I grew up watching the Main Street Electrical Parade and cried when it left Disneyland Park in 1996. Then, I rejoiced when it came back for a run at Disney California Adventure in 2001, just in time for our first daughter to experience the magic. Then, it left again in 2010.
Guys – I am crying again because it just came back to Disneyland Park and it will run through Sunday, June 18, 2017.
I happened to watch the parade with Sarah last weekend, we had a long day and got to Disneyland late, but managed to squeeze into a spot near Pixie Hollow for the viewing. It wasn’t a terrible view, I felt the surrounding of trees framed some of my photos well. However, next trip we are going to try out one of the Dining Packages (Blue Bayou (sit down) or Aladdin’s Oasis (grab-n-go)). I’m pretty sure I need that gluten free Monte Cristo, but we shall see what the hubby says about that. LOL.
The Blue Fairy and Casey Jr. Train floats are not part of this parade (sad face, Blue Fairy was my favorite), but they’ve added Tinkerbell and some Pixie Hollow fairies. However, they did have the original introduction train with Goofy at the wheel, pulling a giant drum that lights up, “Disneyland Presents…The Main Street Electrical Parade.”
Are you an Annual Passholder? Disneyland is running its AP Days at Disneyland Park event now through March 9, 2017; Visit daily from 11:00 AM to 8:00 PM (AP Welcome Center at Tomorrowland Starcade). Historical video screenings will be at 5:00 PM, 6:30 PM and 8:00 PM daily (Main Street Opera House).
Side Note: Passholders must present a valid Annual Passport to receive benefits.
Guests begin to line up along Main Street U.S.A. a couple of hours before in order to catch a glimpse of the electric lights, so be prepared. It should also be noted that the parade may be cancelled due to weather, so check the forecast before your visit!
It’s the year of the Rooster! Happy Chinese New Year! Disneyland Resort has been celebrating Chinese Lunar New Year from January 20th – February 5th!
Photo: Sarah Brow
Here’s a quick guide to what you’ll find in the various areas:
“Hurry Home New Year’s Celebration”
Acrobats of China
Mulan’s New Year Procession
Paradise Garden Bandstand
Disney Characters in their Lunar New year attire
Lucky Wishing Wall
Annual Pass Area
At Paradise Park you will find entertainment for the Lunar New Year Celebration, including the “Hurry Home – Lunar New Year Celebration!”
This special World of Color nighttime spectacular, features Academy Award-winning composer, Tan Dun (“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”).
Here’s a look behind-the-scenes:
Within Paradise Park, you will also find the Performance Corridor, where kids get complimentary face-painting, make fun crafts, and can watch various acts, like the Acrobats of China and even Mulan’s New Year Procession.
Enjoy bites and sips from the various cultures of China, Korea, and Vietnam.
In Paradise Gardens you can find some of your favorite Disney characters dressed in their Lunar New Year attire! Isn’t Minnie gorgeous?!
Wishing wall and calligraphy
Here you can leave your New Year’s wishes on the Wishing Wall and watch as the calligraphy artists draw your name.
Chinese Zodiac animal sign
Not sure what your Chinese zodiac animal sign is? No worries, look for the year you were born, to find out which animal you are. I am the Year of the Dragon and Camille is the Year of the Rooster!
disneyland AP (Annual Pass) Area
Are you a Disneyland Resort Annual Pass Holder? The AP area is open daily from 11:00am – 7:00pm.
The AP section is located in the back of Paradise gardens; show your annual pass to gain exclusive access to this area.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Growing up in Southern California, winters were always fairly warm and we had to travel to get to snow, which was always a treat! Even though I am now a Northern California resident, I can often be found in Los Angeles and Orange County throughout the year, and holiday time is no different. There’s something about seeing Christmas lights in palm trees that make me smile. 🙂 I don’t know if you can tell, but holiday season has always been my favorite time of year. I love everything about the holidays – the music, food (mostly the sweet treats), decorations, and LIGHTS!
Image Courtesy of Winter Fest
Our eldest daughter (MeiLani) will be turning sixteen around Christmastime (where has time gone?!). In light of this milestone, one of my best friends and I will pack up my daughter and her bestie to take an early girls’ road trip to celebrate and partake in some fun. Mei has been a traveling girl since she was a baby, so she always up for an adventure. Southern California is one of her favorite destinations and she requested a special trip for her birthday and Christmas combined, so I am excited to share more memories with her at Winter Fest 2016.
