What a HUGE week it has been for the Disneyland Resort. The holidays kicked off on Tuesday November 12th and the action has been non-stop since. In fact, last night, the world premier of World of Color: Winter Dreams took place and we were among the first to see it. But that is far from all. ¡Viva Navidad! also began at Paradise Pier offering a festive Latin flair to Christmas. The animation building courtyard has also reopened after a refurbishment which brings with it brand new projectors and beautiful results. Over at Disneyland, the tree is up, the garland is strung, and everything is shimmering and bright. Jingle Cruise debuted to mixed fan reviews and we share our thoughts on it along with a full ride video. We also visit the Jingle Jangle Jamboree in Big Thunder Mountain Ranch and share the news that The View will be taping in front of the castle from November 18th to the 22nd. My goodness, there is so much to see and talk about! We’d better get this show rolling . . .
World of Color – Winter Dreams
Last night, the new holiday version of World of Color premiered to cheers and awe. World of Color: Winter Dreams marks the first time that the colorful fountain and light show has been fully overhauled for regular performances since its opening in 2010 (they have done special shows for Club 33, New Year’s Eve, corporate events and other occasions on an as needed basis but not as a regular daily offering).
Winter Dreams begins with a rather poignant virtual choir populated by fan submitted videos. Stitched together within mesmerizing graphics of snowflakes the choir sings an original song written by Eric Whitacre entitled Glow.
But before the mood is allowed to get too heavy, the real show begins. The familiar World of Color tunes play, then things get all festive. Olaf, from Disney’s upcoming film Frozen, plays as master of ceremonies, guiding the show through the paces. Along the way we are treated to two numbers from the upcoming film, along with fan favorites from Toy Story, Tangled and even Bambi.
What is so surprising about this new show is the elegant pacing. While World of Color is a good enough show it very much feels like a choppy clip show at times. Winter Dreams seems to have worked out the lulls and keeps the show moving at a broisk pace. Furthermore, the transitions are smooth, giving it a far more unified feel.
Then there are the technological advances. Digital projection once again steps in to up the ante with brighter colors and sharper imagery. Included in the package are the dazzling lights affixed to nearly every joint of steel supports on California Screamin’ coaster. The effect is an eye-popping backdrop of colors behind the already dazzling fountains.
Really, we were very impressed with the show and consider this a triumph for imagineer Steve Davison and all those involved.
Paradise Pier’s Garden dining location has been rethemed for the holidays as ¡Viva Navidad! This area features brand new Latin-inspired food offerings and interactive stations highlighting a distinctive Hispanic take on Christmas. It’s festive, different, and lots of fun.
Over at the Paradise Garden Grill there are a ton of latin food offerings for folks to enjoy. You can bet that if the Mexican dishes here perform better than the previous Greek menu, there is going to be big pressure to make a menu change permanent.
While the food is quite good, it’s the new street party show, ¡Viva Navidad!, that left us surprised by how good it was. A REALLY fun show.
A riotous celebration of Latin cultures, music and colors, ¡Viva Navidad! is a street party performed 6 times a day in front of Paradise Garden. The Three Caballeros preside over the show from atop a Christmas festival parade unit.
This is truthfully one of the more entertaining seasonal offerings in recent memory. Live music, dancers, and characters keep this show engaging. Do yourself a favor and just stop by for one performance. You will be very happy you did.
Buena Vista Street
Buena Vista Street Christmas is all rolled out and spreading cheer. The bell ringers are out, the tree is up, and even the Red Car News Boys have a new holiday themed show. How cool!
Inside Elias and Company, the Santa Meet and Greet has opened, complete with helpful elf.
We adore the vintage look of this Santa meet and greet. Just take a look at that adorable Elf outfit!
Disney Animation Building Courtyard Reopens
The acclaimed animation courtyard inside the animation building has long been a nice place to relax and watch masterful clips of Disney artistry. After a rather long refurbishment, the courtyard has reopened and features new crystal clear digital projections. It is simply beautiful.
They have also updated the projections inside Ursula’s grotto within the Sorcerer’s Workshop with digital equipment as well.
Cars Land Christmas At Night
Cars Land is already a beautiful place at night. But during the holidays, it’s simply breathtaking. Here we share a few recent images from evening in Cars Land at Christmas.
Candy Canes at the Disneyland Resort
Once again, the smell of peppermint and sugar will fill the air on Buena Vista Street and Main Street U.S.A. during the holidays. Candy Cane making will be taking place both in the Candy Palace on Main Street USA in Disneyland and Trolley Treats on Buena Vista Street at Disney California Adventure.
To get your mits on a few sticks of this tasty treat, guests are required to pick up wristbands to hold a place in line. The wristbands are handed out at park opening. There will be 40 wristbands per batch and three batches per day making it 120 wristbands that will be given out at park opening. The earlier you are there, the earlier your batch, one candy cane per wristband. Candy Canes should be done and picked up by 4:00pm the day they are made & cost is $12.99 (and yes, at that high price, they still sell out immediately).
