No announcement yet.

[12/4-5] HighLeveller's Christmastime at Disneyland Spectacular!


Get Away Today

This topic is closed.
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Trip Report [12/4-5] HighLeveller's Christmastime at Disneyland Spectacular!

    1-4-10: Part 3 posted
    12-15-09: Part 2 posted

    Over two full days, many selections from >1093 pictures, Christmas awesomeness, here's a very big TR for you.

    DLR: Dec 4-5, 2009

    First...the Pre-show the El Capitan!

    This adventure kicked off on Thursday night. I'd been wanting to see a movie here for a long time. One of the main reasons was actually to see a performance on that big Wurlie before the movie. This would be the first I'd seen a theatre organ performance in person. Absolutely, it was worth it! The stage show before the movie was a lot of fun too.

    The movie, A Christmas Carol, wasn't very good. Rating: **.5/**** at the most. Although OK, it seemed to rely too much on emulating a trackless roller coaster ride and sporadic blaring intensity. (For this second reason, I wouldn't recommend it for small children.) Having been up for most of the past 23 hours, I nodded off here and there, not really caring if I missed parts.

    A small side adventure: that outdoor mall across the street (this is right across from the El Capitan) has a big multi-level parking structure underneath. Having not parked on the lowest level, I of course had to see how far down toward the center of the earth it went. After much back-and-forth on the escalator, I finally found where it bottoms out. Level:
    6. I was parked on 4 so it wasn't exactly an expedition.

    But it's always fun to do this.

    Two Whole Days at Disneyland!
    Back in Februrary for my birthday visit I did make it a partial two-day visit, going to DL for a couple hours the first evening. This was my first true multi-day visit though. I wish it were a week.

    Attraction/show tally:
    Haunted Mansion Holiday: 4
    Pirates: 1
    Thunder Mountain: 1
    Tiki Room: 1
    Space Mountain: 4
    Small World: 6
    Matterhorn: 2 (once each side)
    Teacups: 4
    Buzz: 5
    Star Tours: 1

    Tiana's Showboat Jubilee (12-4 at 11:15 and 12:45) *
    "A Christmas Fantasy" Parade (1st on 12-4; both on 12-5) Holiday Magic (both nights)
    Candlelight Processional (5:30)
    Fantasmic! (10:30 both nights)

    Jumping Jellyfish *
    Turtle Talk with Crush *

    Pixar Play Parade (12-4)
    A few minutes of High School Musical *

    (* = first time for these)

    Day 1: Friday, Dec 4
    This would be one of those really good days I've had at the parks. It was a good crowd overall, mood-wise. I've long-noticed that some days the overall mood in the parks is better than usual; other days can be relatively rotten. And I've found a quite reliable "barometer" is how much feedback I get on my headwear. As some probably already know, I wear novelty headwear to the parks, homemade headwear at that. (I've done it on every visit since I started going to the parks again in 2006.) Further, I keep count of it and a few other things, for the blog on my (currently-down) website. To go along with the ride tallies, here's a forum debut of those counts. It looks like this:
    12-4: F:33, FS:3, CFCM: 0, P: 0
    Date: 12-4.
    Feedback recieved (F): 33 (a possible record for the one I wore; it was the usual ratio of about 40% from CMs and 60% from guests).
    Feedback given/sent to other guests for theirs (FS): 3. (One in particular was noteworthy; more later)
    Confused for a Cast Member (CFCM): 0 (but most days it happens at least once)
    Helping someone get their picture taken (P): 0 (often happens on visits though)

    And with that, on to the pics.

    Kale, kale, wonderful kale

    After the usual beginning of the day with a Space Mountain fastpass and a round of Buzz (874.9k/unknown top-10; the picture went missing), and some time not really doing anything, it was off to:
    Tiana's Showboat Jubilee
    11:15am preformance:

    12:45pm performance. This was actually after HMH and lunch break detailed below. I was in a better position this time and was also able to catch the procession. Today and the next day I did head over here fairly early in a half-hearted attempt at being selected for a performance. Didn't happen, although I wasn't exactly sure where and how people are picked despite having heard it mentioned. I'll most likely not be back to the parks before the ROA refurb, so oh well. It wasn't something I was adamant about doing so it's really no big deal. It would have been fun though.

