The holiday season officially begins today at the Disneyland Resort.  Both parks are filled to the brim with more Christmas cheer than can be covered in a single update.  In a companion piece to Andy Castro’s wonderful coverage of the Holiday offerings as of Monday, we cover a few things that weren’t quite ready on Monday, including the return of the Jingle Cruise at Disneyland, and the exceptional ¡Viva Navidad! street show in Disney California Adventure.  Speaking of DCA, it appears that the holiday decorations have been expanded as well.  Stretching from Buena Vista Street all the way to Paradise Pier, the park is laden with Christmas accouterments. There isn’t a vista to be found that does not feature garland, holly berry or snowflakes. We also bring you on-ride video of it’s a small world holiday and the Jingle Cruise, along with full video of Believe in Holiday Magic.  Ready for some Christmas Cheer? Let’s look at the holidays at the Disneyland Resort.

Tomorrowplan Crowd Estimates for Disneyland Resort from Mouseaddict


November 14 – 20

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  • Planning a Thanksgiving visit? This week only, when you purchase Tomorrowplan in the Mouseaddict app you’ll get an extra week of projections, right up through Thanksgiving. Already activated Tomorrowplan? You’ll get the extra projections, too, as thanks for being a Tomorrowplan Fan.
  • The holidays wasted no time taking over the parks. From here on out, expect to reach high levels of crowds every day through the New Year. Crowds will come and go, but you’ll usually find the heaviest after 5pm.
  • Surprisingly, hotel rooms are very available, with hotels offering deals this week. Look online for the best rates.

The free Mouseaddict app for iPhone and iPad features more than five dozen categories of searchable resort information, weather forecasts, park and show schedules, the latest news and articles from MiceChat, and more. Download free on the App Store or at mouseaddict.com.

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Join us for a magical evening of Disney song as a cast of over a dozen of Broadway’s brightest young stars sing some of your favorite songs. Michael-Leon Wooley (Louis the Alligator from
Disney’s Princess and the Frog) will be your host upstairs at Vitello’s Jazz Lounge in Studio
City, CA, this coming Monday night – November 17th!  The show is a benefit performance for
The Walt Disney Birthplace restoration. So please turn out to enjoy the amazing performances
and save the historic Disney birthplace at the same time!  For all the details and to order tickets,

Holidays at Disneyland

There is no other park that does the Holidays quite like Disneyland.  In a glitzy, polished, magical presentation – nearly every single minute in the parks is sprinkled with holiday cheer.  There are Christmas Parades, Holiday fireworks, A jamboree in Big Thunder Ranch and three holiday ride overlays.  If that isn’t enough there are festive treats offered throughout the parks, including the famous Candy Canes on specific dates that we outline for you here.  Below are some highlights of what you can find in Disneyland for the holidays.

Candy Canes

The famous candy cane making is back in both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure this year.

Disneyland Candy Palace – November 28; December 2, 5, 9, 12, 16, 19, 21, 23, & 24
Disney California Adventure Trolley Treats – November 29; December 1, 6, 8, 13, 15, 20, 22, & 25

Price – $12.99

The front gates went from pumpkins to snowflakes quickly as the parks switched holiday gears.  We arrive at Disneyland and are immediately greeted with bright red Poinsettia and white Sweet Alyssum.  The Christmas Tree towers in Town Square and the snow is on the Castle.

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It’s just too bad that they still haven’t come up with a more elegant solution for the icicle strands of lights hanging off of the castle.

A Christmas Fantasy Parade

The classic A Christmas Fantasy Parade returns this year in a strangely truncated form. It still opens with the ballerina and the proper teddy bear (not Duffy).  But soon after we see that Mickey and Minnie have been relegated to the workshop float and Anna and Elsa have taken over the skating rink barge.  What’s more, Mrs. Claus is gone.  No more.  ¡No estas aqui! A strange choice to be sure.  The whole parade seems to play out a bit shorter, but the music is still gratingly repetitive.  Despite the the odd choices and rearrangements, the Anna and Elsa retrofit actually works out fairly well.

