This year's TDL Christmas Fantasy 2007 is, as it was last year, an exercise in restrain. Still, you can count on getting more value for your money as opposed to what we are getting for the holidays at most of, if not all of, the Disney parks around the World (Based on a park to park basis) as WDW as a whole is offering a staggering amount of holiday cheer as well.
TDL's Christmas Fantasy delivers in almost every aspect, expect for the fireworks, which I did skip on this visit due to their later than normal show time.
While I was again discouraged to see some recycling being done, it was still a most heart warming time, filled with holiday cheers and holiday size crowds!
First up, the decor. As always, TDL goes all out here. This year's Hub centerpiece is quite lovely and "goldenful". New word for you kiddies. World Bazaar shimmers with a Christmas tree that sparkles in subtle strobes lights, and garlands galore all over the Land. The Hub's gardens are adorned with Toy Story characters for the enjoyment of everyone, and for that unique photo opportunity.. if you can fight the crowds effectively that is... World Bazaar plaza (where "Partners" is) has received the same photo spot sets it got from last year... and I mean the same ones. A bit disappointing since many long term guests will recognize these props from last year. Still, they are as beautiful as I remembered them, and I am surprised they were not shipped to DL as they did with some of the halloween decor from 2005.
The merchandise this year is very varied as well.. with the popular item being the Mickey and Minnie snowmen plushes and other food items in very unique and gift giving friendly packaging. There are dozens of items for your every whim. You will have a hard time choosing from the many holiday cellphone straps and omiyage (food) boxes. Need a TDL holiday specific pin, pen, stationary, event postcard, cellstrap, plate, mug, plush, slippers, pillows, towels, tree/door ornaments, etc etc etc etc? Most likely, you will find it at the park's many shops. The amount of holiday stuff for sale is simply beyond comprehension. I was even more surprised to find xmas parade specific merchandise.. Remember the Chip and Dale float at the begining of this year's parade? They have it there represented in the form of a keyring! If that is not ridiculously great, I don't know what is!!!
This year's parade BTW, Disney's Christmas Dreams on Parade again takes it's cue from last year's presentation recycling some of the regular daytime parade floats, but also has a new soundtrack and a very colorful show mode. At least one float stood out, and that was MInnie's. I do not recall this Angel float from previous years. But Minnie, dressed up as an Angel for the parade, has a lot of visibility here...especially since the coveted show mode spot in front of "Partners" belongs to her this year. The costuming is grand and would put the MK's Xmas costuming to great shame, which as you may remember, was given an Emmy Award several years ago. If Tokyo was in concideration here for an Emmy... there would be no competition in that category.
New this year is that little parade route greeting called "Lilo and Stitch Aloha Christmas". While this cute little show and dance greeting is performed several times down the parade route about 30 mins before the main parade begins, this show has the un-intentional feeling of being a pre-show to the main parade, which I don't think was intended as.. but bth parade performances are too close from one to the next, and many guests will keep their place to watch the Main parade. I was bothered by the fact that Lilo and Stitch then once again re-appear in the adventureland float during the main parade, now themed to a hawaiian style xmas yet again! Too much exposure for these two characters in two very similar moments, virtually in less than an hour apart. Not good continuity.
The lighting ceremony at the Castle, "Sparkling Christmas Moment".. presented here for the 2nd time this year, is a small effort when compared to the huge Xmas spectaculars that TDL used to do as recently as 2005. Efforts that were just as wonderful as the MK's Sparkling Christmas Spectacular holiday show from several years ago.. "We're getting nothing for Xmas..! What's the matter? Mommie and Daddy are mad!" <--Remember that classic moment from the MK show?
Still, you can not help but feeling warm all over when watching this lovely presentation... and can't resist putting a smile on your face when the characters go caroling on the stage. And while this year's castle lights at ALL of the other DL parks will make TDL's show pale by far, when the pixie dust is projected on the castle, and the lights start to come on... well, you just can't help feeling a tear of joy come out off your eyes. It's that pretty. The castle then goes into a lighting show mode every 15 minutes or so... for the rest of the night. If you happen to be there at such moment, stop and look up and see the castle lights dance, and projections take over the imposing castle structure. It's holiday magic folks.
The special food items this year didn't disappoint me either. Many little souvenir cups and plates are offered with some of the special holiday treats on sale at the hub and at most park restaurants. I personally love collecting these items as they are small time capsules of that particular year's event. So are the popcorn buckets...and this year's bucket is a "first". The top lid lights up!
Below is the link to my TDL photos from my day-long visit to the park. It was a beautiful day to be out there... sunny with very little clouds and quite cool in the 60sF. In the album, you will get to see some of the items that caught my attention around the park, the progress of the TDL Hotel, lots of merchandise photos, lots of parade photos, lighting ceremony and even some shots from Dreamlights Xmas version. Some of the night time shots are a bit too dark and may be enjoyed better by expandind the size of the photos. I try folks but I have a cheap camera and my tripod is broken. The album is big (200+ pics) so take your time on it if you are interested, and enhance your pleasure by reading some of the captions... they will make you laugh, they will make you cry, and even possibly a bit mad as well...and if you don't, then you will miss the jokes as well as the criticism.
TDS Christmas photos coming soon as well.. if anyone is interested in seeing them. Let me know.