It’s the holiday season, almost, at the Disneyland Resort. Two new princesses, Anna and Elsa from Disney Picture’s upcoming animated feature (Frozen), have taken up residence in Fantasyland.  King Arthur Carousel has re-opened and looks simply wonderful. While Holidays at the Disneyland Resort doesn’t officially start until November 12th, running until January 6th, it’s a small world Holiday and the Christmas Fantasy Parade are scheduled to open today. In addition, the stores are fully stocked with all manner of clothes, toys, sweaters, and collectables just oozing yule tide cheer.  Let’s find out what’s In the Parks this week.

Holidays at the Resort

Yes, we are sad to see the Halloween Time end.  But no sooner had we collected the last piece of trick or treat candy then snow began to collect on the castle and snowflakes landed on the main gate.  Even Town Square on Main Street, U.S.A. is blanketed in a sea of red poinsettia.








Frozen Meet and Greet

Monday morning Disney unveiled its newest meet and greet to promote its latest animated feature. Frozen comes out on November 27th nationwide, but you can get a head-start on autographs and meet Anna and Elsa from the new film.

The old Tangled meet and greet location has been turned into a snow-covered house.  But one of the things that sets this meet and greet apart is the surprisingly articulated animatronic outside, on the roof.  As guests wait in line, the saccharine snowman entertains the crowd as he waxes philosophic from atop the roof.






Blinking, turning, talking, the figure is not operated ala Crush in Turtle Talk.  His dialogue is all set, preplanned.  But that is of no difference here as it is still very impressive.

A coat rack on the door as guests enter.
Inside there are Norwegian treats staged by the window.
Banners representing Elsa the Snow Queen (left) and Anna the Princess (right).
To the left of the entry, more Nordic references.
The two characters we encountered were fun and engaging, totally believable, and a lot of fun.

it’s a small world holiday

The beloved it’s a small world attraction returns today with the annual holiday overlay.  This wildly popular perennial pontoon ride will run through January 6th. There are no major changes this year.  But sometimes the familiar charms are just as comforting as anything new and exciting might be.


















Jingle Cruise

The first signs of the Jingle Cruise overlay for Disneyland park have appeared.  Mostly visible in the queue this morning, guests will continue to see more and more added to the queue and scenery in the attraction as the official beginning date for the overlay approaches on November 12th.








A Christmas Fantasy Parade

The wonderful annual parade returns this year with a few minor tweaks and changes, most of which will go unnoticed by the passive guest.  Look for altered choreography on the Gingerbread and Candlelight parade units.  Sadly, it seems that the Seven Dwarves may have been cut this year, but new skiers have been added to the Winter Wonderland unit.  We also know that the title logo on the first float has been punched out of the wreath and replaced with a ribbon that goes over that.  Most importantly, the traditional teddy bear that adorned the first float has returned and Duffy has been relegated to the Mrs. Claus float.  But that has in turn caused a cascade effect, sending Pluto to the top of the gingerbread float and Max has been knocked off from there.

There is just something special about this parade that perfectly reflects the holiday cheer like nothing else.  If they could only fix the painfully short music loop that plays during the parade, they would have it just about perfect.  The parade is scheduled to run at 2:30 and 5:30 today

Believe… In Holiday Magic

This crowd favorite returns tonight at 9:30pm and features the sparkling Sleeping Beauty Castle, choreographed to Holiday music, and of course snoap “snow”.

Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade Taping This Weekend

This is also that weekend when Disneyland tapes the Christmas Day Parade TV special. Yes, the Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade will be taping on both Friday and Saturday this weekend on Main Street U.S.A. and and at the castle and the hub.  While we don’t have the names of the talent involved this weekend just yet, we do have the basic time frames for you to be aware of.

