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Weekend Update

Ice! Shrek the Halls; Three Disneylands: Tokyo, Hong Kong, California; Postcards

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by , 11-18-2011 at 08:32 PM

Holy smokes! Did you ever dream of visiting three Disneyland parks in just one afternoon? That's just what we're going to do in this installment of the Weekend Update!

First up though, Denise Preskitt will take us to visit the ICE! Shrek the Halls exhibit at the Gaylord Palms Hotel in Orlando. Two million pounds of ice is used to create this offbeat diversion. Of course, Denise doesn't stop there. She also sent us some great photos from the Disney side of Orlando.

Roger55 is in Tokyo at this very moment and shares his first photos of the Christmas decorations at Tokyo Disneyland. He's promised us lots more photos as soon as he returns from his trip.

That's followed by some vintage post cards from Ken Eslick at These cards feature the perennially popular Disney characters. We'll have more of these next week.

Then we have more Disneyland photos from Alain Littaye. As you might expect, Alain's photos are from Hong Kong Disneyland and document the new Toy Story Land from every angle.

Finally, RegionsBeyond has contributed one dozen beautiful images from the original Disneyland. I don't exaggerate when I say that each one of his photos are a work of art!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Denise Preskitt visits ICE! Shrek the Halls plus more Christmas at the Walt Disney World Resort!

We went to the Gaylord Palms Resort twice over the past week to see their new ICE! Shrek the Halls display (each year is a different theme) and then to see Puss in Boots in their new 3D theater. I also took daytime photos of the Magic Kingdom for Christmas.

ICE! is always incredible, with ice sculptures carved from 2 million pounds of ice! The slides are a lot of fun too.

Shrek the Halls:

Beware of Ogres:


3 Blind Mice:

Checking out Shrek's outhouse:

So many characters are carved in ICE!

And we met Shrek and Fiona, along with other Dreamworks characters.

Puss in Boots:


Julien and Alex:


Our YouTube walk-through of ICE!

I like the new Dreamworks experience very much, and ICE! is always a pleasure - we likely will go back later in the season to enjoy it again. There is a lot to do around the resort when visiting as well, such as live entertainment and the "polar bear pursuit".

Back to Walt Disney World - the resorts are gearing up for the holidays! The Grand Floridian Gingerbread House is now open, and we'll go back when the tree is up to take photos. At Disney's Polynesian Resort, small trees, wreaths and garland are now up.

The Mary Blair inspired Gingerbread display is being built at Disney's Contemporary Resort:

A little Halloweentime in front of the Chef Mickey's wreath:

And a few photos from the Magic Kingdom, I spent some time at the hub to take photos of characters with poinsettia plants behind them (and of other decorations as well).

There's always something new at Denise's website: and follow her on Twitter @ mousesteps.

Tokyo Disney Resort kicked off the annual Christmas celebration on November 7th. Tokyo Disneyland is once again having their "Christmas Fantasy" special event, while over at Tokyo DisneySea they are having their "Christmas Wishes" special event.

Since I'm still in country this week, I'll share with you all a quick photo report this week on the decorations for Tokyo Disneyland Christmas Fantasy. In subsequent reports after I return home, I'll report on the entertainment and merchandise for Christmas Fantasy, as well as the decorations, entertainment and merchandise for Christmas Wishes over at Tokyo DisneySea.

I hope you all follow along and enjoy the reports.

Tokyo Disneyland "Christmas Fantasy 2011"

Christmas Fantasy 2011 is once again a wonderful holiday offering from Tokyo Disney Resort. This year things are toned down a bit from past years. There is a new parade, Santa Village Parade (check back next week for more), and the Central Hub display is also all new. Haunted Mansion Holiday Nightmare is also back for another run, but the holiday version of It's a Small World was eliminated for this year.

The Mickey holiday floral display is identical to last year's display.

The entrance decorations are also an updated version of last year's decorations.

The World Bazaar's Christmas tree and garlands.

The World Bazaar at dusk with the decoration lights turned on.

Here is a photo of the hub. Besides the obvious Partners statue and Cinderella Castle, you can see the central hub decorations and the massive crowd. The crowd level shown is a normal occurance at Tokyo Disneyland.

The new Santa Village arch leading to the central hub area.

Close up of one of the archway pillars. Very detailed and well made. Another characteristic typical of most things done at Tokyo Disney Resort.

Santa Village banners decorated the light poles in the hub area.

