Halloweentime at Disneyland

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Last weekend my younger son and I took our pals to check out all the fun for Halloweentime at Disneyland and California Adventure as guests of the resort.  We spent a lot more time at California Adventure, since our friends had never been there, plus it was far less crowded on this windy Saturday.

During Halloweentime, both parks have special features to help you get into the spooky spirit. Here are the things we checked out, and if you do, I recommend getting a Fast Pass, because the regular lines were really long:

California Adventure:

The Tower of Terror – this freaky ride will scare you anyway, perfect for Halloween!

Disneyland:

The Haunted Mansion – this spooky attraction gets a visit from Jack Skellington and the characters from A Nightmare Before Christmas every Halloween and Christmas. The 6-year-olds loved this ride!

Space Mountain – this ride is already terrifying because it’s in the dark, but add a bunch of creepy space ghosts and it’s even more exciting!

The giant Mickey jack-o-lantern – right at the beginning of Main Street, this seasonal mainstay is an awesome photo spot, but our kids could not be bothered, unless it was to photo bomb someone else’s family picture.

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There is a special Mickey’s Trick-or-Treat party that you can attend in the evening – check out all the Halloweentime features at Disneyland’s website. And you can make a little bit of Disney magic at home with this recipe for Jack Skellington cookies at OC Mom Blog. Here are more pictures from our day of fun:

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Christmas Day Our Way

When I was growing up, Christmas Day went like this:

-wake up, really excited about opening presents, but also nursing sugar hangover from sweets-filled Christmas Eve party
-open presents, then be hurried off to get dressed
-visit first set of grandparents
-visit second set of grandparents
-return home exhausted and cranky

And I’m sure it didn’t even go that well for my parents, who had to shepherd three kids through this day.  I’m willing to bet that with sets of divorced and remarried parents and extended family multiplying all the time, other families get even more hectic on the holiday.

So I decided that even though I live far away from all of my kids’ grandparents and that makes me very sad and homesick, the bright side is that we have no place to go on Christmas day.  No obligations.  No rituals that we MUST execute.  It’s all up to us.  We can keep the things we like from our childhoods and toss what doesn’t work for us.  Christmas dinner can be a trip to the drive through if we want that.  We haven’t resorted to it yet, but the option is there.

So far in our children’s young lives we’ve been lucky to have both sets of grandparents with us during the holiday, but this year we have one grandmother visiting only and she’s easy to please.  So here is our loose plan:

Wake up.  Enjoy the day.  Eat something delicious.  Play with our new presents.  Go to church.  Enjoy each other.  After all, that’s what Christmas is all about, isn’t it?

Merry Christmas from our family to yours.