Yes, the old Santa Claus Sleigh float, which saw the resort through two financial restructurings and seventeen Christmas seasons is no more, relegated to Christmas Past. But wipe away that tear: the Dreams of Christmas unit at the end of Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade now has a brand new sleigh, with some more reliable reindeer out front…
As the resort’s own family of reindeer sadly saw their numbers dwindle and retirement ages creep on them, the old float simply wasn’t really suitable any more — it being set up and designed to look as if being pulled by the real reindeer in front. It saw its last season in 2008/09, as a lone sleigh magically travelling along with no reindeer.
Cue a bit of that traditional Disneyland Paris make-do and mend resourcefulness, and problem solved — take the old Cinderella coach float (from The Wonderful World of Disney Parade and before that, Disney Classics Parade — circa 1992!) and transform it into a brand new sleigh, floating above clouds, with the horsed redecorated as reindeer and Cinderella’s coach removed and transformed beyond recognition into this very sweet — and surprisingly original — galleon-style sleigh.
It’s traditional for DLP Entertainment to get Christmas mostly “right” compared to other seasons and events, but this new sleigh is a very pleasant surprise, very nicely finished. Note the pine cone detail of Santa Claus’ seat, for example.
Surrounding the float are a band of elves, who also appear to have undergone some changes with better costumes incorporating more metallic materials and lots of different, individual props. The only thing apparently missing, at least from today’s previews, are the Toy Soldiers who usually finish up the parade. Perhaps they were still polishing their uniforms?
Reindeer on white sticks might look like an invention of Thierry Marx — it certainly seems outdated next to the clever float designs elsewhere in the more modern 2007 floats, which precede the unit — but this smart transformation is a great start to the season, don’t you think?
Pictures © Disney.