Monday, December 31, 2012

Season's Reflections

As the year closes, I'd like to reiterate my thanks and gratitude for everyone who's visited this blog, spread the word online, told their friends, or offered kind words.  It's a fun hobby, and it's always fulfilling to hear of other people enjoying the photos from the Happiest Place on Earth and its new and improved sister park across The Esplanade.  So thanks for a great 2012, and here's to an even better 2013!  Keep on sharing pictures you like, and I'll see you on the flip side of the calendar. We'll close the year with a photo of Oswald's Filling Station at night, during the holiday season.

Night sets on Oswald's Filling Station during the holidays.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Original Five and Dime

Disney California Adventure may have the more prominent (Los Feliz) Five and Dime, now, but way in the back of Disneyland Park, there's a cartoony Five and Dime as well! Yes, Toontown has its own main retail store, and it's, well, wacky looking.  But that certainly doesn't stop it from looking festive when December rolls around.  And heck, by Toontown standards, it's actually kind of stately!

The Toontown Five and Dime during Christmas.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Cozy Christmas Night

I really like this view in Cars Land.  From this little corner of the Cozy Cone, looking in the direction of Radiator Springs Racers, there's a fantastic layering of neon and light and canyons.  There's sleek Flo's V8 Cafe in the background, and Ramon's in contrasting greens and purples beyond that.  And with the holiday trimmings, there's an extra touch of magic in the air!

Vibrant neon and festive garland in Cars Land for Carsmas.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Snow Shining Bright

With thousands of tiny LED bulbs draping the cool blue thatched roofs and rosy pink and lavender walls, all aglow with a wintery wash of illumination, Sleeping Beauty's Castle is not an easy subject to shoot at night, during the holiday season.  Capture the detail of the lit snow effect, and everything else falls into shadow.  Try to overexpose to compensate for that, and the castle becomes a glowing ball of white fire.  So in a case like this, high dynamic range imaging (HDR) is actually needed for practical reasons.  With enough effort, processing, and masking, though, you can unveil an image that comes back to matching what the eye sees when gazing upon this wonderous Disneyland holiday sight.

The glistening snow castle sparkles during the winter.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The N'Awlins Lights

New Orleans Square isn't really that big, but as far as Christmas decorations density goes it packs quite a punch in its small square footage--especially at night.  All the glowing lights and wreaths decked out upon the French Quarters facades and draped over the streets and narrow avenues make for quite an enchanting effect.  If it isn't pleasant enough to take a stroll through the Orleans lanes during the regular season, the holiday season really amps things up!

Another glimpse at the holiday lights of New Orleans Square.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Flo's Christmas Cafe

Christmas may be over, but if the Disneyland Resort doesn't stop celebrating the holiday season until the first week of January, why should this blog stop either?

Well, for those who are over Christmas, I'll temper this post.  Behold, Flo's.  For "Carsmas," it decorated with air filter garlands.  But it's relatively subtle, and not as overt as some of the other Cars Land holiday decorations.  So really, looking at this photo below you might think it's a regular night at the V8 Cafe.  And you'd be mostly right.

Cool, sleek Flo's, looking cooler and sleeker during the holidays.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas in the Neighborhood

Merry Christmas, everyone!  On this most joyous holiday, may you have peace and good tidings, and quality time with your family and friends and loved ones!  Christmas is about being with those most important in your life. It's about hometown memories and treasures.  It's about a magic that transcends the day and fills the season with warmth and happiness.  So regardless of your beliefs or backgrounds, celebrate the people you care about, in whatever place you call home.

Late night on Buena Vista Street, looking up toward the Hyperion Bridge.
Carthay Circle's Christmas decorations.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Soldier on the Christmas Tree

It's Christmas Eve, and all the presents have been assembled under the tree.  The next day will bring holiday glee as the gifts are unwrapped. But for now, there is peace and serenity, and one lone toy soldier standing guard, looking at all that is below.  On this day before Christmas, I hope that the hustle and bustle and stress of Christmas shopping is behind you, and you can relax and enjoy the season, and find serenity in the spirit of the holiday.

A detail from the Christmas tree on Main Street.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Christmas-y'est Town in Carburetor County

Long after the crowds have gone home, Cars Land remains in a lit Christmas splendor.  The neon, the lights, the cars-themed holiday decorations... they all stand in a festive garland of season's greetings and spirit.  The peace that pervades during this late hour contrasts sharply with the hustle and bustle of the operational hours, but it's a soothing, tranquil sight to see Cars Land devoid of people, yet still so dazzling in this festive delight.

