We recently got back from a trip to the Disneyland resort for the holidays. One of our friends had never seen Disneyland in Holiday Mode, and wanted to go this year since she had an AP and could take the time off. Never ones to pass up a Disney trip, we went too. I couldn’t get the full time off of work, so I met up with the group half-way through the week. (This was the week after Thanksgiving, which had short hours but low crowds. I guess you pick what’s more important.) Our party consisted of me, my boyfriend, a couple that we’ve gone to Disneyland with several times, and her mom, who was celebrating her birthday.
They had been enjoying nice weather all week… up until I arrived. They claimed I brought the rain with me, but if they’d seen what was going on in the Bay Area, they’d have counted their lucky stars that I had left most of it at home.
The weather was still nice enough most days, though cloudy and sprinkling. It was certainly nice enough that when we visited the Jingle Jangle Jamboree in the Big Thunder Ranch I took my picture with Minnie Mouse without a jacket.
It was great fun watching Billy Hill and the Hillbillies perform Christmas songs, though that was also a great time to get pictures with the characters, as most of the people were watching the show instead of getting in line. When we were there, it was wet enough on the stage, that the Hillbillies were doing the show from our level, where it was less slippery. It was a lot more fun that way, I thought, more personal – which was better suited to the Christmas version of the show.
I wanted to be sure to ride Haunted Mansion Holiday, especially since the rest of the group had trouble describing this year’s gingerbread house to me. (It was awesome. It’s Jack’s house from The Nightmare Before Christmas, complete with the mountain it sits on and Zero the ghost dog flying around the top. And there is a train circling the bottom, with the cake on it which you normally see in the Haunted Mansion regular scene. Be sure to watch the candles on the cake: they are lit when the cake comes out from behind the mountain, and then the ghost at the head (or foot) of the table blows the candles out as the train comes around.)
On the way to HMH, we stopped by the Jungle Cruise, which is always a must – and yet also hit or miss depending on your skipper. This time, we had an unusual skipper. I’m sad that I don’t remember her name. She had some new (to us) jokes, which is always refreshing to a repeat visitor. She also told some of the same jokes, but with such a deadpan expression to her voice that she threw us for a loop and didn’t always get the laughs that one would expect. She had mixed reviews even among our party: I think we were split half and half between preferring her delivery and preferring the more standard slapstick delivery.
We walked straight onto the Mansion, which was amazing. We had soup at the Harbor Galley, which was a nice way to warm up as the day had turned colder. (I was wearing my jacket again now.) After that, we went on Pirates, which was also essentially a walk-on. We sat in the front row, which I don’t remember having done before. We spent a good chunk of the ride wondering how they could holiday-ify Pirates, though I can’t really imagine the Pirates singing Christmas carols.
They look like candy canes!
That afternoon, we caught one of the last shows of the day that the (Holiday) Dapper Dans performed. It was really nice to hear the blend of traditional Barbershop music and Christmas carols. It made me wonder if I would actually like the boy band songs that are coming with the “Limited Time Magic” promotion, but the jury’s still out on that one. (Yes, I’ve seen the YouTube clips. I’m not going to be able to decide until I see them perform that show live.) We also made sure that the birthday button worn by one of our party members was visible so that they could sing Happy Birthday to her, which they did. Love them.
We didn’t end up spending too much time in the park that day, though, as we had reservations for dinner at Club 33 that evening. We did stop on our way out of the park to take group pictures with the tree, since I had bought a PhotoPass Plus.
Rather a silly group hug...
(Quick PhotoPass Plus review: if you USE IT, it is worth it. You get two weeks of PhotoPass and ride photos for a flat fee, and if you intend to purchase more than a couple of the digital downloads, you get your money’s worth by buying the PPP. However, make sure you use it. The good thing is that you can combine other PhotoPasses to your PPP, since – as a Cast Member put it – they “know your party’s not going to be able to be everywhere together all the time.” We made sure to combine all of the photos while we were at the resort, but I think you can also do it online when you get home. Just make sure to take full advantage of it.)