The brand new central hub display. You can see the elves that are also new characters for Tokyo Disneyland's Christmas. They also appear in the Christmas parade.

Donald and Daisy are part of the side view of the central display.

There are typically secondary displays set up off to either side of the central hub display. Goofy and the elves make up one of these displays.

On the other side, the elves make snow-duck versions of Huey, Dewey and Louie.

There are also Christmas trees as part of the hub decorations.

Back in Fantasyland, the Haunted Mansion is decorated for its Holiday Nightmare overlay.

Cinderella Castle is modestly dressed up for the holidays.

This next shot isn't really holiday decorations, but it came out nice so I thought I'd share it.

That it for this week. I'll have more to share in coming weeks.

This week we are very grateful to have a chance to see Disney characters, out and about in the Disneyland Park. These images are from Ken Eslick's Disneyland Postcard Reference Guide, quite an amazing place to visit. If you have not been to his site, you really owe it to yourself to do so. If you are old enough to remember Disneyland from way back when, you are going to be reminded of many, many happy memories. If you are a bit younger, seeing how the park evolved over the years is fascinating. A warning, though. Be prepared to spend at least a few hours wandering down memory lane. This stuff is addictive!

Alain Littaye shares a Hong Kong Disneyland update

Alain Littaye of the Disney and More Blog is back with us this week and has a special update from Hong Kong Disneyland's new Toy Story Playland. And please stay tuned to the end of this segment for a special announcement from Alain as well.

Thanks to a friend living in Hong Kong i have an exclusive report with dozens of pictures of the new Toy Story Land which opened on November 18th.

You may recall that the three main rides have a similar theming to the attractions at Toy Story Playland at the Disney Studios Paris park. However, as we will see, there are many decor elements which are new in the HKDL version.

There we go, and above you is a picture of the entrance. But before HKDL guests arrive at this entrance, there is a little path going from Fantasyland to Toy Story Land which probably helps to separate the new land and avoid visual intrusion of TSL's high structures on Fantasyland. All the big bamboos help to hide them and also give the feeling that Andy's toys are "in Andy's garden".

On the left of the entrance, and it's the first NEW element, there is the giant Woody. Disneyland Paris (DLP) has a giant Buzz Lightyear. HKDL already has a giant Buzz in Tomorrowland at the entrance of the Buzz Lightyear attraction. So another one wouldn't have made sense.

Also NEW and on the right side of the entrance is this giant Tinkertoy construction set box. It's a pretty smart idea to have put this at the entrance and helps guests understand where all the "Tinkertoy" decor elements of Toy Story Land come from.

The first attraction on the left is the Slinky Dog Spin ride, and most of the theming is the same than at the WDS TSL but the Slinky Dog sign at the entrance stands here on its own.

Also NEW, and a good idea, this Slinky Dog Barking Pass!

Close to the Lincoln Logs at Slinky Dog's Spin ride is Rex.

Totally new is Jessie's Snack Round-Up!

What would a Toy Story land be without a character photo location with Woody and Jessie?

Also new is the Moon Patrol ice cream cart!

Taking about ice cream, the packaging of this one below is cool.

This "street animatronic" moving inside Toy Story Land, is sort of amazing. Kids love to play with it by turning the different parts and it interacts with them as well. This new interactive animatronic was briefly tested at Walt Disney World before being shipped to Hong Kong.

Next up is the parachute Drop ride, which again is very similar to the Walt Disney Studios Paris version.

There are a few interesting props scattered about and an open air switchback queue.

From the top you have of course a great view.

The Green Army Men also appear at the WDS but here, at HKDL, the little show is apparently more interactive with the audience and young kids.

Let's move to something totally new, Andy's Engine where HKDL guests can find Toy Story Land inspired gifts

Next up with find RC Racer. Just like at the WDS version of Toy Story Land (TSL) before they removed it (because minor accidents were happening to young kids climbing on it) there is a RC Racer car on display. Let's hope it lasts a little longer here than it did in Paris.

Inside RC Racer ride, the queue theming looks quite similar to the WDS TSL version but some of the murals seems to be different.

The land is filled with giant toys and games.

Now here's something really exciting - this photo of the entry to a new land not scheduled to open until 2013, Mystic Point and the highly awaited Mystic Manor attraction.

I'm curious to hear your comments about Toy Story Land below. Does it spark your childhood fantasies and live up to the standards of Pixar's Toy Story?

