For the past few years I have heard many stories and rumors about the handmade candy canes at Disneyland. I only heard bits and pieces. These candy canes are made only during the holiday season. This holiday tradition has gone on since 1968. Each batch takes about two hours to make and only yields about 40 to 45 candy canes. Disneyland only produces three batches each day. Just prior to the start of the candy cane season, Disneyland posts a schedule of days the canes will be made. I had looked up a little info about the candy canes at Disneyland and decided this is the year I’m going to experience this magical unicorn of a candy.
In the morning, around 10:00am Steve and I had the goal to go onto Mainstreet in Disneyland and head to the Candy Palace.
We were traveling with a group of 12. This big group was going to slow us down. Steve and I decided to break loose to quickly go get our candy canes. All family members requested we grab them one too. Once we got to the Candy Palace there was a cast member with a stack of plastic bracelets. We both got a yellow plastic bracelet. She mentioned that it was limited to one candy cane per wristband. There goes the idea of bringing some back canes for the family! We headed into the store and waited in line. Guests were picking up their candy canes. We all were wearing our bracelets that announced we made it into this exclusive club. Strangely, the people in front of us had pink bracelets. The cast member outside must have run out of pink. At the front of a line another cast member was cutting guests bracelets off once you got to the front to get your cane. Steve and I got to the front and she looks at our yellow bracelets and told us we were in “wave three” and need to return. That sounds so official! The window of redemption is small. Wave three needed to come back between 2:00 and 2:30 only. If you are late, you forfeit your candy cane. As we all know, you lose time when visiting any Disney park. Therefore keeping tabs on the time and watching for a small 30 min window was not easy.
We attempted to go on with our day like usual. That has been a very hard task since the nagging urge to check the time kept bringing my wrist up to my face over and over like a crazy person. There was no way we would mess this up and miss out on the handmade candy canes. The family had made it over to California Adventure in the afternoon. It was creeping up on 1:00 and getting close to go time. Arriving at Tower of Terror I realized that the line was short enough that we could get on the ride and get off and make it to Main Street in time for “wave 3”. Once off the Tower of Terror we told the family we would be back and off we went to get our candy canes. Steve and I literally ran through the park (yes, we were those people) and made it to the Candy Palace. We proceeded through the line and had our bracelets cut off. Once our bracelets were accounted for we were handed one candy cane each. These minty confections were about 10 to 12 inches long. Fortunately they were wrapped in bubble wrap to protect them from breaking. We didn’t eat them at that time. The plan after getting these wasn’t actually thought out. We just wanted them…other than that, we didn’t have a plan. I gave my mom one and we kept one. It felt triumphant to have succeeded in obtaining this candy. Only about 130 people in the entire park would have these!
Walking through the park with our treasure, we felt like we made it into a secret club. Forget Club 33 we were in Club Disneyland Candy Cane! Our balloon was quickly deflated when we went into the candy store in Critter Country, Pooh Corner. There was a container with candy canes! The exact ones we had in our bag. It can’t be the SAME! Ours was special, unique and almost magical and only a very few had them! I asked the cast member if these were indeed the same candy canes made at the Candy Palace. She said she thinks these canes are handmade in Florida. The imposters looked identical to the two that we so painstakingly obtained. I still bought one of the “imposters” for my sister who missed out on the bracelet distribution anyway. In doing some research, I read that these other candy canes are sold in candy stores around the park. They are sold for the same amount of 12.95 but are apparently not the same ones that are made on Main Street.
Once we returned home and unpacked the bags and settled back into daily life, we forgot about the treasure. It had yet to be eaten. I really didn’t want to just eat a huge candy cane. Instead I placed it in a big Ziplock and took a mallet to it. I added the pieces to cookie dough and made my first ever batch of Disneyland Mainstreet Candy Cane Cookies! The cookies were delicious and tasted even better knowing a bit of Disney magic was in each bite. Was the candy cane itself amazing? It was great and really tasty! Again, maybe it tasted so good because of that extra Disney pixie dust that is in each one! Who knows?
I am happy that I took the time to experience the holiday ritual of hunting the elusive candy cane at Disneyland. Would I do it again, I don’t know. I’m not a huge candy cane fan but I am a huge Disneyland fan. I am also a huge holiday and tradition fan. It was fun and spun a new twist on the usual park visiting day. I may just decide to get a bracelet again next year!