Star Wars™ Miniland and the all-new Pirate Reef where guests board boats that drop down 25 feet between two battling pirate ships! SEA LIFE incorporates LEGO models into a child’s voyage to the depths of the ocean and features play zones, fun facts, quiz trails, and the all-new Claws exhibit.
LEGOLAND California Resort in Carlsbad is closed on select Tuesdays and Wednesdays through February, and the LEGOLAND Hotel is open year round. For more information call 760-918-5346 or visit www.legoland.com.
New Live Nativity Musical at
Seaworld’s Christmas Celebration
Tells the Greatest Story Never Told
Spectacular stage show joins returning SeaWorld holiday traditions, from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer to Santa and his elves
SeaWorld San Diego brings the moving story of the Nativity and the meaning of Christmas to life through song and celebration at the all-new live holiday musical, O Wondrous Night, The Greatest Story Never Told, as part of SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration, now through Jan. 6, 2018. The spectacular stage show, performed under the stars nightly at the marine park’s Nautilus Amphitheater, tells the Christmas story from a new point of view: through the eyes of the animals. This breathtaking musical features more than 30 carols, beautiful storytelling puppets and live majestic animals, including camels, a donkey, llamas, sheep and doves.
In addition to O Wondrous Night, all the seasonal favorites that have made SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration a family holiday tradition are back for park guests to enjoy. Here’s a look at the holiday fun and festivities of SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration:
Returning this holiday season is the most famous reindeer, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, making it the best time of the year to visit. SeaWorld San Diego is the only theme park on the West Coast where people can meet this lovable character that has charmed generations for more than 50 years. Families can visit Rudolph’s Christmastown, which has something for everyone, including photo opportunities with Rudolph and his friends Clarice, Bumble and Yukon Cornelius. (It’ll be easy to spot Rudolph with his nose so bright!) Enjoy the nightly tree-lighting ceremony of the 40-foot Happiest Christmas Tree, accompanied by the Misfit Brass band.
SANTA’S CHRISTMAS VILLAGE
Friends and family can cozy up at Santa’s Christmas Village, where children listen to Mrs. Claus during story time. Kids can share their wish list and take pictures with Santa at Santa’s Cottage. Parents can also check in for a pager that will hold their spot in line to meet Santa so that the family can explore the Village, including educational encounters with real reindeer from Santa’s workshop, “Merry Moments” with Santa’s friendly elves and delectable culinary creations.
DOLPHIN ISLAND CHRISTMAS
SeaWorld’s Christmas-themed dolphin show celebrates the holidays with a tropical twist as dolphins and pilot whales perform amazing athletic feats set to island music.
CLYDE & SEAMORE’S CHRISTMAS SPECIAL
The park's prank-loving pinnipeds Clyde and Seamore have a hilarious holiday time in this Christmas-themed sea lion and otter show!
SeaWorld goes all out, with more than a million holiday lights, hundreds of Christmas trees and 5,000 feet of garland. The lights of SeaWorld’s 320-foot Skytower Tree of Lights, the largest Christmas tree in Southern California, will dance in sync with classic holiday songs. Outside Nautilus Amphitheater, guests will find the Cat’s Christmas Parlor, where the feline stars of Pets Rule! hang out in their own holiday-themed house.
All of SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration festivities (except for arcade-style games and reserved experiences such as Breakfast With Orcas and Santa) are included with park admission. SeaWorld has a variety of admission ticket offers that provide tremendous value perfect for both local residents and tourists, including the SoCal Annual Pass for less than $100. A visit to SeaWorld helps support animal rescue programs as well as provide millions of dollars in donations and in-kind services to conservation projects around the world. Seeing animals at SeaWorld supports saving them in the wild. For more information, visit www.SeaWorldSanDiego.com or call (619) 222-4SEA.
SeaWorld San Diego in San Diego is open daily year round, and Christmas Celebration runs through January 6. For more information call 800-257-4268 or visit www.seaworldsandiego.com.
