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November 2000 Update
(posted11/5/2000)

On November 2nd I was working in Burbank so I spent a few hours that evening at the park to try to get some holiday pictures.

Christmas in the Park

In December 1995 I made my "return" to Disneyland after almost 20 years. The park was decorated for the holidays and it truly made a magical place even more magical. After five years of visiting the park, I finally ended up there once again as holiday events got underway.

Main Street already had the Christmas Tree erected, and decorations were on every building. It was beautiful. New Orleans Square had decorations all over as well, including a wreath with an alligator hanging in it right next to the Royal St. Veranda. There were decorations in trees, along balconies, and on doors. Many shops were also decorated, with trees and ornaments all around.

Construction in the Park

The Frontierland rehab continues as they install FastPass around the currently closed Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. The walls are still up around the former Mexican restaurant, and the Fantasmic stage on Tom Sawyers Island still shows alot of work underway. At the Haunted Mansion part of the backside queue is still walled off as they work on installing FastPass there as well. In fact, FastPass enhancements are in many places right now, including a redo of the Space Mountain area where the old snack bar counters used to be. Roger Rabbit was still closed (as the accident investigation winds down, perhaps).

New construction since just a few weeks previous included Pirates as the right side of the lower queue was completely torn down and walled off. FastPass, it seems, will be in virtually every major attraction in the park within a few months.

Outside near the tram loading area, the Indiana Jones show building still had the new framework along the top of it and on November 3rd they were hanging large camouflage "tarps" down the side of it.

Let there be Fireworks!

Even though the "official" debut of the holiday edition fireworks wasn't until the 3rd, sneak previews were held during the previous few nights. On the 2nd, I emerged from a ride on Indy to head "bombs bursting in air". Rushing to the front of the castle, the new fireworks display was underway. It was great! The music mixed Disney tunes with beautiful Christmas songs. There are those who will nitpick everything Disney does, but this firework show was still one of the best I have ever seen. It seemed to last forever, and as the final rockets burst a slow tune drifted through the air... "White Christmas".

Turning towards Main Street, the new snow effect was running. Along the light towers which raise to illuminate the street during the parades were new generation snow generators. Flurries of snow drifted through the air and the crowd seemed stunned at the effect. After living a few years in Iowa and experiencing "real" winters, I can say that this effect was truly amazing! A camera crew with a crane was taping the event and getting reactions from the stunned crowd. It was truly magical.

Now, the snow itself is a light "bubble/foam" type of thing that disappears as soon as it hits the ground. It leaves no mess and is non-toxic. Although the machines spitting out the snow are quite noisy (they sound like large fans), it was still a truly amazing thing to witness.

After the park closed at 8pm, a photo session was taken with Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Donald and Goofy along Main Street. A "Disney University" guy was there with a cameraman and they were conducting inverviews along the nearly-deserted Main Street. The snow generators were activated a few more times before I finally left the park around 9:20pm. I was able to get some great clear pictures and MPEG movies of them in action in a nearly desolate Disneyland.

Go see this! I firmly believe Walt himself would have loved this.

It's a Small World Holiday

During the morning of the official holiday opening, Small World was operational and I finally got to see it. This is no minor rehab, friends. So many extra lights, signs and sets have been added to the formerly "most annoying" Disneyland ride. A North Pole is even set up as one of the first scenes with a Santa's Workshop. The music was wonderful too, blending Jingle Bells, the original theme song, and several other holiday songs in a way that suprised me. This version of Small World is now one of my favorite attractions in the park.

More to come...

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