My Very First Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party!

Image courtesy and ©WDW Shutterbug

Image courtesy and ©WDW Shutterbug

{Editor’s Note: My friend Alicia is back with a post recapping her joy at seeing Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party!  Even though it’s been a month since Christmas, let’s enjoy her photos and get her take on the event!  Thanks, please give Alicia a warm welcome!}

As I get older it is getting harder and harder for people to get me birthday and Christmas presents (my birthday is 12 days before Christmas).  So this year my sister, who I share my birthday with, told me when I mentioned that I wanted to go to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party that she would make that my joint gift if I wanted.  And I hesitated for oh about a nanosecond before saying, “OKAY”

The next thing was finding a partner in crime to go with me to the event. I wanted to take my niece who is a Disney lover like myself, but she had school and midterms, so that was out. There were a handful of friends I asked and there were other commitments, and blah blah blah, but eventually I found a Disney loving soul to join me. And as fate would have it this was also her first time going to MVMCP as well.

Let the planning begin!

I originally wanted to go on a Tuesday or Thursday night since I happened to be on vacation the week before Christmas, but due to scheduling conflicts we were not able to go until Friday, 12/20. Since the event lasted until midnight, we decided to spend the night. We drove up early Friday afternoon checked into the “offsite” hotel and then headed over. It was super cool being able to get in at 4 knowing that people that were there would be leaving in a few hours and the park would be ours!!

We walked around for a bit. She bought my FIRST ever pair of ears (EVER….I know bad Disney fan) as a birthday present. And of course being the sparkle lover that I am I got the black and red Minnie sequined ears. HEE HEE!! Totally in love with them and managed to keep them on all night long!!! We ate a little and found our first Holiday Treat location. The small serving of hot chocolate and cookies were just the right amount of sweetness after dinner. I wish it had been colder though so it would have felt more seasonal or more like Christmas. But what can you do, it’s Florida!

  IMG_0771

Like any good photographer, I made sure that I had my camera on hand. I mean who goes to Disney at Christmas without their camera? Only crazy people! I can not even tell you the level of excitement and anticipation that I was feeling about the pictures I was going to get to take. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Walt Disney World at Christmas time. It becomes even more magical, if that is even possible.

IMG_0770

Despite the fact that the event was sold out we were able to walk around with ease and not feel crowded. If only every day that the Magic Kingdom could be like that… I can dream can’t I? We leisurely strolled through the park and had rode a few rides here and there and eventually made it to Main street USA for the SNOW!!!! OMG…. I felt like a little kid. It was so neat. Despite that fact that it wasn’t real, that didn’t take away the wow factor for me. I still very much enjoyed the “snow” in Florida….. and I was still able to be in shorts!!!

IMG_1003

IMG_0992

IMG_0777

We didn’t feel the crowdedness until we went to Main Street to watch the parade. It was hard to find a spot to see the parade with ease and not have to do some kind of bending and twisting to take pictures. But I got a few good ones. My FAVORITE part of the parade were the toy soldiers. I was watching them with my mouth gapping open like I a little kid. They walked like soldiers and their shoes had to have some sort of metal on the bottom because they made a “clacking” noise as they moved down the street.

IMG_0786

IMG_0800

IMG_0810

IMG_0824

IMG_0878

IMG_0912

IMG_0915

IMG_0917

My least favorite part of the parade were the reindeer… sorry they were a little creepy to me… hence no pictures.  I wish I could have gone back and watched the parade again, and maybe get some better pictures. Maybe next year when I go back, because BELIEVE me I WILL be going back!

Immediately following the parade we went to get in place to watch “Celebrate the Magic” at Cinderella’s Castle.  We got as close as we could but it was crowded there also. We managed to land a spot in front of, or rather close to, the Partners statue. I love that statue.

