Disneyland Christmas / Year of a Million Dreams

when i was a kid my mom and dad would load up the ol’ family truckster about once a year and head up to Disneyland. never did we go during christmas. sure, Disneyland in summer was nice and all but (fast forward to adulthood) man was i gettin’ jipped! little did i know back then that disneyland busts out all the best decorations & shows for the holiday season. now that i am older, somewhat wiser, and have an ohana of my own we have made it a family tradition to go every year in december (as well as any other time we can get up there). if you’re not going to Disneyland during the holidays you are missing out on the (albeit tiny) bonus for the millions of dollars you spend just to get in the park. kim will tell you, i am all about getting my nickles worth. when we go to Disneyland we get there when the gates open and don’t leave until the Disney po po’s boot us out at about 1:15am.
without further delay, here’s some stuff we shot on our trip last week.

this Year of a Million Dreams promotion is awesome. on a previous trip we all won “dream fast passes” that let us park hop back and forth all day between Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure (very cool if you’re not from California, but only marginally cool if you’re from here) and it got us past all the crazy lines on every major ride in both parks. it was sweet. this trip we all won Disney pins “that aren’t sold in stores.” not quite as sweet as the fast passes, but very nice just the same.

while i was stowing all our extra gear in a locker kim, rain, and noah took a ride down main street u.s.a. in an antique fire truck. we always see all the early 1900’s modes of transportation go by while walking down main street but had never gone on one. i still haven’t, but at least these 3 can check it off their list.

the driver, not knowing what he was in for, asked noah to ring the bell to alert people walking in front of the firetruck that the truck was coming. noah, being wise beyond his years, knew that with great power comes great responsibility, so he rang the bell as loud as he could for the entire length of main street.

at the end of the trip the driver had maintained his perfect safety record and the kids were… well… um… ok i guess.

the driver rewarded the kids for their hard work with some cool stickers.
(note to self. kids will work for stickers.)

after joining back up with everyone we headed over to my nemesis…
the tea cups.
when i was just a wee lad i had an uncle that spun me in one of these so fast that my head, literally, flew off. ever since the successful retrieval and re-attaching of my noggin i had never gone on the tea cups again until this trip. this time, there would be no evil uncle. the cup still turned, but not nearly at the break-neck speed i recalled from my youth. while still being FAR from my favorite ride, i can now say that i have confronted my foe and walked away (slightly dizzy) to ride another day.

now this is more like it. Pirates of the Caribbean has always been my favorite ride.

the Indiana Jones Adventure is also an awesome ride. if you haven’t been on it (for reasons other than health and/or those recommended by Disney safety officials) you should brave the lines and check it out. when you do finally get into the temple, whatever you do, don’t look into the eye!

the one drawback to going during the holiday season is there are a few billion other people that like it there too. more on that later.
ever vigilant with my canon, i snagged this shot of the girls waiting in line behind me. (that’s kim’s arm between rain and april btw).

now we’ve reached one of the coolest things in Disneyland during the holidays. the Disneyland website says Jack Skellington and his friends from “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas” give the Haunted Mansion an ex-SCREAM makeover! love that Disney humor.
anywho, they convert the whole place and it really is worth the price of admission to see.

don’t forget to look up once you get in.

we had a couple tasty hitch-hikers in our “buggy”

are you feelin’ the love? how ’bout now?

here’s april with her new boyfriend. aren’t they a cute couple?

Disneyland is awesome after dark. i love all the lights and colors.

beware the dark side.

our absolute favorite part of being at Disneyland at Christmas time is the special firworks display followed by a lite southern california snow fall. unfortunately, conditions were not right for the fireworks but they did let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

here’s the billions of people i mentioned earlier.

you know the song. don’t act like you don’t. now it’s going to be stuck in your head all day. :)

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is always a good stop after dark. according to rain, it’s extra scary at night.

Fantasmic is a really cool show at night on the Rivers of America. they use “screens” of water to project Mickey’s dreams during the show. there are fireworks, disney characters, a fire-breathing dragon, and lots of other cool stuff.
get there early. it’s always packed.

after about 96 years waiting we finally got on the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage. i was super bummed when they stopped the old submarine ride years ago and was stoked to see them come back. the lines are longer than ever, but it was nice to see Disneyland’s newest old attraction.

this is why we like to close the place down. it’s so cool being on main street u.s.a. with only a few other people. i love feeling the cold air on my face, seeing all the lights, trying to find a few last minute gifts for friends and family…

smelling the fresh pine scent of the giant Disneyland Christmas tree (yes it’s real)…

and the best of all…
having the castle all to ourselves.


Looks like you guys had a total blast. I love Disneyland, especially at the holidays. But having your camera out on Thunder Mountain and Indiana Jones? Are you crazy man? What if you dropped it? :)

Disneyland is awesome at Christmas time! I guess it is the most magical place on earth. Love the picture of Dave with Rain on his back. Too sweet and the one of Noah giving Rain some love.

I just love reading your posts with the pictures. I have to get to Disneyland during Christmas. It is so beautiful. I love your firetruck pictures, the kids are so cute. Hope you all had a great Christams and have a Happy New Year!

