Monday, November 30, 2009

Over New Orleans Square

Disneyland Nov. 2009

New Orleans Square is decorated in decadent style for the holidays. Strings of lights and giant ornaments hang across the shops. Decorations practically drip from the balconies. Even the light posts are dressed up with feathers, masks, glitter, and ornaments.

A couple of weekends ago I was determined to get a decent shot of the street after the sun went down. The moon happened to be in the perfect place, so I stood in the same spot for about fifteen minutes and played with my camera. I used a trash can as a makeshift tripod. I think this is one of the best Christmas light shots I've ever taken.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Frontierland Christmas

Disneyland Nov. 2009

Just outside Rancho del Zocalo restaurant

I like the subtle touch of the Christmas decorations in Frontierland. They are rustic and just blend perfectly. These garlands are a perfect example!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Storybook Land Canal Boats

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Tiny village in Storybook Land

One of my favorite rides, or maybe my absolute favorite, is the Storybook Land Canal ride. I love miniatures, I love Disney, so cruising through miniature lands of all my favorite Disney characters? Pretty darn perfect. Once you float through Monstro the whale's stomach, you tour a host of tiny villas: Pinocchio's village, Toad Hall, the Sultan's Palace, Cinderella's village, the dwarf's cottage, and Prince Eric's castle among others. I learned something new on my last trip to Disneyland. They decorate the tiny homes with tiny Christmas decorations. Itty bitty wreathes, garlands, and trees!! I nearly died of cuteness.

Little tip - if your boat guide's name tag notes that they speak French and the other guests are willing, ask them to give the tour in French. It's too funny.

Friday, November 27, 2009

It's a Small World

Disneyland Nov. 2009

A handful of attractions and areas really get dressed up for the holidays at Disneyland, and it's a small world is one of them. The inside and outside are transformed; even the song is different. Here are the facts about the transformation straight from the copy of Backstage Pass I just received:

- it takes 20 cast members working 17 10-12 hour days straight to transform the interior
- the outside is dressed in 350,000 watts of light
- 150,000 mini lights are used just in the trees, hedges, and topiaries
- 25,0000' of extension cables and 18,000' of electrical tape are used

Wow. As you can imagine, the line for this attraction gets a lot longer this time of year, plan accordingly.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

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None of my photos from Disneyland really say Happy Thanksgiving, so how about a Christmas wreath? Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Treats from Pooh's Corner

Disneyland Nov. 2009

Part of any trip to Disneyland is the traditional eating of lots of sugar. And they make it remarkably easy to do. My favorite place to get candy or chocolate covered Rice Krispie treats or cookies is Pooh's Corner over in Critter Country. Appropriately, it's right by the exit of the Winnie the Pooh ride. I recommend the chocolate covered pretzels because they are also covered in nuts and caramel. Yeah, the thought of it makes my teeth ache.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Lily lights

Disneyland Nov. 2009

Over in New Orleans Square, right by the train station and the mint julep bar, you'll find these lily lights. Pretty by day, prettier by night. I played around with the manual settings on my camera and captured this, which is easily the best photo I've taken of a light.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sleeping Beauty's Winter Castle

Disneyland Nov. 2009

Saturday night I got to see the Christmas lights of Disneyland at night for the first time. We were over in Tomorrowland when it got fully dark. We started the walk over to Critter Country to get some chocolate covered pretzels at Pooh's Corner, and I caught a glimpse of one of the castle turrets. This is cheesy, but it took my breath away. It was magical. Yep, I said it. The dancing blue lights are breathtaking. The castle is transformed with LEDs and lots of artifical snow and icicles. We paused beside the moat and enjoyed the reflection of the lights in the water.

You can make magic happen at your house too. Do you have room for 80,000 LED lights? And big pockets for the accompanying electric bill.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Deck the castle

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Sleeping Beauty's Castle

Last year, the first time I saw the Christmas decorated castle I thought it was just gorgeous. Somehow we weren't able to stay until dark, so I'd never seen it or anything else actually lit up. But last night, I finally did. And the castle? Absolute magic once the sun goes down. Enjoy the daytime shot for now, and hopefully I got a few of the castle last night that will do it justice.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Hidden tree in New Orleans Square

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This little nook in New Orleans Square is almost a guaranteed place to catch five-ten minutes of quiet and relative peace. On busy days, the only folks back here are usually the caricature artists and a handful of people exiting the gallery upstairs. On less busy days, there is no one. If I'm feel overloaded or worn down by the crowds, if we're in the area, we usually pop in here. As you can see, it is beautifully decorated for the holidays.

Today, after I complete a goal, my reward is a trip to Disneyland. I have two goals there: take tons of photos and try the new BBQ place in Big Thunder Ranch.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Disneyland Christmas

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Christmas in New Orleans Square

Even if you are in a bah humbug mood and get annoyed with anyone or any company putting up Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving, do a Google search for Disneyland Christmas. As you might guess, they do it up right and proper. The decorations went up November 13 and will be up January 4. I hope to be visiting this weekend! I will be sharing lots of my favorite Disneyland Christmas photos over the next weeks.