Saturday 11/9
9:30 First TV concert taped at Castle
11:00 Second TV concert taped at Castle with pyro and confetti
1:00 Third TV concert taped at Castle
2:00 One parade float moves from Small World to Matterhorn Way
3:00 Fourth TV concert taped on float on Matterhorn Way
4:00 Rehearsal on Main Street USA for “Dance the Magic” production number
5:30 Christmas Fantasy Parade begins at Town Square to Small World
Sunday 11/10
9:30 Christmas Parade floats moved from Small World to Main Street USA
10:00 Christmas TV special taping begins on Main Street USA
12:00 Concert taped on Main Street USA with floats
3:00 Taping for TV special concludes on Main Street USA
4:00 Christmas Parade floats moved back to Small World gate


If you are visiting the parks this weekend, just be aware that traveling through the park might take a bit more time than normal.

King Arthur Carousel

The King Arthur Carousel has returned after a month-long refurbishment that really spruced things up.  Gone are the nasty rust trails draping from the seams in the canopy exterior.  In their place are wild shades of fuchsia and gold, supporting a brilliant golden pinnacle.







Not a single light bulb was out as we inspected the work on the attraction.
All of the horses look immaculate too.



Along with the Holidays comes the amazing array of Holiday merchandise.  Main Street U.S.A leads the charge with Santa hats and Mickey and Minnie ears of all sorts.  But, if you missed it going in, other stores in the park carry the same merchandise, for the most part.  Let’s shop.



A lovely Christmas Tree inside Disney Showcase.


This display, while again used as a negative space, is more balanced and works better visually than the Halloween version (that we held a contest on)


There is more of the same over at the Emporium






Starbucks is enjoying its first Christmas this year.  Along with that are understudied touches that seem to fit right in.





The China Closet once again looks like Mrs. Claus’ treasure trove suddenly exploded.  It’s still lovely though.





Storybook Land Canal Boats

One of the other things that we simply adore at this time of year are the subtle bits of holiday charm that are sprinkled throughout the park.  One such example are the tiny Christmas decorations that appear along the riverbanks in the Storybook Land Canal Boat ride.



The church at the Alice in Wonderland tableau has its own tree.


Snow White was also busy decorating.



Pinocchio’s village also sports a few trees.



Goodbye Billy Hill and the Hillbillies

We close out the Disneyland portion of this update by sharing the sad news posted by Disney Parks Blog yesterday.  According to Erin Glover, the “crowd favorite” will be performing their last show on January 6th. Are you sad to see the Billies go? Disney doesn’t plan to permanently replace this show. Instead offering seasonal acts in the Golden Horseshoe.

Disney California is, once-again pulling out all of the nostalgia and charm they can muster and lavishing it upon Buena Vista Street.




The tree is already up and there is still more to come.  The windows along Buena Vista Street are nearly all  decorated for the holidays and, aside from that nasty Big Top Toys window, it all looks pretty good!







Inside the Five and Dime the shelves are stocked with festive hats and the like.


A shopping queue has taken up the middle of the floor space here too.

Inside the children’s department of Elias and Co. we find a nice collection of light-up Perrys and stuffed Santa Mickeys




There are also more of the large shopping queues.

Ladies wear here shows some fun pajamas to get you into the holiday spirit.



While Men’s wear has some nice clothing along with Red Car ornaments that were so popular last year.






The Jewelry department at the end of Elias and Co. is also in the process of setting up the Santa photo op and meet and greet.  The rotunda is already decorated and covered in holiday merchandise.




Trolley Treats
The detailed, almost messy-looking strings of holiday candy are in place above the confectionery shop.




A more generic garland has appeared over the counters at the Fiddler, Fifer and Practical cafe.



Kingswell Camera Shop

Th usual holiday fare is in the shops here.




World of Color – Winter Dreams for Annual Passholders

Disney is inviting annual pass holders to come and take in the brand new World of Color Winter Dreams during select performances.

  • November 15, 16, 17, 22, and December 6.  9:00pm showtime
  • November 18, 19, 20, 21 and December 2, 3, 4, and 5  7:00pm showtime

To register for this event, you must show up at Disney California Adventure on the day of the show you would like to see. You will then need to get your special ticket at the normal Disney FASTPASS ticket distribution area for World of Color near Grizzly River Rapids FASTPASS distribution kiosks.  Currently DCA is scheduled to open at 9:00 AM on November 15, 16, 17, 22 and December 2, 3,4,5, 6; and 10:00 AM on November 18,19, 20, 21.