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The uplighting on Elsa doesn’t exactly make her look friendly.

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Despite his missing wife, Santa rides high on his sleigh to end the parade.

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Believe in Holiday Magic

Believe in Holiday Magic returns for another year. While this is a beloved little holiday fireworks show with the right balance of celebration and reverence, it would be nice to see a little update from year to year to keep it fresh. Below is a full video from the show last night.

Jingle Jangle Jamboree

Big Thunder Ranch went from pumpkins to poinsettia in a matter of days.  The Jingle Jangle Jamboree returns in pretty much the same form as it was last year.  There are “reindeer” games, cookie decorating, and crafts.  Of course there is also a place to say hi to the big guy.  Yes, that’s right.  Mickey Mouse.  Oh and you can say hi to Santa Claus too.

 

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Merry Christmas Mickey!
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Goofy likes to get crafty.
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Hay Santa!

it’s a small world holiday

We just love seeing the return of it’s a small world holiday.  Christmas lights adorn nearly every angle and outline of the facade at this wonderful attraction.  It’s a giant Christmas confection.

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Jingle Cruise

The Jingle Cruise makes a return this year to the jungles of Adventureland.  After its rather subdued, yet over-hyped, debut last year, this overlay is finally beginning to live up to the promise of Christmas in the Jungle.  The storyline has been adjusted to accommodate far more decorations though the ride. They have even gone so far as to add scents to specific portions of the ride.

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Yuletide cargo has been lost in the jungle. Where is it? Where did it all fall?

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Haunted Mansion Holiday

Of course we would be remiss if we did not mention the spectacular Haunted Mansion Holiday.  Fastpass machines have been turned on again for this year, so keep that in mind when visiting.  Our advice; grab a Fastpass for Mansion, then run over and do the Jingle Cruise and return later to visit Jack Skellington.

 

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Refurb Roundup

Below is a listing of scheduled refurbishments from now into the new year.

  • Mark Twain Riverboat: Reopens November 29, 2014.
  • Storybook Land Canal Boats and Casey Jr. Circus Train: Closed December 1-18 for refurbishment.
  • Fantasyland Fruit Cart: Reopening unknown.
  • Matterhorn Bobsleds: Closed January 5-May 13 for refurbishment.
  • Haunted Mansion: Closed January 12-22 to remove holiday overlay.
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh:Closed January 12-February 5 for refurbishment.
  • Splash Mountain: Closed January 12-April 2 for refurbishment.
  • Snow White Grotto and Wishing Well:Closed January 12-April 30 for refurbishment.
  • Peter Pan’s Flight: Closed January 12-May 7.

 

Buena Vista Street

Buena Vista Street is in total holiday mode.  Garland laces ledges and balconies and the retro, 1920’s decorations offer a wonderfully muted accent to the period architecture.  The entire area is all decked out.  This includes the shops, both interior and exterior.

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The Bell ringers are out and a wonderful diversion.

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Over at Trolley Treats the holiday decadence continues.  We have to warn you, you may gain weight looking at these pictures.

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At Clarabelle’s Ice Cream the decorations are up and in tune with her theme.

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Sadly the wonderful Three Little Pigs themed decorations at the FF&P seem to have disappeared forever.

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It seems that all along the parade route they have installed new Snowflake decorations.

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The Carthay Circle Theatre looks particularly regal when dressed for the holidays.

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The Elias and Company department store seems to have scaled back on its decorations.  Yes they have always been subdued, which is period appropriate.  though something seems lacking.

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Thankfully they still have the phenomenal Santa Claus meet and Greet area.

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Hollywoodland

Hollywoodland is seeing a minimal amount of decorations at the moment.  This may have to do with the upcoming Frozen overlays for the Muppet Vision theater and Stage 17.  We did spot some festive accents on the Mad T Party.

