Monday brought a sea of green construction walls, entirely closing off the hubs of Central Plaza and Town Square, along with the first few ribbons and garlands on the lamposts. Town Square’s Gazebo had already been returned to its non-Pumpkin form, and the flower beds had already been given their white winter coats.
Just one day later, the Giant Pumpkin is gone, the Enchanted Fairytale Ceremony stage is being worked on and garlands and ribbons have arrived on many of Main Street’s buildings, including the Gazebo. The trees and lamposts are all given special gold ribbons, and – the biggest change of all – the Christmas Tree has returned! As reported yesterday, though, the tree has returned to its original Town Square location after a two year vacation at Central Plaza. Lining up perfectly with the Castle and the sleek Fairytale Illuminations, the “new” location of the tree already creates a much cosier Christmas atmosphere.
At the moment, the season is looking to be surprising similar to last year’s celebration, but after many years of enhancements and additions they’re definitely still not done. Firstly, what we won’t be seeing. Le NoÃ«l de Mickey is gone for good – the resort announced last Christmas that 2005/06 would be the final season of this incredibly long-running show (since 1992, believe it or not) at the Fantasy Festival Stage. Another no-show for 2006 will be Belle’s Musical Medley at Belle’s Christmas Village. The lively mimed show, performed by a special seasonal cast, was introduced with the market village itself in 2002, but is confirmed to not be returning this year. The market village itself, though, will return.
Secondly, what will be new? There’s nothing (so far) as grand as the Crystal Castle and Enchanted Fairytale Illuminations of previous years, but the gap left by Le NoÃ«l de Mickey at Fantasy Festival Stage will certainly be filled by Winnie the Pooh and Friends, Too. Since the new Summer version of the show features the friends hunting for the end of the rainbow, it seems likely a totally different version will be developed for Christmas. Also in park entertainment, some changes and additions at Walt Disney Studios Park are likely. Last year the park unwrapped a Christmas version of the popular “Good Morning Walt Disney Studios” mini parade, plus a small “Goofy presents… The Swing Along Santas” musical show, both of which would be perfect for additions and development for a second season.
Finally, what will be the same? The Christmas Parade, Mickey’s Winter Wonderland, Christmas CinéFolies, Belle’s Christmas Village and most of the parks’ decorations, certainly. The Enchanted Fairytale Ceremony could be changed again, but the second version developed for 2005 was very popular all round so major change seems unlikely. Fans of The Christmas Parade should perhaps make extra effort to enjoy the spectacle this year, since with Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade scheduled to run throughout 2007/08, a return for 2007 isn’t looking promising. The parks and hotels will all present another enchanted Christmas, their most magical (and now most popular) time of the year for guests.
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