Without a doubt, Disneyland’s Christmas Fantasy Parade is a must see to put a smile on your face and the holiday magic into your heart…and while there’s nothing like seeing it in person, here’s the next best thing to keep your Christmas Season merry and bright.
Walking around Main Street one sunny October afternoon, I came across these guys just wailing away. They’re called “The Hook and Ladder Company” and they are a lot of fun. Keep an eye out for the clarinet player tho…I swear it’s Ed Helms from “The Office and “The Hangover” moonlighting at the Happiest Place on earth.
As I’ve discussed in a previous post, one of my favorite things to do while in Disneyland is catch Billy Hill and the Hillbillies at the Golden Horseshoe Saloon. So on our last trip a couple of weeks ago, we decided to give our feet a rest, grab some chicken strips and a root beer float, and enjoy the boys as they cranked out some good ole’ Bluegrass fun. I was pleasantly surprised when they churned out a couple of new songs that I hadn’t heard them play before. I was a little too involved in my float to catch the first tune, but thankfully I was right on time for the second, a banjo pickin’ little number called, “Billy B. Goode”!
Since 2004, I don’t think I’ve taken a trip to Disneyland without some sort of camera in my hands. And there’s been a couple of times when I’ve carried two...plus a video camera. I guess you could say I’m a little obsessed. But you never know when you might come across the perfect shot at just the right time. Like the time we saw wrestling legend Mick Foley coming off of Big Thunder Railroad and were lucky enough to have a camera in hand. Plus, the way the park is constantly changing, you never know what might be gone the next time you visit.
As an amateur photographer, one of my favorite things to take pictures of are the various flowers that bloom throughout the park. There are some interesting shots you can get depending on where you look, such as the magical picture below that I took on Leap Day 2012.
Down at the very end of Critter Country, behind Splash Mountain, is a quiet, comfortable, relaxing little hideaway that I like to visit. There’s not much there…The Many Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh Ride, the photo op area where you can take pictures with Pooh, Tigger, and Eeyore, the Winnie the Pooh gift shop that I like to refer to as the “Poo” store (always cracks me up), and this little treasure that sits at the exit of Splash Mountain.
Always brings a little smile to my lips to see these three just hanging out and searching for their own little laughing place. Makes me realize that I’ve pretty much already found mine.
Back in 1993, on January 24th, Disneyland opened its newest land…Mickey’s Toontown! Inspired by the movie, “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?“, Toontown allowed us humans to finally take a trip into the never before seen land of cartoons and see how our favorite animated stars lived. Although there aren’t a lot of rides there, (really only two..Roger Rabbit’s Cartoon Spin and Gadget’s Go Coaster) it is a fun place to spend some time and an awesome place to find some fun photo opportunities with the family. Check out the video below to see what I mean…
There’s so much to see in ToonTown that you can never do it all in one trip. It seems like every time you go you see something you missed the time before. From mailboxes that talk to fish in the gas pumps at Goofy’s Gas Station, you really have to keep your eyes peeled to find all the little jokes that are scattered all over town. In fact, going through the queue of Roger Rabbit’s Cartoon Spin is an adventure in itself there’s so many things to see. Topping things off is the chance to walk through Mickey and Minnie’s houses and even meet the famous pair themselves, as well as have your photo taken with them.
So next time you’re in Disneyland, make sure to spend some time in this magical land and enjoy all the sights and sounds it has to offer. It’s also a super place to sit on a bench and let your kids run free for a bit and blow off a little steam as they explore all the things there are to see.
Disneyland at Christmastime is nothing but a fun filled wonderland overflowing with magic at every turn. One of the most magical moments I’ve experienced is the nightly lighting of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle as it comes alive with Holiday Enchantment and Beauty. Even at only a few minutes in length, it’s still enough to give you chills each and every time you think about standing around in the chill December night air surrounded by fellow Disney fans and your own loved ones, waiting with anticipation for the magic to happen. And that’s part of what Christmas is all about.
In as many times as I’ve been to Disneyland, I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen them light the Christmas tree that stands in the middle of town square on Main Street.
This year, while waiting for the “Christmas Fantasy Parade” to start, I managed to secure a spot on the platform of the train station and got to witness the tree lighting first hand. It’s only a momentary thing…less than 30 seconds in fact…but standing there in the chill December air as twilight approaches, it sure does fill your heart with the Christmas spirit and the Disney magic in those few seconds.
