Theme parks celebrate holiday season with winter-themed attractions

Alex Audette and Mekala Valentin

With Christmas right around the corner, it is the perfect time to build gingerbread houses and wrap presents for loved ones. But, if you want to venture outside into the chilly weather, Southern California is filled with amusement parks that are guaranteed to put you in the holiday spirit.


The magic turns up a notch every Christmas season when Disneyland transforms into a winter wonderland. On Nov. 9, the Anaheim amusement park opened its gates for visitors to enjoy the many decorations with a variety of festive snacks including a Christmas churro. One of the most popular attractions is Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, covered in snow capped turrets and 80,000 LED lights, the castle is transformed into a sparkling work of art throughout the entire night.

“There is nothing better than walking down Main Street at Disneyland during Christmas,” senior Riley Bartlett said. “All of the lights and the Christmas decorations just bring so much joy to everyone there.”

Along with Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, there is an abundance of attractions for visitors to see including the 60-foot tall Christmas tree, the Christmas fireworks show and the limited time “A Christmas Fantasy” parade.

Disneyland Christmas is open from Nov. 9 through Jan. 6. For more information regarding holiday events at Disneyland, visit

Knott’s Merry Farm

From spooky to jolly, Knott’s Scary Farm becomes “Knott’s Merry Farm” for the holiday season. On Nov. 16, the Buena Park theme park replaced their monsters with Santa Claus, putting the Christmas season in full swing. Visitors have the opportunity to completely embrace the Christmas season with shows like the Holiday Ice Show featuring Snoopy, the Peanuts Gang and a cast of world class ice skaters, along with the nightly tree lighting ceremony.

Knott’s Merry Farm is open from Nov. 16 through Jan. 6. For more information regarding holiday events at Knott’s Merry Farm, visit

Universal Studios

Universal Studios Hollywood is now open for Christmas! On Dec. 1, the Hollywood attraction turned into a Christmas movie with decorations surrounding the park and Christmas treats to satisfy that unquenchable sweet tooth for gingerbread and hot cocoa. One of the best aspects of Universal’s holiday celebration is the transformation of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Hogsmeade with festive decor and new nightly snowfall. In addition, on specific days in December, visitors can participate with the Who-tacular festivities with The Grinch, Max and all of Whoville during Grinchmas.

Christmas at Universal Studios Hollywood is open until Jan 6. For more information regarding holiday events at Universal Studios Hollywood, visit

Besides, the large amusement parks, Orange County also puts on small events to celebrate the Christmas season.