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New Year, New Updates!
DisneyDan  Sunday, January 5, 2014 12:34:32 PM
Hello everyone,

First off, I'd like to wish you all a Happy 2014! Last year was a turbulent, but exciting year for Jon and I, and we hope to have many more amazing adventures in the coming months, which we look forward to sharing with you all. In case you missed it, you can check out my blog post, '2013 - A Year in Review'. Be warned, there are literally hundreds of photos (nearly all character ones!), so it might take a while to load, and a while to look through!

Anyway, it's a new year, which means there is always news from the parks to report. We'll start at Walt Disney World in Florida, and work our way around the world.

Tomorrow, January 6th is the final day for Disney's Animal Kingdom's Camp Minnie-Mickey. The small, forested trails of this cute corner of the park will close permanently to make way for the controversial Avatar Land, currently being developed by Walt Disney Imagineering. This means that Timon and his pals at the long-running Festival of the Lion King will be relocated to a new theatre later in the year, elsewhere in the park. It also means of course that the Greetings Trails will close forever. The characters will be moved to new locations around the park. At the moment, what I've heard is that Baloo and King Louie will greet up on the trail between Africa and Asia (a place they have frequented in the past anyway), Chip and Dale (as well as Gi-Tar Dan) will move to Rafiki's Planet Watch, Pocahontas can be found in the Discovery Island Trails, and Donald Duck will move to Dinoland. Mickey and Minnie already moved early last year from the Greeting Trails to their new home on Discovery Island (at the Adventurer's Outpost).

At Disney's Hollywood Studios' character dining location, Disney Junior Play 'N Dine at Hollywood & Vine, June and Agent Oso are being replaced with Princess Sofia and Doc McStuffins. I have tried to find what date this will happen, but nobody knows for sure, although one friend did tell me perhaps the 26th January. This will mean that June and Agent Oso will no longer appear regularly at any Disney Park around the world. It does also mean that for the first time ever, Doc McStuffins will be available daily, for greetings, for all guests (albeit at a meal). Also for Hollywood Studios, dates for the mega popular Star Wars Weekends were released for 2014. This year they will run every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 16th May until 8th June inclusive.

At the Magic Kingdom, yesterday the epically long running Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade had its final curtain call. Running twice, the parade was given a neat final send-off, with a few old props returning, and fans lining the parade route with signs of support for the cast and characters. Many people have very fond memories of this parade, since its debut back in 2001 as Share a Dream Come True Parade, for Walt's 100th birthday. Although it was loved by many, I for one, and I know many others feel the same too, very much welcome a brand new day parade after 12 long years! The new parade, Festival of Fantasy is currently slated for a spring debut, and will feature a mixture of brand new floats and some that have been imported from Tokyo Disneyland's beautiful, and much missed, Jubilation parade. The new parade is confirmed to have floats representing Peter Pan, The Little Mermaid, Tangled, Brave, and of course Mickey and Friends. Two of the floats brought from Tokyo used to be the Pinocchio float (it's Monstro) and the Princess one, and therefore fuels speculation they'll be used for the same purpose again, but official images of them/concept art are yet to be released.

As a reminder, today and tomorrow are the final days for the full Christmas season offerings at both the Disneyland Resort and Disneyland Paris. If you're in the area, be sure to stop by and catch their parades and shows again before they bid farewell for another 10 months! Brand new offerings this year included the Viva Navidad event and World of Color Winter Dreams at Disney California Adventure and Disney Dreams! of Christmas and the revamped Christmas Cavalcade at Disneyland Paris.

Speaking of Disneyland Paris, we were there for Christmas and New Year, which was amazing as usual! They always put a huge effort into their special entertainment offerings, and this year did not disappoint! The highlight was the "plussed" version of the Disney's Stars 'n' Cars parade at the Walt Disney Studios, which featured awesome characters just for New Year such as Darkwing Duck, Yzma and Kronk, the Cheshire Cat and many more!

It has been strongly rumoured across the internet that Disneyland Paris will also be bringing back a very old festival of theirs from some years back, called the Festival of Flowers. The Festival of Flowers was like a DLP version of EPCOT's Flower and Garden Festival. It is rumoured that the festival will return for a three month long spring event that will also incorporate a special happening (involving characters) as well as meet 'n' greets. There is nothing confirmed yet, but we all hope that this is true!

Finally, we have been aware that many of you have been searching the website for Princess Anna and Queen Elsa from Disney's Frozen. It took a while to get them up, but I have finally done it! (Click their names to go to their pages)

Ok, that's everything for today. Have a good week everyone,

Dan.
Re-inventing Christmas, the Disneyland Paris way
DisneyDan  Sunday, October 27, 2013 12:05:08 PM
Hello everyone,

As the Halloween Season draws to a close this week, I can't help but think about Christmas!
This year Jon and I will be at Disneyland Paris just after Christmas itself, for the Christmas Season and New Year's celebrations at the Resort.

