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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Over at Trolley Treats the holiday decadence continues. We have to warn you, you may gain weight looking at these pictures.
At Clarabelle’s Ice Cream the decorations are up and in tune with her theme.
Sadly the wonderful Three Little Pigs themed decorations at the FF&P seem to have disappeared forever.
It seems that all along the parade route they have installed new Snowflake decorations.
The Carthay Circle Theatre looks particularly regal when dressed for the holidays.
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.
Thankfully they still have the phenomenal Santa Claus meet and Greet area.
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.
A Bug’s Land
The usual, oversized decorations are up in A Bug’s Land. Nothing new, but still cute.
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.
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.
The wonderful ¡Viva Navidad! also returns with the delicious Latin inspired Christmas goodies, activities, merchandise (of course) and the remarkable street show.
Inside Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta we find there is everything from Chorizo pizza to a Corn Chicken salad.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Bakery Tour: Closed through January 16 for refurbishment.
- 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.