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Disney through the eyes of teens
|Adrienne Krock, editor|
|Christmas at Disneyland "The Merriest Place on Earth"|
Every year, when the holiday season nears and everything seems cheery and wonderful, Disneyland goes through a huge transformation, from the ‘Happiest Place on Earth' to the ‘Merriest Place on Earth.' Decorations are hung all over the park, rides are redecorated, and wonderful seasonal shows open to the public. I had the opportunity to go to the park this past year when it was in this magical state, and I had the time of my life.
Walking under the railroad tracks onto Main Street was as thrilling as could be, for right in front of us towered an enormous, decorated Christmas tree. All of Main Street was decorated in holly and Mickey wreaths, as was the castle at the hub of the street. Other lands such as New Orleans Square and ToonTown were decorated in their holiday finest as well.
Haunted Mansion Holiday
The Haunted Mansion was completely decorated for Christmas. Spooky black wreaths and jack-o-lantern lights hung outside of the spooky manor and all around the queue. The narrative poem started as you entered the Haunted Mansion and walked into the stretching room. The room began to stretch and the stained glass windows "shattered," leaving ghostly pictures of Christmas. In place of the hanging dead man was an enormous Jack Skellington face smiling fiendishly down upon you. Leaving the stretching room and walking down the very dark hallway, you came upon your black sleighs. Boarding the black sleighs, we began traveling through the old house.
Moving up and through the hallways, we came upon a scary looking holiday plant snapping and attacking us, as well as a zombie stuck in a coffin with the sign "Don't Open Until X-Mas" hanging from it. We now moved on through a hallway of doors that leads to Madame Leota's séance room, giant tarot cards sporting images from the movie the Nightmare Before Christmas floated around in place of the usual instruments and objects. An updated Leota looked surprisingly realistic in her crystal ball. Next in the dining room, numerous ghosts flew around and danced next to a large ghoulish feast and Christmas tree. Continuing onto the attic, a large list of boys and girls names awaited us, along with a large menacing yellow and black snake that hissed as we went by.
Now for the highlight of the whole ride: So far, the ride had been somewhat enjoyable but the graveyard covered in snow made it all worthwhile. I don't even think I could describe how great the effect looked. The pumpkins lodged into the icy hills as well as the ghosts flying around and the snow falling made it a wonderful scene. As our black sleighs reached the floor of the graveyard, we saw a very realistic-looking Sandy Claws wishing us happy holidays. He was one of the best Audio-Animatronics I have ever seen.
Moving around the corner, four pumpkins sang bits of "What's This?" and Christmas tunes as the flurries continued to fall and the ghosts continued to frolic in the snow. At the end of the attraction, instead of the three hitchhiking ghosts, Sandy Claws gave us a Christmas present to take home. Overall, the new Haunted Mansion Holiday was an excellent attraction. It was so much fun to ride, and was a great attraction to start off my day. There were barely any flaws with the attraction, except the fact that at times it was so light I could see the roof above me. Other than that it was an amazing attraction that I hope to experience year after year.
Minnie's Christmas Party
The next holiday attraction we experienced was Minnie's Christmas Party. Sitting down in the Fantasyland Theater, I knew the show was going to be a somewhat small production due to the small size of the set and the fact that it was in front of the red curtain. The plot of the show was relatively thin. Two human actors went over to Minnie's house for a Christmas Party. While there, they began to expect the arrival of Mickey Mouse, for he was supposed to play Santa this year. Instead, every character that arrived--Goofy, Chip and Dale, and Pluto--thought that it was his turn to play Santa this year. Finally, Mickey Mouse showed up and they all had a wonderful Christmas party. Mickey Mouse, playing Santa Claus, gave us all a holiday wish--snow!
I thought the show was a great production. Though it was not as big or entertaining as Annimazement, Minnie's Christmas Party was a warm and lovable show that made a great addition for The Merriest Place on Earth. One thing I found funny the number of songs crammed into the little 20 minute production. The two human actors would walk on stage, introduce themselves, then start singing. After the song was over, they would say a simple line such as, "Don't you love this season?" and break into another song. The two actors however were very talented, and played their parts to the fullest. A touching moment in the show was when they both started singing, and accompanied themselves using sign language. Overall, this show was wonderful.
It's A Small World Holiday
I had been on this before and wanted to go on it again this year. The first holiday makeover attraction at Disneyland Park, "it's a small world holiday" brings together the joy of the holidays in all the countries of the world. The hundreds of little dolls throughout the attraction begin singing "Jingle Bells," as well as "It's A Small World" as they celebrate their winter customs from different locations around the world.
The most enchanting part of the attraction is the façade. The tick-tock clock dons a Santa hat, and the whole exterior is covered in lights. As we exited the ride, we heard an announcement for the "Small World Lighting Moment" and at once the whole exterior was lit up in its multi-colored best.
A Christmas Fantasy Parade
A wonderful parade, this classic was back again this year. The toy soldiers marched, the snowmen danced, the snowflakes skated, and the characters in their holiday best made their way down Main Street and Town Square in another amazing show.
The floats of this parade included Mrs. Claus and the toy shop, Ariel, Buzz Lightyear on top of many toy blocks, the classic princess and princes at a ballroom dance, Santa Claus himself and many more. This was a great change from the Parade Of The Stars.
Believe: In Holiday Magic
To finish our day, my family and I stood in front of "it's a small world" and watched the magnificent fireworks accompanied to the excellent music soundtrack. Though there were some odd changes in songs and chord changes, I think it perfectly brought out the joy of the holidays. The finale of the show was the ultimate snowfall experience. Following the fireworks, there was a magical snowfall at Main Street, Small World Plaza and Rivers of America, which helped create the perfect ending to the perfect day.
Disneyland Park in the holiday season is a very special and warm experience. This past year, with the addition of Haunted Mansion Holiday and Minnie's Christmas Party augmenting the returns of "it's a small world holiday" and Believe: In Holiday Magic, the Merriest Place on Earth felt even more special and magnificent than ever before.
It was unfortunate that we did not get to visit Disney's California Adventure and see the numerous decorations and LuminAria, but I look forward to returning to both parks year after year to get the same incredible feeling as I did this past year.
I am thirteen years old and live with my family in Southern California. I am currently a high school student, and an avid fan of Disneyland Resort. Other than visiting the "Happiest Place On Earth," I have numerous hobbies, the most significant of which is acting.
Acting has always been a major hobby of mine. I have been participating in numerous plays, movies and productions all of my life, and hope to eventually accomplish my dreams of becoming a famous actor. Some of my recent works include productions of The King and I, Shakespeare- Enough Already, and Ebeneezer. Other than acting, I enjoy playing the alto saxophone for my high school jazz band, playing the keyboard / piano, listening to music (especially the Rent soundtrack), and visiting the Disneyland Resort.
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