Magical Memories: Winter Dreams

Magical Memories series hosted by Mouse on the MindHappy Holidays! We’re almost there!! The swans, they are a’swimmin today, folks. 

This year, I’m counting from golden rings to partridges with some of my very favorite bloggers (and friends!) to share stories of our favorite Disney-related holiday memories. Some of them are heartwarming, some of them are hilarious. All of them will put you in the spirit of the season. 

Today’s post is written by one of my favorite people and definitely one of my favorite bloggers: Jeff of Lance + Jeff. You may know him from his doodles. Or his side-splitting stories. Or maybe from his amazing post on this very blog about falling back in love with the magic. If you don’t know him, you’re in for a total treat … he is a magnificent writer and a genuinely good man. (Although I hate him a little bit for experiencing Disney at Christmastime … but I’ll get over it.)


The setting was right, I suppose.  If you’re going to Disney California Adventure’s “World of Color: Winter Dreams,” what better way to do it than hitting normally sunny SoCal with an arctic blast?

Disney's California Adventure World of Color (Lance + Jeff)

My partner, Lance, and I stood shivering on Paradise Park waiting for World of Color to begin. We huddled together for warmth with our pals Brian and Phil (protip: this does not work that well with four tiny guys.) It had been a long, frigid and blustery day of park-hopping, none of us dressed appropriately since nobody expected for Anaheim to stubbornly stick to the mid-40s all day.

Finally, the lights dimmed around Paradise Pier, and hundreds of water jets began to fill the air. The eerie-yet-incomprehensible “Glow” (a new carol written for World of Color: Winter Dream, proudly boasted by Disney as performed by an ensemble who came together via The Power of the Internet) filled the screen of mist.  We were all curious as to whether the show was going to incorporate Frozen’s “Let It Go,” our collective favorite and arguably the best song from the film.

Disney's California Adventure World of Color (Lance + Jeff)

Then there was a gust of wind, and as the projection snowflakes fell, the water and lights followed.  Everything went dark.  And then the ominous voice began: “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, due to circumstances beyond our control…”

World of Color, along with Disneyland’s fireworks show that night, was cancelled due to high winds.  My first experience ever with World of Color—dashed.

After that, we only had one day at Disneyland left. We crossed our fingers that the weather was going to cooperate.  It had too; we weren’t going to leave our first Disneyland trip without seeing the Bellagio’s younger, infinitely more attractive sibling.

Disney's California Adventure World of Color (Lance + Jeff)

The next day did not start off too well. From forgotten park passes to Magic Morning hour denials (apparently this is an online-only exclusive perk, folks), we were getting the one-two punch in the “Disney Magic” department.  But as we entered Disney California Adventure that morning to procure FastPasses to Radiator Springs Racers (a no-joke amazing attraction) and World of Color, the streetmosphere Five & Dime band rolled down Buena Vista Street, the polished Red Car Trolleys hummed passed the Carthay Circle, and the sun broke out. We were able to exchange our FPs for Radiator Springs Racers for the magical “all day” FastPass when our return window conflicted with our Club 33 lunch reservation. The four of us were dressed pretty slick for that, too, and many cast members were kind enough to compliment our quartet.

The rest of the day went along swimmingly. It got so warm that day that two of us had to down in the it’s a small world queue in order to remove layers (you’re welcome for the show). Even though the weather was better, the crowds were somehow lighter and we moved through Space Mountain, the Jingle Cruise, Soarin’, and California Screamin’ with ease.

Disney's California Adventure World of Color (Lance + Jeff)

Finally, night set, and after we’d redeemed our FastPasses for a neon-popping joyride on Radiator Springs Racers, we worked our way back to Paradise Bay in DCA.

Disney's California Adventure World of Color (Lance + Jeff)

The trees were still.  And then “Glow,” none the more comprehensible the second time around, made everybody sad and somber but we couldn’t pinpoint why, exactly.

Further into the show, Olaf introduces his creator, the Snow Queen, and a remixed version of the “Let It Go” sequence begins to play. I’ll tell you right now, while there are many high-quality videos of this floating around on YouTube, nothing but an in-person experience can do it justice. World of Color’s immense, immersive surround sound, the building orchestrations, the spotlights that shoot into the sky as Elsa’s ice palace takes form…it truly sucks the breath right out of you and demands your attention.

World of Color, Disney California Adventure, Disneyland…they’re amazing, often overlooked by veteran WDWers for their size but they pack a substantial wallop.Both parks are decked out—I mean, decked out—for the holidays: every walk around character is in a holiday costume, Bill Hill and the Hillbillies strum country Christmas tunes, and the doors on the tiny Critter Country cabins even have wreaths on them!

Disney's California Adventure World of Color (Lance + Jeff)

And to end our Disneyland experience with our pals at World of Color, Idina belting “Let It Go” and giant foam snowflakes floating up into the sky? Magical.

Oh, I want to go! I want to go! Who wants to go to Disneyland with me??