Pacific Wharf

The Christmas lights are strung up at Pacific Wharf



Cars Land Christmas

The fun, automotive Christmas decorations have returned to Radiator Springs along with a wide array of very custom merchandise.  Let’s walk the area and see how the decorations turned out this year

This year the car snowman has been moved away from the parade route to allow for a picture queue.



Flo’s V8 Cafe




There really aren’t any holiday offerings inside Ramone’s.  Regardless, they still went through the trouble of decorating it.  This is one of our favorites.






Radiator Springs Curios

This is where you will find the lion’s share of holiday/Christmas themed items.  Included in the bunch are a few special Christmas Cars toys, mugs, and stockings.









The Courthouse




Cozy Cone Motel
Once again the orange cones midway through Cars Land stand as bright sentinels of holiday cheer.  We just love the tacky charm of the decorations inside the office.







Sarge’s Surplus
There isn’t too much here that is Holiday themed, aside from a few bits here and there.




It is wonderful to see the recurring attention to detail and theme in this area during the holidays.


Radiator Springs Racers

The big E-ticket of Cars Land is set to return this morning with a new set of load gates at the station that will attempt to keep folks from diving down into the tracks to retrieve lost items.

During the week signs were posted at the entrances into Cars Land letting people know of the closure.
Testing could be seen during the week.

Duffy Likes Christmas too!

Stop by and say hi to Duffy.  He is all ready to go for Christmas and has plenty of accessories for you to buy too.









Check back with us Saturday as we will have full video and pictures of all of the Holiday offerings this year along with an updated Christmas Day Parade taping.

One last thing!  Don’t forget to grab your tickets for the first big event of the Holiday Season!


Join us for a very special holiday event on November 16th (Breakfast, Panel Discussions, Book Sales and Signing). Meet some Disney celebrities and authors, get your holiday shopping done early, and enjoy a festive breakfast at the wonderful ESPN Zone in Downtown Disney Anaheim. Oh, and bacon, bacon, bacon!


  • Marty Sklar (DREAM IT! DO IT!)
  • Roy P Disney representing Dave Bossert’s book on his father (REMEMBERING ROY E. DISNEY)
  • Sam Gennawey (The Disneyland Story)
  • Don Ballard (Disneyland Hotel books)
  • Nancy Rodrigue (Hidden Mickey Adventure Books)
  • Dusty Sage representing Alain Littaye (Disneyland Paris from Sketch to Reality – new edition)
  • And some VERY special surprise guests!!!

Tickets are going fast – get yours today HERE



Join us in saying farewell to Halloween time! Discussion on multiple haunted experiences and attractions for the season including Halloween Horror Nights Universal Studios, Empty Grave, The Purge, Blackout, Delusion, and more, plus a big review on the MiceChat event at Knott’s Scary Farm and post-Trapped talk! Tons of Disney news involving future Star Wars attractions, Iron Man in Hong Kong, and the new Disability Access Service at Disneyland.

Direct Download | iTunes Link

That’s it until tomorrow and we will see you In The Parks.



  • Wendygirl

    Am I sad to see the Bilys go?!!! Am I sad??!!!! If you know anything about me at all (and look at my profile pic) you will know that I am devastated. I have loved this show for years and feel that Disney started to disrespect them a couple of years ago when they made them shorten the show and take out certain elements. Then to add insult to injury they moved them up to Big Thunder (too many reasons to list here as to why that was a bad decision). I “like” many Disney blogs/pages on Facebook plus many of my Disney friends were made because of the Billys – my Facebook newsfeed has been on overload the last couple of days since this news broke. There are many, many people that are stunned and disheartened by this news. The Disney magic just dimmed for many of us. I have to renew my Pass in a couple of weeks and I will do that just so I can see lots and lots of Billy shows and be there for their final day on Jan. 6. But next year who knows. Frankly entertainment is all I have left anymore at Disneyland because I just can no longer do a lot of the rides. The Billys are my #1 entertainment pick there and one of the main reasons I even still have an AP after the price hike.

    I am off to celebrate my Birthday and Christmas (love when they collide) at the Park today. My first stop will be up at Big Thunder to see my Billys!

