‘Tis the season for hot cocoa, festive gatherings . . . and theme parks? Believe it or not, taking the family to an amusement park is the perfect way to kick off the holidays. Theme parks around the Bay Area (and beyond) have hauled out the holly and filled up the stockings to bring families the coolest holiday celebrations around. Their special holiday decorations, attractions, and entertainment are sure to warm the coldest grinchy heart. Flip through to see all the holiday happenings at theme parks from Marin to SoCal.

The Disneyland Resort

Beginning November 10, holiday pixie dust turns the Happiest Place on Earth into the Merriest Place on Earth. Their magical take on the season makes Disneyland well worth a holiday visit.

Festive Decor

Disneyland's holiday decor will have you whipping out your camera time and time again. The entire resort is filled to the brim with holiday trim matching each themed land. Sleeping Beauty's Winter Castle, with its sparkling icicles and snow-capped turrets, is a sight to behold. Don't miss Flik's Fun Fair, where gigantic tree ornaments will have everyone feeling as small as ants, or Cars Land, with its whitewall tire wreaths and car-shaped snowmen.

Seasonal Attractions

Four popular attractions are getting a merry makeover this year, complete with holiday decor and soundtracks. Head over to the Haunted Mansion Holiday, where Jack Skellington has taken over the Haunted Mansion and filled it with mix of whimsical characters from Halloween Town and Christmas Town. Don't forget to breathe in the delicious scent of the six foot-tall gingerbread house as your Doom Buggy glides past the haunted ballroom! After your Haunted Mansion tour, make the trip to Fantasyland to see children from around the world celebrate their own holiday traditions at It's A Small World Holiday. Insider tip: after dark, the attraction's iconic facade shines bright with thousands of shimmering lights.

Over at Disney California Adventure Park, two Cars Land attractions transform for the holidays for the first time ever. 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.

Holiday entertainment

Snag a viewing spot early for A Christmas Fantasy Parade! Beloved Disney characters join tin soldiers and Santa Claus as they make their way down Main Street U.S.A, spreading holiday cheer. If the crowds get too overwhelming, celebrate the holiday traditions of Latin America at the Disney ¡Viva Navidad! street party. Located at Paradise Pier, this fiesta is California Adventure's best-kept holiday secret. Finally, let the little ones stay up late for the Believe . . . in Holiday Magic fireworks show. The dazzling bursts of light and magical snowfall finale will have their eyes shining brighter than the stars.

Holidays at the Disneyland Resort runs Nov. 10-Jan. 7, 2018

Disneyland Resort
1313 Disneyland Dr
Anaheim, CA
714-781-4636
Online: disneyland.disney.go.com

photo: The Disneyland Resort

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Do you plan to visit an amusement park this holiday season? Which one? Tell us about your experience in a comment!

—Ana Picazo