Universal Studios Hollywood Celebrates the Yuletide Arrival of the All-New “Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” Bringing a Dazzling Light Projection Spectacular to Hogwarts Castle and Festive Holiday Entertainment and Décor to the Immersive Land
Universal Studios Hollywood Brings an Exciting Array of Keepsake Memorabilia and Holiday Gift-Giving Ideas as the Festive Holiday Celebration Continues at The Entertainment Capital of L.A.
Universal Studios Hollywood celebrated the opening of “Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry PotterTM,” transforming HogwartsTM castle with a breathtaking animated light projection show, choreographed to a musical arrangement from the Harry Potter movies as The Entertainment Capital of L.A. kicks off the yuletide season.
Each evening, children representing each of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry houses wield wands and cast a spell that reveals the light projection spectacular: “The Magic of Christmas at HogwartsTM Castle.” The all-new “Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” experience will take place daily now through January 7, 2018.
Hogsmeade village also shines brightly as the quaint town celebrates with festive décor uniquely themed to each of the individual storefronts, along with holiday-themed fare served at Three Broomsticks and the eagerly-awaited seasonal return of hot Butterbeer.
The newly-introduced Holiday Dinner features a sumptuous roast turkey with gravy platter that includes pigs in blankets, a medley of vegetables, braised red cabbage and roasted potatoes served with cranberry sauce, along with Christmas Pudding.
As night falls on Hogsmeade village, the familiar sounds of Harry Potter music will resonate throughout “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.” Multiple times an evening, colorful projection mapping will illuminate Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry with “The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle.”
The a cappella Frog Choir, comprised of Hogwarts students and their giant throaty frogs, will also perform original holiday themed songs over the course of the seasonal event.
From stockings to ornaments, the addition of specialty keepsakes and gift-giving items complement the land’s immersive holiday festivities as the theme park continues to envelope guests in the captivating world of Harry Potter.
A wide selection of all-new custom-made Christmas ornaments created especially for “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” are available this holiday season. Collectibles include a variety of decorative Hogwarts castle snow globes, Hogwarts crest and mascot ornaments representing each of the houses, as well as a collection of unique tree toppers and house pennant garland. Wizard robes and wands and an array of Quidditch game accessories are perfect for gift-giving.
Inspired by J.K. Rowling’s compelling stories and characters that were brought to life in the Warner Bros. films, “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” at Universal Studios Hollywood is a masterful recreation, faithful to the visual landscape of the films, including its iconic focal point, Hogwarts castle.
From its snow-capped roofs and cobblestone streets to the historic British sensibilities that characterize the whimsical look and feel of the land, “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” transports guests of all ages to the very places they watched on the silver screen.
The architecturally stunning land also includes the captivating and highly acclaimed “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey” thrill ride, now enhanced with 4K-HD and ride film projecting at an astounding rate of 120 frames-per-second for an even more immersive glimpse into Harry Potter’s world, as well as “Flight of the Hippogriff™,” Universal Studios Hollywood’s first outdoor family coaster.
“The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” resonates with immense detail, inviting guests to revel in J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World with the opportunity to enjoy authentic food and beverages at multiple locations, including Three Broomsticks and Hog's Head pub, as well as the Magic Neep and Butterbeer™ carts.
A foray through the shops adds to the authenticity of the land with nine retail venues and locations, including Honeydukes™, Ollivanders™, Owl Post™, Zonko’s™ Joke Shop, Wiseacre's Wizarding Equipment, Dervish and Banges™, Gladrags Wizardwear, Filch’s Emporium™ of Confiscated Goods and the Hogsmeade™ Station.
Additional information on Universal Studios Hollywood is available at www.UniversalStudiosHollywood.com. Join the conversation online using #UniversalHolidays and #WizardingWorldHollywood. Like Universal Studios Hollywood on Facebook and follow @UniStudios on Instagram and Twitter.
Universal Studios Hollywood in Universal City is open daily year round, and Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter runs through January 7. For more information call 800-864-8377 or visit www.universalstudioshollywood.com.
Whatever you do this holiday season, we want to wish you the very best, and hope that all of your dreams come true!