Midnight in Radiator Springs, during Christmas.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

It's a Small World of Color

Few things shine as brightly during Christmas as It's a Small World Holiday.  With its thousands of colorful twinkling lights, this ride's facade is transformed during the winter season into a colorful blitz on the senses, beckoning guests onto the "merriest" crew that ever sailed the seven seas.  And whether you like the ride or not, you can't help but admit how impressive this exterior is.  Yes, at It's a Small World Holiday, Christmas rings out loudly, boldly, and vibrantly.

It's a Small, colorful, holiday World.

Friday, December 21, 2012

La Notte di Natale

The Christmas decorations for Luigi's aren't significantly different from the regular decorations. A wreath up the Leaning Tower of Tires. Colorful hanging lights instead of white ones.  But oh, what a difference the colors make! They add a bit of pizzazz and a lot of vibrance!  It's lovely how they appear, twinkling overhead.  Bellissimo! as Luigi might say.

Luigi's during the holiday season sparkles with color.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Elias' Tree

This is not really Elias's tree, of course. It's not even Elias and Company's tree. It's merely outside of it. But you can see Buena Vista Street's department store in the background.

I really love this tree on Buena Vista Street.  It's an oversized version of something you'd find at home, complete with all the presents and goodies underneath.  And all the ornaments are classic and harkening to another era... it just sends warm Christmas fuzzies all over.  So has DCA done Christmas right? If you haven't been paying attention to this month's blog posts: yes. They've done it right.

The Buena Vista Street Christmas tree, outside Elias and Company.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Toys on Main Street

Kudos if you can name where to find the scene below.  It's not a scene easily visible by guests strolling up and down Main Street.  In fact, it's not even a Main Street storefront.  Instead, this charming little facade is located across from the Carnation Cafe, off a pathway branching westward off of Main Street.  I caught sight of it one day while on my way to the nearby restroom and found it to be a delightful toy shop scene that reminded me of the old-fashioned anticipation of Christmas day, and the promise of goodies and toys that awaited all the good little girls and boys.  These days, playthings are a lot more advanced, but the romance and nostalgia of this more innocent time still tugs at the heartstrings and contribute to the warm fuzzies I feel around this happiest time of year.

A scene from a window of a shop at one of the side paths off Main Street.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Castle at Christmas

Although not quite as spectacular as at night, and awkward snow cover aside, Sleeping Beauty's Castle still looks pretty during the daytime of Disneyland's holiday season.  The festive and colorful garland and ribbons give it a whimsical touch of fantasy, which is pretty fitting, since the castle is the entrance to Fantasyland.  And even during the day, there are always guests stopping to snap a photo with or of the castle.  Why not?  These days, it's a Christmas icon!

Guests traversing the drawbridge under Sleeping Beauty's Castle, during the Christmas season.
By the way, folks, don't forget that you can now access the site via the URL,, which saves you from having to remember that pesky ".blogspot" bit and also makes it easier to tell friends about this site!  And you should totally tell your friends, because you wouldn't want them to miss these great photos, would you?  This season, give the gift of website referral.  The gift will be to me, really, but I'll appreciate it!  Thanks!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Tinsel at Flo's

Flo's V8 Cafe is one of the less overtly decorated in Cars Land, at least compared to some of its neighbors, but this structure is already so gleaming with style that too much holiday trim would just distract from it.  So aside from some air filter garlands, the biggest sign of season at Flo's is this tinsel oil can.  Because if you're going to fill up, you might as well fill up with holiday joy!

Christmas decorations at Flo's V8 Cafe.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Carthay Circle Wreath

There's a great big beautiful Christmas wreath at the Carthay Circle Restaurant.  It's right up on the tower, and it is one very large scaled ornament.  Do you think they had a very large person assemble it?  Perhaps a magical Disney creature backstage.  And it added some nice Christmas lights as well.  And tied that big red ribbon.  That's the only logical explanation for such a huge wreath.  Yup, the only one.