We are both really excited to be going back to Disneyland Paris this year for Christmas, as there will be many new things, which only Disneyland Paris offer.

I have been to Disneyland Paris for Christmas Season at least five other years of the past ten, so let's take a look back at some of what has been offered over the year, before we come back to the new offerings this year.

This is a very photo heavy post, so be warned that it may take a while to load all the images below.

For the longest time Disneyland Park had a Christmas addition to its regular day parade, usually just tacked on at the end. This happened during the old Wonderful World of Disney Parade, and the Once Upon a Dream Parade. There was never a Christmas parade, per se. There was a Santa's Sleigh, Toy Soldiers, and more recently Duffy.

Disney's Once Upon a Dream Parade - Dreams of Christmas

Other long running entertainment included the enchanting Mickey's Winter Wonderland show at the Chaparral Theater in Frontierland, and the Tree Lighting Ceremony in Town Square.
Mickey's Winter Wonderland remained unchanged for many, many years, but was a firm fan favourite every holiday season.
The Tree Lighting Ceremony was also incredibly popular, and always starred Mickey and Friends lighting the big Christmas Tree in Town Square. Some aspects of the show changed slightly over the years, but it basically remained the same.

Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

Tree Lighting Ceremony

Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

DLP Feb 2009 - Mickey's Winter Wonderland

Mickey's Winter Wonderland

Disneyland Paris also pioneered the beautiful Christmas lights that now adorn the other Disney Castles of the world. Disneyland Park would present a special Castle Lighting show. As with the Tree Lighting, the way in which this was done changed slightly from year to year, but overall the concept remained the same.

DLP Dec 2010 - Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant at Christmas

Character greetings have included Santa Claus, Elves, and of course Mickey and Friends in seasonal costumes at both parks. Other characters in Christmas costumes have included the Winnie the Pooh friends, and Duffy the Disney Bear. Some years back, Belle also used to meet in a pretty red jacket.

DLP Jan 2012 - Santa's Elves have fun in Town Square

Meeting Santa Claus

Santa Goofy

Pere Noel

Meeting Christmas Belle and Beast

Meeting Eeyore

For 21 years, the Christmas Tree in Town Square was the same. Last year they added some 20th Anniversary ornaments to it, but it remained identical otherwise.
Some years ago, the park used to also feature the stunning Lights of Winter (which EPCOT also used to have) along Main Street USA, but these were sadly retired nearly 10 years ago now.
After the lights of winter the Princess Crowns graced the street for a couple of years, but were quite unpopular by all accounts.
Like the other parks, snowfall on Main Street is a regular occurrence, although in Paris, as we have personally experienced, it isn't always just the magical Disney snow that can fall across the park!

DLP Dec 2011 - Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant at Christmas

DLP Dec 2011 - Walking down Main Street USA at Christmas

Phantom Manor in the snow

City Hall in the snow

View down Main Street in the snow

View of Main Street in the snow, from Inventions

In Fantasyland guests used to be able to discover a Christmas market, straight from the world of Beauty and the Beast, 'Belle's Christmas Village'.

Belle's Christmas Village

Belle's Christmas Village

Finally, a staple of the holiday season for some years has been the "it's a small world" overlay, becoming "it's a small world" Celebration during Christmas Season.

"it's a small world" Celebration

"it's a small world" Celebration

"it's a small world" Celebration

Now we fast forward from our trip through the past, to 2012. Last year Disneyland Paris took a giant leap away from previous Christmas offerings.
Mickey's Winter Wonderland did not return, the Princess Crowns were ditched, brand new garlands graced Main Street, there was a new live entertainment offering starring Mickey, and a fantastic new Christmas Cavalcade was launched.

Unfortunately we were unable to attend last year (although we were in California for their Christmas Season, so that was a great substitute!).
That means that this year will be our first year seeing the new offerings, and what's more, there is set to be even more this year than last year! Of course, some old favourites will still be there too.

This year the park has got a brand new Christmas Tree, which is really exciting for me, as I love Christmas Trees! As well as the new Tree, last years there were brand new garlands all along Main Street and giant character snowmen in Central Plaza. This is as well as all the beautiful decorations that find their way throughout the resort, with nearly every restaurant, store being decorated inside and out. The Disneyland Hotel also has a yearly traditional giant gingerbread house.

The Christmas Gingerbread House

The Cavalcade is said to be receiving some extra characters, making it better than last year, and the Tree Lighting Ceremony has been changed again, this time being narrated by Jiminy Cricket and Pinocchio.
Santa and his Elves will still be at the Ranch, snow will still fall on Main Street USA, and "it's a small world" Celebration has been reinstalled.
The Jingle Bell Boys are set to return too. That's a live band that also stars Mickey Mouse showing off his dance moves at the Videopolis in Discoveryland.
I have also heard that Jack Skellington is sticking around after Halloween Season ends, but will be putting on his Sandy Claws outfit! Now that would be really awesome!
One of the biggest things that the park is doing this year is a brand new version of Dreams especially for Christmas!
Disney Dreams! is the most spectacular nighttime show ever created by Disney Imagineering, and for the holidays it'll switch to featuring scenes from the new Disney movie Frozen, a Toy Story Nutcracker tale, and much more!



