Christmas: Disneyland’s Christmas Parade

Image of Disneyland’s Christmas Fantasy Parade from the Disney Parks official website.

Hi! It’s Annie!

Around this time of year I would usually be at Disneyland celebrating the holidays with my family. Unfortunately, that isn’t possible considering the rightful closure of Disneyland. In my opinion it shouldn’t be the only park closed, but I digress. One of my favorite parts of the holiday season at Disneyland has always been the Christmas parade. The Christmas Fantasy Parade has been pretty similar throughout each year, but every year they do change something about it that makes it either better or worse. So because I miss this parade so much, I’m going to list all of my favorite parts of the parade, some of which are no longer there, that have made this parade something of a tradition for me and my family.

The Opening Float:

This float consists of a couple of toys that have come to life sitting on a few books. The toys depicted on this float are a ballerina in a music box who dances beautifully throughout the parade and, more importantly, an adorable teddy bear. This bear only gets cuter as the years pass and is easily one of my favorite parts of the parade. He was Duffy the Disney Bear for a while, but Duffy has nothing on the cuteness of the current teddy bear. I would even say that the teddy bear is what I think of first when I think of the Christmas Fantasy Parade now. Somehow this float, that has absolutely no Disney characters on it, is quite possibly the most iconic image from the parade.

The Tin Soldier Trumpeters:

This is the one that probably actually is the most iconic image from the parade. You can hear them coming and it always brings this feeling of excitement. Their designs haven’t changed a whole lot, and it would be a shame to completely change them. The parade would not be complete without the tin soldiers.

The Dancing Snowmen:

The amount of effort that went into these adorable snowmen is amazing. They are only ever used for this parade and each snowman has its own unique design. And that does not just include what hat or scarf they wear. The snowmen each have different facial expressions and different faces. One even has freckles while another has a beauty mark. It is clear that the design team just went to town on these snowmen and they are all the better for it.

The Gingerbread:

While playing a version of the Nutcracker, half a dozen Gingerbread men march down with the chefs who made them, each just as adorable as the next. Some have different colored icings holding them together while some of them have peppermint buttons instead of gum drop ones. The highlight of this section for me though, was Goofy dressed as a chef creating the Gingerbread house. This isn’t so much the case anymore. Though the Gingerbread house is as beautiful as usual and it’s always fun seeing Goofy make a mess of the baking, a key element is missing. The issue is that the Gingerbread house has Goofy talking to himself or to Pluto, who is fishing off of the roof for icing, who only barks back in response. Up until 2013, the Gingerbread house was a father-son project between Goofy and Max. Max was the one sitting on the roof fishing for icing. Not only was it amazing to see Max there at all, but having it be a project for the both of them was heartwarming and Goofy having someone to actually respond to him was even better. I miss the conversation that used to happen on this float. The Gingerbread house float has only been a shadow of it’s former self and former meaning since they replaced Max with the more recognizable Pluto. I love Pluto, but I wish they would have kept him on the roof of the major character float.

Mickey and Minnie Ice Skating:

This is another example of a float that isn’t there anymore that I miss. A giant ice rink float would make it’s rounds, the only inhabitants being Mickey and Minnie who ice skated on the rink while waving to guests. Obviously they weren’t actually ice skating, it was an effect, but the idea was cute. In recent years this float was replaced with a float of Anna and Elsa from Frozen. Mickey and Minnie were crammed into the main character float with all the others. The Frozen float isn’t nearly as good as the old one was and it does feel a little weird that Mickey and Minnie aren’t as featured in the parade. But I do like Olaf’s remarks, so at least there’s that.

The Princesses:

This is always headed off by Lady Tremaine, Anastasia, and Drizella who are hilarious in whatever parade you place them in. As the Disney princess line has grown, so has the amount of people dancing around the float, and I love seeing all of them. Especially because you don’t often see the princes and I love that the float begins with Tiana and Naveen now. (Also, can we appreciate how much better the Beast in particular has looked in recent years. He went from kind of terrifying to adorably huggable.) I still wish that more of Disney’s diverse princesses were featured in the parade though. Also, they took away the warmer clothes for the princesses in recent years, so those princesses have to be freezing!

Gepetto’s Toyshop:

Again, we’re going to have to take a trip back through memory lane. While I understand and support the decision to make the Toyshop ‘Toy Story’ themed, I do miss seeing Gepetto, Pinocchio, and Jiminy Cricket making toys. Especially because now those slots are being filled by the green army men who aren’t nearly as adorable. But I will admit that this decision to change only makes sense; unlike Max where I still don’t understand why they changed it when they already had a place for Pluto. Yes, I am salty about this.

Santa and the Reindeer:

The Reindeer are once again adorable and really have my heart in this section of the parade. But you would be remiss not to mention Santa, as no Christmas parade would be complete without him. This has also recently become one of the most memorable parts of the parade in the last couple years because of the float malfunctioning and Santa almost falling out of the sleigh. He was rigged into it, so he was safe at least. That’s what I told myself when I laughed the first time I saw it. I feel bad for saying it, but the incident was really funny to watch.

Those are the things that I love and miss about Disneyland’s Christmas Fantasy Parade. I apologize because I’m not as familiar with Disney World’s parade. I have watched it before, but it just doesn’t hold the same magic for me. Probably because I’m more nostalgic for the Disneyland one since I grew up with it. I like Vanellope in her little Gingerbread kart, but all the other floats just fall flat for me. I’m sorry! But I guess Disneyland’s parade isn’t perfect either. Hopefully they will restore Max to his rightful place on top of the Gingerbread house in years to come. Happy holidays!

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

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