If you thought the Halloween season was busy at Disney’s theme parks, Christmas time is when Disney magic shines the brightest, with special parties, fireworks, shows, and new entertainment offered for 2011. At both the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Disneyland Resort in California, Disney is offering a holiday season filled with joy and merry excitement.
New for 2011, “The Magic, The Memories, and You!” will be updated with a holiday edition, projected onto Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom and the It’s a Small World facade at Disneyland park. The new version of the show will feature colorful bows and boughs, gift paper and ribbons, ornaments, candy stripes, multi-colored strands of lights, and gingerbread, all adorning the iconic theme park structures. The updated Orlando show will debut on November 4, with the Disneyland version to follow on November 18. In addition to the projection show, Disneyland’s It’s a Small World attraction also receives an annual holiday overlay featuring Christmas music.
But Disneyland’s castle isn’t left out, where snowdrifts and icicles adorn Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle, which features a nightly holiday lighting and special-effects show followed by the “Believe … in Holiday Magic” fireworks show, ending in a snowfall over Main Street USA. Likewise, Cinderella Castle in Florida will sparkle in its own nightly Castle Dream Lights show.
At Disneyland, Mickey’s Toontown will receive a new 18-foot cartoon-style Christmas tree in front of Toontown City Hall, with sculpted garlands and wreaths adorning the Toontown gazebo. Main Street, U.S.A. will still feature a traditional, 60-foot-tall Christmas tree as well.
Across the esplanade at the Disney California Adventure park, the nighttime “World of Color” water spectacular will receive a new holiday sequence featuring, Santa’s techno-savvy elves Lanny and Wayne from the “Prep & Landing” holiday specials.
Of course, the rest of the Disneyland Resort will be adorned with holiday decorations, including lights, wreaths, and other ornamentation to capture the spirit of the season. “A Christmas Fantasy” daytime parade also returns featuring Disney characters celebrating the magic of the season, wrapping gifts, baking holiday treats and preparing for the arrival of Santa Claus. Santa Claus and his reindeer also return to greet Disneyland guests at Santa’s Reindeer Round-up in Big Thunder Ranch, Frontierland and Jack Skellington and his pals from “The Nightmare Before Christmas” continue to “wreck” the halls at Haunted Mansion Holiday in New Orleans Square.
Back in Florida, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party will be hosted on 19 nights, the first in less than a week on November 8. This after-hours, separately-ticketed party offers Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, Holiday Wishes fireworks, special meet and greet opportunities, free cookies, apple slices and hot cocoa, and access to many of the Magic Kingdom’s popular attractions. This year, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party will take place Nov. 8, 9, 11, 13, 15, 18, 27, 29, 30, Dec. 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 14, 16 and 18, 2011, from 7 p.m. until midnight.
At Epcot, the Candelight Processional offers a retelling of the Christmas story accompanied by a mass choir and 50-piece live orchestra, featuring celebrity narrators each evening Nov. 25-Dec. 30, 2011. This year’s lineup includes Steven Curtis Chapman, Marlee Matlin and Neil Patrick Harris. Throughout the park’s World Showcase, Holidays around the World offers international storytellers sharing traditions and tales from their homeland. Each Epcot evening is capped by “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth,” a fireworks show with a holiday finale.
At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights returns covering the cityscape buildings with millions of bulbs, dancing lights and animated displays, running Nov. 10-Jan. 7, 2012.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom brings back Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade featuring King Louie and Baloo leading a musical cavalcade through the park. Santa Goofy’s Holiday Village at Camp Minnie-Mickey offers character meet-and-greets while carolers spread holiday cheer.
Downtown Disney and all of the Walt Disney World Resort hotels will each feature their own unique twists on the holiday season, decorated with festive additions.