The Carthay Circle Restaurant tower at Christmas.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Rushing Home Down Main Street

I like to think of this scene as representing that small town main street where people are wrapping up their last minute Christmas shopping and hurrying back home, eager to get back and settle down with their loved ones.  I doubt that even back then, people did not rush to finish their Christmas tasks as the holidays approached.  No matter how the world changes, some things stay the same, and I'm sure holiday shopping procrastination is one of them.

It's just a shame that we all can't head over to a main street this nice to do our last minute shopping.  Well, unless that shopping occurs at Disneyland!

Guests walk up and down Main Street in this Christmas time long exposure.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Christmas Mercantile

A couple of weeks ago, as I wandered around Disneyland in after an early evening drizzle, I couldn't help but notice how great the buildings in Frontierland looked with the wet pavement and their Christmas dressings on.  It was a scene out of a nostalgic, rainy Christmas evening, serenity setting in after a long and busy day, the last few citizens straggling home to their families.  My thoughts harkened back to simpler times, pondering what the holidays might have been like for the early settlers.  With life as rough as it was back then, Christmas time surely must have been a time for great celebration, thanksgiving, and cherishing of blessings.  Well, I certainly cherished the moment.

The Pioneer Mercantile, late at night, in its Christmas garb.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Salute to All the Christmases of the World...

...but mostly America's.

At least that's how I imagine Sam Eagle might describe this patriotic Christmas display, set for by none other than Sarge.  On the main drag in Radiator Springs, this might be the most ostentatious display of holiday spirit, even more than what's over at the Cozy Cone!  But you can't deny it doesn't command your attention, and perhaps that's the point.  Sarge would probably demand respect for Christmas.  That's just the regimented type of jeep he is.

It's a Stars and Stripes Christmas at Sarge's Surplus Hut!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Toon Town Christmas

Christmas at Toontown is just a little bit wackier than usual.  Oh sure, the decorations themselves are relatively straightforward... festive ribbons, vibrant garlands, verdant wreaths.  But set in the goofy cartoon architecture, it just seems a little more zany... a little more spontaneous... a little more thrown together.  In short, Christmas at Toontown is an all around, unabashed good time.

Some Christmas decorations in Mickey's Toontown.
The ambiance during the holidays is full of activity.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Friendly Snowmobile

Ever since Cars Land unveiled its "Carsmas" holiday overlay, crowds have been flocking to see the festive decorations and Christmas trim.  Granted, they've been flocking to see Cars Land before, but this merry time of year brings a special magic to the land.  In front of it all, next to a special Cars Land entrance sign designed just for the holidays, is this cute little "snow car."  It's quite a popular photo op.  Most days, there's a nice little line of guests waiting to take pictures with the car.  It's simple and charming, a lot like Radiator Springs!  And it's another fantastic feature of Cars Land during Christmas time!

This delightful holiday addition to Cars Land sits happily at peace in the late evening.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas in the Shadow of the Mouse

The other night, while shooting photos and closing out Disneyland park, I came upon this angle of Main Street.  And looking down, I couldn't help imagine what it might be like if Mickey Mouse really was gazing down the entry thoroughfare of the park, enjoying the wonderful Christmas view, happy to see families and folks sauntering out after a joyous and magical holiday visit.  I bet he'd be thrilled to see the infectious spirit of the season in everyone's heart.  Then again, it all started with him, you know.

Gazing down Main Street from The Hub.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Foliage of the Season

Buena Vista Street's Christmas tree is towering and majestic, ornate and intricate.  In the golden sunshine of the afternoon, it floods Carthay Circle with the warmth of the holidays.  Perched in front of the grand Elias and Company department store, it creates an icon for Christmas in the new entry land of Disney California Adventure.  With toys and goodies beneath, it's a reminder of the hopes and dreams of the yuletide season. 

The Buena Vista Christmas tree in front of Elias and Company.
A detail of the tree, with the Buena Vista Street shops beyond.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Adventures Continue

It's finally back. After three months of closure for extensive refurbishment, Indiana Jones and Temple of the Forbidden Eye has officially reopened today.  The downtime has completely reinvigorated the ride.  Back are all the original special effects, fully functional.  Projections have been enhanced in higher definition; lighting has been brightened and increased in vibrancy; a fresh coat of paint has been layered over the sets to make them pop.  And there are even few surprises altering a couple of scenes.  Indeed, the ride has not looked this fresh since it first opened.  So what are you waiting for? Head over to Disneyland and ride this Adventureland E-Ticket now!  Lest you tempt the wrath of Mara...