This will be our first time attending a Winter Fest event, so everything will be new! However, if you’ve attended before, you’ll be happy to know that there are some experiences back by popular demand, along with many new experiences. After perusing the website, here are some that I am MOST excited to experience (to see all available experiences and shows click here):
Tree Lighting Ceremony – Nightly, on the dot at 5:30, the lights begin glowing on a 30-foot-tall Christmas tree. Christmas trees are my favorite.
Snowflake Summit – A 130 ft, 6 lane ice tubing slide and get this, UNLIMITED tubing is included with every admission ticket to Winter Fest. I am afraid of heights, and tall slides. However, I am excited to try this one out because I love tubing!
Meet & Greet with Santa – You can’t experience a winter event without Jolly Old St. Nick! Let’s hope I was good enough this year, I might need to slip him a candy cane to check my name! You’ll be able to take pics with Santa, so have your cameras ready!
Candy Cane Carnival – Enjoy over a dozen holiday carnival rides, including a Holiday Ferris Wheel, Carousel, and try your hand at carnival games!
Mistletoe Lounge – Enjoy holiday cocktails, craft brews or indulge in specialty coffees or try the popular Winter Fest hot chocolate (it wouldn’t be a holiday event without hot chocolate)
Festival of Lights – Grab some hot chocolate or a speciality coffee from Mistletoe Lounge and stroll down a pathway illuminated with 2 million lights with your family and friends, to experience 10 holiday themed lands. One of our favorite family traditions is to look at Christmas lights with our kids, so this is right up our alley!
Snow Play – This area is free for everyone enjoy. I’ve already been told that I will be hit with a snowball, thanks to the real snow that will be blown in for the event. It’s been a while since I made a snowman, hopefully someone will want to play with me.
With the awesome lineup of activities, like ice skating, snow play, ice tubing, and strolling through the Festival of Lights, I can guarantee that my birthday girl is going to have a lot of fun with her best friend. She’s a big kid at heart, and already asked if I thought they’d let her in the bounce house, ha ha! I’m not quite sure about that, but we will definitely have a race around the outdoor ice skating rink.
If you’re looking for a fun date night, or special night to hang out with your teens (or kids of any age), take them to WinterFest 2016 in Orange County. The event is held at the OC Fair & Event Center, and will only be open from December 16, 2016 – January 1, 2017. Admission begins at $10 per child, $15 per adult and you can purchase tickets and wristbands on the Winter Fest website.
With over 20 different experiences, there is definitely something for everyone to enjoy, throughout the day. If you have younger children there are live action mini shows during the day, and a special place for snow tubing in the snow play area. If you want an extra special experience, you can reserve a Private VIP Cabana that can accommodate up to 10 guests.
I can’t tell you how excited I am to experience Winter Fest 2016 and perhaps start a new road trippin’ tradition for my entire family!
What are your favorite family holiday traditions?
This is a sponsored conversation, all images are via Winter Fest, and as always, the magic and opinions are 100% mine.
If you know me at all, you know that “it’s a small world” is my favorite attraction. I honestly love the song, as annoying as it may be to most people. The holiday version intertwines “Jingle Bells” and “Deck the Halls,” adding the right amount of Christmas magic. Get ready to set sail on “The Merriest Attraction on Earth!”
Here we are for the #Disneyland60 holiday fun!
Since the attraction is celebrating its 20th holiday season, you might notice “Hidden 20s” sprinkled throughout. This will give my competitive kids some extra motivation to ride with me this season – whoever finds the most hidden 20s will get a churro! 🙂
It took nearly three dozen cast members 35 days to install the exterior and 18 days for the interior decor
There are over 400,000 lights that illuminate the plaza from the exterior to the trees, shops, and topiaries
The happy clock in the front dons a Santa hat and every quarter hour, there is a 3D-projection show presented by Siemens
Inside, your senses will awaken to whiffs of peppermint and fresh pine
What’s this?! Jack Skellington and his friends have taken over the Haunted Mansion. In traditional holiday fashion, we watch the Nightmare Before Christmas right after Halloween to usher in the holiday. Half of the fun is looking at all of the intricate details within the ride, and who doesn’t love seeing Zero flying around!