If all that wasn't enough, there are a few more things that are continuing some Disneyland Paris traditions.
For many years, the Disney Hotels have offered special meals during the holidays, some of which are character ones.
On the 29th December we are planning to attend the Christmas Brunch with the Disney Characters at Inventions, in the Disneyland Hotel, and on New Year's Eve there is a special character dinner at the Hotel New York, which we are also attending.

Usually on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve, the Disneyland Hotel puts on special entertainment too. We really hope that this returns this year also, as we've really enjoyed this in the past. And speaking of New Year, both parks and Lake Disney all will continue their annual New Year's Fireworks. Two years ago we saw them in Disneyland Park, this year we plan to see them on Lake Disney due to our meal at the Hotel New York.

Huey, Dewey and Louie Present The Nutcracker

Mickey and Friends Opening Event with the Mayor of Main Street

Mickey and Friends Opening Event with the Mayor of Main Street

The Disney Princesses Present The Sugar Plum Fairy

Although nothing has been officially been announced as to which characters will be greeting in special Christmas costumes this year, there will be no doubt be some old favourites, and perhaps some new ones!

Finally, as we as the new additions to last year's brand new Cavalcade, the regular day parade's Romance float has been out for refurbishment, and will be returning at the start of the holidays with Anna and Elsa atop it, on a brand new, redesigned Frozen float!

To say that we are really excited is actually an understatement. I think this year is going to be the best Christmas Season at Disneyland Paris for many years. Let's hope they keep adding to it, and keep reinventing themselves, always offering something just as magical, but new and different.

I'm going to leave you now with a load more photos of the Resort at Christmastime. Enjoy!

Dan.

The World of Disney Store

Special Christmas sweet treats at Belle's Christmas Village

Christmas at Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlour

Christmas in Town Square

Christmas plush at La Boutique du Château

"it's a small world" Celebration

Christmas in Town Square

Special Christmas sweet treats at Belle's Christmas Village

"it's a small world" Celebration

Christmas at Fuente del Oro Restaurante

Disney's Santa Claus Village

Sleeping Beauty Castle lit up for Christmas

Pere Noel's Elve's Workshop

Disney's Santa Claus Village
News and Rumours from Around the World: Halloween and Christmas Seasons around the World, Pirates Week, WDW's New Parade and more!
DisneyDan  Friday, September 27, 2013 1:12:21 PM
Hello everyone,

Once again I have to apologise for the long gap between updates here on the blog. Unfortunately we have just been incredibly busy with real life.

Anyway, there are some important new news pieces from around the world that I want to discuss this evening. We'll start with Disneyland Paris.

Disneyland Paris has been announcing a lot of new things recently for the upcoming Halloween and Christmas Seasons, which has been well received by the fans.

This Halloween Season there will be a brand new cavalcade (which we already knew), and it has now been officially confirmed that Clarabelle Cow will be part of that. This is the first time Clarabelle has ever been to Disneyland Paris in its 21 years!
Huey, Dewey and Louie along with Scrooge McDuck were previously confirmed, and are still expected to appear in the cavalcade. Also making a welcome return to the park, albeit just for the cavalcade, are the Pumpkin Men! DLP fans will know that the Pumpkin Men (and women too) were a long-time staple of Halloween Season at DLP, often running around Main Street and Frontierland scaring guests half to death! They were a lot of fun!
Minnie Mouse will be greeting at her new dedicated Halloween location at Casey's Corner on Main Street. Various fan sites have already posted pictures of that. Her outfit is yet to be seen, although artwork suggests it will be brand new.
Bon Bon Goofy will return to Town Square, following his debut last year (it was a new outfit and new backdrop for him), as will the Villains in Fantasyland. It was suggested that one of the many Halloween themed bands that usually play throughout the park during the season will accompany the Villains this year, which would be a neat touch, to have Villainous music playing while meeting them!
Duffy the Disney Bear is also to appear on Main Street in a Halloween outfit, for the first time in Paris. It is not yet confirmed what outfit he will greet guests in, but is expected to be similar to the US pumpkin version.
Jack and Sally return to Thunder Mesa (outside Phantom Manor). Their location setup will be much the same, but with some new decorations that detail The Nightmare before Christmas more.
The Halloween Soiree (Halloween Party on the 31st October) is also set to see some more new entertainment offerings. I did hear that Maleficent and Hook would be given their own shows. Maleficent is said to be at the Castle Stage, and Hook on his ship in Adventureland. All other details, including set up etc is not yet confirmed. If and when I can find out more, I will definitely post it here. Last years Soiree saw some awesome new entertainment, which injected some much needed life into the event, after a couple years of wavering. Whether any of last years shows will return is yet to be confirmed.
It was also confirmed - in a round-about way - by a DLP official that ShellieMay would appear at the Soiree! I think his exact words were to the effect of "a good friend of Duffy is also going to make an appearance". Unless he was talking about Mickey Mouse, I think we can safely assume he meant ShellieMay! This will be the first time ever that ShellieMay has greeted regular park guests outside of Tokyo Disney Resort!
Outside of the parks, at Disney Village, Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show will see the return of the Halloween version. Dates and times are yet to be confirmed, I believe.