A painting of of Mara, the double dealing diety, looks down upon guests in the queue.

Some artifacts lie along the way to the transports.

Glowing light illuminates a shaft to the main temple site.

Friday, December 7, 2012

A Small World Christmas

When it comes to Fantasyland, aside from Sleeping Beauty's Castle, there isn't really a lot of overt Christmas theming--no wreaths, no twinkle lights, no holiday ornaments.  And then you get to It's a Small World... tucked away in the back of the land, next to the entrance of Mickey's Toon Town, and if it's nighttime, you cannot help but notice the holiday decorations.

The attraction facade is ablaze with a visual blitzkrieg of colors and lumens.  It's like a Christmas house on steroids.  Thousands upon thousands of twinkling lights across the entire color spectrum trace the outlines of Mary Blair's iconic facade.  It signifies that the "happiest cruise that ever set sail" is now the merriest.  Loud and clear, you know: Christmas time is here.

It's a Small World Holiday Edition at night, full of brilliant color.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Mardi Gras Christmas

Mardi Gras occurs nowhere near Christmas, of course. But over in the French Quarter-inspired New Orleans Square, the holiday decorations certainly convey that effect.  Luminous Christmas lights, colorful beads, and fantastic ornaments all combine for a dazzling and festive effect.  New Orleans Square is a dashing and exciting land, so it makes sense that its yuletide decorations are jazzed up and ritzy.  The locals would probably have it no other way!

Some dazzling nighttime decorations at New Orleans Square.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Lizzie's Tree

Lizzie's curious Christmas tree of curios.
One can find various Christmas trees throughout Cars Land, each reflecting the character of its creator.  And over at the Radiator Springs Curios shop, Lizzie's tree is no different.

The shop is already home to an assortment of signs from all along the Mother Road.  So it makes sense that Lizzie's tree is comprised of numerous Route 66 signs as well, mixed with an assortment of Christmas ball ornaments, all topped by a nice little star. 

The tree can be found in front of the shop, just beside the entrance.  It's not necessarily prominent either... just there, next to the porch, not proclaiming its presence, but certainly noticeable to anyone who bothers to take a look.  It's a cute holiday decoration, matching Lizzie's whimsical style, and another layer in the richness of Cars Land during Christmas time!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Main Street Holiday

The hustle and bustle of Main Street is evident any day, but during the Christmas season, it really brings about a warm feeling of yuletide joy.  As folks stroll up this romantic recreation of a turn of the (20th) century mid-America town, they take in the festive evergreen trim, Christmas ornaments, and charming holiday atmosphere.  With stores open and guests scurrying about, it very much feels like the type of nostalgic Americana from the good olden days... the merriest time of year at the Merriest Place on Earth.

Christmas time Main Street nearing twilight.

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Noel Horseshoe

Christmas at The Golden Horseshoe presents a merry and inviting facade.  Just a touch of wreaths and ribbons adds a lively and fresh feeling of Christmas air, and on this night, after some evening drizzle, the peaceful late night atmosphere was especially relaxing and reassuring.

The Golden Horseshoe at night, in its Christmas elegance.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Disney Christmas Adventure

This shot is probably familiar, both because the entrance to Disney California Adventure serves as the banner of this blog, and because I posted the non-holiday version of this a few months ago.  For Christmas, the entrance is sharply dressed in wreaths and ribbons. It's not over the top, or glistening with lights, but it's nice. Quiet, elegant, understated, but inviting.  Just like Buena Vista Street!

The entrance to DCA during the holidays.
Don't forget! You can now access this blog by omitting the ".blogspot" part of the URL and simply typing in or!  This should hopefully make it easier to tell you friends all about this awesome site where you can see beautiful Disney park photos!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Coneybread Houses

Those who venture close to the Cozy Cone lobby are in for a treat.  For this holiday season, right by the window, there is a gingerbread house in the shape of a miniature version of the motel!  It's rather adorable, this delectable motel model!  Or as the folks over at DCA might say, it's definitely a sweet treat!

A Cozy Cone confectionery is present this Christmas time.
The cones have been recreated in gingerbread form!
A close-up of the tasty model motel!
Speaking of a treat... I finally decided this blog has been up long and regularly enough to have its own custom URL. So starting now, you can use the slightly shorter (but easier to say) web address of to reach this exact same site.  It's just a redirect, but it looks a little bit more professional!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...