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Walt Disney World December 2016 Trip Report, Part Two - Hollywood Studios and Epcot
DisneyDan  Saturday, March 4, 2017 2:05:47 PM
Hello everyone,

In this second part of my Walt Disney World December trip report I am going to share you with your our adventures at Disney's Hollywood Studios and Epcot. In case you missed it, the first part of my report, which covers Disney's Animal Kingdom and the Disney resort hotels, can be found here.

Let's start with Hollywood Studios.   [ Read More... ]
Walt Disney World Christmas 2015 Trip Report - Part 1
DisneyDan  Tuesday, March 8, 2016 10:23:24 AM
Hello everyone,

I realise this report is quite delayed, but we have been very busy for the past two months, and I have just now had time to sit and write this!

Jon and I visited Walt Disney World (WDW) over Christmas itself last year, and stayed at Animal Kingdom Lodge Kidani Village, and Old Key West. In this report I'll be sharing our experiences at both of those hotels, plus our adventures at Epcot.

Let's start with Epcot.

Being the Christmas season, Future World was in the festive spirit.   [ Read More... ]
Character Central Advent Calendar - 11th and 12th December
DisneyDan  Sunday, December 13, 2015 9:47:43 AM
Hello everyone,

We have had an exceptionally busy weekend and so I didn't get chance to post these sadly, but here we are now!

Let's see who was behind doors eleven and twelve!

  [ Read More... ]
Christmas at Walt Disney World Photo Trip Report, Part Two - Christmas at Epcot including "Holidays Around the World"
DisneyDan  Friday, December 19, 2014 11:59:09 AM
Hello everyone,

In this second part to my Walt Disney World Christmas Trip Report, I am going to share the fun we had at Epcot across several days, for their Holidays Around the World, and other festive things.

We start our journey at the front of the park of course, where we shall stop to look at the Christmas decorations and topiaries of Future World. We took day and night shots of some of the topiaries, as they had a different look and feel to them at different times of the day, so I’ll share both with you.

Christmas in Future World

Christmas at Spaceship Earth

Christmas in Future World

Christmas in Future World

Christmas in Future World

Christmas in Future World

Christmas in Future World

Christmas in Future World

Christmas in Future World

Christmas in Future World

Future World is also host to a religious musical performance - “Joyful! A Gospel Celebration of the Season”.

Joyful! A Gospel Celebration of the Season

Joyful! A Gospel Celebration of the Season

Joyful! A Gospel Celebration of the Season

The main Epcot Christmas Tree is located on the walkway that links Future World to World Showcase. We took day and night photos of this, too, of course!

Exploring the Holidays Around the World

Exploring the Holidays Around the World

Christmas in Future World

Duffy the Disney Bear has his permanent location near the Christmas Tree, on Showcase Plaza, and for the holidays he wears his cute Christmas outfit.

Duffy the Disney Bear

Now we shall make our way around World Showcase to discover their holiday offerings, starting in Canada.

Canada used to be home to the Canadian Pere Noel, but sadly he has departed for voyages into the great wilderness of Canada, and has been replaced with a live band. The Canadian Holiday Voyageurs perform what are told to us to be Canadian Christmas songs and music styles from the different provinces and territories of Canada. The band and the music has a strong Christian rock overtone, although there are some songs that are non-religious too.

Exploring the Holidays Around the World

Exploring the Holidays Around the World

The Canadian Holiday Voyaguers

The Canadian Holiday Voyaguers

The Canadian Holiday Voyaguers

Exploring the Holidays Around the World

In the United Kingdom you can listen to Father Christmas as he shares stories of festive British traditions, including mistletoe and Christmas cards.

Exploring the Holidays Around the World

Father Christmas

Father Christmas

Exploring the Holidays Around the World

I’m sure these next two will make my fellow Brits chuckle. A giant Christmas tea set, and Christmas crackers on a garland - because that’s what we all use and decorate our homes with, right?!

Exploring the Holidays Around the World

Exploring the Holidays Around the World

Crossing the ”English Channel” (AKA the bridge across to France), we can discover the enchanting Pere Noel, and his story of Babette and her brother, Francois, who didn’t believe in Pere Noel.

