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My favorite Christmas Tree at the Disneyland Resort – DePaoli on DeParks

by Jeff DePaoli

Some would say the most magical time to visit a Disney resort is during the end of year holidays. For many, it’s an annual tradition. For others, it’s a once in a lifetime dream come true. Some folks will simply admire the celebrating through their television screens while watching holiday specials. But one thing is for certain; Disney is synonymous with Christmas in many people’s minds. So much so that folks all over the world will dedicate the ornaments on their Christmas trees to an all-in Disney theme. Disney certainly leans into this notion and invests heavily in “decking the halls” of the Disney resorts around the world. Included in these decorations are many Christmas trees. Here’s a look at some of the most iconic Christmas trees all over the Disneyland Resort.

disneyland christmas trees
Photos by Jeff DePaoli

Let’s begin with Downtown Disney. Next to the Downtown Disney LIVE! stage, toward the end closest to Disneyland Hotel, you’ll find a towering Christmas tree covered in blue and silver décor. From traditional ornaments to snowflakes and white lights, the Downtown Disney tree is dedicated to the theme of winter and the chilly weather that comes with the season. This impressive tree is a great one to take a photo at if you don’t have access to the theme parks. The way in which it’s situated often allows for photos to be taken without any background distractions of other guests. You also won’t need to wait in a long line like the ones that can often form in the parks.

downtown disney christmas tree
disneyland christmas trees

Now let’s head into the parks. Disney California Adventure features a 50-foot-tall Christmas tree at the end of Buena Vista Street. To stay within the theme of the surrounding area, the ornaments on this tree are oversized vintage-like ornaments from the 1920s and ‘30s. In a lot of cases, these now rare ornaments were found and then molded in order to make enough recreations to cover the whole tree. The thick silver garland wrapped around the tree helps to enhance the retro theming. Beneath this tree you can find many presents, both wrapped and unwrapped.

disneyland christmas trees
disney california adventure christmas tree

Over in Disneyland Park, the tree is even taller reaching 60-feet into the air. Unlike its counterpart at Disney California Adventure where you need to journey down Buena Vista Street in order to reach the tree, Disneyland’s can’t be missed immediately upon entering. The towering tree sits in Town Square, front and center at the entry to Main Street U.S.A. The tree is covered in traditional ornaments and bright lights with a bit of Disney nods thrown in. The garlands hung on the surrounding buildings are decorated in a similar fashion, continuing the look for the length of Main Street U.S.A.

disneyland christmas tree
disneyland christmas trees

Although I love this particular Christmas tree, there is one thing I miss from its past. Throughout the night there are snow flurry moments surrounding the tree. For several years, as the snow began to fall the tree would light up with bright white lights representing the fallen snow landing on the tree. It was a nice and surprising touch. Considering there were so many colored lights already lit on the tree, you wouldn’t expect there to be more before the white lights were lit. It’s something I hope to see brought back some day as it not only made the tree more beautiful, but also leaned into some nice storytelling.

disneyland christmas tree

The Disneyland Resort hotels take part in Christmas tree displays as well. The Paradise Pier Hotel’s typical lobby Christmas tree isn’t on display this year as the lobby is currently under construction for its transformation into the Pixar Place Hotel. For that reason, this will be the final year to see Paradise Pier Hotel’s unique holiday décor. The featured Christmas tree this year sits at the bottom of the main staircase. This tree has one of the strongest themes as it’s all aquatic. You’ll see fish ornaments along with seaweed-like garland, bubbles, and rich blue oceanlike tones. One of my favorite parts of this tree are the treasure chests and other artifacts you might find at the bottom of the ocean displayed under the tree.

paradise pier hotel christmas tree
disneyland christmas trees
paradies pier hotel christmas tree

The Disneyland Hotel takes a different approach. Instead of having one large focal tree, each of the three hotel towers has a themed tree similar in size to one you might put in your home. The Fantasy Tower Christmas tree has a midcentury modern feel to it with its silver branches and bright colored stretched ornaments.

disneyland hotel fantasy christmas tree
disneyland christmas trees

Over in the Adventure Tower, the tree has a more natural look to it. It’s covered in straw and flowers you might find in the jungles with animal representations all over it. The traditional star tree topper has been replaced by carvings of elephant and zebra heads. I also enjoy the touch of the full-size safari hat hanging on the tree like an oversized ornament.

disneyland christmas trees
disneyland hotel adventure christmas tree
disneyland hotel adventure christmas tree

Disneyland Hotel’s Frontier Tower continues the more natural feel with ornaments and ribbons made from organic materials. They once again had a bit of fun with the tree topper on this one as it’s an illuminated lantern to go along with the others displayed upon the tree.

disneyland christmas trees
disneyland hotel frontier christmas tree

Up to this point, these trees have all been wonderful for various different reasons. But if I had to choose my favorite Christmas tree at Disneyland Resort, it’s a very easy decision for me. The Christmas tree displayed in the lobby of Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa is jaw-droppingly beautiful. Not only is it a gorgeous tree, but it fits the theming of the surrounding area better than any other in my opinion.

disney's grand californian christmas tree

The 35-foot-tall tree feels even larger in the giant lobby. I love the mix of white and yellow lights giving a warm glow like the roaring fire nearby. The Craftsman style of the hotel is continued in the tree with its pine cones and warm-toned ornaments. I especially love the decorative lanterns hung all over the tree. The great thing about all of these hotel Christmas tree displays is that you don’t need to be a hotel guest in order to enjoy them. Be sure to swing by and take a moment to revel in their beauty.

disneyland christmas trees
disney's grand californian christmas tree

Of course, there are many other Christmas tree displays around the Disneyland Resort. Many are particularly themed to their land or attraction, but the ones I’ve mentioned are the icons of their overall spaces. Do you have a favorite one yourself? Leave a comment and let me know.


Jeff DePaoli is a producer and voiceover artist living in Los Angeles.

Jeff DePaoli is a producer and voiceover artist living in Los Angeles. He can be heard as the voice of Disney Trivia on Alexa as well as the host of “Dizney Coast to Coast,” the ultimate, unofficial Disney fan podcast. Get your FREE gifts of “America’s Hidden Mickeys,” “On the Rohde Again,” “Theme Park Comfort Kit” and more at DizneyCoastToCoast.com. DePaoli’s opinions are his own and do not necessarily represent Attractions Magazine.

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