Hey there, hi there, ho there! We spent the early part of the day in Disney California Adventure sampling some delicious foods at the Festival of Holidays, but when the sun went down, it was time for the Merriest Nights event to begin. Come along with us as we see if this hefty price tag was worth it.
The park is all done up in its Holiday finery for the event, and the official start of their holiday celebration is tomorrow, so we got to see it all just a little early.
The line of guests stretched out into the esplanade as Cast Members prepared to welcome the guests at 5 p.m. for the park mix-in.
For those of us already inside the park, event check-in was at the old Star Wars Launch Bay. The line was quite long and slow, but it gave us a chance to look around at all the Star Wars exhibits that are still sitting there, collecting dust.
Kylo Ren’s TIE Silencer is starting to warp, with the delicate tips of the wings bending down, thanks to the heat of the lights and time.
The rest of the building that once used to house the Carousel of Progress, then America Sings, then Innoventions for many years before Star Wars Launch Bay, now sits disused.
The line wound on through the lightsaber exhibit, giving guests a chance to see some authentic lightsabers from the Jedi and Sith heroes of the galaxy.
Also while waiting, we had a chance to spy out some of the event merchandise for sale that evening. Of course, much of it sold out before we had a chance to buy it, so it was nice to at least get a peek before it was gone.
Each guest was given a wristband and a light-up lanyard of Christmas lights, and the event commenced.
You can take a look inside this event map and see all the fun that is planned for our night.
Those light-up lanyards made for some really fun photos with all the guests meandering with extra lights.
Heading into the park, we were a little underwhelmed with the decorations to make each land a separate “party” in its own right. That’s not to say that which was present wasn’t beautiful; it’s just that there wasn’t special décor to each party beyond the normal Holiday decorations already in place.
The Adventureland tree was one of the highlights, however.
Tomorrowland featured a very loud DJ spinning popular music while LED Christmas Trees adorned the top of Launch Bay. We even caught Buzz Lightyear doing Gangnam Style — a classic Christmas tradition if ever there was one.
Much of the park was decorated for a traditional Christmas, with Sleeping Beauty Castle covered in snowy lights and projections of snowflakes on the Matterhorn. It’s nice to see some snow for the season, even if LA won’t get any.
Despite being closed due to flooding, “it’s a small world” Holiday was all lit up at night, making for some beautiful pictures.
And then it was time to eat. We had plenty to choose from, with a huge list of food and drinks and sweet treats only available during the festival. We opted for the Red Beans and Rice Stew from Royal Street Verandah to start.
For something sweet, we went to Tropical Hideaway for the Paradise Party Dole Whip float, and it was sure an interesting combo.
At the restaurants, we found some cool new cups like this Holiday travel tumbler.
And for those who want a hotter drink for longer, there’s this insulated tumbler as well.
To give each drink a festive sparkle and glow, we got this gold jingle bell glow cube.
With appetites sated, we hit the trail to see all the characters. Santa Jack and Sally were showing off their Christmas presents from the balcony of Haunted Mansion Holiday.
Santa Claus himself was greeting guests in Princess Fantasy Faire.
Frozen friends were along the path to “it’s a small world.”
And we had some unique characters out tonight too! The Duke of Weselton and Wandering Oaken were greeting guests together during the event.
At the Fantasyland Theatre, Donald greeted guests in a photo set from his 1942 short, “Donald’s Snow Fight.”
Princess Tiana welcomed guests to New Orleans Square from the wrought-iron balcony.
Santa Stitch and Lilo spread aloha with guests at Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room.
Belle and Beast greeted guests just behind the castle in Fantasyland.
Pluto was dressed as a reindeer while meeting guests on a set inspired by his 1952 short “Pluto’s Christmas Tree.”
Scrooge and Goofy as Jacob Marley appeared on Main Street U.S.A. as part of the cast of “Mickey’s Christmas Carol.”
And Miguel from “Coco” met guests outside Rancho del Zocalo in Frontierland.
Magic Key holders can collect a special treat from a stand along the Rivers of America.
This cute little button lets Magic Key holders proudly declare their affiliation, and the cactus ornament is a promotional giveaway for the upcoming 25 Days of Christmas programming lineup on FreeForm.
One of the coolest things we saw at the event was The Muppets Christmas Caroling Coach. The Muppets took over the Main Street Omnibus for their fantastic Holiday show that runs down Main Street, U.S.A., and stops for a full performance in front of The Hub.
You can see the whole show on our YouTube show, or check it out by clicking right here.
After The Muppets moved their caroling coach along and off Main Street, it was time for the triumphant return of A Christmas Fantasy parade. We were so excited to see this return for the first time since the 2019 holiday season.
And, of course, finishing up with Santa Claus riding down the street was a perfect way to end the evening.
Before we took our leave of the park, we had to stop by some of the terrific photo backdrops placed in each of the different ‘parties’ throughout the park.
A “Coco” mural celebrates Navidad.
Adventureland featured a “Lilo and Stitch” themed photo op.
Frozen fairy wings could be found outside The Matterhorn.
The Fantasyland Theatre hosted A Frozen Wish.
Tomorrowland sends Galactic Greetings to you.
New Orleans Square had a “Princess and the Frog” themed mural.
Of course, we had to stop in for a photo with friends at some of these backdrops.
Overall, it was a very fun event with way more than we could see in one night. Not sure if the $175 ticket is fully warranted, but it was a good time for what it was and definitely a great way to kick off the Holiday season.
Thanks for riding along with us. We’ll see ya real soon!