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Disneyland’s Christmas Overlays

Gary Cruise banner

I was pleased when I recently read on the Disney Parks Blog that there will be a special “Christmas Overlay” at The Jungle Cruise.

They explained it as follows: Beginning in early November, Jungle Cruise at both Disneyland Park and Magic Kingdom Park will temporarily transform into “Jingle Cruise” for the holiday season! In this new seasonal storyline of the attraction, the Skippers have grown homesick for the holidays, so they’ve added holiday cheer to the Jungle Cruise queue and boathouse with decorations that have been mailed to them from home (plus a few they’ve created themselves). The Skippers have also added a slew of new jokes to their tours that are the perfect way to get guests in the holiday spirit. Additionally, Jungle Cruise boats have been renamed with the holidays in mind, and if guests listen carefully, they may hear a holiday-themed radio broadcast playing in the background.

Great news! Carol and I will be visiting the Magic Kingdom for a few weeks in November/December and we will be sure to visit this classic old attraction to see the new holiday spin they put on it.

Do you suppose that overlays like those they do in California might follow at Florida attractions in years to come? I sure hope so! We used to really enjoy the Christmas Overlay at Country Bear Jamboree and we were very disappoinited when it was discontinued in 2005.

Carol and I have visited the Disney Parks in California several times during the holiday season and the overlays at It’s A Small World and The Haunted Mansion have absolutely blown us away!

These are not just little cosmetic makeovers; each of the attractions is closed for a few weeks while the special holiday treats are added. The results are simply wonderful!

Let me show you what I mean . . . pictures tell the story much better than I can. First, a word about the pictures – some are not the best of quality since they were taken in a dark ride and we didn’t use a flash. I never use a flash in a dark ride and I’m always annoyed when others do. ‘Nuff said!

Both Carol and I prefer the Disneyland version of the It's A Small World attraction. You board your boat outside, in front of a three-dimensional façade with stylized cutout turrets, towers and minarets; look closely and you’ll see some world landmarks. The 30 foot clock with that big smiling face rocks back and forth and every fifteen minutes colourful wooden dolls parade as the clock announces the time. It is quite captivating every time you approach.

Small_World_Exterior_Daytime

But at Christmas that façade is festooned with thousands of lights and it becomes a holiday wonderland of color. WOW!

Small_World_Exterior_Nightime

The lights put a magical glow on the topiaries you sail past before you enter the interior, but the holiday magic doesn’t end there. In each of the rooms there are special holiday displays. Watch very carefully and you will see that some of the dolls are now dressed in holiday costumes. Cutaway snowmen with carrot noses welcome you to the Ho-Ho-Holidays”

Small_World_Ho_Ho_Holidays

There is a mailbox for letters to Santa!

Small_World_Santa_Mail_Box

Banners wish you Joyeuses Fetes, Feliz Navidad, Happy Holidays, Mele Kelikimaka, Happy Hanukah, Peace on Earth and many other holiday greetings.

Small_World_Joyueses_Fetes

Small_World_Happy_Holidays

Small_World_Mele_Kelikmaka

Small_World_Peace_On_Earth

And wait . . . what is that I hear? Are those dolls singing Jingle Bells and Hark the Herald Angels Sing?

Yes they are . . . NICE!

Small_World_Lights

This year It’s A Small World was scheduled to close from October 21st through November 7th while the overlay was installed. It will run until early January. If you’re there, be sure to visit during the evening, but allow plenty of time. That area of the park is very busy over the holidays!

The Haunted Mansion is one of our absolute favourite attractions and once again, we prefer the California version. We especially enjoy it during October, November and December during the seasonal transformation! The seasonal magic begins as you approach; Jack Skellington is perched on the gate as you enter and hundreds of pumpkins adorn the mansion.

Haunted_Mansion_Jack_On_The_Gate

Haunted_Mansion_Exterior

Haunted_Mansion_Exterior

Once you are in the “Stretching Room” you begin to see some differences . . . in fact nothing is the same. Jack Skellington and his Halloweentown cronies have taken over! Oogie Boogie and a huge cast of creepy spooks wait as you board your Doom Buggy.

Haunted_Mansion_Entrance_with_Oogie_Boogie

Haunted_Mansion_Entry_with_Oogie_Boogie_and_friends

The entire sound track has been modified and everything you have always enjoyed in the mansion is different. It has always been spooky, but during the holidays it’s creepy-spooky!

As you leave the library and your Doom Buggy turns to travel backwards your eyes drift upward to find a giant man-eating wreath singing a chilling song!

The attic where Constance Hatchaway, the bride with the hatchet, and her five husbands normally appear has been piled full of frightful gifts. Some are ticking, some are growling, wait . . . did that one just move?

Haunted_Mansion_Gifts

Jack Skellington and Zero have replaced the gravedigger and his dog to welcome you to the graveyard!

Haunted_Mansion_Jack_and_Zero
(Confession - I used a flash for this picture – the ride was shut down, the lights were on and we were being walked out)

Those singing busts in the cemetery have a new, even more sinister look!

Haunted_Mansion_Singing_Busts

Are those angels blowing their trumpets? I think not!

Haunted_Mansion_Trumpets

There are no hitchhiking ghosts as you exit, instead Oogie Boogie spins a wheel which assigns you a trick or a treat . . . but don’t be expecting any treats as you round that last corner.

Haunted_Mansion_Oogie_Boogie

What a joy! Carol and I are both fans of Nightmare Before Christmas and it is a real pleasure to see two of our favourites combined this way! We ride it again and again!

It’s A Small World and The Haunted Mansion in California have been overlaid for the holidays for the last 16 years and 12 years respectively. I sure hope that the recent announcement about The Jungle Cruise means we might be getting more seasonal overlays in Florida sometime in the near future!

The previous post in this blog was The Disneyland Story: The Unofficial Guide to the Evolution of Walt Disney's Dream.

The next post in this blog is The Disneyland Story: The Unofficial Guide to the Evolution of Walt Disney's Dream, Part 2.

Comments (2)

janie flores:

I love your blog...great pictures!

Kameo :

Thanks Gary! I too love the holiday overlays as well as your insightful and entertaining blogs.

Keep up the good work and I can't wait to read your trip blog next month!

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 10, 2013 6:10 AM.

The previous post in this blog was The Disneyland Story: The Unofficial Guide to the Evolution of Walt Disney's Dream.

The next post in this blog is The Disneyland Story: The Unofficial Guide to the Evolution of Walt Disney's Dream, Part 2.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.