Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Christmas Time in Disneyland, Anaheim, California

If there is anytime I would choose to go to Disneyland, it's during the Christmas holiday season. With two dear friends, we decided to meet and spend a couple of hours in the "happiest place on earth."

With no kids in tow, we were kids at heart, choosing our own favorites. At California Adventure, which hass been renovated since the last time I was there, we headed to the Hyperion Theater to watch Aladdin. It's a must-see musical entertainment. If ou have not seen it, you can watch it here. It is hilarious as part of the script includes references to what we are familiar with like the TSA search, twitter, and more. It's a grand production that will trasport you as you allow Aladdin to take you to "...a whole new world..." on a magic carpet.

Our next stop was Soarin' High. It's a trip around the state of California, while flying high. Here we go...join us!

With our tummies growling, we headed to the train station on Main Street for our ride to New Orleans square. It was time to have our late lunch with our three o'clock reservation at the the Blue Bayou restaurant in the vicinity of Pirates of the Caribbean. Our choices for lunch were the Monte Cristo sandwich, Stuffed Salmon (with goat cheese and potatoes au gratin on the side), and Sirloin Steak. For starters, we had a choice between a salad and Gumbo soup. That Gumbo soup was excellent, so perfect for a chilly day.

It was while we were going to take our  train ride that we had noticed a big stage set-up facing the Disney Main Street, right next to the train station. This reminded us that there was going to be a Candlelight Ceremony and  Processional at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30p.m. We made a quick decision to forego our 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. fast-track reservations at World of Color - a musical extravaganza of film, light and water show - which we had seen before, in favor of watching this seasonal event for the first time.

Lunch was great. More so, it was a time to catch up with one another. Then, it was time to secure our places  to watch, the Candle Ceremony and Processional/Christmas concert at Town Square, Main Street, U.S.A. 

Disneyland is even prettier at Christmas time as it is decorated and lit up like a Christmas-fantasy land. 
With the sun going down earlier in the winter months, the Christmas lights were turned on as we walked along Main street.
 A little after five o'clock in the early evening, the Christmas tree was aglow. 
People were coming into the Disney grounds and exiting on the other side just a couple of hours before closing time, while we we searched and found our favored spot in the cordoned off areas, next to the section reserved for wheelchair-bound visitors. So as not to be impatient while we were waiting, we posed for our souvenir pictures.
There were chairs in some sectioned-off areas, reserved for guests who received invitations to this event and for those who won seat assignments by lottery (last August). From our vantage point, our view of the giant stage was partly obstructed by some big trees, though that was not much of a problem when the show got underway. 
 At past five in the afternoon, the orchestra members took their places on stage, and by five thirty it was showtime. Under the baton of Nancy Sulahian, the concert began with familiar tunes that were classically arranged for a grand collaboration of the different, musical instruments to create the most magnificent melodies for this presentation.
 Soon, the members from different choral groups processed on Main Street towards the stage.
With the chorus in place, the sweet sound of Christmas carols filled the air.
Lou Diamond Philips was introduced after the opening number as the narrator for the evening's performances. Thus began the story of the first Christmas. "The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph..."

This turned out to be a very touching concert. We got emotional and teary eyed. It was a presentation that reminded us of what we are celebrating this Christmas. "For God so loved the world that he gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life." John 3:16 NAB

The Candlelight Ceremony and Processional was started back in 1958 by Walt Disney. It was first held as a private event, by invitation only, to thank the community partners of Disneyland for their continued support. This year, this event which is normally scheduled for the weekends, will  be  scheduled on some days of the week, with two performances each evening. It is available to annual pass holders and the purchase of new dining packages. For the complete schedule this season, please check here

This holiday event has become an annual, traditional event at Disneyland and Disney World.  If you are not able to go to Disneyland or Disney World during this holiday season, here is what it was like.

May you all have a blessed, merry Christmas.

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