For Christmas Disneyland Paris have confirmed that the popular Christmas Cavalcade from last year will return, and will be expanded upon, including the addition of the Gingerbread Men, from the US parks! Certainly a much welcomed addition!
Other new offerings include an updated Tree Lighting Ceremony in Town Square, narrated by Jiminy Cricket, and a special winter enchantment at Sleeping Beauty Castle using Disney's new movie, Frozen, and the Disney Dreams technology.
Jack and Sally will return to Frontierland, and for the first time in Paris, and an all but one rare appearance some years ago at Disneyland in California, Jack will be in his Sandy Claws outfit! How awesome! I am really excited to see how he looks in that.
I was also pleased to hear that the Jingle Bell Boys will return to the Videopolis in Discoveryland, where they will rock out some Christmas tunes accompanied by Mickey Mouse, who last year dazzled guests with his Big Band Beat style dance moves! (Tokyo fans will know what I mean by Big Band Beat.)
The other big news for the season is that the Parade will debut characters from Disney's Frozen on the former Romance 1 float! Featuring in the daily parade, they will glide through Parc Disneyland on a magical Frozen themed float!
I don't think it has yet been confirmed whether they will remain after Christmas Season, but seeing as this is an addition to the main parade, I would imagine they will, which would be great!

Finally for DLP, today Joe Schott (DLP Chief Operating Officer) said that the Tarzan Encounter would return to the park at some point, although they do not know when yet.
Although I know many fans will think this is "cheap" move, since the show is rather old now, it is undeniably popular, and will be a welcome re-addition to a park that has seen a bit of a lack in entertainment of late. It's definitely better than nothing!

There have been many websites and fan pages posting about the new Christmas and Halloween offerings, so I haven't linked to any one in particular as I normally would do. If you want to find out more, just do a search online or check out some dedicated DLP Facebook pages.

Over in the US, and Halloween Season is well under way. Neither Resort seems to have changed much again this year, with the one exception that both have replaced one of their Halloween Party dance parties with a Monsters Inc themed one. Magic Kingdom's MNSSHP now also have Jack and Sally greeting in Town Square.
Other than that, I don't think much else has altered. If you know any different, the please let me know!

This week at the US parks is Pirate Week for Limited Time Magic.
At Disneyland you can meet Jack Sparrow on Tom Sawyer Island, and at the Magic Kingdom Hook, Jake and Pirate Goofy have been out and about.

Over at Disney's Hollywood Studios, rather suddenly, Minnie Mouse was given a brand new greeting location inside the Animation building. While we usually like these things (and indeed the location looks neat), she now wears her regular polkadot outfit (with some "sparkle", I was told). This is actually a step back, since she had been greeting around the Big Hat in her special pink DHS outfit.

Finally, yesterday the Disney Parks Blog revealed two more concept art images for the brand new Festival of Fantasy Parade coming to the Magic Kingdom in spring 2014. Ariel and Merida's float look pretty cool, and are a world apart from the now ancient Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade, which I know fans will be glad to see the back of!

Ok, I think that is everything for today. Have a great weekend everyone,

Dan.
News and Rumours from Around the World: Thor at DL, Friday 13th, End of Summer Parties, and TDR Christmas
DisneyDan  Tuesday, August 27, 2013 9:28:44 AM
Hello everyone,

This week we start our updates in Disneyland, where the Disney Parks Blog announced that Marvel hero, and God of Thunder, Thor would start making appearances at the park in the winter (no confirmed date as of yet)!
Currently it is unclear as to how long Thor will stay at the park once he starts appearing, but it will mark the first time a Marvel character will greet guests inside a Disney Park.
Captain America, Iron Man and Spider-Man previously appeared at D23 (which was not inside the park), and Captain America is due to appear on the DCL Disney Magic from the autumn.

To mark the end of summer, just across the esplanade from Disneyland, Disney California Adventure is holding an End of Summer Party at the Pier.
All this week, until next Monday inclusive, Paradise Pier will host variety acts and the Disney Characters in beach wear. The LTM website doesn't make it clear whether the characters will be meeting, or part of the acts and other entertainment. Technically it did start yesterday, but I haven't yet seen any photos yet of who is starring - I guess we'll find out soon enough!