Candy Palace at Disneyland
- Friday, November 29 (8:00am park opening)
- Tuesday, December 3 (9:00am park opening) *Extra Magic Hour this day 8-9am
- Friday, December 6 (9:00am park opening)
- Tuesday, December 10 (9:00am park opening) *Extra Magic Hour this day 8-9am
- Friday, December 13 (9:00am park opening)
- Tuesday, December 17 (9:00am park opening)
- Friday, December 20 (hours not posted yet)
- Sunday, December 22 (hours not posted yet)
- Tuesday, December 24 (hours not posted yet)
Trolley Treats at Disney California Adventure
- Saturday, November 30 (8:00am park opening)
- Monday, December 2 (9:00am park opening) *Extra Magic Hour this day 8-9am
- Saturday, December 7 (8:00am park opening)
- Monday, December 9 (9:00am park opening) *Extra Magic Hour this day 8-9am
- Saturday, December 14 (8:00am park opening)
- Monday, December 16 (9:00am park opening)
- Saturday, December 21 (hours not posted yet)
- Monday, December 23 (hours not posted yet)
- Wednesday, December 25 (hours not posted yet)
The Jingle Cruise began soft openings last weekend and is now officially open until the end of the holiday season on January 6th. This lightly themed overlay of the classic Jungle Cruise attraction keeps to a very simple storyline. Here’s the description from the Disney Parks Blog:
In this new seasonal storyline of the attraction, the Skippers have grown homesick for the holidays, so they’ve added holiday cheer to the Jungle Cruise queue and boathouse with decorations that have been mailed to them from home (plus a few they’ve created themselves). The Skippers have also added a slew of new jokes to their tours that are the perfect way to get guests in the holiday spirit. Additionally, Jungle Cruise boats have been renamed with the holidays in mind, and if guests listen carefully, they may hear a holiday-themed radio broadcast playing in the background.
Online reviews have been mixed. So is this worth visiting? Absolutely! As guests enter the queue of the Jungle Cruise, holiday music can be heard over the radio playing in the background. Around every corner of the queue, Christmas items are fashioned out of found objects. Once away from the queue and on the boat, the overlay depends entirely on the spiel performed by the skipper on the boat.
This is definitely a subtle approach to plussing an attraction. But really, in our opinion, it works just fine. Is it what we expected? No. But that doesn’t make it bad. The big problem that this overlay faces is the fine pedigree of brilliant overlays throughout the park. Both Haunted Mansion Holiday and it’s a small world holiday literally create new attractions from familiar classics. Jingle Cruise is more along the lines of a light dusting of holiday cheer. It’s the same attraction but with a few new jokes that let you know the skippers are working through the holidays.
Let’s hope that by next year, a more fleshed-out overlay can be delivered. We know the idea can work, and we’d really like to see it grow.
And while they are thinking about Christmas . . . how about that holiday overlay of the Tiki Room that’s been kicked around for a decade. Mele Kalikimaka anyone?
A Christmas Fantasy Parade
A Christmas Fantasy Parade is a classic Disney Parade with perhaps the same loyal fan base as the Electrical Parade. This is a very long parade which has a massive cast and never fails to put a smile on our faces. The music is entirely too repetitive though. Despite that, it’s just magic. Below is a full video of the parade from last Friday. The parade will be running twice daily through January 6th.
New Orleans Square
The over-the-top decorations in New Orleans Square have received a refreshing this year and it looks pretty good.
Haunted Mansion Holiday
In keeping with the Holiday theme for this update, here is a full video ride through of Haunted Mansion Holiday 2013 (yes, we know it’s been running daily since September).
Jingle Jangle Jamboree
As if there wasn’t enough holiday cheer to take in at the parks, there is also the wonderful Jingle Jangle Jamboree at Big Thunder Mountain Ranch. Many people don’t think to go back here. But it is a fantastic place to meet characters with half the wait you would find over in Toon Town.
Ms. Chris has rented the cabin out to Santa for the holidays. Let’s go inside.
Out back in the Jamboree area, things are really festive.
Plenty of treats to be had too!
Of course there are souvenirs.
At times you can practically walk up to a character with little to no wait.
Billy Hill and the Hillbillies are performing as well. That is, until their contract ends on January 6th. Oh how we are going to miss these crazy guys.
The View At Disneyland
The talk show, The View, will be taping this coming week (November 18-22). They will be situated in front of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. Jimmy Kimmel will be the guest on the 18th. Expect this area to be packed during the tapings.
Starbucks in DownTown Disney
Nothing to see here. . . move along.
The Winter Village returns to DownTown Disney Anaheim
Disney’s newest animated feature (which we LOVED by the way), Frozen, is the theme for this year’s ice skating rink in DownTown Disney. Located between AMC Theater and the ESPN Zone, Olaf’s Frozen Ice Rink will be available daily through January 11th, 2014.
Hours of Operation
- Sunday through Thursday
3:00 PM – 10:00 PM
- Friday and Saturday
3:00 PM – 11:00 PM
Includes tax and skate rental.
- $17 – General Admission
- $10 – Active Military
- $12 – Admission for children, younger than 6 (sizes 10T through 13T) Double-bladed skates are available for young skaters.
Well folks, that’s it for our festive update today. We think you’ll agree that Disneyland does Christmas in a uniquely grand fashion. There’s so much to see and do right now that you could spend an entire day just doing holiday stuff and never get bored. Put on the ugly sweater that Auntie Pearl knitted you last year, strap the kids into their car seats and head on down to the Happiest Place on Earth. It only gets busier after Thanksgiving folks!
We will see you again soon . . . In The Parks.