IMG_0926

 I had no idea what to expect when the show started. I was in awe of all the images that came across the castle and the way it was transformed. As the scenes changed I was ooing and aahing like a 5 year old. It was so unique and well cool how they managed to mesh all the movies together and add the music in there too. I never would have thought that could be done. This was HANDS DOWN my favorite part of the party. And then the fireworks started…. How I LOVE me some fireworks! And not only were they behind the castle… they were all around us, encompassing us and lighting up the night sky. It was … MAGICAL!!!!

IMG_0942

IMG_0967

IMG_1023

Then sadly our night came to an end. We took our time leaving the park to try and take it all in. It is always hard to leave Disney, but it is even harder for me during Christmas.  Of course, there is comfort knowing that it is there and I can always go back. It really is my happy place.       

IMG_1016

Love

Alicia

The Lands of Disneyland: New Orleans Square!

The Haunted Mansion is one of the signature attractions in New Orleans Square

The Haunted Mansion is one of the signature attractions in New Orleans Square

Hello everyone, and thank you for taking time out of your day to visit us here at My Dreams of Disney!  As you may know, we have been exploring the different lands of Disneyland, much like we did with our “Lands of the Magic Kingdom” series that we did a few years back, and today, we are taking a look at New Orleans Square.

Our last exploration was of Adventureland, and before that, Main Street, U.S.A., so as you can tell, we are working our way around Disneyland in a somewhat clockwise order.

New Orleans Square

New Orleans Square was the first new land added to Disneyland, opening on July 24, 1966 — and was the last major public appearance at Disneyland by Walt Disney, who would die in December of that year.  The land is only three acres, but it is jam packed with some of the most notable things in Disneyland.  Contained in the location are the following attractions, restaurants, and even sleeping arrangements:

  • The Haunted Mansion
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Disneyland Railroad Station
  • The Blue Bayou
  • Club 33
  • Disneyland Dream Suite
  • Assorted shops and dining locations

The Haunted Mansion

The Haunted Mansion is one of the signature attractions in New Orleans Square

The Haunted Mansion is one of the signature attractions in New Orleans Square

The Haunted Mansion, pictured above, is themed entirely after New Orleans in the 19th Century, which is the time period that New Orleans Square is set in.  The ride mechanics are the same — although, there is a difference in the way the stretching room operates at Disneyland versus Walt Disney World — and I liked the way that The Haunted Mansion entered the house.  As I wrote in my Top five attractions at Disneyland post, Haunted Mansion isn’t higher than number three only because we had a few issues with the ride starting and stopping.  Otherwise, it would have been at number two on my list!

Pirates of the Caribbean

Pirates of the Caribbean

Pirates of the Caribbean is my favorite ride at Disneyland, bar none!

Also located in New Orleans Square is the famed Pirates of the Caribbean ride.  This incredible dark ride was such a treat for me to ride, it instantly jumped right on up near the top of my all time favorites list for Disney!  With two — count them, two — incredible drops, a leisurely stroll through the Bayou of Louisiana reminiscent of The Princess and the Frog, and the Blue Bayou restaurant off to the right as you start your journey, this attraction truly did live up to it’s advanced billing.  My dear friend Brenda told me that I was going to absolutely LOVE Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland — and boy, was she right!

The Disneyland Railroad

The Disneyland Railroad has a stop at New Orleans Square, and services Frontierland also from this stop.

The Disneyland Railroad has a stop at New Orleans Square, and services Frontierland also from this stop.

In addition to Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion, New Orleans Square is also home to one of the four stops along the Disneyland Railroad.  What is cool about this stop is that the train depot, pictured below, actually plays the first two lines of Walt Disney’s opening day speech on July 17, 1955 in Morse code:

“To all who come to this happy place: Welcome. Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past, and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future.”

"To all who come to this happy place: Welcome. Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past, and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future."

The Depot plays the first two lines of Walt Disney’s opening day speech in Morse Code at this station.

