In the parks, most of the decorations you'd expect to see are still there, including the wreathes across Main Street, but the one main difference from years gone by is the conspicuous absence of any poinsettia plants. For a while, I couldn't work out what was missing, but once I did put two and two together, I was really disappointed. It was only on our last visit two years ago that Disney were talking about how many extra poinsettia they'd added that year, as guest feedback told them that people loved them. I struggle to see how that view has changed in the past two years, so I can only assume that the plants are gone as a result of cutbacks. Whatever the reason, it's a great shame and I hope it's something that Disney quickly reinstates, as I for one, really missed them.
The trees at each of the parks are exactly what you'd expect if you've visited in the holiday season before. If you haven't, then be prepared for towering trees that are impossible to miss and are beautifully decorated in keeping with the theme of the park they're in.
As far as holiday events go, we were lucky enough to attend a couple, including Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. I couldn't see anything that had been removed, compared to previous years, and if anything, I thought that perhaps they had added more in this year. There certainly seemed to be more characters around. For the first time in ages, we saw both Tweedledum and Tweedledee and the Queen of Hearts. The Cast Member with them told us that they were making a conscious effort to bring in characters for the party that weren't usually seen during daytime hours, which is a nice perk. That trend continued in Toontown, with Prince Philip appearing with Princess Aurora, and Prince Charming with Cinderella, while Minnie was to be seen in all her Christmas finery.
The Holiday Wishes fireworks were just as spectacular as in previous years, although having seen it both from our room at Bay Lake Tower and in the park itself, we suspected, but weren't sure, that perhaps the final set of periphery fireworks that appear to surround you had been scaled back a little bit, but otherwise, it was as stunning as previously. The same goes for the holiday version of IllumiNations and I'm pleased to report that I was not the only one of our group moved to tears by the whole thing. This addition to the usual version of IllumiNations is something we love and I'd personally be delighted to see something similar, obviously to a different theme, all year round.
We took in the Osborne Lights twice and found them to perhaps be more popular than ever. You need to choose the time of your visit carefully for these. Go when they open and there's every chance that they'll be packed, with it impossible to move. We were literally shoulder to shoulder with people all the way round on the first night we went, yet the next night during evening Extra Magic Hours, it was much more pleasant and a lot quieter. Do keep in mind though that more people appear to have discovered PhotoPass this year. We've never seen the lines as long for the photographers at the Lights as they were this year. If you want some PhotoPass pictures then, prepare yourself for a lengthy wait, but the results are worth it.
Generally, Christmas at Disney this year was very similar to previous years, although sadly it did feel that Disney had tried to scale it back where they could – and for regular visitors, the results do show. Despite that, we still loved our visit and the holiday season at Walt Disney World still remains one of our favorite times to head to the World.
Beach Club - Christmas decorations 2009
A poor effort on Disney's part for the Christmas decorations at the Beach Club for 2009. - photo by chezp
About the Author: Cheryl and husband Mark live in England and love to travel, particularly to Disney, and they have made numerous visits to destinations across America and Europe. They recently completed their tour of every Disney theme park around the world, which culminated in their visit to Japan, including the Tokyo Disney Resort. Click here to view more of Cheryl's articles!
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