Cozy up on Main Street, U.S.A., with a cup of hot chocolate to see the fireworks light up the night over Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle. This is my favorite way to end the night, and not to mention one of the best things is the snowfall finale. I believe in Holiday magic… do you?
If you thought sailing on the Jungle Cruise was fun, wait until you see it spruced up for the holiday season. The Skipper is still full of jokes, and the ambience is merry and bright!
what are you waiting for?
If you’re like me and like to plan last minute trips, make sure to check out Get Away Today (affiliate link) and save on an awesome vacation package to the Merriest Place on Earth! I am so excited to spend some time at Disneyland Resort this Holiday Season with some of my favorite people on earth!
Which attraction or experience are you looking forward to the most?
Remember that E P I C film – Guardians of the Galaxy? Well MARVEL Studios is back at it, and GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 arrives next spring. I would seriously be lying if I said I wasn’t excited, because I am…
I have so many questions. What has that adorable Baby Groot has been up to, where will Star Lord and Gamora be heading next (any updates on their romance!) and are Drax and Racoon BFF’s? There is so much to find out. I’m looking forward to more awesome tunes, kick ass scenes, dance moves, and humor with the occasional moments where I pretend I’m not crying. LOL.
Here’s a look at the first poster release and sneak peek trailer. Make sure to check out the film May 5, 2017!
Stay up-to-date and follow GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 online!
August 24th was an exceptional and magical whirlwind. I was invited to attend a special one day event: Disney Social Media Moms Celebration: On the Road at Disneyland Resort (you can check out the event using #DisneySMMCDLR). Just in time to experience the final weeks of Disneyland Resort’s 60th Anniversary Diamond Celebration.
I love to catch up with old friends and make new ones, and Disney events bring all kinds of magic to the party, too! We enjoyed a delicious buffet breakfast, were gifted with lots of fun, Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park admission, Disneyland 60th swag; but most importantly to me, I left with my heart absolutely overflowing, and my mind blown by the Disney team, and surprise guests, who both inspired and empowered us to keep moving forward as moms and entrepreneurs.
NEW! and Coming Soon to Disney Parks
One of my favorite experiences about Disney influencer events is all of the magic that we get to hear about behind the scenes. There is so much to say about each, but I will just touch on the highlights. Thank you to Michele Himmelberg, Director of Public Relations – Disneyland Resort, for sharing all of the upcoming fun. Let’s start with the holiday season that is almost upon us!
In case you missed it, Disneyland is currently undergoing spook-tacular Halloween season enhancements! The Haunted Mansion is currently closed, as Sandy Claws does his annual decorating. Don’t fret though, because doors will open for the ghoulish attraction with a Nightmare Before Christmas theme on September 9th.
This will also be the FINAL Halloween at Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. For me, it is bittersweet. I will always love TOT, but I am looking forward to the new attraction in 2017. I highly suggest that you visit before TOT becomes Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission Breakout! The attraction will close its doors in January 2017.
GUYS – We were given complimentary FAST PASS tickets to experience the new enhancements of one of our family’s favorite attractions, which is now Soarin’ Around the World. Personally, I loved the new version and it gave me the travel bug! I’ve never been outside of the US, so flying over the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France might have gotten me a little teary eyed. It’s beautiful. All of imagery coupled with the different scents 🙂 within the attraction are pretty awesome! My girls rated it 5 stars! I will be honest, I was sad that I did not get to see Frozen – Live at the Hyperion, but it is on my “to-do” for my next trip!
Disney’s Frozen – November ushers in my favorite holiday of all time – Christmas! In time for winter season, you will find Disney’s Frozen – Live at the Hyperion at Disney California Adventure Park. If you’re on the East coast, Frozen Ever After is the new attraction at Walt Disney World, and if you’re setting sail, Frozen – A Musical Spectacular will be featured this fall on Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Wonder.
Disney’s MOANA – If you know me, you also know that our family has a serious love for the islands of the Pacific. We loved Disney’s Lilo & Stitch franchise, and honestly I think MOANA will be one of my favorite princesses. The film will be released 11/23/16, the weekend of my 35th birthday!
We were treated to exclusive behind-the-scenes footage, and it was AMAZING. We were not able to take any photos or have our technology out, otherwise a very kind security guard would kindly remind and potentially remove us. All I can share with you, is that this is a MUST SEE film. I’m not talking about just a film for 2016, but a must-see for a lifetime. The themes of empowerment, following your heart, learning about who your ancestors were and who you are meant to be, are extremely strong in the film.
