“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!”
Now that Oogie Boogie and the spooky haunts have officially vacated Disneyland, Santa Claus and Mickey have decked the halls and castle with their seasonal best. Christmas has arrived and will be with us until January here at the Disneyland Resort.
The Christmas Fantasy Parade has returned along with many seasonal favorites that span both parks that take over the majority of the park in holiday splendor. Though not much has changed from year’s past, you may find a few hidden gems and surprises sprinkled in with the familiar.
One of my personal favorites is the addition of holiday themed movie posters in Cars Land. Similar to the Halloween overlay, we get a punny look at Disney classics that really steal the show. Luigi and Mater also have their share of holiday magic with Christmas overlays of both attractions.
Back in Disneyland, you can still visit Haunted Mansion Holiday and now can trek down to Disneyana to get a replica of this year’s iconic gingerbread house. Though it isn’t rose gold, it’s bound to catch a few eyes for those hardcore Disney collectors.
Speaking of collections, Disneyland has finally brought back some more vintage Mickey designs for their Christmas accessories and merchandise. The past few years have been heavily dominant to a more Victorian sense of style and I am so glad to see some more classic Disney touches to the stockings, tree skirts, and items you can bring home for your own holiday designs.
Moving past the glitz and glamour of the storefront windows, another important thing to remember during the season is food. In Disney California Adventure, The Festival of Holidays has come back with a tour of various food and drink to enjoy. For $45, Annual Passholders also get to grab a “Sip and Savor Pass” that gives them 8 food/drink vouchers that can be used for any of the booths at the festival (excludes alcohol).
I was able to try the Baked Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes, Braised Lamp Cheeks, and Holiday Mickey and Minnie Cookies. There are plenty of foods I want to go back and try, creating a great incentive to visit the parks more than just once.
During Halloween time, I made a habit of trying something new each weekend. From the bison burger to the hot mac and cheese cone, I had no complaints. Trader Sam’s is definite on the holiday list, along with a yule log, and potentially any other chocolate or peppermint offering they can throw at me. Christmas is the perfect excuse to drink and be merry!
This past weekend was my first trip back and I still love every moment of it. This time of year, though very crowded, is comforting and special. I can’t wait to venture back in and see what else I can discover.
It makes me also think about how things will be with years to come. Change is just around the corner, and though Christmas time is a reliable constant at Disney Parks, there are new additions that are bound to take center stage. Viva Navidad over in Paradise Pier is a great example of that. Though still a new concept, it’s a beautiful display of cultural immersion and spectacle that has become an annual tradition. It’s something I have really learned to appreciate.
Disney California Adventure is a great platform for new ideas and I would love to see more diverse options in the next few years. The Festival of Holiday’s inclusion of various music and performance art from around the world is a testament to that. It’s a positive message that really deserves to be noted.
Meanwhile, Disneyland has let go of some of it’s newer additions by axing Jingle Cruise this year. Though the initial year’s launch didn’t float everyone’s boat, the second year really turned some heads.
I’m really sad to see all those holiday puns go down the drain, but maybe there will be some new risks and chances for future holiday fun. As long as we don’t see Disney acknowledge the Star Wars Holiday Special (which doesn’t exist in my universe) when Galaxy’s Edge debuts, I am perfectly ready to see what’s coming next.
Here’s to many a Christmas to come!