Similarly over at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, Tomorrowland's regular dance party will add Dug and Bolt into the mix for a special Dog Days of Summer party, also running through next Monday.
Other dogs in attendance will be Goofy, Pluto and honorary dog, Stitch. Basically Chip and Dale are being replaced with Dug (who is over at DAK daily anyway), and Bolt. Hosts are also handing out bone shaped character autograph cards (similar to how all previous LTM events have had character autograph cards).

Staying with WDW, and the Parks Blog released an image of the marquee going up at the new Princess Fairytale Hall in Fantasyland. They also confirm that the new princess meet 'n' greet is set to open in the fall.

Looking to next month's LTM offerings, and Friday the 13th at both Disneyland and WDW looks set to be a blast, with special villainous events.
As we already know, at WDW they are holding a dance party at Hollywood Studios. Disneyland will run the same hours (8pm - 1am) for the event, but will instead have what appears to be various activities scattered throughout the park.
Interestingly, both resorts will apparently have 13 villains in attendance. All other details right now are sketchy, and of course anything could change. I'll be very interested to see what Disneyland has up their sleeves for this one!

Finally, moving ahead to Christmas season, and the Parks Blog announced some of the seasonal offerings taking place this year at Tokyo Disney Resort. When I say some, I really mean very little, because as you read below, you'll see a lot of the previous years offerings were missing from the announcement.
Tokyo Disneyland will be host to the Christmas Fantasy celebration, featuring Santa's Village, complete with a toy workshop, and the Santa's Village Parade. The Santa's Village itself I expect will be home to Santa Claus while he is visiting Tokyo. There are no other details, so we shall wait and see!
Last year TDL had a small nighttime projection show at Cinderella Castle titled Twinkling Christmas Castle. It has not been stated whether this will return this year yet.
Also, in the past, up to last year, during the park's electrical parade Dreamlights Mickey and Friends would wear sparkling Christmas outfits. Again, no mention as to whether they will do this again this year.
At Tokyo DisneySea the Christmas Wishes celebration will feature Colors of Christmas, which is a nighttime Christmas Tree lighting show on the Harbor, and stars Mickey and Friends. There will also be Holiday Greeting From Seven Ports, a daytime show on the Harbor waterfront featuring Mickey and Friends.
Last year, the American Waterfront show A Table is Waiting had a Christmas overlay, titled Christmas Cuisine. It has not been mentioned whether this will return this year yet.
In the past Duffy and ShellieMay have greeted guests in special Christmas outfits, Santa Claus has appeared in American Waterfront, and fireworks at both parks usually changes over to the Starbright Christmas version. Again, we'll have to wait and see if any of this returns this year.
Both parks will of course have special merchandise, decorations and menu items.
Apologies if all the Tokyo stuff seemed like a lot of non-news, you can blame the Parks Blog for their lack of information! It was interesting nonetheless to see what is definitely confirmed, and what else we might expect based on previous years, despite not being announced yet.

UPDATE: A Japanese friend of mine posted on our forum after I had written this article, saying that a recent Japanese press release had revealed a few more details about this years happenings. I really wish Disney would release everything in multiple languages as so that we can avoid confusion! Anyway, he tells me that A Table is Waiting, Big Band Beat, Super Duper Jumpin' Time and Dreamlights will all receive their Christmas overlays this year. Also, as well as Duffy and ShellieMay wearing Christmas outfits, Ariel (greeting at her grotto in Mermaid Lagoon), also has a festive costume.

Ok, that's everything for today. We are actually off to Disneyland on Friday for four days, so be sure to follow our Facebook and Twitter pages for live updates from the resort!

Dan.
News and Rumours from Around the World: Captain America coming to DCL! And more!
DisneyDan  Wednesday, August 7, 2013 9:28:44 AM
Hello everyone,

There is breaking news today from the Disney Parks Blog. They just announced that Marvel's Captain America will appear starting in October aboard the re-imagined Disney Magic cruise ship!
He will feature at Marvel’s Avengers Academy in Disney’s Oceaneer Club, aboard the ship.
The really annoying thing about this is that the Oceaneer Club is just for kids. Regular guests are not normally allowed to go down there unless it's an open house (at which time things like the Marvel Academy would not normally be running).
The biggest thing we can take out of this is that, besides the expected appearances at D23 this week, this is the first official confirmation from Disney that any Marvel character will appear to regular guests on a Disney owned property.
I wonder how long it is now until we can expect them in the parks? Time will tell.

In other news, yesterday the Disney Parks Blog also announced that Holiday Time at the Disneyland Resort is returning once again from 12th November through 6th January.
This will be a relief for anyone who has been hearing the strong rumours across the internet that Christmas this year would be very different, and would even perhaps have ticketed events for the bulk of the seasonal offerings, like at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom.

I was busy last week, and didn't get chance to post about the latest Long Lost Friends Week for Limited Time Magic.
Disneyland had a vote on the Disney Parks Blog (now closed), which featured pretty much the same characters as before, with a few more thrown into the mix.
From what I recall characters included the Robin Hood gang, Hunchback friends (still no Quasimodo though), the Three Good Fairies, Merlin (he was a new one), Flik and Atta (Atta was also a new option), and Chicken Little (Abby wasn't listed, oddly enough, even though she was for WDW).
There is no official date for this event yet, but it is expected by most to be in the next two weeks.

