Every Magical Monday, I share a Disney dining experience that was celiac and food allergy friendly (or not). BUT, I just came back from running Disney’s Coast-to-Coast Challenge with the Avengers Superheroes Half in Disneyland last weekend and the Wine and Dine Half the previous one! AND, the best part, both locations are starting their Holiday festivities!
P.S: I ran with Team Gluten Free to raise funds and awareness for the Celiac Disease Foundation, and you can still donate if you’d like!
So without further ado, I present… Christmas in Disneyland 2014! (Disney World will be coming next week.) In this post we’ll start with California Adventure, and then move on to Disneyland and Downtown Disney.
Unlike Disney World, there are Christmas trees galore thoughout Disneyland and California Adventure. And, my favorite Christmas decorations throughout the parks were in Carsland. Here, the trees were made out of tires, street signs, traffic cones, etc. And, every shop was decked out!
California Adventure also had characters roaming the streets in their Christmas outfits, namely Pluto, Goofy, and Mickey. (Minnie is still in her Aviation gear). And Daisy can be found in Christmas garb over by Paradise Pier.
World of Color-Winter Dreams
World of Color is a wonderful show year round with flying water, lights, and shots from your favorite films projected over the lake at Paradise Pier. And, this holiday season, you’ll have the opportunity to watch Winter Dreams! It’s a wonderful show hosted by everyone’s famous snowman, Olaf!
Now, the show is heavily focused on Frozen including three frozen songs: “Do You Want to Build a Snowman,” “For the First Time in Forever,” “In Summer,” and “Let it Go.” So, if you’re not a Frozen fan take this soundtrack list as your warning.
Even if you don’t like Frozen, the waterworks are absolutely stunning, and very difficult to capture by camera.
And, there is still some bits that don’t relate to Frozen, such as the Toy Story Nutcracker, which features a chorale of green aliens and a dancing number by Woody and Jessie!
The finale is beautiful as well (and once again difficult to capture).
Disney ¡Viva Navidad!
I don’t have pictures of this event! 🙁 But, it’s a street performance featuring music from all over Latin America. It incorporates Folklorico dancers and Donald and his caballeros. It’s great to see Disney shifting to show the celebration of Christmas (and the holiday season) from a variety of cultural backgrounds.
Holiday Red Car Newsboys
Watch as the red car trolley strolls through Hollywood to Buena Vista lane and lands in the Sunshine Plaza with some of your favorite holiday performers.
This quick street performance focuses on the dreams of Walt Disney through the song “A Suitcase and a Dream.” The newsboys then sing about the dreams of little kids with the tune “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” The show includes two more holiday tunes “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” and “Jingle Bells.
And, of course, ends with Mickey Mouse singing about his dreams and Christmas tunes as the red car trolly returns to Hollywood. 🙂
I spent a lot of my time visiting the Animation Academy! There was no wait throughout my trip, and I love the 15 minutes sketches. While not advertised as a holiday attraction, the Animation Academy has brought out some special characters just for the holiday season, including Scrooge McDuck and Sandy Claws. (Olaf is another wintery character, but they draw him year round.)
It’s definitely a place to check out! And, you can even ask the host or hostess to look at a schedule, so you’ll know when they’re drawing a Christmas character!
“A Christmas Fantasy” Parade
I loved this parade! While the World of Color is very Frozen focused, this parade gave tribute to all the Disney characters. (The Christmas parade in Disney World is VERY Frozen focused as we’ll see next week.)
There are less floats than the parade in Disney World; however, the dancers do a wonderful job at drawing you into the show. My favorite were Lady Tremaine, Anastasia, and Drizella from Cinderella. (There’s no picture because I love watching the dancers with my own two eyes, not through a screen. 🙂 )
The Disney classics were all there!
And, a character whose origin stems further back than Mickey Mouse- Winnie the Pooh!
The parade of course concluded with the one and only, Santa Claus!
The Jingle Cruise!
This decked out Holiday version of the Jungle Cruise features corny Holiday jokes, which is probably my favorite part! The whole scenery is decked out with Christmas scenery. You’ll look for missing gifts, and I thought the line was completely worthwhile. 🙂
Haunted Mansion (Holiday Edition)
They don’t deck out the Haunted Mansion in Disney World, so this is a special California treat! And, the outside of the ride is dressed up enough to draw all the guests to this attractions. If the line gets too long, there is always a FastPass option here though. 🙂
It’s amazing how they can transform the entire ride from the poem said throughout the ride to every Christmas decoration! One of the newer holiday decorations is this Gingerbread House. See if you can spot the Hidden Mickey in the picture as well!
And of course, no Halloween/Christmas crossover attraction would be complete without Sandy Claws himself. (The Nightmare Before Christmas was originally a poem inspired by the fact that Halloween and Christmas items are out in malls at the same time.)
This unique, Disneyland attraction is something you won’t want to miss!
It’s a Small World (Holiday Edition)
While they light up It’s a Small World in Disney World, it cannot have the same impact as the ride in Disneyland. Since it sits in the back of the park, Disney goes all out on this holiday edition.
If you return at night, everything will be lit, which is a magnificent site (even though I don’t have a photograph of it). The inside of the ride is all decked out too, and while highly focused on Christmas, parts of the ride focus on other cultures, which is a nice change of scenery from the park.
One note: With the additional Christmas decorations, there is a lot of visual (and auditory) stimulation. It’s something to keep in mind if you have someone who is sensitive to either of these factors, as the ride may be a bit too much.
Believe… In Holiday Magic
Shhhh. I didn’t actually go to Believe! My race was at 5:30 in the morning, so I spent my one late night at the World of Color show instead. HOWEVER, I heard it’s very similar to the fireworks show in Disney World, and that Main Street is covered in fallen snow afterward. Definitely a worthwhile show. (We’ll look at the Disney World one next week!)
Jingle Jangle Jamboree
Remember the guy who ended the parade?!
Yep, Santa Claus! You can head on over to the Jingle Jangle Jamboree over at Big Thunder Ranch to meet him , play reindeer games, decorate cookies, etc.
Dressed Up Characters
While the Disney classics will be on Main Street in their christmas garb, one of the other easy spots to find is right outside the Winnie the Pooh ride behind Splash Mountain. Here, you will find Pooh, Eeyore, and Tigger all sporting Holiday hats!
Downtown Disney transforms into a winter village with cute Christmas shops, and lights around every lamp post, tree, etc. But, the largest attraction is Frozen themed!
That’s right! At Olaf’s Frozen Ice Rink between the movie theater and Disneyland Hotel, you’ll have the opportunity to go ice skating! It’s open from 3-10 or 3-11 depending on the day.
Phew! Well that’s about it from here! I hope this let’s you know not only about the allergy friendly dining opportunities, but some of the reasons you may want to visit Disneyland this upcoming holiday season! Be on the lookout for more Magical Monday posts with restaurant reviews throughout the Holiday Season!
Happy (very early) Holidays!
P.S: Have you ever been to Disney at Christmastime?! What was your most memorable experience? Or, if you haven’t been, what attraction looks the best?