There’s no better place to be during the holiday season than the Disneyland Resort, and while Disney is famous for their gigantic spectaculars and fantastic events, we all know that the real magic of Disney is in the details; the things that the average guest probably won’t even notice on their first pass-through, but these are the things that make the difference in terms of quality and storytelling.

Also, we’ll catch up on all of the recent and ongoing developments, including a pair of famous birthdays and a small but very beloved anniversary, after all.

New Battery Chargers Throughout Resort

The charging lockers were removed not too long ago, but have now been replaced by Fuel Rod portable charger to-go machines. They cost $30, come filled with power and can be swapped endlessly with replacement chargers at any Fuel Rod machine. Until someone at Disney Parks Merchandise figures out how to make them collectible, then all bets are off.

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Picture this: the lights dim, the fireworks start and as you raise your phone to grab a video of the castle as it lights up, your battery dies. Starting Nov. 18, Disneyland Resort Guests may purchase portable charging batteries that help ensure they capture those memories all day long.

Guests have unlimited swapping ability (trade a depleted portable battery for a fully charged one!) at kiosks located at 10 select Disneyland Resort locations:

  • Disneyland Park: Main Street Locker Rental & Storage,  Starcade (near ATM),  “it’s a small world” Toy Shop,  Hungry Bear (lower level)
  • Disney California Adventure Park:  Kingswell Camera,  Treasures in Paradise
  • Downtown Disney District: ESPN Zone
  • Disneyland Hotel: Outside Business Center (Fantasy Tower)
  • Disney’s Grand Californian Resort & Spa: Convention Area
  • Paradise Pier Hotel:  Hotel Lobby Area

* Locations in Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park are available now, while kiosks at the Hotels of the Disneyland Resort and Downtown Disney District will be installed in early December.

Each portable charging battery set costs $30 and comes with the following:

  • One (1) portable charging battery
  • One (1) 6” USB Type-A to micro-USB cable (for most Android devices)
  • One (1) Apple 30-pin to USB cable (for iPod, iPhone Gen 1-4)
  • One (1) Apple Lightning to USB cable (for iPhone Gen 5)

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They are $30 if you buy them at the resort or $20 through this link (not an affiliate link). They say:

Each FuelRod Includes:

  • A ready to use FuelRod to power your devices.
  • Adapters for both Android and Apple devices that are yours to keep, at no additional charge.
  • The ability to be refueled (recharged) in any standard wall outlet.
  • The ability to be swapped (traded) for a fully fueled unit at little to no additional cost at any FuelRod SwapBox. (The Disney swaps are free as of publish date)

FuelRod currently ships inside the U.S.A. only. Shipping is $5.

With all this interest in keeping your smartphone fully charged, My Magic + can’t be far behind.

Disneyland

It’s a Holly Jolly Disneyland

Main Street, USA’s halls are thoroughly decked with red and green, with some sweet details you might want to keep an eye out for, those little details that are the hallmark of the Disney Difference:

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Monorail Red greets us as we enter the park. There was a single “young at heart” lady alone  in the back, waving happily at everyone as the monorail passed by. Only at Disneyland!

Happy Birthday, Mickey and Minnie!

On Friday, November 18, it was Mickey Mouse’s – and Minnie Mouse’s birthday!

Happy Birthday Mickey Mouse at Disneyland
Guests got this cool pinback button upon entry to the park.
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You knew there were going to be flower beds in here somewhere. The Dusty Miller reminds me a little of snow. What do you think?
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Alice didn’t believe me when I told her how big the star is on top of the Disneyland Christmas tree. Do you know how big it is?
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Beautiful garland is strewn across Main Street USA’s building facades, which look fresh and pretty after recent rehabs.
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Even “The Happiest Horses on Earth” get into the spirit, with festive red bows braided into their manes. This is one of those little details that guests might miss!
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Check out the band’s bands – their hat bands, I mean.
No one is left behind or forgotten.
No one is left behind or forgotten.

 

The perfect gift, on display in the Main Street Magic Shop window.
The perfect gift, on display in the Main Street Magic Shop window.
It's a little difficult to see because of the reflection, but the sheet music on the wall of the window display at Main Street Music Company is "Angels We Have Heard on High". Oh, and check out the ribbon wrapped around the display itself.
It’s a little difficult to see because of the reflection, but the sheet music on the wall of the window display at Main Street Music Company is “Angels We Have Heard on High”.
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As you see, the decorations are designed for their location, not one-size-fits-all. The top and bottom garland are not the same length, and are made for that alcove and that sill.
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The Emporium is bedecked with true-to-era detail decorations
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The flock of ravens in the Fortuosity shop have given way to stockings and Victorian Christmas details.