New Orleans Square has my favorite decorations. Every balcony and store window and lamp post are dripping with glass ornaments, feathers, and lights. I wandered around taking tons of photos, my goal this year is to get more photos at night!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Little Mermaid

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Ariel, looking out over her small grotto. Here's to 2011!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Ariel's Grotto

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King of the sea

After the Tinker Bell movie, the little flying fairies moved their Pixie Hollow into the home of Ariel's Grotto. It opened in November 2008. It happened quietly too, I visited once and it was Ariel's home and then next time, it was a forest of giant fake blades of grass and a pretty light show. At least Ariel's going to get an attraction.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Under the sea

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Little Mermaid window display on Main Street

I've been talking about Finding Nemo, so what about another Disney ocean sensation? The Little Mermaid doesn't have a ride, and I've never thought that was very fair. She's my favorite princess, I'm a slightly biased. I mean, there was Ariel's Grotto. That was something. But recently some little pixies took over that area.

So imagine my delight when I popped into California Adventures a few months ago and saw a sign proclaiming "The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Adventure, Coming Spring 2011." I'm pretty sure I jumped up and down and squealed like a five year old. I can't wait until 2011...just a couple of years away. Until then, I'll just admire this window display on Main Street.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Finding Nemo


Submarine from Finding Nemo

Let me just go ahead and spoil something for you. You do find Nemo on this ride.

The Finding Nemo ride took over the Submarine Voyage which was around until 1998. Nemo and his dad Marlin took over in June 2007. The ride still has parts of the of the original. You take off through a coral reef from the original ride. You spot Darla (the scary fish-killing niece) and soon you dive deeper in a fury of small bubbles. The entire gang from the movie starts showing up via projections on silk scrims. Marlin and Dory search fror Nemo throughout the ocean. Along the way they meet Crush, jellyfish, Bruce the Shark and his friends, scary fish with sharp teeth, Nemo, and a humpback whale. The submarine is in danger several times. Don't worry, you get through okay.

After you escape a whale, you head towards port. The sub captain says, "We better get out of here before we see a sea serpent or mermaid." This refers to the prior attraction which featured four mermaids and a gigantic sea serpent. Keep your eyes peeled because right after he says this, you can see two coral formations - one shaped like the sea serpent's head and the other shaped like a swimming mermaid.

It's a really adorable ride. Super fun sculpts and the projections are flawless. It is definitely worth at least one ride!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

In a yellow submarine

Disneyland Halloween

I climbed in a yellow submarine the last time I was at Disneyland for Finding Nemo's Submarine Voyage. This ride opened just a couple of years ago, and I'll be honest - the line is usually a bit too long for me. However, because of a long delay at the ticket booth (we were renewing our passes and a new cast member was processing), we got a pass to get in the front of any line for any ride. We didn't even complain about the wait, just stood there patiently, but they just handed it to us anyway. After careful consideration, we decided on Nemo because we've only been on it once. I almost always pass over it once I see the line. It was nice to walk past the over an hour line and crawl right into a submarine. I took this photo just as we were chugging away into the deep ocean.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Snow White's Lanterns

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Okay, so maybe they are not Snow White's own personal lanterns, but they do adorn Snow White's scary adventures ride. I like these because they are simple and kind of majestic. I'm done posting this round of lights at Disneyland. I shall post some more next month.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Flower lights in Fantasyland

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These lights can also be found towards the Alice in Wonderland ride in Fantasyland. They are a very blue glass lilies that are illuminated to a lovely shade of aqua at night...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Tarzan's Treehouse base camp

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This little lantern is found at the base camp at the bottom of Tarzan's treehouse. Even if you don't feel like climbing up the steps and walking around the treehouse, check out this area at the bottom. And this tip goes for everything at Disneyland, look closely. You'll find something new in the details every time.

Adventureland is my favorite part of the park at night time. With the presence of actual trees and just the right amount of lighting, it feels somehow disconnected from the rest of the park. It's a little dimmer than other lands. It feels like you're in your own tiny world. With a few hundred of your closest friends.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Glass stars

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Lights in Rancho del Zocalo restaurant

The lights in the Mexican restaurant in Frontierland are like paper lanterns - but made of glass. There are several of them, dozens probably, hung up in the restaurant. At night, they throw pinpoints of light all over the walls. It is sparkly and lovely.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

More lights in Fantasyland

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Lights in Fantasyland

These lights are my second favorites. They look like they have tissue paper bits folding into the glass. They are like mosaics and are quite beautiful night or day.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Lights of Disneyland

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Lights over the spinning tea cups

One of my favorite details at Disneyland is the lighting. Every land or ride has its unique touches to make the lighting match. Each place is unique.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Fogs and light

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A total accidental capture from Pirates of the Caribbean.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Browsing on Main Street

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Magic Carpet Ride

I always enjoy looking at the window displays on Main Street. As with all things at Disneyland, the attention to detail is impeccable!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Turning towards Christmas

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Believe me, I get as grumbly as anyone when the Christmas decorations show up just after Halloween. Or often, they show up at the beginning of October. I don't mind it at Disneyland though!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Dia de Los Muertos offerings

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A peek at some of the traditional altar offerings on display at Disneyland.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Day of the Dead

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Calavera in Frontierland

Over in Frontierland by the Ranch Del Zocalo restaurant, you'll find a beautiful Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) set up this time of year. A sign explains the Day of the Dead traditions and how the holiday is celebrated. They have several calaveras, ofrendas (altars), and traditional offerings. I really think it's a great educational experience for kids; especially those from the Midwest who had no exposure to that culture growing up (like me). Check it out next time you're at Disneyland during Halloween time.