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Disneyland Holiday Conundrum

Will Disney’s love of Paywalls at Walt Disney World’s Christmas parties reduce Christmastime entertainment at Disneyland to a mere memory?


Disneyland’s launch of its own separate ticketed Christmas Party event has some people worried. Will Disneyland follow in Walt Disney World’s footsteps and put the Christmastime entertainment behind a paywall? Currently the limited event will not remove the parade from regular hours but the scheduled fireworks may not be so safe.

Disneyland’s delay in announcing the parties has created travel arrangement issues for guests traveling to the resort. Many pre-arrange flights, hotels, tickets, etc. months in advance based upon the assumption that the Christmastime entertainment would be there for them throughout their visit. The reduction in park hours is also a problem. Typically Disneyland closes at midnight for the holidays after about mid-November. Closing 4 hours earlier for a party puts a wrench in many guest plans.


The current schedule for the new Christmas parties is limited to five nights and does not include Toontown, Critter Country, and Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge. There are also no ‘free’ treats offered like at the Magic Kingdom’s parties. The special character offerings are limited with Lilo, Stitch, and the Muppets being the only real unique things about the event out of a regular day.


So why go? Capacity restriction...the events are limited capacity just like the Halloween parties. THAT is reason enough to go for many.


It’s important to note that Christmastime is the busiest time of year for the Disneyland Resort. The crowds for the parade and fireworks are more than substantial and I'm willing to say they are at a 60th Anniversary level most days. I don't see how the shutting off of that crowd level is a good idea since one of the selling points for the parties is limited capacity. Of course it's good for ticketed guests but wouldn't that actually mean a loss for Disneyland?


There’s one feature of Christmastime that I believe cannot be put behind a paywall, the dance troupes that perform in the parade. Consider the additional guests a dancer ‘brings’ with them when they perform in the parade. There is a large group of people that attend with them from family members and friends of the dancer, to friends of the family and whomever is in their immediate circle too. All of these people have access to discounted tickets, stay in local hotels, and spend lots of money. So what will Disneyland do about this universe of guests? Stop having these young dancers perform in the parades? Stop that annual tradition? I’m not convinced they’ll do that but of course Disney does do things we don’t agree with.


Lastly there’s lack of major Christmastime entertainment in Disney California Adventure (DCA). DCA’s main entertainment feature, World of Color, is most likely not going to be running this year. Then there is the lack of a parade. Let’s face it, DCA is no equal to Disneyland in the Christmastime entertainment department. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Holiday feeling and decorations on Buena Street and in Cars Land but the Sleeping Beauty castle lit up at night during Christmastime along with the fireworks takes the cake. THAT is why people come to Disneyland during the holidays.


So yes, ultimately Disneyland is testing out the Christmastime party idea to potentially do more in the future. Whether or not it fully morphs into what is done at the Magic Kingdom … with a firm paywall in front of all Disneyland Christmastime entertainment is something only the Shadow knows right now…

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