19 December 2011

Enjoy age-old traditions

The holidays are in full swing, and soon the rustling of discarded wrapping paper and the tearing of flimsy cardboard from plastic shells will be upon us. But the winter holidays are about what you get or what you give, it’s about sharing time with the ones you love. Here at the Main Street Gazette, we thought we take a few moments with some of our closest friends and discover how Disney influences their holidays.

Roundtable Topic: What role does Walt Disney World, or Disney in the broader sense, play in your winter holidays?
Roundtable Contributors: Fiona (DF’82), AJ Wolfe (The Disney Food Blog), Chris Fore (Adventure Veranda), Andy Jackson (Eating (and Drinking) around the World), D.J. Jones (The World of Deej), Eric Hoffman (Netmongrel), and yours truly.
Fiona – I think the part Disney plays in my Winter Holidays, is probably the same as in most others - we decorate the tree with an assortment of Disney baubles and decorations, and most of the decorations throughout our house are Disney. Most of the decorations hold a special place in our hearts, having purchased them at a specific time or during a specific trip to one of the Theme Parks. My most recenty acquired tradition is to get a Disney Mickey-Head Bauble 'engraved' with whichever Disney Race I have completed during my trip.

Another Winter Holiday tradition, revolving around Disney, includes the films. Every Christmas, I have to watch A Muppet Christmas Carol and (odly) The Nightmare Before Christmas. On Christmas Eve, the family will usually sit down and watch a Disney film together, either one on the television or from our collection. It is a great excuse to spend time together, watching something everyone can enjoy! And in a way, Disney helps to bring the family together during the Festive Season.

'Happy Holidays' to all!

AJ – I actually don't have a lot of Disney decor in my house, so the way that Disney has really become a part of our winter holidays is that I'm always clamoring for a trip to Disney World during the holiday season! Luckily, for the past couple of years, I've been able to make that wish come true for a few days! Heading to Orlando in December, enjoying the holiday decorations and holiday treats (yum!), and experiencing Disney World in a completely new way has become such a fun tradition for us. Hopefully we can continue that tradition, but even if we can't I know that I've created some great holiday memories that we'll be able to hold on to!

Chris – Most years find us visiting Florida during November or December, and (as my family will attest) it is hard for me to visit the Sunshine State without paying a visit to Walt Disney World. We love the holiday decorations, both in the parks as well as the deluxe resorts. Disney is also well represented in our Christmas decorations and tree ornaments - and there's usually a Disney book or film (or two!) wrapped and sitting under the tree.

Andy – I’m fortunate to be a “semi-local” to WDW and usually able to get to the World multiple times during the winter holiday season, so the events and decorations around the parks and resorts usually play a big part in my holidays.

I always enjoy the “usual suspects”: the Osbourne Lights, the storytellers around the World Showcase, the special decorations at the resorts, stalking the celebrity narrators of the Candlelight Processional, and perhaps my favorite of these year –to–year is the holiday tag added to the end of Illuminations (not surprising considering Illuminations would be my “if you put the proverbial gun to my head and made me chose” favorite thing in all of WDW).

Another great thing about the holiday season at WDW is that there is so much to see and do, that even the park going vets can almost always find something new and different to enjoy each season. This year Bonnie introduced me to the specialized Christmas trees at Camp Minnie-Mickey in Animal Kingdom. There are trees specially decorated for various characters: the Fab Five of course each have their own, as well as ones for Nemo, Stitch, the Country Bears, and many more. We spent quite a bit of time taking in all the details of the ornaments on each tree.

And really the best thing about the season at WDW (and be forewarned, here comes the sappy part) is it always offers opportunities to spend time with great friends and loved ones. With the “we-can’t-call-it-Mousefest-anymore” weekend in early December, there are always lots of good friends in the World, and considering that most of the holiday decorations are still up in early January, Marathon weekend is still part of the long holiday season, and even more great friends are in the parks then too. And best of the best, is being able to spend time there with someone you love… and I’m lucky to be able to do just that… and that’s all due to the Disney magic too… but that’s another story for another time…

Happy holidays to all!

Daniel – Disney has always played a big role in my life during the holidays, but even more so over the last several years. 3 years ago my wife and I were married at the Boardwalk the week before Christmas, so the holidays at Disney will always hold a special place in our heart. We made a pact that we would celebrate every other anniversary at a Disney resort, although we have veered off schedule by visiting Disneyland this year. Hey, when an offer to dine at Club 33 on your anniversary presents itself, you simply don't say no!

Eric – We love Disney World all through the year and across all seasons and holiday. However, we do incorporate Disney magic into our Christmas season in a few small but special ways.

The music of Disney World plays a huge part in our family's time spent away from the parks. We listen to Disney park music all the time. Christmas is no exception. Disney Christmas loops are in constant play this time of year. From the loops heard on Main Street USA to the Country Bears Christmas tunes, they add a great bit of Disney magic to this special time of year.

If we are fortunate enough to be in the parks, we will also make time to attend Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. The parks are amazing when decorated for Christmas - nobody does Christmas decorations and parties like Disney!

We also make a special point to watch the Christmas parade on TV on Christmas morning. And with the kids out of school there are many big breakfasts together enjoying Mickey shaped pancakes eaten off Mickey Mouse plates. But that last item happens a lot all throughout the year!

Ryan – With my birthday only a few short weeks from Christmas, the two usually roll into one, which occasionally means a trip to Walt Disney World for the event and the ability to see all of the special events (Castle Dreamlights, Holidays Around the World, etc.). However, the true Disney tradition in my house comes in during the tree trimming.

When the tree is up in its stand and all the branches have fallen, we pop a copy of Mickey’s Christmas Carol into the DVD player and begin setting in the lights and ornaments with Scrooge, Pete, Goofy, Mickey, Jiminey and the whole gang relating the Dickens’ classic Christmas tale. While short, it usually only takes one viewing to get the tree stuffed to the gills with ornaments. A second viewing immediately following the decorating ritual is usual required to send everyone off to bed with visions of sugarplums, err, rather, smishmashio dancing in their heads!

For people like us, we celebrate the magic of Disney and Walt Disney World all the year ‘long, but the holidays are times to celebrate the people we hold near and dear to our hearts. These are the days where Disney ties itself into our traditions and sprinkles a little bit of magic into the holidays while not being the main focus. Which leads us to ask, how does Walt Disney World and Disney tie into your winter holiday traditions?

1 comment:

Gator Chris said...

Hi folks.

Great topic and a fun read.

I hope everyone has a safe and joyous holiday. Hope to "see" you all online next year.

- Chris