Cool, huh? Now add in a cup of Disney’s awesome hot chocolate and a churro, wait another 30 minutes for the parade to start and you’ve got the makin’s of a real holiday moment.
The Horseshoe is a great place to go and sit a while, relax and unwind for a bit, and maybe have a refreshing root beer float, a basket of delicious chicken strips, or maybe even a gigantic ice cream sundae. Plus, you get the added benefit of getting to sit back and enjoy an amazing show that’s both funny and impressive.
Billy Hill and his three brothers…Billy, Billy, and Billy…play some down home bluegrass like you’ve never heard. I mean these guys are fantastic and they put on a high energy show that entertains and keeps you laughing for 20 or so minutes as they wail on their instruments and banter with the audience. One of the great things about the show is that it’s never the same show twice because they mix up the songs and the audience interaction is always ad libbed and spontaneous so you always have a familiar, yet fresh experience. They even change it up at Christmas time by throwing in a a few seasonal songs and a floating Christmas tree.
If you haven’t yet, you really owe it to yourself to make time to go see these guys at least once. I can pretty much guarantee that once you see them they will become a permanent part of your future Disneyland itinerary.
Such a great sight to see down at the end of Main Street.
Ah, that smiling face that greets you as you enter the park. Is there anything more magical and smile inducing?
I can’t think of a more perfect way to start my morning
So let me try and explain to you why I’m so into Disney, and Disneyland in particular. Because people ask me all the time and I have to sort of redeem myself as to why a forty-something year old man wears so many Mickey Mouse shirts and takes so many trips to Disneyland. These are the people that just don’t get the Disney magic.
Mostly, it’s because of the little moments I’ve experienced there and the memories of those moments that live on with me and serve to lift my spirits, a perfect example of which happened to me just the other day. I was having an absolutely horrendous morning. I’d worked a 12 hour shift the day before, didn’t sleep well, and was still up at five in the morning to do it all over again. To top it off, I had a headache, I was running late, and my girlfriend had left me with very little gas when she used my car the night before, so now I had to stop at the gas station as well. Add to all of this all of the people on the road with me that don’t know how to drive, the ones blocking intersections because they’re too impatient to wait their turn, having to fight the traffic in front of the high school, and just the general lack of courtesy on the road and I was ready to about kill somebody.
Out of desperation, I stopped at the grocery store to grab a donut for breakfast and some snacks to get me through the work day. Factor in only one check stand open and having to wait in line for the guy buying a 40 ounce Bud Ice and a pint of hard alcohol at 7:30 in the morning, and you can imagine my mood. Suddenly, I became aware of the song that started playing over the PA system, and I had to smile. Not just a small sly smile, mind you, but a huge ear to ear grin that lightens my mood a hundred fold. The song in question was Frankie Valli’s, “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You”, and while the song itself is a great song, it in itself was not the reason for my mood change, but rather the memory it sparked. A memory of a few months prior during my last trip to Disneyland with my mom and my son for my birthday. A trip that in itself held many great memories, but one that this song in particular stirred up.
It was a warm Friday night. The fireworks had just ended and my son absolutely HAD to run back to Tomorrowland to see a ska band called “Suburban Legends” that was playing at the Tomorrowland Terrace. Fighting the crowds (and I mean fighting!!) we made it over there in the middle of their set, and my son quickly disappeared into the crowd. I hung back and watched and they were actually very good and I was really enjoying the show. They did a bunch of Disney covers and even sang the theme to “Family Matters” before breaking into….you guessed it…”Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You”. I tell you, the fun these guys were having and the dancing they were doing on stage was infectious. All I can say is it was a magical moment and at that second I didn’t have a care in the world. I was a million miles away from jobs, bills, mortgages, everything! And the best part? I got it all on video and got to share it with my kids at home a couple of weeks later and it was just as magical. So standing there in the store that morning as the song came on took me right back to that moment. The smile spread and all was right with the world again. And it’s because of the multitude of moments like that and the memories and feelings they invoke that I love the whole Disney experience.
There’s something magical about being there that brings about a euphoria for me like nothing else. Here’s the video I took….you tell me if it doesn’t get you smiling.