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 A Bug’s Land

The usual, oversized decorations are up in A Bug’s Land.  Nothing new, but still cute.

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Cars Land

Cars Land returns with what is probably the most clever of holiday themed areas in the resort.  Where else can you find a wreath made from a tire or a snowflake made form wrenches.  One place, Cars Land.

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Paradise Pier

The decorations appear to have been expanded along Paradise Pier as well.  Yes, there is the normal meet and greet area near Ariel’s Grotto that we have seen before.  But there is decoration installed on the Toy Story Midway Mania show building and lovely aquatic garland installed on the entrance of The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Undersea Adventure.

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¡Viva Navidad!

The wonderful ¡Viva Navidad! also returns with the delicious Latin inspired Christmas goodies, activities, merchandise (of course) and the remarkable street show.

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Food Offerings

Inside Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta we find there is everything from Chorizo pizza to a Corn Chicken salad.

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Over at Garden Grille you’ll find even more holiday dishes. OMG Chicken Mole!  If you have not tried it yet you don’t know what you are missing.

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Overall we have to say that we are very impressed with the expansion of decoration that we have seen in Disney California Adventure.  While these offerings are merely peripheral, they do offer value to the experience.  It’s not all perfect but it’s a wonderful thing to see.

¡Viva Navidad!

The spectacular ¡Viva Navidad! street party returns this year, identical to what was presented before.  That is fine with us as it is just such a lively and entertaining celebration.  Live musicians, countless dancers, and characters all burst from everywhere and turn this section of the park into a huge fiesta.

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If you have not seen this show, do make time to watch it. This is one of the best shows to come to the resort in years and the energy the performers exude is phenomenal.

Rot Gate!

The gazebos on the pier are finally out from behind construction walls and fully reenforced to withstand the heavy moisture generated from World of Color.

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The wooden foundations are gone, now replaced by more durable concrete bases. Far more practical.

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Refurb Roundup

  • Bakery Tour: Closed through January 16 for refurbishment.

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  • Goofy’s Sky School: Closed December 1 for refurbishment.
  • Toy Story Midway Mania!: Closed December 8-11 for refurbishment.
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror: Closed January 5-8 for refurbishment.
  • Soarin’ Over California: Closed January 6-May 14 for refurbishment.
  • World of Color: Dark January 7-March 12 for refurbishment.
  • Luigi’s Flying Tires: Closed January 12-December 1, 2015 for conversion to new attraction.
  • Blue Sky Cellar: Closed indefinitely

And that’s the holidays at the Disneyland Resort. If there is a lesson, it is this; Get over to the parks and enjoy the holiday events and decorations before the huge crowds descend after Thanksgiving. Until next time, we’ll see you In The Parks.

  • FerretAfros

    Has the big tree next to the gazebo by the Cove Bar been there in recent years? I thought that the Buena Vista Street tree had replaced it entirely. It seems kind of weird to have 2 big trees like that in one park

    • atherton

      Pretty sure it has been

      • Susan Hughes

        They’ve always had a tree at Paradise Pier. It was originally located near the entrance to the pier bridge. Then when BVS opened, they moved it next to the Cove Bar. Don’t forget, there’s also a tree (sort of) in Cars Land. It’s decorated with hub caps and is next to Stanley’s Statue.

  • thjbriggs

    I’ll be there with my fiancee on Monday, taking Christmas/Save the Date photos. Can’t wait!

  • WDWorldly

    The solution to the ugly icicle strands is simple–just do away with it altogether. The castle looks fine without it.

  • atherton

    Yeah…..hardly any nitpicking!! Love it!!

  • Disneykin Kid

    Always enjoy your updates. Would be interested in seeing some more of the Christmas merchandise.