    Haunted Mansion Holiday


    Scary ... Oogie!

    Always ready on short notice for a timelapse opportunity

    Talk often comes up about the gingerbread smell being from the actual decorations. This is extremely unlikely because not only will most scent wear off with age, but you also have two sets of windows--the protective ones along the mezzanine and the Pepper's-ghost ones--between the doombuggy path and the decorations on the table.

    Whew: at least my name--which is indeed on this list--has a pumpkin, presumably for "nice" and not a skull-and-crossbones.

    Rest assured, I would indeeed be back. I have a good deal more from here from the three other times I rode later on.


    I had been intrigued by this since Harbour Galley reopened, but had yet to see any mention of it by a parkgoer. (Sorry, the stark sunlight here was terrible for a proper picture, even with flash to compensate.) It's pretty good, although not a wow-factor item. The salmon fillet had a small amount of a quite tasty creamy dressing slightly reminiscent of caeser dressing. The salad comes with your usual dressing choices; I chose italian because I thought ranch (my usual choice) would conflict too much with the salmon. I would rather have had more of the dressing that was on the salmon fillet instead.

    One of only two unmagical moments of the day occured here, albeit a minor one, which goes to show how awesome this day was. (The other was a minor incident of snobbish conduct from a spectator at Fantasmic.) What happened was the salad and drink were rung up separately, which doesn't matter itself of course. But my AP discount wasn't applied to both orders, consequently partially stiffing me. I didn't catch this until after leaving the counter, and didn't know how to go about resolving it in an amicable manner anyway, so I just let it pass. This stung doubly because the CM who took my order was otherwise really great.

    I went and saw the 12:45pm Tiana's Showboat Jubilee next (I just put all the pictures together).

    Whooooooshing along inside Pirates of the Caribbean. (Timelapse fun in other words)

    I took a flash-flash-flash-flash photo inside POTC...and am proud of it


    Small World Holiday
    Round 1 of 6 (1 of 3 today)

    The "tunnel of lights" was missing this year. And I miss it too.

    Oh yeah: got a shot of a costuming favorite

    Much more to come from here.

    This is the point where I take on a wistful mood...

    ...probably reminiscent of Silvermist looking over the waterfall over in Pixie Hollow.

    These are one of my absolute favorite things about the Christmas season. It all got started way back in the day. As is often the case, I ended up with a head full of dreams, often leading to thinking up elaborate fantasical scenarios, all realistic given the right circumstances, support structure and such. This was probably the most significant of them all, leading me to even take a couple horticulture classes at the local community college. Maybe awesome things would come of it.

    That was ten years ago.

    Instead, I'll just continue to enjoy these in silence


    Anyways. I hope those dreamcatchers in IASW didn't get clogged up too much. I kinda wanted to get a Christmas-time picture with Mickey and maybe Minnie. But it would have been quite a wait.

    Evidence of guests using their brains is always nice to see. This was near the front of the Matterhorn which is quite a ways from Tomorrowland Terrace where I assume these came from. I've heard mention of these having to be fished out of the trash by CMs and you also gotta wonder how many get wasted because they aren't found.

    This time, I tried taking pictures with a high shutter speed, instead of digicam video which I already have lots of.

    An unintended side effect occurred in this and the next shot. :lol: (This will make sense when you see the DCA pics below.)

    "Dear Santa: for Christmas I want there to be a parade at Disneyland."
    "A Christmas Fantasy" Parade

    "Thank you, Santa."



    "Brakes. Brakes! Where are the braaaaaakes?"