Exploring the Holidays Around the World

Pere Noel

Pere Noel

Pere Noel

Exploring the Holidays Around the World

Exploring the Holidays Around the World

Exploring the Holidays Around the World

In Morocco you can learn all about traditional Muslim festivals and food, where celebration is “the spice of life!”

Exploring the Holidays Around the World

Moroccan Storyteller

Moroccan Storyteller

Japan hosts the Daruma vendor who tries to sell everyone her Daruma dolls. You also learn about the Japanese New Year traditions.

Exploring the Holidays Around the World

Daruma Vendor

Daruma Vendor

Exploring the Holidays Around the World

Exploring the Holidays Around the World

At the American Adventure, you can discover the traditions of Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, as well as meet Santa Claus and Mrs Claus, and wander around the Santa’s Village they have there. The American Adventure is the permanent home to the Voices of Liberty, and while we were there they were singing traditional carols, dressed in Dickens wear. Sadly we didn’t get any photos of them - they were the only thing from Holidays Around the World we missed!

Exploring the Holidays Around the World

Meeting Santa and Mrs Claus

Meeting Santa and Mrs Claus

Meeting Santa and Mrs Claus

Exploring the Holidays Around the World

Exploring the Holidays Around the World

Exploring the Holidays Around the World

Hanukkah Storyteller

Hanukkah Storyteller

Exploring the Holidays Around the World

Kwanzaa Storyteller

Kwanzaa Storyteller

Exploring the Holidays Around the World

Exploring the Holidays Around the World

Exploring the Holidays Around the World

Exploring the Holidays Around the World

Three times per night Epcot hosts its Candlelight Processional at the America Gardens Theater. Candlelight Processional is an epic musical retelling of the traditional Christmas story. During its run the narrator is always a celebrity, and while we were there it was Jonathan Groff - known more recently as Kristoff from Frozen! While we aren’t really into religious retellings and religious carols, it was pretty neat to hear him speak live, and the musicians and choir are exceptionally talented.

Exploring the Holidays Around the World

Candlelight Processional

Candlelight Processional

Candlelight Processional

Candlelight Processional

I have included a short video clip below. It was taken on my phone, and I didn’t want to be rude and sit there holding my phone above everyone for a minutes on end, so the quality is poor, but I thought I’d share it anyway, to give you some idea of what the experience is like.



Moving on to Italy, and we learnt about the story of the good witch, La Befana, who leaves presents for good children on the Eve of Epiphany, having searched the world for Christ for thousands of years.

Exploring the Holidays Around the World

La Befana

La Befana

In Germany Helga tells her story of her very first Nutcracker, which comes to life as if by magic!

Exploring the Holidays Around the World

Helga and the Nutcracker

Helga and the Nutcracker

Helga and the Nutcracker

Exploring the Holidays Around the World

The Germany snowman topiary by day…

Exploring the Holidays Around the World

...and by night!

Exploring the Holidays Around the World

In previous years, China used to be home to the Monkey King, but like Pere Noel in Canada, he had to depart and make way for new entertainment. This year the Chinese Lion Dancers entertain guests.

Exploring the Holidays Around the World

Chinese Lion Dancers

Chinese Lion Dancers

Chinese Lion Dancers

As with the video for Candlelight Processional, this was taken on my phone, so don’t expect great quality - I just wanted to capture the moment!



Next up is Norway. Here, Sigrid tells the story of the Christmas gnome, Julenissen, however, she doesn’t believe in him! With a little bit of magic, faith and trust, she eventually realises he’s real! For some reason this is the only Holidays Around the World that I didn’t take a picture of the storyboard for. There is also a video below, and like the previous two, it was taken on my phone.

Sigrid and Julenissen

Sigrid and Julenissen

Sigrid and Julenissen



The final stop on our tour around the holidays of the world is Mexico. Previously the Three Kings would tell their story, but sadly they have now gone too. This year instead there is a Mariachi band and some performers who show us what it is like to celebrate Navidad the Mexican way. In addition, Donald Duck, who always greets in Mexico, dons a new outfit this year to celebrate Navidad. There are two videos for the Mariachi performers, below.