    • sixalex

      I completely agree. Ever since they began the process of making the ride cars smaller, my 6’4″ frame limits my enjoyment of many of the attractions. (Matterhorn mini-sleds anyone?) I imagine that when Big Thunder Mountain finally re-opens, I may find that is also “lawyer friendly” as opposed to guest compatible.

      The way corporate (I have a hard time saying “Disney” when discussing bad decisions) moved the Billies out of their natural home at Golden Horseshoe, relegating them to the backwater of Big Thunder Ranch is just a way of sabotaging their popularity.

      We will likely be seeing more of this minimizing as the years progress. After Court of Angels, I foolishly asked, “What next?” I could never have imagined such a bone headed move as the cessation of one of the funniest and most talented acts in the park.

  • Great Trip Report! I havent been to the Holidays at Disneyland since 2007, need to make the time!

  • stevem85

    Wow what a fantastic detailed report. Thanks for all your hard work to bring this to us!

  • Algernon

    I’m glad the carrousel is back. It adds a lot of atmosphere. I love the music.

    • sean317

      For some reason I have been looking forward to this refurbishment. It really needed it & makes the area 10 times better!

  • Gregg Condon

    The Frozen meet and greet actually looks better than the movie. LOL!!!

    After seeing these pictures of the Holidays at Disneyland I’m officially having Disneyland withdrawals. 11 months since we’ve been and no visit in sight.

  • garyman

    I am sad to see the Billy’s go they are one of the best shows Disney puts on I hope it was a mutual agreement between them as they were very entertaining. We just loved them with all there music, charm and antics.

    Great Update as always

  • dolewhipdude

    Amazing report Norm. Thanks so much!

  • Big D

    Thanks for the great pictures! There’s no question Disneyland is the king of Christmas — they really do it right. I don’t get why they always open the Meet & Greets before the movie comes out. No one knows who those two girls are, so who is waiting in line to meet them?

  • poohnpiglet

    Awesome update! Do you have an idea what they are doing to the Toy Story Parking Lot? My wife is there today and said its torn up.
    Happy to see Christmas arrive in the parks. Thanks for the pics for those of us who cant get down there.

  • KCmike

    I feel like the mayor on Nightmare Before Christmas when he thinks Jack is dead. WORST NEWS EVER!!! We completely fell in love with Elvis Billy and the Hillbillies back in 2007 in the Golden Horseshoe. We would see several sets during our vacation each year and look forward to it as it was one of the biggest attractions in Disneyland. IT IS/WAS!

    I personally thought the move to the Festival area was just a horrible decision. The show doesn’t translate well out there. The seating is horrible. They would rock the Horseshoe like none other.

    I hope the Billy’s decided it was time to retire. It just makes me sad. I know that things will continually change and new things have to come but this was near and dear to my heart.

    Thank you Elvis Billy and the whole gang for such great times!

    As far as the laughing stock company I hope they retire soon. I want it to be good but its just not.

    • Unfortunately, the Billies did not decide to retire on their own, Disney decided to retire them.

      • CCS

        In their honor, the decision just CHAPS MY HIDE!!!!! I would like to say WT-you-know-what, but shall refrain. This is a crummy decision and it puts a damper on how I like to think about Disneyland during the Holidays. These guys are so beloved that people risked painful seating and severe sunburn to listen to them out in the Jamboree. I’d like to hear what they had to say about it.

    • sixalex

      I concur on the Laughing Stock. I’ve tried the show a couple times, but no one laughs.

  • Stinkerella

    After this wonderful report I’m ready for the holidays. Thanks Norm!! Sorry to hear about the Billy’s since they were my favorite show in the park. I could always count on their humor and music to complete a visit, even after they were “back watered”. I too, hope it’s retirement and not just a “push” out the door by an executive trying to make a name for themselves……the name will be poorly remembered. Other than that…..Let The Holidays Begin!

  • CasaFamilia

    Outstanding report Norm, thank you so much!! We saw DL last Saturday and DCA Wednesday both looked great as usual. It’s such a blessing to see have the opportunity to see the parks before the big crowds. But even with the crowds it’s still the best time of the year at the resort.

