Walking in a Disney Winter Wonderland

Today’s Guest Post is by Tina from the Mousetalgia Minute Podcast!

On Sunday, December 9, I attended D23’s Light Up the Season party at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank and it had all the Christmas feels. Registration for the event opened on October 12 for $25.00 and was available to Gold members or Gold Family members for purchase. Prior to our arrival we received an email with information about our entrance gate. This year they distributed the guests between different entrances to the studios. Our entrance for the evening was at the Legends Plaza.  We were greeted by the Partners Statue where Mickey and Walt donned their holiday scarves and Santa hats for the occasion. Each guest received an ornament to hang on their tree and were serenaded by a choir, which also entertained us later in the night. The party officially opened at 4; however, guests could arrive as early as 3:00 pm.

First, we met Santa! Ok, thinking back, that was a big mistake. Sorry Santa, but our priority should have been lining up for the chance to shop in the Employee Store. The lines for both the Employee Store and Studio Store were so long Scrooge McDuck himself would have been impressed at the sounds of the non-stop cash registers. Speaking of Scrooge McDuck, Mickey’s Christmas Carol played every half hour starting at 4:00 pm with the last showing beginning at 6:30 pm in the Theatre. If you’ve never been to the Theatre it is absolutely beautiful. The lobby’s two display cases housed several pieces of original art from the movie along with figurines.

Santa wasn’t the only Christmas celebrity at the Studios. Guests were also able to meet Santa Goofy and the big cheese himself, Santa Mickey. Goofy, wearing his Santa suit, stood in front of a Christmas tree surrounded by presents.  Later, the head of D23, Michael Vargo, helped the guests count down to the tree lighting. But wait, it’s getting cold outside…but not that cold. What is that white fluffy stuff falling from the sky? It’s snope! That’s right, after the tree lighting ceremony, a rare blizzard made its way to Burbank for all guests to enjoy.

This was definitely one night that kids (and perhaps even some adults) didn’t have to worry about getting coal for Christmas because treats and drinks were found around every corner. We were served water, fruit punch, hot chocolate and cider. The spread of cookies were definitely Santa (and Tina) approved – snickerdoodles and brownie cookies with crushed peppermint – both were very yummy. The commissary was also open during the party, to meet any partygoer’s need for something a bit heartier (like Walt’s chili) at an extra cost.

There were plenty of reindeer games to be played as well as crafts to be made. Whether you were trying to throw a ring around a Christmas tree or throwing snowballs through a hole in a snowman (which I’m positive shrunk each time I threw a snowball), a small prize could be won. There were several craft stations scattered about where guests could make a paper Mickey ornament, an Olaf bag and reindeer candy cane. Kids could enjoy a ride on a small train, a merry-go-round and swings.  

Even if you were not able to get in line for Santa, Goofy or Mickey, there were quite a few wooden photo-ops throughout the party. While not all of the studio property was open, guests could stroll along one of the streets lined with local vendors before coming to the public relations area to showcase their “Team of Heroes” initiatives. Here guests were encouraged to bring a gift to donate to the Toys for Tots program and vote on the best holiday gift basket made by the employees that were later donated to local hospitals. They even had a display of hospital gowns being designed for sick children in the hospital which made them look like their favorite super hero such as Iron Man and the Incredible Hulk.

Overall, this was a wonderful event and I would love to attend another one. The $25.00 admission price was definitely worth it. Talking to some of the families also in attendance, this appears to have become a yearly tradition for many D23 members. Now I’ve got to go find room on my tree for my new D23 ornament… I’m going to need another tree. Carpe Christmas everyone and Happy New Year!

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