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11/12/21 - 1st Day of Christmas & Disney+ Day
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11/12/21 - 1st Day of Christmas & Disney+ Day

Hello Everyone!

Friday was a busy day at the Disneyland Resort, both in terms of the overall crowd and my plans. I made my reservation for the day months ago to see the 2021 Holiday offerings. Subsequently Disney announced the day would be Disney+ Day. I also did not think about the fact that with Veterans Day on Thursday some school districts got a four day weekend. This all added up to the parks being "sold out" for Magic Key and day guests. The parks were both busy but not insanely crowded. Attraction wait times did reach the one hour mark for several by mid morning and stayed that way throughout the day. The crowds felt normal Disneyland Holiday season busy if that makes any sense. The weather decided to go in the opposite direction from Christmas and a heat wave peaked Friday with temperatures in the park in the upper 90s. So we went in prepared for a hot and crowded day, which materialized on both fronts.

Thoughts and Observations:

  • Disney+ Day celebrated the second anniversary since the service launched. Disney announced that Disneyland opened 30 minutes early for subscribers, feature a blue carpet to walk on, some giveaways and photo ops. When I arrived at the park about 20 minutes prior to posted opening there were a lot of guests but the lines were moving quickly. There was no signage about early entry nor a process in place from what I could tell so I hopped in a line and learned quickly that park was open for all. Guess they decided most people showing up at 7:30 would be subscribers so they were not checking. As you entered the park the entire entrance area was covered in a blue carpet with a few large Disney+ logos. It was hard to get good pictures with so many people this morning, later on when park hopping it was much easier. As you walked in there were promotional buttons for the day and as you walked under the train tracks they were passing out hats too. I saw no handouts or details of other offerings in the app on a quick glance so you were on your own to figure out where they were. I saw lines for photo spots as I roamed the park but they were longer than I had patience for so I skipped them. I did see some characters that are normally not out, for example Goofy and Max in their Powerline costumes. Also saw Terk and Jane. Overall it was a bit of a confusing promotion once in the park, I thought a dedicated handout or graphic with the offerings would have been useful. One other interesting note is the carpet did bring back memories of the D23 Expos.. it smelled just like the carpet used in the convention center.
  • It was great to step onto Main Street USA with the tree in view and the Christmas background music playing. It was a sense of normalcy which was a nice feeling to have to start the day. I always enjoy spending time on Main Street during the holiday season and this year it is especially good after the last year+. The Disneyland Resort has rolled out a full set of offerings for regular day guests plus a handful of after hour parties this year. The decorations and regular entertainment offerings are on par with 2019 with a couple tweaks. For example there is no dance party in Tomorrowland but instead there are two character cavalcades, Mickey and Minnie with the Disneyland band, and a good number of characters out throughout the day. At DCA there is no World of Color this year due to its ongoing renovation. Also the Princess Elena's Musical Arrival is not in the line up this year.
  • I spent my morning enjoying some attractions with my nephews and family and then from noon on the focus was the holiday entertainment at both parks. I managed to catch 12 different holiday performances/parades throughout the afternoon/evening. Plus a several character sightings, a couple regular regular entertainment offerings, and Christmas lights/projections. I had to skip/choose to miss a number of offerings too so hopefully next visit I will fill in some I missed.
  • The top deck of the Mark Twain was blocked off again today the couple of times I was in the area as well as the cruise I went on. There was no indication of why. Has anyone seen it open recently?
  • Grabbed lunch from the Stage Door Cafe. The mobile order return windows were well over an hour away, so I got in line. They had two registers and a kiosk in operation so the line moved quickly. There were only 3 groups at each. While waiting a couple mobile order pick ups showed up but not many. Seemed odd to have such a long return time and no flow of guests picking up meals. Saw the same thing a few weeks ago too.
  • Some of the longest queues we saw throughout the day were at popcorn stands were guests were lined up for the holiday buckets. The demand for these buckets seems to keep growing with each release. At one point I counted over 50 people in line.
  • Disneyland Christmas Festivities:
    • Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and the rest of the gang wear new winter costumes this year on Main Street USA. They appear in their traditional costumes in the parade and elsewhere. These look more like ski/snow outfits than holiday attire to me. You can catch them on the train station in Town Square, marching with the Disneyland band or in a brief cavalcade.
    • The Disneyland Band was not on the schedule Friday but they were performing. I only managed to catch one of their marches around Main Street. They had not switched to Christmas music yet.
    • The Dapper Dans were also not on the schedule Friday but were out performing. I caught their Horse-Drawn Street Car set by chance. They were performing Christmas music.
    • I was surprised to see the Character Cavalcade still running. I had assumed with the parade returning these would be retired. It was also great to hear them using the Disneyland Paris Disney's Christmas Parade music. It is a great song and fits the cavalcade perfectly. It did transport me back to Paris where I first heard in 2019. Only different is today it was 97 here and Paris it snowed on me!
    • A Christmas Fantasy returned again with no substantial changes. The only change that jumped out to me is no candles for the Ball Room unit this year. Everything else seemed to be status quo on a first viewing.
    • it's a small world holiday's return has been delayed. There was a flood when they refilled the flume and teams are working to repair the attraction. On Friday there was equipment at the load/unload station and tubes running into the attraction to help with airflow to dry it out. There were also a number of contractors and other cast members going in and out and working the problem. There is no ETA on when the attraction may be ready to go again.
    • The flood issue did not impact the exterior lights and they looked great as usual. On the top and bottom of the hour the short projection show ran too. The clock sequence was having some issues Friday, I saw cast members going in and out of the clock. Also the audio did not play for the clock during the quarter hour chime sequence.
    • Wintertime Enchantment at Sleeping Beauty Winter Castle has returned and was not on the schedule Friday. I caught the 7:30pm performance from Main Street USA. These are great snowfall moments. There is also an 8:15pm event.
    • Believe in Holiday Magic fireworks have returned and were great to see. Main Street was jammed as usual well before the start of the show. It was noteworthy they were not using the east bypass so walkway congestion on Main Street was a bit heavy. The show seemed more or less the same as usual until the final sequences. They the higher pyro was not used. Not sure if this was due to the wind picking up, an issue, or a cut of some sort.
  • With the 1pm park hopping restriction it meant I did not get to experience Disney Festival of Holidays until the heat of the day, which was not ideal. Hard to be in a festive holiday mood when the phone says 97 degrees. The Festival of Holidays entertainment and other offerings are on par with the 2019 ones from what I could tell Friday. It was great to see a full entertainment slate being offered. They made some operational tweaks to some of the entertainment as well as the marketplaces, for example at the Marketplaces a cast member gets your food from the window and hands it to you.
    • The Holiday Toy Drummers have been moved to the Palisades Stage. This made seeing their performance much easier than the crowded ground level viewing. Also it helps with traffic flow in the main walkway.
    • Viva Navidad was entertaining as always with a high energy cast, even in the nearly 100 degree weather for the performance I saw.
    • Mickey's Happy Holidays has returned this year too. It has a few short show stops but not the two longer ones like before.
    • One of the highlights of the Festival is the evening Holiday Concert. On Friday Phat Cat Swinger delivered a great show!
  • I spent a little time roaming around Cars Land checking out the decorations and nothing substantial jumped out at me as being changed.
  • I saw no evidence of Christmas decorations in Avengers Campus when I strolled through there. Hollywood Land decorations were minimal with Festival of Holiday signs on the light posts only.

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