    Much more to come! Up next: the rest of day 1, and later day 2. Candlelight Processional, more parades, fireworks, more IASW, more HMH, a Mickey's Fun Wheel montage you're really gonna like, lots of Fantasmic, and more. These take a really long time for me; probably 20+ hours of work by the time I'm done. Most I've been doing the past week as time allows, but I still have several hours of work ahead.
    Last edited by HighLeveller; 01-04-2010, 01:56 PM.

  • #2
    Re: [12/4-5] HighLeveller's Christmastime at Disneyland Spectacular!

    more pleasee
    feel free to be friends with me on my other sites
    im going to be making a blog soon too
    just send me a message when adding me telling me that your from micechat so that i dont deny you!

    other sites i am on
    plurlife: [yes i am a raver and i am proud of it. no i am not a kandy kid and no i do not do drugs. i am there soley for the true reasons behind plur and to support the music and the djs that work hard everyday to create amazing sounds for us. everyone has there own genre of music that they love. that does not mean that i should be criticized because people decide to take drugs when going to listen to the electronic genre of music]

    favorite disney princess: princess ariel
    favorite non princess: tinkerbell


    • #3
      Re: [12/4-5] HighLeveller's Christmastime at Disneyland Spectacular!

      Great photos. I practically felt like I was on the Matterhorn and Space Mountain.


      • #4
        Re: [12/4-5] HighLeveller's Christmastime at Disneyland Spectacular!

        Fabulous photos! I love the ones of the parade.

        Thanks for taking the time to share them...I look forward to lots more!
        [Half awake] How many cups of sugar does it take to get to the moon?


        • #5
          Re: [12/4-5] HighLeveller's Christmastime at Disneyland Spectacular!

          Thanks for posting these great shots, Highleveller! Looking forward to more.


          • #6
            Re: [12/4-5] HighLeveller's Christmastime at Disneyland Spectacular!

            I'm glad you enjoyed it. I'll try and get the next part up in a day or two--it's almost ready to go though.


            • #7
              Re: [12/4-5] HighLeveller's Christmastime at Disneyland Spectacular!

              Excellent photos.


              • #8
                Re: [12/4-5] HighLeveller's Christmastime at Disneyland Spectacular!

                Good stuff. More, more.


                • #9
                  Re: [12/4-5] HighLeveller's Christmastime at Disneyland Spectacular!

                  For those few holdouts still sticking around ... here's day 1, part 2

                  DCA and Pixar Play Parade


                  These bubbles at night are extremely cool looking. In fact they work better overall than the water-squirting they seem to be substituting for.

                  This prop is starting to degrade, I've noticed.


                  The Turtle Talk with Crush lobby. My first time seeing this. We learned they don't surf in Salt Lake City. Crush was understandably crushed. (He should come to Santa Cruz. We surf here! Well, I don't, but...)

                  First time on this. This is a pretty decent place to take pictures from.

                  There are two nice photo-ops here: a park bench inside the gazebo, and of course in front of the tree. If I overheard correctly, an extremely unfortunate incident occurred here. Most if not all of us on the forum know this already, but for any forum visitors reading this, anytime you see photographers with tripods and people lining up, such as here or in front of the castle at night, these are run by Photopass CMs (look for their blue+silver costume) and are for everybody. You can do the photopass thing (see your park map), and if you want, you can give them your camera and they'll take it for you so all of you can be in the picture. (Any private third-party professional photo-ops going on, if they even happen at all, will almost certainly have the area roped off. I don't think private studios even come into the park to take and sell photo-ops to guests to begin with. Some others may be able to clarify here.)