I'd like to finish up with something I'm very proud to introduce to you. I've just launched a brand new iPhone App which is FILLED with beautiful photos of Hong Kong Disneyland.

Don't miss the new HKDL Wallpapers HD App for iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch!
Direct iTunes link HERE!

RegionsBeyond shares this Disneyland "grab bag". Every one of these images is a treat!

Might we also suggest that you visit these fine MiceAge/MiceChat attractions for even more Disney and theme park fun:
  • MiceTube - Introducing MiceChat's new channel on YouTube. Kevin Yee and MiceChat Sarah have been uploading entertaining videos weekly, along with many other of your MiceAge and MiceChat favorites.
  • Dateline Disneyland which is packed with great news and photos from the Disneyland Resort.
  • Orlando Parkhopper featuring news and photos from Disney World and Orlando area theme parks.
  • In The Parks offers news, updates and tips from Disneyland and other Southern California offerings.
  • SAMLAND - Your weekly look at some interesting tales from Disney history.
  • MiceDeals - You won't want to miss out on these great deals for Orlando and Anaheim!
  • Vacationeering - Every Sunday, we feature articles designed to help you create magical family vacation memories!

And that brings us to the end of another week. Our photographers have just enough time to reload their cameras before we see you all again next weekend. Thank you to all of our wonderful readers, and as always, a huge thank you to our amazing team of global photographers, spies, and gossips:

Denise Preskitt
Alain Littaye Disney and More Blog

Your Editor - Rixter

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Updated 11-19-2011 at 06:39 AM by Weekend Update



  1. indianajack's Avatar
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    I can't put into words how much I detest the ceiling cover over TDL's Main St. It destroys the quaint ambiance of what should be one of the most charming parts of the park. Please tear it down and let us get wet or put up an umbrella. It's one of the rare fails at Tokyo Disneyland.

    HK's Toy Story Land looks much nicer than Paris's with more decorative elements and theming. Add Midway Mania to it as a marquee attraction and they would have a really nice and complete land.
  2. 9906's Avatar
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    TSL Looks good. But Every time i see a "Commercial" Land makes me sick. It is in my mind a waste of space. Carsland is a good example 12 acres of space that could have gone into a Bay Area Extension or a Spanish-CA area. It really makes me sick so stop it disney,just stop it!! Pixar has more of a showing in the parks then you!!!

    Anyway... those ice sculptures look good.
  3. wdwprince's Avatar
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    Toy Story Land looks like a cheap carnival area for toddlers. IMO it does nothing to help out HKDL.. I'm looking forward to Mystic Manor though.
  4. wec's Avatar
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    I agree with indianajack about not liking the roof over TDL's Main Street. However, I do understand why they built it. I like Toy Story Land but also understand why wdwprince doesn't like it. Maybe it'll look better if more foliage and/or themeing is added. The attractions (rides) look like fun. I'm not so sure if Toy Story Land reminds me of my own childhood per say. I was too old for Slinky Dog when that was first issued but I had several Tinker Toy sets. I was interested to see that Tokyo Haunted Mansion has a different dome than the WDW version. And I'm looking forward to Mystic Manor.
  5. wec's Avatar
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    A couple more comments: this was a great update as always. The Cootie Game sign made me laugh. I never had one but I fondly recall the TV commercials. I'm sure they are posted on youtube. I also had to laugh at one photo in particular: the father and daughter figures from what I think is what used to be Upjohn Pharmacy on Main Street Disneyland? Mainly the granny glasses. John Lennon had many photos taken wearing his granny glasses that I can't look at a photo of anyone or any figure that has those and not think of John.
  6. Aladdin's Avatar
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    Tokyo DL's Christmas Displays are alway's done so beautifully! Whether its for Christmas, Halloween, or Easter, Tokyo DL always has a Wonderful character display. DL Anaheim sure could take a lesson from TDL in this area. Oh, sure, DL Anaheim took one Halloween display from several years ago (and has used it to death). But TDL has an entire new display for each holiday EVERY year! Instead, Anaheim unwisely decides to use WDW's crappy leftover Toontown fair trees. Uggggggh!
  7. Wreckless Abrandon's Avatar
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    TDL's Roof over the World Bazaar may be hideous to some of us that grew up with California or Florida's Main Street, but you have to realize that it was put in for weather reasons. It doesn't snow often in Anaheim or Orlando, so we have the opportunity to have an open sky.

    I gotta say that I love how elaborate the TDL decor is. And compared to WDW's leftovers @ Anaheim, TDL's stuff looks like the Sistene Chapel.