Disneyland Paris fans have been hearing rumours across the internet for a few weeks now that Jack Sparrow would be setting sail from the parks after a long running stint there, in October this year. Pirate fans need not despair though as rumour has it that Jake from the Neverland Pirates will start appearing, as well as Sofia the First, over at Walt Disney Studios around the same time Jack goes away.
It'll be nice to get some new characters at the park. The last new characters from any new movie or TV show that DLP got were Rapunzel and Flynn.

Staying with DLP, and Timon has decided to sport his new look in DLP as of yesterday. This now brings him in line with the other parks.

Finally, although we (sadly) aren't attending, D23 takes place this week and is expected to star some brand new characters. We'll of course keep you all posted.

Ok, I think that's all for now,

Dan.
Merry Christmas in July!
DisneyDan  Thursday, July 25, 2013 12:41:01 PM
Today is the 25th July, which means it is just 5 months until the big day!
Christmas in July is something which is celebrated unofficially in some parts of the southern hemisphere, because that's when their winter is. Although Christmas for those places is still in December, some people feel that summertime doesn't feel right.
The earliest know mention of Christmas in July was in an 1892 French opera.
In 1933, a girls summer camp in North Carolina held a big Christmas celebration in July, complete with presents and a tree!
The rest, as they say, is history!

This week Disney are even holding some Limited Time Magic Christmas in July events at the US Parks!

The Disney Characters are all here to wish you a Very Merry Christmas in July!

A Christmas Fantasy Parade

Having fun with the crazy Elves!

Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

A Christmas Fantasy Parade

Fun at the Jingle Jangle Jamboree

Meeting the 100 Acre Wood pals

Meeting Santa and Mrs. Claus

Meeting Chip and Dale

A Christmas Fantasy Parade

Everyday is a Holiday event

Dan.
Christmas in July (and December too!)
DisneyDan  Tuesday, July 23, 2013 1:45:15 PM
Hello everyone,

Today we have a distinctly Christmas theme for you!

The other day the Disney Parks Blog announced details of some very special Christmas happenings aboard the Disney Cruise Line this year.
Character activities announced include meet 'n' greets with Santa Claus, King Triton’s Tree Lighting Ceremony and the Deck the Deck Holiday Party!
It all sounds like a ton of fun! Along with the decorations, seasonal food and other entertainment, plus a decked-out Castaway Cay, this Christmas season is set to be truly amazing aboard Disney Cruise Line!
We've only ever done one Disney Cruise in February 2012. We really enjoyed it, and definitely want to return someday to do a Christmas one!

Although none of this is 'new' news as such, I hadn't yet reported on the Christmas offerings that have been announced for the US Parks this year.
We were away for the entirety of May on the big trip, and so I couldn't report on many of the official releases. I am just now finally getting around to catching up!
Anyway, the Walt Disney World Resort website now lists the return of Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom, which runs on select dates from November to December, Holidays Around the World at EPCOT, the Osbourne Lights at Hollywood Studios and the Jingle Jungle Parade at Animal Kingdom.
What's interesting is that it was strongly rumoured that Jammin' Jungle would end this Autumn at some point, so the fact that Jingle Jungle is back disproves this. Also, the Osbourne Lights are sadly rumoured to be featuring for their final year, although Disney have
not said this officially.
Although not character based, the Osbourne LIghts are undoubtedly the most spectacular Christmas enchantment you'll ever experience at WDW. They are simply stunning, and I know that everyone would be deeply saddened if they were to go away.

The Disneyland Resort website has its Christmas page up now, too, and like with WDW, there were rumours of some major changes (for the worse) this year, but so far everything appears as normal. Character greetings, the Christmas parade, Christmas fireworks and more are all listed on the dedicated Christmas page. This makes us very happy as Christmas at the Disneyland Resort last year, for us, was one of the best things we've ever done there. It's a beautiful time of year, with so much on offer. We'd have been so sad of they removed everything they were rumoured to!

Finally, this weeks Limited Time Magic at the US Parks is Christmas in July. No character greetings are being offered sadly, but they do have some special sweet treats, and ear hat ornaments.

Anyway, I think that's everything for now.

Dan.
Disneyland Resort Christmas 2012 Trip Report - Part Two
DisneyDan  Sunday, January 27, 2013 10:00:09 AM
Hello everyone,

Sorry this has taken me a bit longer than I had anticipated, but of course life gets in the way! Anyway, here we are at part two of my Christmas trip report!
You can check out part one here, which was all about Disneyland Park.

Before we move on to the hotels and Disney California Adventure, there are a few additional things that I wanted to mention for Disneyland.