                  What happened was a family was wanting to get a Christmas-time family portrait together, and appeared to be dressed for the occasion, which would have made for a dynamite picture. But from what I overheard it sounded like they thought the area was only being used by a private professional photography studio for hire. It's likely they (over?)heard this from another guest, or possibly--goodness forbid--could have been misinformed or underinformed by a CM, which is really unfortunate. It made me wonder for a second too although it looked like just a photopass-er doing the picture-taking, but I got in line anyway because I wanted a picture by the tree, and sure enough, it was just an ordinary photopass-er. This bugged me a bit for a while. I really wanted to see them get their picture, but I wasn't sure how I'd go about communicating that it's just photopass-ers and stuff, and I don't think I saw them afterward anyway. I hope they did eventually go back and get their picture.

                  Your adventurous protagonist

                  And now for a Mickey's Fun Wheel Timelapse Extravaganza. Enlarged to show texture:

                  These were all five-second timelapses. It looks like around a 3.5-second shot would have made the "spokes" line up with each outer and not overlap.

                  This last shot was actually the rainbow-colors animation, which average out to this color as you can see. The lighting on the outer half of one of the "spokes" appeared to not be getting its color-changing information and defaulted to a yellow/white. It's in about the two-o'-clock position in this and the below shot, and you can see it in the others if you look for it.

                  Around now I'm positively starving, and really looking forward to my now-annual chicken and Yule log at Plaza Inn. Why not get an appetizer? Seconds-old tortillas absolutely can't be argued with. Actually, the other side was in production at the time. To add to the goodness here, some simple but terrific guest interaction moments, related to the "FS" count, sort-of had their roots here, although this wouldn't be until around park closing.

                  I took this for the "reference" folder, for reasons that should be obvious if you know me. But it ended up being a cool shot overall so here you go.

                  Back to the 'land
                  First order: Plaza Inn. Ooh yeah, it was worth the wait. There's been recent lamenting about the loss of proper china. The unique semi-rectangular shape of the plates here was neat, but the hard-plastic ones that were being used this night were all right. The green-beans side unfortunatly has been dumbed-down a bit from the multicolor ones they had before. Not too big a deal though; just a bit less attractive and unique. I'd heard talk of everything being sized down lately, but it didn't look like it to me: green beans aside, it was like it was the last times and just as good. I came here especially for Yule log and...ooh yes.

                  Then it was about time for:

         Holiday Magic

                  I went to the Small World plaza to see this to avoid the hassle of the hub and because I wanted to see what the projections on the Small World facade were like for this show.

                  The "snowfall" along here is AWESOME. I remember back in 2007, in the hub there were just a few snowmakers on low poles in three or four limited areas. The "snow" then was almost a joke. This time here you could just about believe it was the real thing, with snowmakers high up and enough of them to cover the entire area. If it's anything like this on Main Street, and the park map suggest it at least sort-of is, it'd be really good there too.

                  Hey everybody, I'll race you to Small World!

                  The short show every fifteen minutes was in proper form both nights this year. (Last year it was working only one of the four times I went to DL during the Christmas season.)

                  Left side

                  Right side. While going through pictures for this, I found out that a rather funny and totally appropriate anomaly coincidentally occurred in the shot of this part here. Not only that, this had happened not once but twice. The first time was this picture.


                  This act is hard to get because of how dark it is. Most successful attempt so far.

                  "Gimme codfish..."

                  " are TOAST."

                  "Murph--ahem--Maleficent, YOU are toast!"


                  Here's "The Making of" the previous picture

                  This attempt at a shot of the library (the room lit in blue with the spinning books) was mostly an ISO-1600 snowstorm but you can sort-of see it. I hadn't noticed it before seeing the bonus material on the most recent Nightmare Before Christmas DVD. This room is closed off by curtains in the normal version. Sometime I just need to get lucky and have the ride stop right here so I can get a timelapse.

                  IASW, Round Three.

                  And this is the second picture where that anomaly occurred. If something had to go weird, at least it went weird in a beneficial way. (Thinking back on it, I think I know why it happened. But it's still pretty funny.)

