The Diminishing Role of Christmas at Disneyland?

The holiday season at Disneyland is my absolute favorite time of year!  I don’t think I’ve missed going since I worked there as a Cast Member back in 1986.  Disneyland always seems to make the holiday season special!  Parades, lights, the huge Christmas tree, Candlelight Procession down Main Street USA, fresh candy canes made right in front of your eyes – all of it makes for a beautiful and magical time of year.  But this year the magic will be diminished just ever so slightly.

Sleeping Beauty Castle decorated for the winter season - will stay in Diamond Celebration mode instead for the Christmas season
Sleeping Beauty Castle decorated for the winter season – will stay in Diamond Celebration mode this year instead

Because of the Diamond Celebration, Sleeping Beauty castle will not be redecorated in its winter finery this year and a decision was made not to show “Believe…in Holiday Magic” fireworks, instead continuing the “Disneyland Forever” spectacular.  Santa is also being moved from Big Thunder Ranch to Critter Country to visit and greet guests in the space usually reserved for Pooh and friends.  Santa’s move also means that Jingle Jangle Jamboree won’t be happening this year.  These decisions have caused some to vociferously voice their concerns on the Disney Parks blog.

Decisions like these are difficult.  The folks at Disney have to take into consideration time, cost, and logistics in addition to how they can create the most magic for the most people.  When you have something as elaborate as the “Disneyland Forever” fireworks show with all of the timing elements built into that nightly experience and then add all the new elements on Main Street that were added for it, it’s not a simple job to just switch it out.  And then something to consider is that for many Disneyland visitors, this is the only time of year they are able to experience the Diamond Celebration.  One commenter on the blog wrote,

I have to think that all of the people upset are people that have already seen the Diamond Celebration items. Me not being one of them, I am thrilled that I will get to see them.  The holidays was the only time we could get everyone together this year and I was worried that we wouldn’t get to experience the Diamond Celebration events.  Thank you DL for allowing everyone to catch the once in a lifetime Diamond Celebration activities!

As for the decision to move Santa to Critter Country and not put on the Jingle Jangle Jamboree, no mention of it was made for the reasons behind it.

Always love the holidays at DIsneyland and these cups of hot tomato soup at Jolly Holiday were perfect last year
Always love the holidays at DIsneyland and these cups of hot tomato soup at Jolly Holiday were perfect last year

The majority of special holiday magic remains in place including the recently added Jingle Cruise, it’s a small world Holiday, and Haunted Mansion Holiday attractions.  The normal Holiday Time Tour at Disneyland will continue with all of its yummy goodness.  And “World of Color – Winter Dreams” returns to play alongside “World of Color – Celebrate!” the latter which was created for the 60th anniversary.

Something new I discovered last year in Frontierland - personalized ornaments
Something new I discovered last year in Frontierland – personalized ornaments

Overall, the Christmas season at Disneyland will be as strong as ever.  The huge tree which greets you as you walk under the train station and into Main Street will still be there to welcome you.  Decorations will still be found all over the place.  Special holiday treats can still be found at the various shops and restaurants all over the park.  And those Christmas time only souvenirs will still be available.  Will there be a few things missing this year?  Yes, but Disney always finds a way to make the magic come alive during the holiday season!

Disneyland’s holiday season begins November 13th and continues through January 6th, 2016

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