Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

A Disneyland Christmas Lawsuit

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013

Disneyland’s Christmas celebration is legendary, but that tradition almost came to a grinding halt in 2009 due to a lawsuit that claimed that the park’s focus on a Christian holiday was a violation of the United States Constitution’s establishment clause.

The case was brought to court in November 2009, just after Disney put up its holiday decorations for the season. Not wanting to have to change anything during their busiest time of the year, Disney sought dismissal of (or, at least, a preliminary injunction against) the case based on the fact that the company — despite its massive influence over Congress — was at most a quasi-governmental entity and therefore not subject to the amendment requiring strict separation of church and state. The court did not see Disney’s position as strong enough to prevent the case from going forward.

Disney then sought to settle out of court, pointing out that although the park did have many decorations related to the Christian holiday, it also had a window on Main Street with a menorah in it in honor of the Jewish holiday, several windows that were completely bare in recognition of atheism, and both Santa Claus and a focus on the gluttony and commerce of Christmas, which was generally thought to be pleasing to Satanists. This effort was also fruitless.

Fearful of a court possibly driven to an extreme by misdirected political correctness, Disney made some quick changes to its Christmas festivities. These included, for example:

  • Labeling the Main Street Christmas tree a “Seasonal Megabush.”
  • Overdubbing references to Santa Claus in atmosphere music with references to Mickey Mouse (“Here Comes Mickey Mouse,” “I Saw Mama Kissing Mickey Mouse,” etc.)
  • Changing the traditional freshly made candy canes from peppermint to dill.
  • The Festivus Fantasy Parade.

Rumors persist that Disney also replaced the snow that falls during the night-time holiday fireworks with soap bubbles, but this is highly improbable as guests would surely complain about having soap spread on their heads.

Fortunately, just before the new year, the court realized that the lawsuit was (in the judges words) “probably the most ridiculous thing ever” and nullified it with prejudice. Since then, Disneyland has gone back to being the Happiest Place on Earth for the holidays, and we couldn’t be more pleased.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Disney California Christmas Attractions

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

Disneyland is well known for its holiday attraction overlays, but Disney California Adventure is poised to take some of the holiday spotlight away from its older sibling. We’re going to have to wait until 2014 for “Santa Soarin’ Over California” and the much-rumored “Tower of Tinsel,” but several more subtle Christmas additions have been made to attractions this year.

The ornament-firing game in Midway Mania is probably the most high-profile overlay, and the hint of jingle bells in the California Screamin’ launch noise the most subtle. Our favorite, though, is pictured below.

Holiday Mike

Crabby Carols

Friday, December 20th, 2013

The holiday version of the Billy Hill and the Hillbillies show has a strange addition this year — a passive-aggressive song leader. During certain songs, this cast member stands at the side of the stage and, when the audience is asked to sing along, holds up signs insulting their singing ability.

Passive-aggressive song leader

Christmas Car News Boys

Friday, December 13th, 2013

For Christmas, the Red Car News Boys at Disney California Adventure have a whole new show, and we have to admit it was a laugh-out-loud tear-jerking celebration of newspaper-themed holiday goodness!

The show starts out with the usual dancing and singing about “current” new items (“Santa Seen at Macys,” “Baby Lindbergh, Home for Christmas?” etc.). They’re joined by Mickey Mouse who’s traveling home to Toontown to spend the holidays with Minnie and all of their friends.

Then things take a dramatic turn. One of the News Boys puts on a Christmas hat, stands on a box, and begins to give a little speech (the same one written for Linus in the old Charlie Brown Christmas special).

Red Car News Boys Christmas 1

He’s only a few sentences in when another News Boy declares that Christmas is a time for joy and fun, not speeches. Then he grabs the speaker’s hat and runs about singing joyous holiday celebratory songs!

Red Car News Boys Christmas 3

In the grand finale, Mickey starts to wonder if there’s really a point to him going home. “I mean,” he squeaks, “with all the holiday cheer, everyone seems so happy whether or not I’m here.”

Red Car News Boys Christmas 3

That’s when the show takes a page right out of  the script for It’s a Wonderful Life. Mickey and the News Boys disappear, and for ten minutes the audience is left to contemplate what the world would be like without them.

It’s an awesome show with a very original punch at the end. Don’t miss it!

Santa Thor

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

We recently visited the Disneyland resort to take a look at all of the exciting goings on for this year’s Christmas celebration. We will be giving you more details over the coming week, but wanted to start off with our favorite picture of the day:

Santa Thor

In Innoventions, even Thor the God of Thunder has the Christmas spirit this year!

The first annual Disneyland Jingle Cruise is coming!

Friday, October 25th, 2013

This year, for the first time ever, Disneyland will be doing a holiday overlay of the world-famous Jungle Cruise. The “Jingle Cruise” will have many Christmas-themed show elements, including:

  • Christmas songs playing in the queue (“I Sank Three Ships,” “The Little Skipper Boy,” “Winter Jungleland,” “Tarzan Got Run Over by a Reindeer,” “I Saw Monkeys Kissing Santa Claus”)
  • Seasonally renamed boats (Figgy Pudding, Secret Santa, Jingle Belle, The Caganer)
  • Skippers dressed in itchy hand-made sweaters.
  • Peppermint-scented jungle water.
  • Jungle mist replaced by Christmist.
  • Temple ruins covered in twinkly lights.
  • Giant nutcracker Ganesha.
  • Elephant squirts trunkfulls of eggnog at boat.
  • Gorilla with gun collecting for the Salvation Army.
  • All giraffes draped in tinsel.
  • Over in a corner somewhere there’s a toucan with a dreidel.
  • Bamboo forest painted with red and white stripes.
  • Charging hippo chased away with traditional British Christmas cracker.
  • Beautiful bows on all human skulls.
  • Hungry piranha replaced by flailing, drowning elves.