We were sad that this year Disneyland had axed the reindeer that used to feature at the ranch. In the past they had featured at Santa's Reindeer Round-up, which this year became the Jingle Jangle Jamboree. Overall this was a positive move, as the characters were still on Main Street, and Santa was still at the ranch, but additionally there were more Christmas characters at the ranch too. Besides losing the reindeer, Santa used to also appear after Christmas in a "post-Christmas" outfit, since Christmas is over. This year though, they decided that Santa would not appear. Instead, what they did was change Mickey and Minnie's outfits for after Christmas. Before Christmas they wore traditional, almost Victorian wear, after Christmas they sported neat Santa and Mrs Claus outfits. So, overall not a bad change. No Santa, but some really cute outfits.
One really annoying thing we discovered also, is that Disneyland are REALLY fussy about the weather. We travel a lot to all the parks, especially Florida and Paris, and the rain, and even snow in DLP, doesn't seem to affect things too much unless it's really serious. At DL though, the second there was the slightest inkling of some small drops from the sky, that was it. Ranch closed, characters cancelled. I am all for safety, but honestly, if you had seen the way they over reacted, it was ridiculous.

Similarly on the Santa situation, Santa at DCA disappeared after Christmas too, and did not return like in the past (we'll come to him shortly though).

While we're still at Disneyland, although not Christmas related, we did get to meet Ralph and Vanellope from the new Wreck-It-Ralph movie, which was neat.

Ralph

Vanellope

We also, for the first time, had dinner at the Big Thunder Ranch BBQ. We had intended to eat here in the past, but for one reason or another, it had never happened.
I have to say that I really enjoyed it. The live entertainment were good, and while they normally have a band there, they were especially festive for the season. Oh, and make sure you order the dessert! (I think it was called a S'mores Bake, or something)...

Dinner at Big Thunder Ranch BBQ

Dinner at Big Thunder Ranch BBQ

Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree

Something randomly that I thought of also, regarding "snow". At Walt Disney World, during the Christmas parade when it is travelling down Main Street, it snows. At Disneyland Paris, during the Christmas Cavalcade, and at intervals throughout the day, everyday, it snows. So, I don't understand why Disneyland only snowed at night during the Castle Lighting or the Christmas fireworks. I realise this shouldn't bug me too much, but would it have killed them to have it snow when Santa was heading down Main Street atop his sleigh? Just a thought.

One last thing before we head to the hotels, Downtown Disney and finally DCA, is about some things we heard while in DL. On many - far TOO many - occasions this trip we heard things like "because Florida say no", "because Florida don't allow it", and so on. It seems that gradually WDW are trying to somehow cripple everything that DL do. Every time we asked why something had changed, why something wasn't as nice or good any more, why something had to be cancelled - you name it - the answer was that Florida didn't like it. Maybe now that Meg Crofton is being inched out the door, things might change a little, but only time will tell.
The other thing we heard a few times is that to everyone's great sadness, it might appear that this would be the last real year for Christmas season as we know it in DL. Once again Florida want their way, and Christmas sounds like it might be ticketed, like it is at the Magic Kingdom. That would be a heavy loss indeed. I am glad we went this past year to experience it fully, before the magic is sold out to hard ticket events.

Ok, so that's enough about Disneyland, now we shall take a stroll through Downtown Disney and the resort hotels, before heading into DCA!

For the new Tinker Bell movie about the winter, and because it is winter, Downtown Disney featured an ice skating rink for the Christmas period. Other than that, and some regular decorations, there wasn't too much in the way of Christmas offerings at DTD, not that we saw at least.

At the resort hotels, before Christmas Day they had Santa greeting in the evenings in their main lobbies. We managed to meet Santa at the Grand Californian and DL Hotel, but not the Paradise Pier.
The hotels looked pretty with their large Christmas trees in their lobbies, and the restaurants had gingerbread houses made by the in-house chefs.

Meeting Santa

Meeting Santa

Christmas at Goofy's Kitchen

Ok, so we shall step in to Disney California Adventure now, and discover their festive line-up.

It was DCA's first Christmas with it's shiny new look. Buena Vista Street, Cars Land and all the other things that they had re-launched earlier in 2012 got another chance to shine with the decor and lights of Christmas.

The decorations on BVS and Cars Land were really nice, and felt appropriate and not too overdone. The rest of the park didn't have too many decorations, but here and there were some small things, that just added a nice touch.

Christmas in Cars Land

Wandering down Buena Vista Street

Wandering down Buena Vista Street

Wandering down Buena Vista Street

Wandering thru Cars Land

Wandering thru Bugs Land

Wandering thru Cars Land

Christmas on Buena Vista Street

There was some new entertainment offerings for Christmas too, including the really talented Community Bell Ringers.
The other regular park bands played seasonal tunes, too, and the Phineas and Ferb mini-show had a small Christmas overlay.
Of course there were all the normal things that you would expect for the holidays, such as treats and merchandise. Some of the DCA Christmas merchandise was actually really nice.