                  Take a look at this: it has soot all over it from the trains. Even the lights are all covered. :lol:


                  Now for the guest interaction. Near the end of the day, in one of the stores, a guest and I were exchanging affirming feedback on or choices of apparel. The minor interaction continued for the rest of the night, waving and such. I'm not talking about flirting or any of that stuff, although I'm not closed to it in situations where it's called for. But some ongoing interaction is always nice, because of how rare it is. With something in common, it's all that much better.


                  But there's something undeniably cool about knowing, as you leave, that you'll be back first thing in the morning.

                  Here's a teaser for part 3 ... with that light pole NOT in the way!


                  • #10
                    Re: [12/4-5] HighLeveller's Christmastime at Disneyland Spectacular!

                    Awesome pics! Another fun trip to Dland!


                    • #11
                      Re: [12/4-5] HighLeveller's Christmastime at Disneyland Spectacular!

                      Awesome shots in HMH! Great Fantasmic shots too!
                      Home away from Home.


                      • #12
                        Re: [12/4-5] HighLeveller's Christmastime at Disneyland Spectacular!

               to finally wrap this up. Sorry for the wait; my time has been limited. Enjoy.

                        Day 2


                        First off, touching again on how the average mood of the park can vary quite widely from day to day. This day's mood, unfortunately, wasn't quite so pleasant, and was glaringly reflected in the day's stats:
                        12-5: F:14, FS:2, CFCM: ~1, P: 0
                        Only 14 compared to the previous day's 33, a huge difference, and over half were CMs compared to the usual ~40%. Kinda too bad in an extra sense too, considering this was Walt Disney's birthday (Dec 5, 1901). I wonder if guest demographics play a role. Crowds were comparable both days, with the only differences I can think of was that this day was a weekend and the two lesser APs were blocked out. Comparing to past instances, I remember the Monday before Thanksgiving the previous year was a somewhat rotten crowd, however two other days I went that December (Candlelight Processional Sunday and the 27th) had good crowds. New Year's Eve, not so good despite a relatively decent overall mood, but the park was so packed I don't blame anybody.

                        Haunted Mansion Holiday, round 1 of the day

                        Ended up getting a bit better shot of the library


                        At this time, a new "very first" occured: I had my very first ever Disneyland churro! It was hot and freshly coated with the cinnamon/sugar mix upon ordering, and very yummy. I have now been formally initiated--into something.

                        Yes, this was intentional. At the end of the last big room I noticed my score was 999,800. So of course I carefully scored two more 100-point shots, trying not to overshoot.

                        Small World, round 1 of 3 today. I took advantage of being in the front row by digicam-videoing it--uninterrupted this time.

                        A major although inconsequential snafu happened here: much of the lighting is missing!

                        DCA for a while

                        After a little examination, I realized the lagoon was now filled all the way.

                        A geeky tech shot of the back of the High School Musical 3 float. It's just a mixing desk, albeit with some nifty-looking computerization.

                        I checked out Lucky Fortune Cookery again. This time I had spicy-Korean with chicken. In my last TR I was mentioning savory sauces and that it'd be a good idea to have at least one. This one is savory, for those of you not into sweet sauces. It's decent too, although I think I like the Thai coconut curry better.

                        Back to the 'Land

                        "A Christmas Fantasy" Parade
                        The showtimes were bumped up a couple hours today, to accommodate for Candlelight Processional. The near-high-noon lighting allowed for better pictures somewhat, although it was partly cloudy. Behind me, various members of a group of guests kept posing for pictures at the curb with the parade going by in the background: strange and mildly irritating. All the jostling, although not a big deal to me, was a bit distracting. It doesn't show in the pics though (just barely); in fact I had to think a bit to recall which showtime it was.

                        The sn...umm...the not-snowflakes. Still a fave of mine


                        Somebody really oughta post their pictures...

                        "A Christmas Fantasy" Parade Revisited

                        Oops! Got too busy signing autographs, maybe? And the parade got away!

                        Does it take a dozen bakers to bake a baker's dozen?
                        Howbout a dozen baker's dozens?