The attraction’s script has also been rewritten for the holidays. Some highlights:

  • “There are usually three king cobras here: one with gold, one with frankincense, and — you’d better look in the water for the third, he likes to hang out with the myrrh-maids.”
  • “This waterfall was named Summer because it’s fed by a mountain spring named for winter, giving us what we call Winter Spring Summer Falls.”
  • “Here’s a unique sight — an enormous African elephant dressed for the season in a Santa Claus outfit. And on the right, another unique sight — an enormous African elephant dressed for the season in a Santa Claus outfit.”
  • “And that, dear friends, is why a zebra should never bring a lion fruitcake.”
  • “On the first day of Christmas my rhino gave to me, explorers in a dead tree.”
  • “Look out! The natives I gave spears to are regifting!”
  • “And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for — the back side of Winter!”
  • “The python has hung out mistletoe, but don’t be fooled — he wants a hug, not a kiss.”
  • “I see that poor Trader Sam’s Christmas budget is still shrinking.”
  • “There’s the dock up ahead, so make like a Christmas gift and prepare to be returned.”

A Visit from St. Nicholas

Friday, December 14th, 2012

At a recent performance of the Candlelight Processional at Disneyland, we noticed that the text of A Visit from St. Nicholas (read this year by Tim Allen) had been slightly altered. It appears that Disney has found it necessary to update the text due to societal values that had changed somewhat since the poem was originally written. The table below shows the text as read in the performance, along with the societal concern that necessitated adjusting the text.

Societal Concern Poem Text
  ‘T was the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Rodent infestation Not a creature was stirring, including my spouse;
  The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
  In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.
  The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
Delusions; childhood obesity While dreams of organic food danced in their heads;
  And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Body part reference; cohabitation Got into separate beds for a long winter’s nap.
  When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
Cohabitation I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Reference to character trademarked by D.C. Comics Away to the window I flew just like Dash,
Unintentionally funny wording Tore open the shutters and lifted the sash.
Adult content The moon on the chest of the new-fallen snow
  Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
  When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
  But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.
Ageism With a wise little driver, so lively and quick,
  I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
  More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
  And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name.
Adult content “Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Fixen!
Pagan deity; bad rhyme On, Comet! on, Newkid! on, Donder and Blixen!
  To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
  Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”
Frightening natural disasters As dry leaves that before the wild summer breeze fly,
  When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
  So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
  With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.
  And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
  The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
  As I drew in my head, and was turning ag’in,
Home invasion Down the chimney he came (I’d invited him in).
Animal cruelty He was dressed all in red, from his head to his foot,
Slovenliness And his clothes were untarnished by ashes and soot;
  A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
  And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
  His eyes — how they twinkled! His dimples how merry!
Ravages of alcoholism His cheeks were like roses, his nose was cute, very!
  His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow
  And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.
Smoking Some sugarless gum he held tight in his teeth,
More smoking And the fake fur encircled his head like a wreath;
Obesity He had a kind face and a typical belly,
Obesity That shook when he laughed at a joke you might tell-y.
Obesity; ageism; mythical creatures He was happy and well, so jolly and mature,
  And I laughed when I saw his distinctive nature;
Accidentally frightening Exorcist reference A wink of his eye and a turn of his head,
Potentially disquieting reference to "dread" Soon gave me to know I should go back to bed.
  He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
Slapstick reference to physical disability And filled all the stockings like a careful clerk,
Behavior that shouldn’t be imitated And curling his finger so that it was bent,
  And giving a nod, up the chimney he went.
  He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
  And away they all flew like the down of a thistle,
  But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
Cultural insensitivity “Happy holidays to all, and to all a good-night.”

We hasten to note that Disney made no changes at all to the story of the first Christmas (which was beautifully performed by Ahmed Best in the delightful, child-pleasing voice he used in the Star Wars prequels).

Under the DCA tree

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

We are very impressed with the new holiday decorations in Disney California Adventure. The attention to detail is something we haven’t seen since the old days when they used to make Country Bears anatomically correct down to the last tick.

By way of illustration, take a look at just some of the many interesting items on and beneath DCA’s Christmas tree:

In just this one image you can see a number of Disney and Disneyland references, including (clockwise from top left):

  • The Red Car Trolley
  • The poll from the old Main Street Barber Shop
  • One of the title characters from Angels in the Outfield
  • The farm from Home on the Range
  • Donald Duck (squashed almost flat from the iconic falling-piano scene in The Music Box)
  • Thomas the Tank Engine

Mighty impressive, isn’t it?

Rumor roundup

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

As usual, there are many WDW-related rumors flying about the Internet. Here’s a roundup of some of the most interesting (sic.):

  • Are rising gas prices making WDW cut back on its fleet of busses? Recent guests have complained that busses are more scarce that usual, and that there is a marked increase in the use of “bicycles built for 64”.
  • Epcot is rumored to have a new attraction ready to premier in 2010, but there is no agreement on what that attraction might be. It might be as large as a replacement for the Wonders of Life pavilion (most likely a Wonders of Capitalism area) or as small as a new flavor of soda in Club Cool.
  • Does the upcoming Country Bears rehab herald there return of the Country Bears Christmas Hoedown? Disney isn’t saying, but did hint that the rehabed show might “have a segment with a song about a shopping maul”.
  • In a unanimous show of unity, all of Disney management came together to distance itself from the horrible pun at the end of the previous item in this list.
  • Because of Disney’s overwhelming need for expansion, the Pocahontas show at Animal Kingdom will reportedly be closed and its cast moved to a reservation of some kind.