The Blue Bayou

Image Courtesy and ©Chip and Company

Image Courtesy and ©Chip and Company

Without a doubt, one of my favorite dining experiences at Disneyland was eating at the Blue Bayou restaurant.  We were seated near the water, and we had a wonderful view of the boats leaving port on their way to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.  It was a lot of fun to eat there, the food was incredible, and it truly did feel as if we were immersed right into the middle of the Princess and the Frog.  I know I’ve said that before, but it really was a great dining experience, and I hope to be able to enjoy it again in the future.

Club 33

Club 33 is the most exclusive restaurant in Disney -- and it's located in New Orleans Square!

Club 33 is the most exclusive restaurant in Disney — and it’s located in New Orleans Square!

Club 33 is the only establishment at Disneyland that serves alcoholic beverages, and was built under the supervision of Walt Disney as a way to attract more sponsors to Disneyland in the mid 1960s.  Sadly, the restaurant opened in 1967, about 6 months after Walt Disney passed away, so he never ate there or experienced it for himself that I know of.  In all my roaming around New Orleans Square, can you believe that I NEVER saw the door and the sign?  I guess I was all caught up in everything else that Disneyland had to offer and had put blinders on or something!

Disneyland Dream Suite

The Disneyland Dream Suite is the only accommodations you can get inside of Disneyland Park!

The Disneyland Dream Suite is the only accommodation you can get inside of Disneyland Park!

The only overnight accommodations that you can get inside of Disneyland Park belong to the Disneyland Dream Suite.  This exclusive sleeping arrangement is located in New Orleans Square, and is near the Pirates of the Caribbean entrance.  I have not been inside the Disneyland Dream Suite, but I understand that it was originally built to be an apartment for Walt Disney during the construction of New Orleans Square.  When Walt passed away, the project was put aside and used as the Disney Gallery, but in 2008, it was renovated and remade into the Dream Suite that exists today.  Typically, the chance to sleep here is awarded as a contest promotion.  I would love to spend the night there!

In addition to all that we have examined here, New Orleans Square is also home to some great shops, quick dining locations, and more!  I really enjoyed New Orleans Square, and if you can get there, I think you will too!

Lands of Disneyland – Main Street, USA

Some of the best experiences of Main Street, USA, are at night!

Some of the best experiences of Main Street, USA, are at night!

By Mike Ellis.

A few weeks back, I wrote an introductory post called “Coming Soon: The Lands of Disneyland!”  Well, after what seems like an eternity, here I am, finally writing about the first land you come to at Disneyland — Main Street, U.S.A.

Much like it’s counterpart at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World, Main Street, U.S.A. takes all the best traits of a bygone era — when things were simpler, less complicated, and perhaps, more wholesome — and combines them in Main Street, U.S.A.  This street could be found in Anytown, USA, but in truth, it draws it’s inspiration from the town of Marceline, Missouri, the town where Walt Disney spent some of his formative years growing up.

Unlike the Magic Kingdom Main Street, U.S.A., the Disneyland version has quite a bit going on, including some things that you don’t find anymore at Walt Disney World — in fact, things that I wish still existed.  Let’s take a look at some of those in more detail.

Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln

Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln is located in the section of Main Street known as Town Square — that part of the street that you see right after you enter the park.  Officially known as The Disneyland Story Presenting Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, this isn’t just a museum/show about President Lincoln.  Located within this building are some incredible artifacts that you will want to take a look at and examine in more detail when you are there next.

This bench was located in Griffith Park, and was the very park bench where Walt Disney would rest -- and dream up Disneyland!

This bench was located in Griffith Park, and was the very park bench where Walt Disney would rest — and dream up Disneyland!

This Carousel Horse is one of the very horses that Walt Disney's daughters would ride on at Griffith Park

This Carousel Horse is one of the very horses that Walt Disney’s daughters would ride on at Griffith Park

I love models, and trains, so what better to look at than a model of Disneyland with the Railroad on it!

I love models, and trains, so what better to look at than a model of Disneyland with the Railroad on it!

This model of the Capitol in Washington, DC, is made of the same stone as the original!

This model of the Capitol in Washington, DC, is made of the same stone as the original!

