Disneyland Resort Update: Holiday Magic at Disneyland

Disneyland Park, Anaheim, CA

Last week, we took a look at the holiday offerings over at Disney California Adventure.  Today, we check out the Christmas festivities on the other side of the Esplanade, at the Happiest Place on Earth!  For many, spending Christmas time at Disneyland is a holiday tradition that reinforces the warmth and joy of the season.  There's a lot to see too, so what follows is basically a big pictorial spread of the noel ambiance at Disneyland.  Literally--for once, I'm not even going to bother to caption the photos. 

As a cheap plug, if you enjoy these pretty pictures, be sure to check out even more at my Disney blog, Disney Photoblography.  It's basically the type of photography you see here--a picture (or more) a day.

Believe... in Holiday Magic

After a one year hiatus last Christmas season while Disneyland Forever was maintained during the holidays, Believe... in Holiday Magic is back, and it's incorporated the projection mapping technology that Disneyland Forever showcased.  Similar to how Halloween Screams incorporated this feature, Believe... in Holiday Magic now has projected scenes during certain parts of the show onto Sleeping Beauty Castle, which adds some nice effects through the fireworks.  The content of the show itself, the pyrotechnics, and the snowfall finale remain the same as in previous years, but it's nice to see a beloved fireworks show receive some updates.

The Return of the Paint the Night Electrical Parade

When Disney announced that Paint the Night was going away after this past summer, many fans were dismayed.  After all, this was a spectacularly successful parade for the 60th Anniversary, and since it was relatively new, many expected to remain around for a long time.  Well, fear not, for the parade is back for the holiday season, and though the content has not been altered in any way to incorporate Christmas elements, I think it's a bit of a Christmas treat to get this fantastic showcase back.  Plus, with Disneyland under full holiday decorations, there are new photo opportunities I can take with the parade! 

Paint the Night will run through this holiday season before going dark again afterward.  At the moment, it seems to only be passing through the parade route once an evening, in contrast to the twice-nightly shows it had during the 60th.  Guests can catch this about an hour after the fireworks.

The Jingle Cruise

The absurdity that is the Christmas overlay of the Jungle Cruise is back.  Some people may find this too gaudy, but it seems like most people have embraced the extreme over-the-top nature of this attraction.  Yes, as if the Jungle Cruise could not get any cornier, in comes a mis-dropped shipment of holiday decorations, which instead of landing for the skippers has been scattered throughout the jungle.  This means it's practically a zoo of festive trimmings.  To go along with this, the Jingle Cruise skippers have a holiday version of their script which seems to be a bit edgier and loaded with more awful puns.  Oh what fun it is to cruise a jungle boat that way!

And we'll tack on a couple of photos from Adventureland at night to show its holiday ambiance!  It's mostly holiday lights and theming along the Jungle Cruise queue building and connected Tropical Imports store.

Christmas in New Orleans Square

The holidays always seem to dazzle over in romantic New Orleans Square.  String lights overhead criss-cross the streets and alleyways, and luminous icicle strands hang off those beautiful wrought-iron balconies.  New Orleans Square offers an elegant and sophisticated flair for Christmas.  Its already charming ambiance gets pumped even stronger with all the lovely decorations.

We showed some of the Haunted Mansion Holiday during our Disneyland Halloween update, but since this now-classic attraction spans both the Halloween and Christmas, here are a few more shots of what Jack and his friends have done to the home of 999 happy haunts!

Christmas in Critter Country

Critter Country takes on a more subdued and rustic look during the holidays at the Disneyland Resort.  Lots of wreaths and bows, with a few light displays here and there maintain the woodsy feel of the area.  Still, it's a cute and enjoyable overlay for this little corner of the park.

Christmas Along Frontierland

Similar to Critter Country, Frontierland does not feature as lavish of decorations as some of the other lands.  Simple lights, holly, and yuletide ribbons stretch across the buildings.  This maintains a warm and traditional aesthetic fitting of the Old West.

It's a Small World Holiday

Aside from Sleeping Beauty Castle transforming into the Winter Castle, Fantasyland doesn't have too much in the way of Christmas theming laid onto its buildings--until you head to the back corner of the land and are assaulted by the saturated colorfest that is It's a Small World Holiday Edition.  Like an incredible home Christmas display on steroids, the classic Mary Blair facade has been traced over with thousands upon thousands of lights, all creating an extravagant billboard for holiday cheer and joy to the world.  Inside, Christmas songs fill the air, sung in multiple languages, as the children of the world display their common ties to the spirit of the season.

Christmas on Main Street, U.S.A.

Finally, there is Main Street, the first and last land guests see through the course of a day.  As with everything else at Disneyland--especially during the holidays--Main Street doesn't really come alive until the sun sets.  But once it does, the entire street takes on an extra sparkle, from Town Square all the way to the castle.  It's where guests linger at the end of the night, taking their last photos amidst an incredible backdrop, and it's how we'll wrap up today's holiday eye candy of an update.

And with that, you have a pretty good tour around Disneyland Park during the Christmas season.  There were a few things I missed, such as the Christmas Fantasy Parade (which I haven't had time to photograph), and the holiday setting at Mickey's Toontown (which is both charming and wacky).  But I think you'll agree, there's plenty to see and enjoy.  And if you can't make it to the parks, well, hopefully, this served as an early visual Christmas present of sorts.

We've got more holiday things this week, including Knott's Merry Farm and a look at Chill at Queen Mary.  Stay tuned, and be good to each other!

Architect. Photographer. Disney nerd. Haunt enthusiast. Travel bugged. Concert fiend. Asian.