Disneyland Christmas & small world holiday Exposé

Alexander: Ho Ho Ho!!!

It’s time for a holiday-tastic visit to Disneyland Resort!

There’s plenty to enjoy at Disney during the holiday season, but my personal favorite is it’s a small world holiday (which, at this point, I’d have to say is my absolute #1 favorite Disney attraction).

We were treated to a particularly-special ride on small world (more on that later), so we took the opportunity to do a full write-up on the classic flume’s holiday overlay.


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Sean and I decided to make a little stay-cation of our Holiday Disney visit, so we got a room at the Courtyard Marriott on Harbor Blvd.

This was a bucket list hotel for us, since every time we ride the Monorail we say to ourselves “let’s stay at that Courtyard with the water slides some day!”

You gotta appreciate the view of Space Mountain from the pool deck.

There’s definitely some holiday happenings going on at DCA, but on this update our focus is on Disneyland.

It’s amazing how fast this stuff goes up. We were here a week prior and there was no trace of Christmas decor!

A walk down Holiday Main Street U.S.A. isn’t complete without a bouquet of balloons blocking the castle. 

Speaking of blocking the castle, the annual filming of Disneyland’s Christmas special took place on our visit (this is the second year in a row we’ve accidentally visited the park on film day for the special). 

This of course reduced the park’s infrastructure to a mess of roped-up midways, one-way thoroughfares, and scads of frantic Cast Members waiving people along with their little light sticks. 

small world is enjoying an additional boost of holiday cheer with the help of some very clever projections. 

A massive gingerbread palace and Santa’s voluminous toy factory are just some of the seasonal transformations.

An exciting addition this year (well, at least for me, anyway) was it’s a small world FastPass.

Matterhorn Bobsled’s new permanent FastPass station currently serves double-duty as small world holiday distribution.

We’d heard that FastPass for small world could be seasonal and/or temporary, but the success of it could mean year-round FP for the happiest cruise to ever sail the world (at least on peak crowd days).

The FastPasses themselves are adorable; how could they not offer these year-round?

It’s not exactly obvious in the picture, but the hub was an utter zoo as the night wore on. Shortly after I took this, Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel took the stage.

Space Mountain now feature varying degrees of holiday decor, Space Mountain is enjoying some time as its traditional, un-overlayed, classic self. 

The next day, things were a lot less chaotic at the hub. No more Christmas special filming!

The parades, of course, help keep things from getting to civil around here.

Time for more small world!

Right around the fireworks show is a great time to ride small world holiday. No lines!

Smoke plumes quickly fill the air.

Here’s a great example of why it’s small world holiday and not small world christmas.

The projections aren’t quite as clear this close, but still fun to look at.

We now leave the booms of nighttime pyrotechnics and enter a brief demonstration of the Earth at large (or rather, at small).

What made this ride so special, you ask? Well, see for yourself! We had our own boat on this particular cruise! A boat to ourselves meant totally unobstructed views of small world!

Here we go!

First stop: The North Pole!

Making a list, checking it twice, etc. etc.

Now we gently thaw ourselves in Switzerland, small world’s gateway to Europe!

Seasons’ Greetings from Great Britain (who needs snow when you can just have lots and lots of rain?)

France has already moved on to NYE.

Merry Christmas from the country who gave us Santa Claus: The Netherlands!

Yes, the Santa Clause we know and love was indeed originally depicted as a Dutchman, whose image was derived from England’s Father Christmas and the Dutch “Sinterklaas”, the patron saint of children. #TheMoreYouKnow

Here’s me and my Dutchman.

Like France, New Years is the main focus over in China.

Africa is looking quite festive.

Ah! And Feliz Navidad from Latin America!

Come sing “Jingle Shells” with Ariel!

Mele Kalikimaka from Hawaii!

And a very Merry Christmas from the cowboys and Native Americans living harmoniously in the U.S.A. (that’s exactly how that went down, right?)

Yay! Big celebration room, holiday style!

Whirled Peas and all that jazz.

At this point in the ride, we came to a stand-still; a boat jam piling up behind us.

After about 10 minutes, our cruise finally continued and then quickly concluded.

Goodnight, small world holiday! See you next year!


That concludes our little Disney holiday adventure!

Ready for more winter-y holiday merriment? Be on the look out for a Dollywood Smoky Mountain Christmas update coming soon!

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