Saturday, December 3, 2016

Christmas in Disneyland

  This "holidays at Disneyland" thing is pretty sweet! First Halloween, now Christmas. They really know how to celebrate and decorate over there. I mean, I didn't have a doubt they would, but I wasn't prepared for so many sights and sounds!
  When the wife and I arrived Wednesday morning, we first went to the Disney California Adventure side of the park. She had a whole thing planned out of exactly what we would hit and in what order for the whole day. As an annual passholder, she makes a lot of Disney visits, so I defer to her experience.
  Cars Land was really great. As much fun as it usually is over there, it was made even more so by the Christmas decorations. Everywhere you looked, there were trees made out of tires, traffic cones, and hubcaps. Hilarious. We rode the Radiator Springs Racers, my favorite ride in all of California Adventure, before moving on to other areas of the park. Ultimately, after a few other rides and explorations, we hit Soarin' Around the World. I hadn't been on since it was Soarin' Over California. The new update and new footage/visuals were amazing! You really feel like you're flying high above some of the world's most beautiful places. Fantastic.
  We spent the rest of the day in Disneyland proper, which was, of course, decked completely out in Christmas spirit.

A couple crazy "Cars" trees, and a couple normal ones

  Instead of the usual "big" rides (Space Mountain, Pirates, Haunted Mansion), we went on some off-the-beaten-path jaunts. A couple of them I had never even seen! It never ceases to amaze just how much is there in the park. 
  We hit the Jungle Cruise, which was changed to the Jingle Cruise for the holidays, and also Storybook Land. We dove headfirst into the absolute MANIA of It's a Small World, which had been stuffed to every inch of space with Christmas. It was by far the most Christmas thing we saw all day. I took some photos with my phone, but they really don't do it justice. A virtual explosion of color and light.

  We rode quite a few other rides that afternoon, and then it was time to go sit and wait for the holiday parade. When it finally began, we were treated to a seemingly endless run of floats, dancers, and famous Disney characters.

  Then, of course, everything got REALLY beautiful as the sun went down and all the lights came on in the park. It sparkled with Christmas magic everywhere you looked.

It's a Small World nighttime exterior

Main Street

  We went back over to the California Adventure side and stopped into the Grand Californian Hotel for a quick drink and a gander at the gigantic Christmas tree in the lobby. Santa was there, on his giant chair, meeting a long line of kids. After he left, a trio of Sweeney Sisters came in and started singing old-timey Christmas songs. It was wonderful. Then, it was time to go out to Paradise Pier to watch World of Color. It went off half an hour later than was listed, so we waited a LONG time.

Paradise Pier

  Any phone pics I would have snapped of the show wouldn't have made sense or shown it in any reasonable way. Best I can describe it, imagine the fountains at the Bellagio in Las Vegas cranked up to about 100. There are colored lights reflecting off the huge streams of water, which are timed to the holiday music. On the mist/spray that is created by the fountains, images and designs are projected. The water forms a shimmering, billowing movie screen on which characters and scenes from Disney Christmas movies played. It was really, really impressive.

  All in all, we're sad it's already over and can't wait to go again next year. Christmas season has officially begun!