Category Archives: Holiday

Christmas Decorations

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! I love Christmas and the whole holiday season. We have a ~10-year-old fake tree, purchased after many years of live trees (well, trees cut down in the prime of their lives). I love the smell of a (formerly) live tree, but I did have 3 big problems with it: 1) Pine needles. Everywhere. 2) Disposal–where do I put this thing (no, my city does not have one of those fancy programs where they drop it into a lake and it becomes a refuge for fish or something), and 3) Guilt over having killed a tree. So we invested in a fake tree and it’s one of those pre-lit ones that’s all easy and stuff.

Or I should say it WAS one of those pre-lit ones. Kevin dragged that puppy out tonight and plugged it in only to find one out of four sections lighting up. He jiggled the tree a bit (no kidding, stood there and shook it) and two more sections lit up, which on the one hand, YAY! but on the other hand, is that safe? Still, the last section eluded us, even after I gave it a good shake myself. Kevin checked the fuse (good) and replaced a few bulbs, but…nothing. So he made an emergency Target run to buy a couple of strands of extra lights to fill in the blank spots, and you can barely tell the difference between the 10-year-old lights, which are the old fashioned ones that only light up when you shake the tree, and the new LED lights that kind of burn your eyeballs out if you look too closely.

Now if we were REALLY cool, we’d have a tree like this:

This is a cool tree

Granted we don’t have the height in our living room–or I should say the dining room since that’s where we’re putting it this year. That part of the house is frequently baby-gated off so Theo can’t get to it. I know some kids do just fine with the tree in the room and putting the non-breakable ornaments at the bottom and all, but my child isn’t one of those. We did have a fleeting moment of “hey, that might be okay” but then saw him driving the coffee table around like it’s a car, so, no. Last year we set the tree up and then surrounded it with portable dog fencing. All was well until I was in the other room and heard BAM! BAM! BAM! I went to the living room and saw this:

I took this with my cell phone--can you tell?

Yes, the mostly-naked Theo simply hopped on his toy 4-wheeler and proceeded to ram the fencing until it caved in enough for him to reach it. He’s got a bright future as a construction worker.

Anyway, if you want a tree, Disneyland does it right.

From more of a distance

I heard that they used to get a live tree–or get a very tall live tree and a bunch of smaller ones and plugging the branches in the holes of the original tree, but now the Disneyland tree is fake. It does lend itself to a nice, even triangle shape, and allows for maximum ornament coverage

Isn't this a gorgeous picture? Kevin took it.

Disneyland is–shocker–wonderful in their holiday decorations, starting at the gate

This is a bad picture. It isn't even so bad it's awesome. It's just bad.

But when you round the corner onto Town Square, you catch your glimpse.

The holidays have begun!

Back toward Small World, they have cute little wreaths with cutouts. I don’t remember these from last year so they’re either new or I’m completely unobservant (let’s face it–probably the latter).

He's from Canadaland!

I thought he was particularly cute

And the castle, of course, is amazing.

Near Snow White's Grotto

Taken by Kevin, of course

I can’t wait to go back!


It’s A Holiday, Small World

So I’m not sure what the official name of the Small World Holiday ride is, but let’s just go with that.

It’s A Small World is a classic Disneyland ride. I can remember, as a child, loving Small World above all else. Dumbo too, but the Dumbo line is soooooo sloooooow. Anyway, yeah, Small World gets a bad rap because of the annoying song (I bet you’re singing it now–am I right?), but honestly it’s a really great ride.

A couple of years ago they revamped the whole thing, primarily because the average guest weighs more than they did when the ride opened in 1966. I’m not just being bitchy here. It was a real problem. The ride was designed with boats floating in a trough, carried along by nothing but the current of the water. As the guests got heavier, the boats sank further, and the current alone had a harder time moving the boats along. Seriously, your boat would kind of get stuck. And while it was a rather humorous bonding experience to be reaching out with the other guests and pulling yourself along the concrete walls, it was definitely Not A Disney Experience. I mean the only time you should be doing that kind of thing is on the Explorer Canoes.

So they shut the whole thing down, and while they were busy on the trough, they revamped the dolls as well. The New and Improved Small World featured two major changes: 1) more bouyant boats with a track to help them along when necessary, and 2) Disney characters added to the scenes. #1 seems self-explanatory. If you’re familiar with the “Little Tikes” brand of children’s toys, the boats are like riding in a Little Tikes boat. For #2, I was concerned this could go very, very badly, but they actually did a great job. It was things like subtley adding Ariel to the mermaid scene, or Aladdin and Jasmine flying overhead in the Persian scene. Tastefully done.

ANYway, so when it comes to holiday time, Disney completely transforms Small World into the Holiday Small World Extravaganza! (please say this with an Italian accent, and that’s not the actual name) They basically re-do every scene to turn into a holiday related theme. And not just Christmas, because Disney is all about Inclusiveness.  Additionally, if you hate the Small World song, here’s your chance–it’s now a medley of Small World, Jingle Bells, and Deck the Halls (which if you’re a pagan, you cannot possibly get more pagan than Deck the Halls). The outside also looks great.

The clock face is wearing a Santa hat! No, seriously--it's wearing a Santa hat.

Approaching the loading station, you see one of many strings of lights and bulbs. I’m fairly certain these garlands are directly from the 60’s, because the cellophane look is absolutely something I’ve seen in pictures from the era.

The jaunty hat is adorable too

Check it out--Santa is in the Eskimo scene!

Candles! And a Christmas tree with candles! And candles!

Can Can Can you ring in the new year?


A dragon for Chinese New Year

Okay, really. Chinese New Year happens in like February, but I’m not going to fault Disney for being multicultural.

This one's better, but the light on my nose looks weird

It's Saint Lucia!

Peace On Earth--I can TOTALLY get behind that. And also behind the Little Tikes boat in front of us.

Also, Holiday Small World does this thingie on the outside that I call the “Psychedelic Nutcracker.” It’s kind of hard to describe, but every 15 minutes or so they show this film thing with flashing and colored lights and the facade lights up at different coordinated times and basically the kind of thing you don’t want to be looking at if you’re prone to seizures, and it’s to music, where one of the prominent songs is from the Nutcracker. Here is yet another example of my stellar photography skills.


So basically that’s it. Holiday Small World. Don’t miss it.


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