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The popular new Disneyland doughnuts. Located at a cart between Frontierland and the Castle around Disneyland’s central hub.

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That is something out of Wreck-It Ralph. I’m not saying I wouldn’t eat it, because I totally would, but I’d vibrate into another dimension immediately afterward.
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I suspect that this might be Disney’s answer to Knott’s Berry Farm’s Boysenberry Festival Fun Bun. But when you get that 2PM theme park energy lag, this might be just the thing!

 

Wow. Just…wow. I like a plain cake doughnut dipped in black coffee, because when I was a little snoot, my grandfather would give me bites of his when my grandmother wasn’t looking and she’d scold us when she caught us and we’d laugh. I also like the chocolate cake doughnut with chocolate frosting and peanuts, just because. I kind of like the idea of special doughnuts, but none of these really say “Disneyland”, like Fantasia Ice Cream or the Corn Dog Wagon corn dogs, Mickey apples and Krispie treats or churros that don’t taste as good anywhere else…so, you folks know Disneyland better than just about anybody else. What kind of designer doughnut, you know, with the frosting and the sprinkles and the candy and whatnots to attract the tourists and make it super-special, would say “Disneyland”?

it’s a small world Holiday Anniversary!

it’s a small world Holiday is twenty years old this year, and to celebrate, the Imagineers sneaked in about a half-dozen number 20’s throughout the attraction. Can you find them all? Here’s some beautiful photos from the MiceChat Update crew, including just a few that Darth Daver spotted to get you started:

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Let’s see if we can spot a few of the ’20’s” . . .

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Photo by Alan Smithee, says Mister Double. I think the blur makes it look cool, myself.
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I don’t think this one counts!
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There’s more; these are just some of the most obvious ones. But why spoil the fun? Go find them!

Thanks to the nice person who clued me in on this!

A Country Christmas

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The “Western” part of Frontierland has a prairie feel to it, with big red bows, lots of greenery and simple, old-fashioned “glass” ball ornaments.

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Splash Mountain is all decorated on the outside, and look! There’s a tree with a gift tag on it!

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I don't know...something tells me it's full of bees.
I don’t know…something tells me it’s full of bees.

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There’s a PinQuest going on for you pin collectors and Questors! Questers? Yes, you, over there, with the pins! And the quests! The kits and the framed sets and the rules and ways to actually GET the pins are available inside the Pooh Corner shop.

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As we get into the deep South, we find pine cones along with fruit for Hungry Bears:

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Pooh is in the details: this area of the park definitely belongs to that Silly Old Bear, who celebrated his 90th birthday October 14th (Yes, two years older than Mickey Mouse!) It’s appropriately long on charm, and a nice, relatively calm place (for now) to greet Santa Claus. Once the gateway to Star Wars Land opens, however, all bets are off.

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Yes, it's a little beehive made of twine.
Yes, it’s a little beehive made of twine.

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Pooh and his pals' houses on the river are all decorated for the holidays!
Pooh and his pals’ houses on the river are all decorated for the holidays!
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As is Pooh’s home up on the roof of the shop
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But what of the shop itself? Insane holiday insanity, right?
Nope, just a quiet little mention, back in the farthest corner. But why?
Nope, just a quiet little mention, back in the farthest corner. But why?
Because it's Pooh's BIRTHDAY!!!
Because it’s Pooh’s BIRTHDAY, and you can’t have both decorations in the shop at the same time!

For the moment, Winnie the Pooh isn’t the main attraction in Critter Country. It’s another jolly fellow with a round belly, Santa Claus.

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Santa wants to know why we’re being so “shy”.
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Even if you can’t get a Santa hug in person, he hopes all of your holiday wishes come true!
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It looks like a certain bear is going to get his wish!
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Sleeping Beauty Castle looks lovely with its “snow”-covered roof

 

And back for Holiday Time . . . Paint The Night makes a brief return before another long refurbishment:

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Anna AND Elsa!

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Yes, it’s a tease to have this wonderful show return for just a few select nights between now and NYE. But we’ll soon have the classic Electrical Parade to soothe our souls until PTN returns.