This painting of President Lincoln illustrates the decisions that a President must make alone at times.

This painting of President Lincoln illustrates the decisions that a President must make alone at times.

Main Street Cinema

The Main Street Cinema still shows original cartoons of Mickey Mouse and his friends, including Steamboat Willie!

The Main Street Cinema still shows original cartoons of Mickey Mouse and his friends, including Steamboat Willie!

Further down Main Street is the Main Street Cinema, a small theater where you can go and watch some of the great Mickey Mouse short cartoons, including the original, Steamboat Willie!  I remember when you used to be able to go into the Main Street Cinema at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World and see the cartoons, but that is no longer the case, sadly.  Now, the Main Street Cinema in the Magic Kingdom sells art.

Disneyland Fire Station

The Light on in the 2nd Floor is the apartment that Walt Disney would stay at.

The Light on in the 2nd Floor is the apartment that Walt Disney would stay at.

The Disneyland Fire Station is also located in the Town Square section of Main Street.  As you can see, there is a light on in a window on the 2nd floor of the building.  Did you know that this was an apartment that Walt Disney would sleep in sometimes during the construction phase of Disneyland?  When he passed away in 1966, I believe that is when they started turning the light on in the apartment, as if waiting for him to arrive home.  Unfortunately, the Fire Station exists at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World, but what began as a duplicate of the Disneyland station gradually was turned into a gift shop, and now it is one of the starting points for the new Magic Kingdom game you can participate in known as Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom.

Disneyland Railroad – Main Street Station

The Disneyland Railroad stands tall at the entrance to Main Street, U.S.A.

The Disneyland Railroad stands tall at the entrance to Main Street, U.S.A.

As I mentioned, I love trains, and the Disneyland Railroad is no exception!  We rode the train once or twice, and enjoyed every minute of it!  In case you don’t know, the Disneyland Railroad has stops at Main Street, U.S.A., New Orleans Square, Tomorrowland, and Mickey’s Toontown, so there are plenty of ways to get around that don’t include just walking everywhere!

In addition to the attractions I listed above, we also have the standard gift shops that grace Main Street the world over, and some good dining locations for snacks or even meals.  Most of them are similar to what you can find at the Magic Kingdom, but one, the Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe, is not found at Walt Disney World, and is a fun little place to go in and get a pastry from!

I hope you have enjoyed this look at Main Street, U.S.A. at Disneyland Park!  When you and your family come visit Disneyland, how much time do you spend in Main Street?  Is it your stepping stone, your path, if you will, to bigger and better things, or do you savor what you can find here and enjoy every moment you spend here?  Let me know in the comments, and thanks!

Coming Soon – The Lands of Disneyland!

Sleeping Beauty Castle

Sleeping Beauty Castle beckons you at the end of Main Street, U.S.A.

 

Much like we did with the Lands of the Magic Kingdom, and the Countries of Epcot World Showcase, we are getting ready to start a new series where we will explore all the different Lands of Disneyland!  If you have never been to Disneyland before, this series will help you to see all of the great things that you can experience in Disneyland, and perhaps help you realize that there is so much to experience there that you will want to plan your own trip out west.  If you have been to Disneyland, hopefully this series will serve to remind you of all of the great things that you did experience, so that you can relive those memories over and over again.

As you may know, we are also working on our series about the Pavilions of Epcot Future World, so there is no set timetable for this, but despite that, please know that these posts will be exciting moments for me and my family to relive that dream trip we took back in June of 2013.  I hope you’ll join us and walk the same paths that we walked as we all remember Walt in the park that he created!

Here are the lands that we’ll be learning more about in the coming days and weeks:

  • Main Street, U.S.A.
  • Adventureland
  • New Orleans Square
  • Frontierland
  • Fantasyland
  • Tomorrowland
  • Critter Country
  • Mickey’s Toontown

Stay tuned, we’ll be starting with Main Street, U.S.A., which you will learn has some distinct similarities to Main Street, U.S.A. in Walt Disney World, but also has significant differences too!