                        "What all goes in it again?"
                        "The--all that stuff in the sacks."


                        Chip's fixin' to get a CHiP after him...

                        Whoa, there, lead-foot!

                        It's dear Sandy Claws


                        I hadn't seen Tink before today. She's at the entrance, to your left.

                        Before long I skipped out to go wait for Candlelight Processional.

                        Candlelight Processional

                        This is a great show, but I'm not going to prioritize it anymore. Partly because it's mostly the same every year, but mainly there's too much severity with all the crowding, and the distracting squabbling that goes along with it. Possibly, though, this day's guest demographic had a larger-than-average number of potential squabblers, considering I don't remember witnessing much of it the last two years I went to it, which were both Sundays if that's relevant somehow. Still, if you insist on being able to see the show, get there very early and be up front. If you're going to be back with the masses, try to be content simply listening to the program. For the most part, there's little to see from that far back: all you're going to see is a static partial image of the choir and orchestra that changes various colors throughout the show. That's all. The pictures above are indicative of this. Just be willing to tolerate the crowdedness, minimize complaining over "being crowded out" and "I can't see", and enjoy the sounds, because the sounds are really what makes this show good, despite being nice to look at and all.

                        Afterwards, on the way up Main Street we were loudly serenaded by music-box Christmas songs and related favorites. The loop is supposed to be fairly quietly in the background. Just a minor goof in the park-audio department. I thought it was kinda funny actually.

                        Then it was off to the:

                        Tiki-tiki-tiki-tiki-tiki Room
                        I had only seen this once before.

                        There are birds of paradise and birds in paradise. Or to clarify:
                        There are ((birds of paradise) and (birds)) in paradise.

                        We're having a Big Tiki Room Hoedown!


                        Forget about going to Coruscant, at least for now. Off to Endor instead.

                        Upon arrival, Small World round 2 of 3 (shown below--I didn't realize IASW was on Endor), and then it was off for some of:

                        Meh. Unfortunate, but true. I hope Pizza Port was just having an "off" evening or few hours or whatever. I know for sure the previous time I had this, last year sometime I believe, it was a good deal better. It's best when you can get it served to order; this wasn't this time. (Don't panic too much at the pic though: I had already mixed it up and eaten some before taking it.)

                        And here's Small World round 2 of 3:


                        Last night was my first time seeing this from other than that "tower B" central place. Tonight I was back in my usual place. I noticed that off near Haunted Mansion it doesn't sound as good: low-end is severely lacking, although the rear-channel effects are a bit more audible.

                        He thinks he's so tough; well--oh no! This is HIS dream!

                        "You big wench...!"

                        Haunted Mansion Holiday, round umpteen (actually 4 for this trip, I think)

                        The wreath from the movie. This is another thing I hadn't really paid much attention to until seeing the collector's-edition DVD.

                        Small World round six

                        Now that the park had "concluded its operating day", it was time for what quickly became an Epic Fail. I have (yes, still have--you can probably guess what this is about) part of my birthday fun card and part of the gift card I got for Christmas the previous year, and was interested in some Disney good stuff, apparel in particular. I've been wanting a sweatshirt or windbreaker. First off, the current selection is seversly lacking in variety, and those selections uninteresting. Plus, I get the sense that some of these things are intended to be GSBS: the "BS" part means it ususlly does; "GS" means "gender-specific". For the life of me I can't tell whether some of these are meant to be or not. My criteria for what should be specific to one sex or the other is a lot less broad than the average. But choosing "wrong" going by those average criteria, and ending up in a potentially-embarrassing situation as a consequence, is something I'm not about to do. This has been an ongoing source of frustration for me. End result from my foray through the stores: nada. Will those cards ever get spent?

                        Not too happy about my day ending on a bit of a sour note, I quickly gave up and did my usual wandering around stores and stuff.

                        And this Christmas-time visit concludes.



                        Get Away Today Footer