  • Wendygirl

    You must stay and then cover the fabulous Melodrama show up on stage at Jingle Jangle Jamboree. Written by Ken Parks (the man who writes and puts together The Hanging at Knotts and the person responsible for Legends of Frontierland this past Summer) it runs about 27 minutes and it’s well done. Many entertainers familiar around the Resort will be recognized as several of the actors in this play. The cast will be different depending on the day. It is also reminiscent of the plays Ken used to write for the beloved and much missed All American Melodrama Theater in Long Beach that he use to own – RIP. Someone has put together a wonderful back drop which has a few surprises at the end. Also someone who is now missing from the parade makes a surprise appearance at the end. I plan to go and see the play performed by the different casts often before my Pass is blocked out in December.

    • jcruise86

      ^ ^ Thanks for that interesting post, Wendygirl! Unless I’m confusing you with another, you’ve contributed some excellent posts about entertainers on Micechat! They are appreciated!

      • Wendygirl

        Thank you 🙂 Yes, entertainment is my “thing” anymore at both Disneyland and DCA. Getting a bit too old to handle a lot of the rides as time marches on!

  • seenoevil

    I really enjoyed Viva Navidad last year, I just wish the viewing area was bigger!

  • THE3LINGS

    Glad your guys are back. Missed all the updates!!!

  • nickdean707

    They failed to mention the new “overhaul” to world of color winter dreams. The imagineers put so much work into a masterpiece last year and this year it was completely butchered. Multiple sections were chopped and reorganized. They may as well have changed the name of the show to “World Of Color Frozen Sing Along Edition” Very disappointed that they removed the intro and replaced it with “Do you want to build a snowman” I used to love frozen, but now that Disney has decided to take every bit of magic in their parks and replace it with Frozen just makes it so less enjoyable.

  • DubiousEndeavors

    I’m sure I’m WAY behind, but how long has Max not been on the Gingerbread float?

    • ghosty4

      That just started in 2013.

  • Barbaraann

    Thanks for the holiday update. I have not been at the resort for a Christmas holiday since 08. I need to start saving the pennies. It’s good to see that DCA is decked out so nicely for the Christmas season.

  • Crazee4mm

    I am thrilled that Viva Navidad has returned! I read shortly after it’s run last year that it would be returning and that it’s budget would be increased. Now I read that the show is identical to last years version and I’m slightly ambivilant. I was hoping for some extras (as befitting a larger budget) but am still glad that it has returned at all. I see so many performers from last year in your pics and it will be nice to see them again. Great show!

  • Susan Hughes

    I noticed that Disneyland Today tweeted that Olaf’s Ice Rink will be returning to Downtown Disney. Does that mean there won’t be a Frozen ice rink in Hollywoodland? Would they really run two at once? Hmm?

  • Ppanfreak11

    As always, love the updates and all the great photos. Cant wait to get there this Thursday and take in all the Disneyland Holiday Magic!!

  • AvanteGardens

    Thanks for the update. It looks like they made the garland at Little Mermaid from leftovers from the Nemo Subs rehab. Also, I like how they still pay tribute to Adventure Through Inner Space at the candy store. That’s what the big blue snowflake on the cookie is, right? Sigh.

  • ghosty4

    Someone in the jungle sure does have perfect handwriting!

    Upon walking through the gates and into Buena Vista Street, I didn’t initially mind the new lamp post snowflakes. They were cheap and not period specific, but snowflakes have been falling for thousands of years so I thought nothing of it. But then when they continued out through the parade route and off into the pier I started to dislike them immensely. Mostly because now I think they have less to do with decorating, and more to do with leading people through the blizzard that is in the forecast for Hollywoodland in late December. UGH!

    • Susan Hughes

      Well, I think Stage 17 will “not” be turned into a Frozen ice rink. Olaf’s Ice Rink will be returning to Downtown Disney again. So I just don’t see them doing both. We just may have to scratch that one off the Hollywoodland Frozen List.

  • rstar

    Love the update! That was one of the most lack-luster skippers on the Jingle Cruse, though. Maybe after she does it for a while she will improve. I can’t wait to get over there to see everything!!