The unequivocal master of theme park Christmas, the Disneyland resort, wows guests once again with style and copious holiday cheer. This week we share more of the Christmas offerings at Disneyland and California Adventure by day and by night. Please read all the way through to the bottom for some information on a very special opportunity this weekend.
CHRISTMAS AT DISNEYLAND
Familiar almost to a fault, Disneyland Christmas returns. New this week were the final decorations on Main Street and the Castle, as well as it’s a small world holiday overlay of it’s a small world, the Christmas Fantasy Parade, and the Believe in Holiday Magic fireworks spectacular. Let’s enter the world of the classic Disneyland Christmas season. While the word is that management is dangerously close to charging for the holiday parade and fireworks next year, they are still free with admission for now, so let’s enjoy it while we can!
Stepping into Main Street U.S.A. we see that all is decorated, from top to bottom, and the tree in Town Square is sparkling with hues of red, green and gold.
Further up the street, garland stretches overhead.
The Castle is once again dripping with lights that dazzle at night in an hourly lighting show that leaves the castle frosty and bright.
But, as lovely as the castle looks at night, the decorations aren’t quite as elegant up close by day.
It just seems that it would be fitting to extend a little more panache to the central icon for the entire of the resort.
A CHRISTMAS FANTASY PARADE
The long running Christmas parade returns to Main Street to entertain guests once again. Yes we love this parade. It is a long form procession, no show stops, and is full of classic moments. All that said, while still high on our list of must-do holiday fun, this show could use a little freshening up.
BELIEVE IN HOLIDAY MAGIC
Below we have video of this years Believe in Holiday Magic. But what is even cooler is that we also have video here of the Glow with the Show ears interaction with the show. What do you think?
it’s a small world holiday
One thing that always delights is it’s a small world holiday. The production of this holiday overlay really sparkles with extra color and activity. If you are one of those people who can’t tolerate the regular version of this ride, you should give the holiday version a try.
NEW ORLEANS SQUARE
The corner of the park which is home to Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion Holiday also features some of the best decorations in the park. It is over the top, yet tastefully done.
Then, of course there is Frontierland. While the Big Thunder Ranch area is filled, once again, with the cursory holly leaves, ribbons, and decorated surreys, the Festival Arena area brings something new to the table this year.
The reindeer are missing from the corals this year, but their accompanying feed bucket set dressings are still in use.
The Jingle Jangle Jamboree is home to a range of family style, home-spun Christmas surprises. It is great to see Disney choosing to expand the experience for the day guest with this flex area. They do what they can with this space and it works nicely.
There are even seasonal treats here that you can take advantage of.
The only real sour note in all of the Christmas decoration offerings are the ones found in Toon Town. These decorations abandon the sense of charm that other decorations in the park have for very generic looking decorations that feel mass produced. So sad.
Disney California Adventure Park has begun its first official holiday season since its relaunch. Last week we toured some of the wonderful decorations throughout the park during the day. Here we catch you up on the final touches that were added, along with an overview of what things look like at night once all those colorful lights come on.
BUENA VISTA STREET
While not entirely accurate to 1920’s Hollywood, the decorations on display in Buena Vista Street are retro enough to entertain, but not so much as to alienate modern audiences. It’s a tricky balance, but one that they strike admirably.
If you get a chance, catch the bell ringers. They are fantastic.
Missing the lavish decorations that Cars Land and Buena Vista Street received, Hollywood Land attempts Christmas with just a few minor elements.
The Mad T party received some minor holiday decor.
Next we visit Cars Land at night to see the decorations in a whole new light.
TOW MATER’S JUNKYARD JAMBOREE
SARGE’S ARMY SURPLUS
Inside and out, Sarge’s is patriotic and festive.
We caught a few more shots of the finalized decorations at Cozy Cone Motel during the day and spied an adorable Gingercone house display inside the office as well.
Now for night time…
RADIATOR SPRINGS WINTER CURIOS
FLO’S V8 CAFE
- Minimal decoration on Flo’s, but it is still nicely done.
- Just to the right of the counter, there is a tree with a gingerbread Mater.
Don’t forget to try some of the new holiday treats as well.
THE COURTHOUSE and CARS LAND CHRISTMAS TREE
We also noticed that Ghirardelli has finally gotten the Peppermint Bark in stock. They seem to have plenty.
PARADISE PIER SHOPS
One area that falls short is paradise Pier. Most noticeable is the absence of any decorations in the shops in this land.
The Paradise Garden Grill restaurants have a few minor details added.
MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM DISNEY CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE
We spotted the few bits of merchandise that actually say Merry Christmas at the resort. They are located in the Five and Dime shop at the front of the park. We are not here to debate the issue between Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas. Both are be acceptable and should be used when appropriate. It is just nice to see this option available too.
JOIN US AT DISNEYLAND THIS SUNDAY AND MEET SPECIAL GUEST DON BALLARD
If you’ve never attended a MiceChat noon meet, this Sunday is a great time to do so. Very special guest Don Ballard (Author of the fascinating Disneyland Hotel books) will be joining us along with Al Lutz and many of your Mice Pals. We meet at Noon at the Walt and Mickey Statue in the central hub of Disneyland. Following the meet, we’ll head to the Disneyland Hotel for lunch at the Tongaroa Terrace. Don is a really amazing guy and tells some fantastic stories. This is a really great opportunity for you to learn some things you never knew about the Disneyland Resort. We hope to see you on Sunday at noon!
VOTE MICECHAT THE BEST THEME PARK FANSITE OF THE YEAR
Website, Behind the Thrills, is conducting a vote to determine the top Theme Park Fansite. MiceChat is honored to have been nominated, but it would be even more exciting if we actually won. You can help push us over the top by taking just 15 seconds to click the link and select MiceChat. Vote For MiceChat HERE
DEAL ALERT: SPECIAL $66 ROOM RATES AT ANABELLA
MiceChat Partner Hotel, Anabella, is offering a very special rate of just $66 on some limited dates in November and December. Take a look at the dates and see if this great deal is an option for you. If so, give them a call right away so you don’t miss out on this very limited offer.
THANK YOU AND HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
A special thank you to CaptPhoebus for his fantastic photos this week. We really appreciate his help. We’d also like to thank all of you wonderful readers for your support and for your comments. You really are the fuel that keeps us going week after week. It’s so much fun to watch the resort change from season to season and year to year, but covering it for an audience like you really makes it all worth while. I really am sincerely thankful for you and hope to meet some of you this Sunday at the noon meet. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and we’ll see you again next Friday for a little more Disney holiday magic.
What Do You Think?
Have Disneyland Resort’s decorations sparked your holiday spirit this year or do you find them somehow lacking? Chime in on what you like (or don’t like) about Christmas time at the resort. We love to hear your thoughts.