A couple years ago, in 2017 we were lucky enough to get to spend 3 whole days at Disneyland and California Adventure with our family.

We arrived a few days before Christmas and then spent Christmas Eve, Christmas day and the day after at Disneyland and California Adventure Park. It was the first time that my kids had ever been and it was so much fun. Here is a bit more about how our Christmas at Disneyland went. 

We lived in Paradise, CA at the time, and we drove down to Sacramento about 1 hour away and stayed the night. Then we drove the rest of the trip the next day (12 hours) and arrived at our hotel. We took two separate cars since our whole family was going.

We didn’t stay at a Disneyland hotel, we stayed a hotel a couple blocks away. It was walking distance from Disneyland so we would just walk back and forth (we definitely got our steps in).

It was a nice clean hotel and we even had adjoining rooms. It also had a nice pool but it was a bit too cold for swimming. The night that we arrive we watch the fireworks show above the Disneyland castle right from our hotel balcony. 

The first day that we went to Disneyland park, we arrived early when it was first opening up. It was nice to get there and get started exploring before it got too busy and the lines got too long.

Even first thing in the morning before the gates opened up it was already very long lines, but once they opened we got in quick. My sister even got my daughter some cute little Mickey Mouse ears. A must have on any Disney adventure. 

We had park hopper passes so we went to Disneyland one day, and then California Adventure the next and went back and forth. 

It was so pretty getting to see everything decorated for Christmas. They had some of the biggest Christmas trees that I had ever seen that were just covered in lights. Almost everywhere you looked there were some kind of Christmas themed decorations.

My son was obsessed with Cars at the time so he really loved the Cars Land area of California Adventure. The Radiator Spring ride was great, one of our favorites, but I was surprised by how fast it went.

They also had different Cars from the movies that would come out and drive around and they would have little shows of music where everyone could go out and dance in the street. That was really fun. 

While we didn’t get to go on all the rides at California Adventure we really did love the Soaring Around the World ride. The line was very long and so we ended up waiting about 2 hours but it was worth it. We later found out the you can get Fastpasses

What are Fast Passes? – There are certain parts of the park where you can scan your entrance tickets and get a fast pass for each member of the ride. Each Fastpass is for a certain ride and you have to be at the ride within a certain time frame. 

The time that you have to arrive is printed on the pass and when you arrive you can go into the Fastpass line which normally is a super quick wait. We did this with the Cars ride and we only had to wait for less than 10 minutes. It takes a bit of planing but it is worth it. 

I have also learned that you can purchase something called the Maxpass that allow you to get a Fastpass right from your phone. The cost is $15 per day per ticket and I would recommend it. I will be getting it next time for sure.

Since we spend a ton of time standing and walking (bring good shoes!) there were a few spots in the park that we found to just relax and let the kids play.

Our favorite spot to relax in California Adventure was the forest camp area located at grizzly peak. There was an entire section for the kids to play and benches for the parents. There was even a little zip line that my son loved. 

We didn’t download the Disney app, but after we visited I learned about an app that you can download that shows rides that are closed and wait times that help you to plan where you are visiting next in the park.

If you are planing a trip to Disneyland make sure that you look into this. I know I will be for our next trip. 

The Disneyland side was great. I think that my favorite ride was Its a Small World since it was all decorated for Christmas.

Also, look into times where they are having shows. Near the back of the park there is a stage area that they have shows a few times a day. We went to one and it was really worth it. I was so surprised by how great it was. 

Also, there is a train called the Disneyland Railroad that goes along the outer edges of the Disneyland side of the park. We rode it all the way around just for fun, but it also makes stops at each area of the park so you can ride the train instead of walking. 

There is also the Monorail that will save you some walking time. We didn’t ride it one night from the inside of the park and got dropped off at the exit area. It was fun riding it and a great view of the park below. 

If you are wanting to get some pictures taken with the characters then you should wait in The Mainstreet USA area. This is where the characters come out from. When they come out there will be a huge line of people to meet them and take photos. 

You don’t know when they are going to come out, so you just have to wait, but it seemed like about every half hour or so a different one would appear.

If you follow them when they first come out you will get to be one of the first people in line and not have to wait too long. My son got to meet goofy and he was so happy. Bring a notebook and pen and they will even sign autographs for you. 

Christmas at Disneyland was so much fun. It was the first time we had spend Christmas together as a family at a destination away from home.

While we didn’t have our same Christmas traditions and didn’t really exchange a bunch of gifts we had an even more memorable experience that we still talk about today. 

Its fun sharing our memories of that Christmas and I would recommend going to Disneyland and California Adventure at Christmas to anyone.

I can’t wait to go back again. I know for sure that I will be downloading the Disney app and learning more about the Fastpass for our next Disney adventure.