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Just when I'm convinced the candy corn glow makes Hallowe'en the best season ever, Christmastime sprinkles me with cinnamon and nutmeg fairy dust and it's off to races I go! No more Pumpkin Spice lattes, no, Siree! Now, 'tis time for Gingerbread and Egg Nog lattes! ~insert Homer Simpson-style drool here~ Yes, what could be more glorious than Christmastime? If you know Moi, you know the only answer to that could be ... Disneyland at Christmastime!
I'm oft queried, usually accompanied by a snide, wrinkled nose, "How many times can you go to Disneyland so much? Isn't it all the same, all the time?" In two words, respectively, "Googolplex" and "No".
Especially at Christmas, Disney is aglow and alive with new designs, décor and discovery. California Adventure Park, par example, is sporting an all new, first-time ever, holiday overlay on Buena Vista Street, including the luxuriously Art Deco-inspired department store Elias & Co. If the mall is just a tad too modern for you, if it lacks the creativity some of us need, and if the likes of Target, Wal-Mart and Kohl's are just not our scene (hands up high!), a Buena Vista Christmas just might be A Christmas Story overload your contemporary senses crave right now: 50ft., old-fashioned Christmas tree, vintage toys, model trains and kiddie pics with old St. Nick.
Do yourself a huge favour. Get at least one day of holiday shopping in with Walt. Not close to a Disney park? Maybe you do live or vacation nearby, but don't want to pay the hefty entrance fee or commit to an annual pass? (You should, but that's a personal matter.) No worries, pals. Downtown Disney shopping and dining districts can feed your holiday needs, in both the Golden and Sunshine States. Tokyo and Paris each have a park and, if all else fails, a visit to your local mall's Disney Store can provide a travel-size portion of Mickey cheer. Not even a mall nearby? Wow. Well, gimme a minute. Ah! A little shopping at DisneyStore.com whilst watching Mickey's Christmas Carol will do the job nicely!
Disney merch isn't all Mickey ears, giant pencils and pinwheel suckers. Some of you would be happily surprised at the selections hidden amidst the back streets and castle crevices. Star Traders in Tomorrowland, at the egress of Star Tours, proffers an impressive inventory of Star Wars figures, apparel and collectibles for the sci-fi geek on your list. My geek faves? Muppets-as-Star Wars figures and the Obi Wan bathrobe.
New Orleans Square offers moderately priced, casually pretty pirate tees and other, pricier, Disney Couture gear. No hip-top kind of gals on your list? Mlle. Antoinette's Parfumerie boasts sleek shelves and shiny glass cases full of dear-but-worth-it designer scents: Christian Dior, Shalimar and more.
Main Street, Fantasyland and Frontierland have enough shops to keep you busy sifting through racks and shelves of crystal, porcelain, jewelry, fine leather goods, fine art, Disneyana, Pendleton, Dooney & Bourke, Tarina Tarantino and just about anything funky, wonky, pretty, sparkly, wacky, wild and weird to conquer that Christmas or Hanukkah list. As mentioned above, don't forget about Downtown Disney: no admission fee and plenty of Disney joy! My fave spot? Disney Vault 28, of course ... or, as I like to call it, Vault Disney. Get it? Ha ha. (As of late though, I do have to admit the unique selection here has thinned and the quality, especially where the Tarina Tarantino baubles are concerned, is, as the French would say with a shrug and a so-so wiggle of the hand, comme-ci comme-ca. Meh.)
Remember, Christmas shopping is not just about the buying; it's about the perusing, the strolling, the atmosphere and the hot cocoa, spiced cider and egg nog cappuccinos. IMHO, going into New Year's debt over gifts is just stupid. It really is the thought that counts. True, Disney may not be the least expensive brand; but there are enough goodies under $30 with a unique and personal factor that outweighs even Auntie Wilma's high-end Neiman-Marcus gifties. (Of course, that does not mean we don't still want Auntie Wilma's Neimans boxes!!)
Whether it's precious alone-time (Underestimate not the joy of Disney meandering by oneself.) or with a pal, whether with a lovey-dovey or a little loved one, Disney provides everything modern senses require for the perfect Christmas Story-Christmas: fireworks, festive drinks (adult and non-alkie), treaty-sweeties, parades, characters in holiday haberdashery and loads of photo-ops everywhere you turn. Disneyland is for fun, friends and family ... especially friends! Who knows what next Christmas may bring? You owe it to yourself. Be happy! Go to Disneyland!
Fave Disneyland Holiday Attractions!
Jingle Jangle Jamboree: Frontierland's "West Pole" f/ country tuneage by Billy Hill and the Holiday Hillbillies, Mrs. Claus' Christmas cookies, Holiday Corral and Santa's reindeer, plus a holiday crafting station!
A Christmas Fantasy Parade: The classic! Rollerskating snowflakes, minueting Princes and Princesses, wooden soldiers, prancing reindeer and all your fave characters in the gayest holiday gear!
Buena Vista Street's Very First Christmas: California Adventure Park's 1920s, small town Christmas and department store, Elias & Co. ... get yourself some Midwest-America nostalgia.
All slideshow photos by Loren Javier