    Our twins can’t wait for the parade and snow!!! I think we get to go twice this weekend, probably Sat.& Mon. They are about ready to burst.
    Jingle Cruise also has them excited. Their favorite still remains Small World, the soundtrack has already been in heavy rotation in the car and now it’s here for real. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the “2014” sign—are we really getting that old?

    As Thanksgiving approaches I hope that everyone has time to reflect sometime during their Holiday visit to the resort and be truly thankful that we get to share such a special place; especially those of us who are local AP holders and get to see it multiple times each year.

  • Tretpls

    We had to change our Christmas trip to the 27th this year in order to be able to see family. Other than Santa, will any of the holiday “overlay” be gone by then? I hope not. Really sad we won’t have a picture with Disney’s Santa again this year. Haven’t had one since my daughter was 2 and she’s 8 now 🙁

    • CCS

      No worries. You’re good through Twelfth Night (January 6)!

  • Slaakker

    I am so disappointed in Disney for retiring Billy Hill. The shows at the Golden Horseshoe were always well attended. I will be visiting City Hall for the first time to log a complaint. Maybe if enough of us voice our displeasure they will change their mind.

  • scarymouse

    Great update Fish, as always. I love The Billy’s and hate to see them go, but a fresh act will be nice and can’t wait to find out what will take their honorable place. And great shot of christmas Duffy…… I know we have seen him before, still a shot of the duffmaster with no duff…..still smiling over that..Merry Thankschristmas everybody !

  • airick75

    Great info and update. Will we also get an update soon on this year’s Candlelight Processional(s?)? Are they doing a series of them again? Or a special-ticket event? Is the schedule shaping up yet?

    • It looks like Candlelight will be just 2 nights.

  • sixalex

    Despite my deep disappointment with the news about the Billies, I want to say thank you to Norm and the crew of Mice Chat for such a pretty update. The holidays at Disneyland and California Adventure carry a special feeling. The pictures you offer this week are beautiful.

    In a sense, I feel you have more of the Disney magic than those actually in charge of the company. Thank you so much!

  • KCmike

    Hey Andy will Max still be on the float with Goofy? This is one of my wife’s favorite things. She loves to hear him say something about family and holidays.

  • Dizzey

    I have to admit – I got a little tired of the Billys and haven’t seen them in years. I love music, but their show didn’t change much so I didn’t feel like I was missing anything. It never made it to the category of “nostalgia” for me. I won’t miss them as much as, say, the steel drum players that used to play in Adventureland. They were great, playing up on the balcony across from the bazaar.

    Used to love the Bayou Brass Band from 6 or 7 years ago also. They played more modern jazzy arrangements of standards and pop music and not so much Dixieland.

    Regardless, I just hope that live, impromptu music lives on in the park.

  • Rex Dopey24

    the christmas season lights and everything is so very colorful lol. nice pictures thanks

  • tcsnwhite

    I must be one of the few that couldn’t care less for the Billy Hillbillies (or whatever they’re called). Talented…yes. But Disney often runs entertainment way too long, esp. atmosphere/smaller scale shows. Time for something fresh and new.

    Give me the Golden Horseshoe Variety show with Slue Foot Sue and the Can Can girls, and the funny comedian. I remember seeing that all the time when I was young…and that definitely felt like “Frontierland”. When the Billy’s replaced that, it felt like such a step down.

  • Tinkbelle

    Firing the Billies?! First Court of Angels, now this. Colgazier may go down as the worst Disneyland president of all time.

  • JiminyCricketFan

    Billy Hill was always a favorote to me at Disneyland. I’ve taken many guests to the park and one of the things they remember the most was going to that show. I remember going to WDW, and being disappointed that they didn’t have any show in the park that had the same quality.

    I love the pictures of decorations in the park. I think the new frozen animatronic is fantastic, but I’m not sure if the meeting greet is going to be as wonderful as Tangled. The animatronic looks great now but I’m not sure it’s gonna look that fantastic next summer.

  • Aotphks

    Thanks for the photos and report. Disneyland Resort continues to impress me with their holiday overlay. Everything looks great. I wish I was able to visit this holiday season. Sighs. Hopefully next year.

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