Exploring the Holidays Around the World

Donald Duck

Donald Duck

Mariachis and Dancers

Exploring the Holidays Around the World

Exploring the Holidays Around the World

Exploring the Holidays Around the World

Exploring the Holidays Around the World

Exploring the Holidays Around the World





That’s wrap! We have discovered all the Holidays Around the World! We really enjoyed Holidays Around the World this year, even if they did cut some of the storytellers in favour of musicians. I don’t mind the musicians, but I wish they had been in addition to the storytellers, instead of replacing them. Also, I didn’t mention it in the main part above, but for the storytellers that remain, you can’t always meet them now, either. In the past it would be that they would stop for photos and autographs afterwards, but now most of them do not, and the ones that do feel very rushed, which is a shame.

In case you missed part one, which was all about Christmas at the Magic Kingdom (including Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party), you can read that here. Part three of this report, which will be about Christmas at Disney's Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom, will come in the next week or so, so look out for that!

Dan.

***

Want to discover the magic of all the Disney Parks worldwide without leaving your seat?! Then be sure to check out my “Grand Circle Tour”, which is currently touring Main Street, Adventureland and Frontierland, here on the Character Central Blog! See below for links.

  • Part 1 - Main Street USA
  • Part 2 - Adventureland
  • Part 3 - Frontierland
  • Christmas in July (and December too!)
    DisneyDan  Tuesday, July 23, 2013 1:45:15 PM
    Hello everyone,

    Today we have a distinctly Christmas theme for you!

    The other day the Disney Parks Blog announced details of some very special Christmas happenings aboard the Disney Cruise Line this year.
    Character activities announced include meet 'n' greets with Santa Claus, King Triton’s Tree Lighting Ceremony and the Deck the Deck Holiday Party!
    It all sounds like a ton of fun! Along with the decorations, seasonal food and other entertainment, plus a decked-out Castaway Cay, this Christmas season is set to be truly amazing aboard Disney Cruise Line!
    We've only ever done one Disney Cruise in February 2012. We really enjoyed it, and definitely want to return someday to do a Christmas one!

    Although none of this is 'new' news as such, I hadn't yet reported on the Christmas offerings that have been announced for the US Parks this year.
    We were away for the entirety of May on the big trip, and so I couldn't report on many of the official releases. I am just now finally getting around to catching up!
    Anyway, the Walt Disney World Resort website now lists the return of Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom, which runs on select dates from November to December, Holidays Around the World at EPCOT, the Osbourne Lights at Hollywood Studios and the Jingle Jungle Parade at Animal Kingdom.
    What's interesting is that it was strongly rumoured that Jammin' Jungle would end this Autumn at some point, so the fact that Jingle Jungle is back disproves this. Also, the Osbourne Lights are sadly rumoured to be featuring for their final year, although Disney have
    not said this officially.
    Although not character based, the Osbourne LIghts are undoubtedly the most spectacular Christmas enchantment you'll ever experience at WDW. They are simply stunning, and I know that everyone would be deeply saddened if they were to go away.

    The Disneyland Resort website has its Christmas page up now, too, and like with WDW, there were rumours of some major changes (for the worse) this year, but so far everything appears as normal. Character greetings, the Christmas parade, Christmas fireworks and more are all listed on the dedicated Christmas page. This makes us very happy as Christmas at the Disneyland Resort last year, for us, was one of the best things we've ever done there. It's a beautiful time of year, with so much on offer. We'd have been so sad of they removed everything they were rumoured to!

    Finally, this weeks Limited Time Magic at the US Parks is Christmas in July. No character greetings are being offered sadly, but they do have some special sweet treats, and ear hat ornaments.

    Anyway, I think that's everything for now.

    Dan.
    Character Central Advent Calendar - 20th December
    PeterPanFan  Tuesday, December 20, 2011 3:44:00 PM

    Today is the 20th of December, and so it is time to open the twentieth door on our Character Central Advent Calendar!

    Click to see who is behind today's door!...  [ Read More... ]

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