My one and only visit to Disney World Florida was at Christmas time. It was one of the best holidays of my life but one thing that surprised us was that Christmas Day is one of the Magic Kingdom's busiest times of year. We had, naively, thought that most Americans would be at home celebrating Christmas with their families and that the park would really only have foreign tourists such as ourselves. How wrong we were.
It's been a while since I've written for this blog and as Christmas approaches I've been enjoying listening to various Disney Christmas-related soundtracks including various parades and firework shows. I thought, over the next couple of weeks I'd post some thoughts about these things.
First up is a look at the 2015 decorations for the Town Square at Disney World. As you can see in the video above, it's all fairly traditional (just as it should be) with holly, ribbons, garlands, wreaths, baubles and tinsel. In the centre of Town Square is an enormous Christmas Tree (I can't actually remember what was there when we visited back in 2007). Guarding the tree are toy soldiers (which also seem to feature in many of the Christmas parades and shows as costumed characters) flanked on all sides by candy-striped bollards. I love the toy soldiers. I have a fondness for the traditional nutcracker soldiers often seen around Christmas, particularly in the USA, and these are another image which I find very Christmassy (even if, again, it's an American thing, rather than British).
The base of the tree has a toy train and other gifts around it, including - bizarrely - a penny farthing. It is clear from watching parades and shows at Disney that a 'Victorian' Christmas is very much the model and this is usually reflected in the toys, decorations and costumes prevalent around the parks. I quite like the giant 'jacks' (from the game where you throw up a ball and try to grab as many as you can before catching it again).
The tree itself is adorned with baubles and gingerbread - edible decorations are another thing which seem more popular in the USA than the UK.
Some of the wreaths hanging from lampposts are shaped, of course, like Mickey Ears and the shop windows are full of festively costumed figures such as Mickey and Minnie dressed as Santa and Mrs Clause.
At night time, of course, the tree is lit up and beautiful it looks. Below is a video of Disneyland Paris' Christmas tree and Town Square decorations and it is magical. The decor is less 'Victorian/USA' than Florida or California. The tree is adorned with some interesting bauble as well as candles. The lights also appear to have a 'show' cycling through different colours and arrangements.
There's no doubt that Disney does Christmas well and why the parks are such a popular destination at this time of year.
Hopefully, I'll be back with some more Christmassy thoughts about other aspects of the Disney Parks.