FANTASTIC PICTURES! I love Disneyland at Christmas. I was just there on 12/1 and your pictures are a perfect reminder. I don’t think I’ve EVER, in the 25+ years I’ve been going to Disneyland, seen Main Street or Cinderella’s Castle EMPTY. I’ve always wanted to camp out on Tom Sawyer’s island and then come out and play when everyone had gone home and the park was mine. All mine.

I just drove past Disneyland a couple of hours ago and we were super close to going in but had spent the day at the American Girl store and were afraid of pushing the little ones. Now you make me regret not going! We were supposed to go two weeks ago but Cassi got the flu so for the first time since she as born…we missed a Disney Christmas…maybe next week!!! Anyways…I ramble! Gorgeous pictures and it looks like you all had a blast at the Happiest Place on Earth!!

katy ~ i hold on to my cam with my kung fu grip!

patti ~ we missed you!

marta ~ LOVE Christmas at d-land :)

tisha ~ thank you so much! if you know us you know that we open and close parks of all kinds. that’s how we roll :) i’ve been tryin to get kim on tom sawyers island for years, it will be mine oh yes it will be mine.

donna ~ you have to hit d-land before they take down the decorations!

These are great a lot of fun stuff here. I use to live like 80 miles from Disneyworld and never went I know I should be ashamed of myself.. My little girl and her grandparents went right before Christmas for a week.

Boohoo, you got to go and I didn’t :( Oh well, I can live vicariously through your pictures.

Funny story….I was taking pictures in the Haunted Mansion at Halloween and some lady came over the loud speaker and said “TURN THE LIGHT ON THE CAMERA OFF PLEASE!” hahahaha She caught me chimping ;)

As always amazing! You guys rock!

Sorry we couldn’t make it this year to Disneyland with you guys. Looks like it was an awesome time, as usual. Waiting until the park closes to get those castle shots was worth it, huh? You guys are nuts. We’ll see you soon!

Alex & Yuki

righteous. it looks like you guys had a rockin’ good time. and i have to agree, disney during the holidays rocks my socks off.

Awesome pics! I am so bummed that I missed going this year. Thanks for making me feel like I was there :)

What a cool way to spend the holidays! Looks like it was so much fun!

Just passed by to wish you and your family the very best for 2008 & a very happy new year :)

Sweet pictures. I love, love the picture of you and rain!

So fun! I need to go renew my season passes now…

Great stuff, man. Pirates has always been my favorite too. Happy ’08! -E

OMGosh!!! These pics make me feel like I was there. Wow you really captured the park wonderfully. I can’t say I have ever seen the castle, or main street for that matter so empty! How awesome to see it like that. Thank you :=) I love the face Rain is making on Thunder Mtn. and I agree, taking your camera on that crazy ride is nuts ;=)Have a Happy New Year!

These are so fun!!

LOVE the last castle shot! My kids are early sleepers (and still too young to keep up) so I never get to see the night lights. Looks like fun!

Many blessings to you guys this year! I have a feeling you guys will have a busy one! :)


so you can stay until they kick you out…huh ?

that last shot is really cool!

What a wonderful time you must have had with your family. You did a great job documenting the trip. The images rock!

That castle looks awesome!

All these photos were so fun…
I love the teacup shot. I remember going on that ride in Disney World when I was little. I couldn’t do it now though… oof. Those round-and-round rides aren’t so nice to me these days!

Greta pictures! Love Walt Disney…. Also I hope you and your family have a Great New Year….

Awesome! I’ve always wanted to go during the Christmas season. I’ve heard it’s great. Definitely on my to-do list! Wow, that castle sure is beautiful!!!

So fun!! I love all the shots! The castle looks gorgeous! Love the one of David and Rain in the snow.

Merry belated Christmas!!

Hello there,
I wanted to let you know that I finally found a minute to surf the net and enjoyed checking out what’s new with you guys. LOVE the Disneyland pictures. I took the kids there for my first ever Christmas time at Disneyland. It was amazing. The funny thing is, the second day, sadly, my battery died and my spare was tucked safely away in the car (since it wasn’t a job, I didn’t bring everything with me like usual), and I was not about to go back and get. I guess it was God’s way of telling me to live it a little more and put the camera down. Did you guys bring a big camera or did you bring and get those great pics with a little point and shoot? I don’t have one of those but I really need one.
Back to my point, I wanted to wish you guys a very happy new year, and I hope 2008 is noting but great for you guys. I’m thankful I meet you in 2007 and I’m looking forward to seeing you again in this new year.
Take care,

P.S. That really was a great sunset tonight, even from out here in the East county.

G. Goodale

ah! i can’t believe you were at Disneyland and didn’t invite me! Not only is it a few minutes from my house, but, I have a pass! :P hehe. (just teasing about inviting me!) it is a wonderful tradition! I’m glad you guys had so much fun! :)

hope all is well with your family!


wow such fun pictures! Love the shots! Super sharp! :)

OH MY…these are SPECTACULAR!!!! I feel like I should leave a comment about each and every one, but that would get too long :)

These are perfect! Love Disneyland at Christmas!