We heard from Amy Smeed, the first female co-head of animation on a feature film and was interesting to hear how the animation process and story is developed. The amounts of research that the Studios put in to really capture the essence of the cultures presented is more than commendable. I am so happy that Auli’i Cravalho was cast as Moana. A native to Hawai’i, she truly embodies the Aloha spirit and she brings so much life and vibrance to her character.
Disney Cruise Line – I’ve not had the pleasure to set sail with DCL yet, but we found out that the fleet will be adding two new cruise ships soon: one in 2021; another in 2023. They will also return to Galveston, Texas in 2017, with sailings to the Caribbean and the Bahamas. For West coast cruisers, the Disney Wonder will return to San Diego in September and October 2017 for sailings to Baja and the Mexican Riviera.
Pandora– The World of AVATAR – Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom is preparing for the opening of a new, beautiful world based on James Cameron’s AVATAR, in 2017. It has been amazing to watch the ideas for this magical place take shape over the last few years. I had my first peek at Pandora’s arrival when I explored Disney23 Expo in 2013. Then, when I worked the D23 Expo in 2015 with Imagineering, I was in even more awe as we walked through the exhibit and saw the creations and mini replicas of what was to come. The concept art is breathtaking. I can’t wait to ride down the Na’vi River.
Social Media Tips
What’s a social media conference without touching on social media?! As always, Disney “does it better” and offered us insider tips on how they manage their conversations and content for the public, and gave insight on putting that into action for our own brands and blogs. The theme for me was really to work towards adding more video content to my blog and social media platforms. Before we get into the tips, make sure you bookmark: Disney Parks Blog – it is the ultimate site for Disney Parks news and events! The team is active on social media as well, so stay connected!
Here are highlights from our speakers and Disney team members:
Erin Glover(Social Media Director, Disneyland) is always fun to learn from. She is engaging, witty, and extremely knowledgeable. I had the pleasure of learning the basics about the process a couple of years ago, and I was excited to learn more. This time around, I really honed in on her tips for syndicating and sharing content. Many times, I write and then that’s it. When I was doing work for other companies on social media, I ended up neglecting my own social media channels. Did you know that there are over 100 authors for the Disney Parks Blog?! That’s a lot of writing! My ultimate takeaway: Syndicate, Integrate and Share. Ask myself, “how can I optimize my content to work well for each specific channel?”
Victoria Lim(Managing Editor, Disney Parks) shared on maximizing digital content through apps. I’m not a huge fan of being in front of the camera, but I do see the value and importance of it with my content. This was the first time I’d heard Victoria share, in real life (I’ve followed her presentations via social media) and I was happy to hear her tips and tricks on video. My daughters are obsessed with video, and will be helping me get my booty in gear with producing for my blog. Some of the apps that Victoria talked about were Magisto, Videolicious, Quik, and WeVideo. My ultimate takeaway:Be ready to film content. Don’t go TMZ style [when videotaping]. Have a steady shot.
Drumroll, please… we were treated to chat with Tiffani Thiessen, (aka Kelly Kapowski – for you Saved by the Bell fans) and Ginger Zee (ABC News & Good Morning America). Listening to Tiffani and Ginger speak on motherhood, working outside (and inside) the home, balancing their passions and everything else was awe-inspiring. It was an honor to hear their stories and I left empowered as a mom with many hats.
As moms, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to have everything “just right.” Honestly, when is it ever up to our standards and/or expectations? I’m contemplating these statements more and more since being home from this event, and I am excited to share my thoughts on them soon.
Thank you to my friend Jindy of FlowersCroon.com for the awesome picture!
The entire day was such a treat. I was exhausted, inspired and bursting at the seams with excitement. I was blessed to not only be invited, but to have the ability to take the day off and make the 300+ mile drive down with my husband and two of our girls! We all had a fantastic time. I always look forward to participating in Disney events as opportunities arise. I hope there are many more in my future! Thank you to the Disney events team for including me!
I was hosted at the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration On the Road at Disneyland Resort and my family received complimentary park admission and a swag bag. I paid for all travel costs incurred. All thoughts expressed are my own and I’d like to think they are pretty magical. Follow the fun on social media to see the many bloggers that experienced #DisneySMMCDLR!