    The Ice Sculptures kinda weird me out... they look like giant gummy bears or something.
  8. jpg391's Avatar
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    ​Great weekend update!
  9. Twist1234's Avatar
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    Great update! Toy Story land looks pretty cheap. :/
  10. Dustysage's Avatar
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    I have to agree that Tokyo Disneyland's Christmas decorations look spectacular and Toy Story Playland at Hong Kong Disneyland looks like it was designed by Paul Pressler for the original DCA. Certainly not worthy of a park with 'Disneyland" in its title.

    I've got to go visit that ICE exhibit one of these years.

    Thanks all for another fantastic update.
  11. BC_DisneyGeek's Avatar
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    Toy Story Land looks awful, but I do appreciate the photos of it and everything else this week!
  12. Aviator621's Avatar
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    You know, as someone who has actually BEEN to the Paris Toy Story Playland with young children, I will tell you they LOVED that land, and still talk about it. I also found it to be very well themed for what it is, and BETTER themed than (BLASPHEMY!) Dumbo and the Mad Hatter Teacups. It is amazing when everyone criticizes these for being off-the-shelf carnival rides, when some of the most beloved rides in Disneyland are basically the same level.
  13. indianajack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wreckless Abrandon
    TDL's Roof over the World Bazaar may be hideous to some of us that grew up with California or Florida's Main Street, but you have to realize that it was put in for weather reasons. It doesn't snow often in Anaheim or Orlando, so we have the opportunity to have an open sky.
    It doesn't snow often in Tokyo either, they get some light dustings but rarely more than that. It rains but not more than Florida so the roof in Tokyo is an unnecessary eyesore. Tear down the wretched roof!
  14. danyoung's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by indianajack
    I can't put into words how much I detest the ceiling cover over TDL's Main St. It destroys the quaint ambiance of what should be one of the most charming parts of the park.
    Sorry, but I couldn't disagree with you more. I think this is a cool feature of the park, one that I hope to experience for myself someday.
  15. Roger55's Avatar
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    From Wiki...

    Orlando - "The average annual rainfall in Orlando is 48.35 inches (122.8 cm)"

    Tokyo - "Annual rainfall averages nearly 1,530 millimetres (60.2 in)"

    The roof also provides a large area for Guests that protects them against the cold in the winter and the extreme heat in the summer.

    One may not like the looks of the roof, but those in the know (OLC, WDI, ,and most anyone who have actually visited TDR) can appreciate the functional reason behind the decision to cover the "World Bazaar".
  16. indianajack's Avatar
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    I didn't think the roof would bother me that much until I went to TDL for the first time this past February. It is not only awful looking but also prevents almost any trees from being on Main St. There is simply minimal flora.

    Second, I was there in February and a roof high over our heads did not protect against the cold at all. And Tokyo is rather temperate not getting too cold or hot all year round (full disclosure: I lived in Japan for two years).

    It rains a lot in Orlando as well, maybe not as much as Tokyo, but it is substantial and they deal without a roof quite nicely. The roof of TDL is a blight on the entrance. Another problem with the entrance is the lack of the tunnel under the rail station (the TDL railroad does not go around the berm of the park! It's short and doesn't even stop at Main St.). Sometimes OLC and WDI do NOT know better.

    TDL is certainly nice, but it can't hold a candle to the original Disneyland, and it is not perfect as many on this board make it out to be. One of these days I'll get around to a full trip report with the good, the bad and the ugly of TDL.
  17. konekobus's Avatar
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    I agree, having been to TDL. The roof over World Bazaar is very ugly and makes the entire land, and entrance, way below Disney standards. Especially with almost everything else being so perfect, it's a real eyesore. They could replace it with a more period appropriate Crystal Palace kind of canopy if they're so afraid of getting their guests wet.

    The Toystory Playland in Hong Kong has the same problem as the one in Paris; most of these toys aren't known outside of the US. So people walking there won't feel like they've shrunken to be as big as their childhood toys. They'll just see weird shaped fences and funny monkeys, without instantly recognizing them as toys.

    I like how they've used nostalgic toys that will make many babyboom American warm inside. But Barrel of Monkeys? The game of Cootie? Lincoln Logs?! They don't even have non-English wikipedia pages. It's a total waste of money putting them in non American parks.

    It would be like making a Playland in Anaheim consisting of and and
  18. Timekeeper's Avatar
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    Nice update!