Disney California Adventure

Holiday Cheer on Buena Vista Street

As much as you’d like to walk quickly, don’t run to your destination when you first enter Disney California Adventure, at this time of year, don’t pass by he windows on Buena Vista Street. While they are beautiful any day of the year, at this time of year, they are really something.

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There’s no question what the big draw is here!

The first thing I noticed was this letter to Santa:

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It’s been five years since I took Chinese language classes, but I’m pretty sure the envelope says “Santa Uncle, North Pole”

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The Silly Symphony illustrations carry on into the Elias & Co. interiors
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Santa is at Redwood Creek now, so the shop isn’t so packed, but there’s still a tree and Minnie is just outside the window spreading lots of holiday cheer.

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As we move toward Carthay Circle, the decorations get more ornate.
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…and if you look carefully, the Balcony Gang is having their annual Holiday soiree.
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While below, gorgeous Sketchbook ornaments are on sale.
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This is the room where Santa was set up last year.

Across the street is no different:

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Festival of Holidays Continues

What’s new and noticeable for the Festival of Holidays? No word on tasting cards yet. It’s a shame, because they were convenient and a collectible, and if you did it just right, you could save a buck or two. But mostly, they were convenient. But there IS a Passholder-only t-shirt!

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It’s the gray one.

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I love how the Festival symbol changes with each cultural area:

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Dusty visited the new Festival of Holidays and shared a couple of live videos this week on MiceChat’s Facebook Page:

Viva Navidad: Entretenimiento, Elena y Elotes

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Oh crafts! I love them! There’s coloring and stickers and either a purple crown or a tiara you can wear. Don’t forget to pick one up before next Sunday’s MiceChat noon meet!

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The entertainment during the Festival of Holidays is really fantastic.  But our favorite is the returning Viva Navidad street festival.

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Elana of Avalor also has a new show with a catchy beat.

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Redwood Creek Christmas Trail

I think I can safely say that, instead of “Holiday”, because it’s nothing but Santa and elves and reindeer all over the place, there. All of the activities have been rethemed, like the rope bridge now has big jingle bells tied to the bottom of it and is now called the Jingle Bridge, the tire slide is the Fly with the Reindeer, and the slide is now present delivery to Santa, whom you can meet in a charming little alcove after getting a free candy cane, just like at Gimbel’s.

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I love this simple, adorable little fox face.
I love this simple, adorable little fox face.

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Grizzly Peak Recreation Area

The newest “land” in DCA wasn’t overwhelmingly festive, but very believable to its theme with its tree laden with popcorn and cranberry strings (I remember making these as a kid), pinecone and perforated tin can ornaments, and actual sock stockings stuffed with … stuffing? decorating the huge pine tree in the middle of the area. There’s even a lantern to provide light. Looks like something a bunch of campers would set up. Very well done.

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Star Wars Land and Security Update

Onward and Upward!

I love being able to catch glimpses of Star Wars Land becoming reality! It really keeps my interest piqued!

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Disney even begins to whet our appetites as we tram in from Mickey & Friends!

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Darth Daver of MiceChat’s Star Wars News sent these along. May the Force be with you!

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There is more construction in the Mickey and Friends parking lot.

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Get Disneyland Wait Times with Mouseaddict

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Thank you !
Christmastime is definitely a great, but very popular, time to visit Disneyland Resort. To avoid larger crowds, I suggest visiting before Thanksgiving or during the first two weeks of December. The second half of December is quite crowded but spending Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at the resort is pretty unforgettable, as long as you can handle the longer lines. If you want to experience the most popular Disneyland holiday traditions like the Candlelight Processional and candy canes, be advised that your chances are somewhat limited as both are both extremely popular and limited. Christmas at Disneyland began on November 10th and runs through January 8th. A great part about Christmastime at Disneyland is that all this merriment and entertainment (other than the tour) is included with admission.All of us on the Disneyland Photo Update crew would like to thank you for joining us today. Each week we’ll feature different photographers and commentators (often more than one). Today’s MiceChat Disneyland Update was created by Noe and Shelly Valladolid, CakvalaSC & Dusty Sage.

 

Are you a member of the MiceChat Sunday Meet-up Facebook group? If you are interested in meeting up with fellow theme park lovers in the parks, please be sure to follow this group: MiceChat Sundays in the Park. And please follow the MiceChat Facebook Page for news and updates from the Disneyland Resort and beyond:

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That’s it for this week’s Update.Are you a photographer? Do you love the parks? Would you like to contribute to the Disneyland Update or other MiceChat columns? Contact Dusty Sage: [email protected]