Buena Vista Street Community Bell Ringers

Over at Hollywood Land, they had switched the Muppets 3D movie for the new Prep and Landing short film. We got to see it twice, which was good as we got to sit in the warm, and see a decent Disney movie in 3D for free!

Prep and Landing

One other main thing that they did, oddly though only on select days, was the Holiday Tree Lighting in Carthay Circle.
This little show in front of the large Christmas tree involved the characters, Citizens of Buena Vista Street and the Bell Ringers coming together and lighting the tree.

The Buena Vista Street Community Bell Ringers

Christmas on Buena Vista Street

It was a pretty touch, but for some reason they didn't do it every night, and it ended on Christmas Eve, which is weird since they call the entire season Holiday Time (note the lack of actually being Christmas), and their "Holiday Time" runs until 6th January. The least they could have done is lit the tree on Christmas Day itself, but nope, it ended on Christmas Eve. Odd.

Now we come to characters at DCA for the Holidays.
On Buena Vista Street, Mickey, Goofy, Pluto, Chip and Dale all had festive alterations to their BVS outfits. Milly/Molly the Messenger, Phi Phi the Photographer and Donna the Dog Lady got a few small additions too.

Character fun on Buena Vista Street

Character fun on Buena Vista Street

Character fun on Buena Vista Street

Character fun on Buena Vista Street

Character fun on Buena Vista Street

Meeting Mickey Mouse

Over in Cars Land Tow Mater had a large Santa hat on (but not McQueen though), and at Paradise Pier Donald and Duffy had Christmas clothes too.

Donald Duck

Duffy

Christmas Mater

Of course no Christmas would be complete without Santa, and he was available up until Christmas Eve at Elias and Co, in a traditional America department store setting, along with some Elf helpers.

Meeting Santa

One of Santa's Elves

Lastly we come to New Year's Eve. We had decided that our best option would probably be to stay over at DCA because, honestly, we had experienced Disneyland on busy days, and that was bad enough. Add New Year into the equation and you get a whole other level of insanity! DCA provides larger open areas, wider walkways and generally less intensity of craziness than DL park (generally, not always!).
We actually ended up making the right decision, because really, honestly, compared to what DL Park had been the few days leading up to New Year, DCA was a BREEZE. We were pleasantly surprised how quiet it was. We wandered around and checked out the special New Year entertainment, which consisted of three bands. One country rock in Cars Land, and two jazz (one on BVS and the other in Paradise Pier). I'm not a fan of jazz and found them quite dull, especially the one on BVS, but that's just me.

Kelly and the Radiator Springs Rockers

Boringness

Wandering thru Paradise Pier

I think that overall the bands and entertainment for New Year's Eve could have been a bit better, but the best was yet to come!
For the turn of the year there was a breathtaking spectacular on Paradise Bay, with lasers, fireworks, fountains, music and an energy that really brought the park to a roaring climax, before they followed it up with a full presentation of World of Color.

New Year Fireworks

New Year Fireworks

New Year Fireworks

World of Color

Over at Disneyland they would never been able to achieve what they did at DCA simply because of the setting, surroundings and size. DL wouldn't have the fountains, and probably no-where near as many lasers, if any (has anyone ever seen lasers used in DL for spectaculars? Let me know!).
If we are ever back at DLR for New Year we would definitely chose DCA again. I can't imagine at the end of the night how horrendous the crowds must have been. Getting out of DCA was relatively easy. DL was at capacity, and we know from previous experience - on a non-New Year's event - that even if it gets remotely crowded the park grinds to a miserable halt. We made the right choice for sure!

Well, that concludes this report. We really enjoyed Christmas ("Holiday Time") at Disneyland Resort, and definitely recommend it. We just hope that they continue to add things to the season, and they manage to stave off Florida's advances regarding the ticketed Christmas!

Dan.
Disneyland Resort Christmas 2012 Trip Report - Part One
DisneyDan  Friday, January 11, 2013 12:41:14 PM
Hello everyone!

I know this is a little delayed, but of course since getting back, we have been ever busy!

Anyway, here we are at my Christmas 2012 Trip Report for Disneyland California!

We of course have visited DL a lot, and I have done reports before, so as not to repeat myself, this report is going to be solely about their Christmas offerings, as it was the first time I had been for to DLR for the holidays.

We were lucky enough to have a glorious 10 days in California this time around, and we certainly enjoyed every moment of it. Since we were there for so long, we were also able to take a trip out to Universal Studios Hollywood, to experience their Christmas stuff, which you can read about in my recent report here.

Ok, so the easiest way to go about this is to just talk about each thing one by one.
First up, decorations, music and atmosphere!  [ Read More... ]
Advent Calendar - 19th December!
PeterPanFan  Wednesday, December 19, 2012 7:21:01 PM

Today is the 19th of December, which means it is time to open the 19th door of our magical Character Central Advent Calendar! 

Here we go!   [ Read More... ]

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