Friday, January 2, 2015

A Walk in the Park: Disneyland Edition - Holiday Fun at the Disneyland Parks

By Daisy Sparks

The holiday fun remains in full swing at the Disneyland Parks. Christmas Day and the following days brought in huge crowds. Join us after the page break and have a look at what I mean in this week's A Walk in the Park: Disneyland Edition article...

Upon entering the park, they were handing out these notes at the Main Gates:

It’s become a big Christmas Day tradition for many families to come to the Disneyland Parks. Another big reason for the swell in attendance is this parade and football game that happens on New Year’s Day. Maybe you heard of it?

From the Rose Bowl college teams, the various bands that march in the Rose Parade and their family and friends who are all in town, too, they all make their way to Disneyland Parks in the days following Christmas and right through New Year’s Day. Both the 2015 Rose Bowl Teams (Oregon Ducks and Florida State Seminoles) were invited for their Disneyland Day over the weekend. Both college bands and most of the Rose Bowl marching bands and groups also get invited to march down Main Street on various days before and after New Year’s Day.

While Disneyland experienced maximum capacity, Guests were encouraged to visit Disney California Adventure (DCA). This year there are two special holiday offerings to experience: ¡Viva Navidad! and Frozen Fun.

In its second year, the ¡Viva Navidad! Street Party can be found at Paradise Gardens. It’s colorful and festive. There is food, crafts, and a street parade.

Of course there is a merchandise cart. It would be fun to get one of the ¡Viva Navidad! ornaments to commemorate this visit.


There is a fabulous photo location where you can visit the Three Caballeros: Donald Duck and his amigos Panchito from Mexico and Jose from Brazil. I love that all three of them are there at the same time to take photos. It is very rare to be able to have a photo with a group of related Disney characters. It’s always fun to also get a photo with an iconic Disney character like Donald Duck dressed in something other than his usual sailor attire.

I have to admit that when you live in Southern California, there are awesome places to get some yummy Mexican food. There are special food offerings but I opted to pass and just listen to the live music in the gazebo area.


The highlight of ¡Viva Navidad! is the Street Party.


Frozen Fun debuted last Saturday under the guise of a “sneak peak.” This time allows them to test and adjust the Frozen offerings that are all located in Hollywood Land. The Frozen Fun experiences will officially be up and running on January 7th.


You have to get to the Animation Building early and get a Fastpass to see Anna and Elsa. There is a Standby line, too. There are plenty of other things to do at the Animation Building that is Frozen related. My family actually loves to get some Starbucks, find a seat inside the Courtyard Gallery and watch the clips from Disney classic films projected on the surrounding screens. They were supposed to have added in a Frozen clip into the reel. You can pass time or sit and relax in an awesome Disney environment.


Across the way from the Animation Building is the bulk of the Frozen experiences.


The Frozen Sing-Along took over the Muppet 3-D theater. The shows were running sporadically so I didn’t get a chance to attend. It’s supposed to be a 25-minute show complete with a rousing rendition of “Let It Go” with the cast of Frozen characters. Oh well, I will have something to look forward to next time.


As nightfall arrives, the area takes on a different vibe. Music fills the air with “Freeze the Night.” There is a DJ, live dancers, and even an ice sculptor. Interesting frozen libations are available for all ages. Dancing is encouraged, too.


There is a photo op with Marshmallow, Queen Elsa’s bodyguard.


During the day these is a pretty good line to get into Stage 17 where you can find Olaf’s Snow Fest. I went around 8pm this past Sunday and it was not overwhelming or crowded. It's cozy enough to give you a taste of Arendelle.


They limit the number of people on the snow play area. You can build a snowman or glide down the snow slide. They clear it out pretty often to make it look fresh and to give others a chance to play in the snow area.

There was a short wait to meet Olaf so I took the opportunity to say hello.


Just like most Disney things shared between East (WDW) and West (DLR) coast, Frozen Fun at DCA is similar and different, too. It does not greet you right as you enter through the DCA gates unlike Hollywood Studios in Florida. Space limitations at DCA make it feel like it is one big cohesive offering so it kinda does feel like “Frozen Land”. It’s nice that the citizens of Arendelle have their own little corner at DCA. The little details like the rosemaling patterns found on the Cast Members’ costumes and architecture enhance the area atmosphere. The snacks sold inside Stage 17 are themed, too. I think there is something for every Frozen fan.


The ¡Viva Navidad! Street Party runs until January 6th. It is only a daytime offering with hours from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm. Beginning today through January 6th, Three Kings Day will also take place at Paradise Gardens. Frozen Fun officially opens January 7th and will run through summer. Rumor has it that it will remain much longer than 6 months.

Wishing you a very Happy New Year! I hope some Disney adventures will come your way in 2015.


You can visit Daisy at where she shares her Disneyland adventures and more.

 Daisy Sparks grew up in Southern California and Disneyland was a regular part of her life. While in college, she started working at Disneyland as a Main Street Merchandise Host. Her "college job" led to 12 adventurous years working with Mickey Mouse. She was a trained Magic Demonstrator, Hat Writer and was even signed off as a Disneyland Monorail Ride Operator. Daisy loved every minute of it while she held various management positions in Merchandise, Business Operations and Attractions. 

Daisy is married to her college sweetheart, David (a former Jungle Cruise Skipper). David solicited Daisy's Duck's help in memorable engagement proposal that took place at Disneyland's Club 33. Daisy left Disneyland in May 2001 to raise her two daughters. She continues to visit the Disneyland Resort multiple times a week as a Guest. Daisy particularly loves the Disneyland heritage because of all of the little details and stories that make it "the happiest place on earth."


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