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podcast logo of fireworks and podcast name "The Happiest Pod On Earth" with episode text that reads "The Merriest Nite at Disneyland"

The Merriest Nite at Disneyland

#25: Disneyland added a new night event over the holiday season, titled “Merriest Nites.” This special event featured six distinct parties that have unique music, food, and character interactions. Even the infamous Muppet did a holiday show filled with their classic antics. Host Stef attended with her family, sharing with Ariel the tips, tricks, ups, and downs of navigating such an ambitious event.

Read the blog post for this episode for additional references and resources.

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Transcription

Ariel Landrum 0:03
Hello everyone, welcome to The Happiest Pod On Earth. I am Ariel.

Stefanie Bautista 0:08
And I’m Stef, and we are Disney fans. But we are really so much more than that.

Ariel Landrum 0:12
Like I’m a licensed therapist who uses clients passions and fandoms to help them grow and heal from trauma and mental and wellness.

Stefanie Bautista 0:18
And I’m an educator who uses passions and fandoms to help my students grow and learn about themselves and the world around them. Here at Happiest Pod, it’s a place where we dissect Disney mediums with a critical lens.

Ariel Landrum 0:29
Why? Because just like we are more than just fans, we expect more from the mediums we consume. So what Disney medium or experience are we dissecting today’s Stef?

Stefanie Bautista 0:38
Well, it’s been a while. So we are going to dissect my experience at Marriest Nites’ Queue Jingle Bells.

Ariel Landrum 0:48
ding ding ding

Stefanie Bautista 0:49
Last time we spoke to you all it was spooky season and now it is holiday season. I feel like and I don’t know about you, Ariel, but the holiday season has come at us in full force.

Ariel Landrum 1:00
Yes.

Stefanie Bautista 1:01
I’ll be earlier than previous years because I think people are really excited to just celebrate merriness and being together as much as possible. I don’t know. What do you think?

Ariel Landrum 1:13
Yes, I, I vividly remember Christmas last year for me because I spent it locked in my room because my roommate had COVID. And I was helping care for them. And of course, if I was potentially exposed, I didn’t want to obviously give it to any of my family members and usually spend Christmas with my grandmother who would be individual who’d be highly susceptible. And if everyone remembers the vaccine did not exist then. So these symptoms were bad for my roommate and the isolation was, was pretty, pretty difficult.

Stefanie Bautista 1:46
Yeah.

Ariel Landrum 1:47
I didn’t even decorate. It did not feel like the holidays. I don’t I didn’t watch Christmas movies that whole month. I don’t remember doing any holiday traditions like even driving around and looking at lights. Like it, it was his full force pandemic. And I would say that was one of the bigger peaks. And so it was just a lot of isolating.

Stefanie Bautista 2:06
Yeah, I mean, for me, it was a lot of Christmas dinners were outside. And there were only two. The one at my house and the one at my in law’s house. And aside from that, I mean, there was no dressing up, there was no taking pictures, there was really not a lot of even gift giving. A lot of the gifts that we received were virtual gifts, or were just delivered via Amazon package. And so I mean, because the whole year we were getting packages, it didn’t seem any special. No special gift wrapping through Amazon, none of that. It just literally was like another delivery, more baby things. But yeah, I totally agree that this holiday season is just everybody’s getting like their holiday wiggles out. That’s very elementary school of me to say, but we’ve been holding it in for so long. And no matter if you celebrate, you know, Christmas or Kwanzaa, or Hanukkah, or any other holiday that you may celebrate during this time. Everybody’s just really excited to be out. And, you know, I’ll be it, we are in a sticky situation right now with the new variant. People are just really trying to make the most of it.

Ariel Landrum 3:15
Even in thinking about the holiday differences from last year to this year. We all know in general that Christmas has been trying to take over since July like right like if it wasn’t for Halloween, which holds the line the Goths hold the line.

Stefanie Bautista 3:30
They really do.

Ariel Landrum 3:31
Christmas would be way, way, way sooner.

Stefanie Bautista 3:34
Yeah.

Ariel Landrum 3:35
I remember being irritated by that. I think this year I was I just I needed it. I really wanted it back I had this this sense of like, I I’m really looking forward to feeling like I’ve celebrated the entire year. Like I’ve done my like the whole circle around completion feeling and wanting to wanting to do a resolution want, you know, wanting and hoping and feeling that sense of wonderment again.

Stefanie Bautista 4:02
Yeah, we put up our Christmas lights so fast. Like I think we had half of our inflatables up the night of Thanksgiving which was wild. And I mean also like the kids like they at my school they were talking about you know holiday plans and like you know finally getting to see the grandparents and things like that so I think it wasn’t just you know, they wanted to you know, do those things like Christmas last Christmas traditions they were just really excited to connect again. And in by connecting you know, give gifts to their fellow classmates give gifts to their teachers. I have not seen my coworkers walk away with so many gifts in my life which thank you to everybody who you know you’re appreciating your educators because they are still working around the clock.

Ariel Landrum 4:51
Hmm hmm.

Stefanie Bautista 4:52
They are trying to accommodate and you know, catch up from the last year but it was like they were all their own mini Santos walking out of the building. Huge like bags on bags and like coffee mugs galore. Because ya’ll like to give educators coffee mugs. I got two. And they are living now in my office because I know better than to bring them home with me. Yeah, it does just the spirit all around. But in that we are going to talk about Merriest Nites, which is the Disneyland equivalent to Oogie Boogie Bash, which happens during Halloween. We went early. We went during December 11.

And by we will clarify this stuff. Yes. I have never been to Merriest Nites. I don’t even know what it is.

It’s new this year.

Ariel Landrum 5:36
Okay.

Stefanie Bautista 5:36
Yeah, this is the first time they’re doing it.

Ariel Landrum 5:38
I have gone to Disneyland with STef in the winter around Christmas time. We do have some really bomb photos. I consider them bomb in front of the castle when it’s lit up. Snowy, pretty. But I myself have never gone to any sort of Disney holiday event. I haven’t done the Oogie Boogie bash. I haven’t done any of those things have done the food events. But that’s over at California Adventure.

Stefanie Bautista 6:02
Yes. And there’s a reason why you haven’t been to this one because it is new this year. And because I have never been to Ogee Boogie bash myself because I can never remember to get tickets, or I just missed the window or something. When I heard about Merriest Nites, I’m like, I need to get on this now. I don’t know what’s gonna happen, but I’m gonna get my frickin ticket right now. Because I love me some Christmas. I love me some holiday. So when they announced the tickets, I think it had to be early November because it was right after Okay, Boogie bash, okay. They were like, oh, you know, if you love this, you’re gonna love this version of, you know, Oogie Boogie which is called Merriest Nites. And we’re gonna it’s a special ticketed event, which was very attractive to me. Because when I went to the food event before Disneyland opened up, I just loved how I could experience Disneyland with way less people. And I think now we’re in the state of mind where, unfortunately, we will spend any amount of money to feel safe. And I buy into that. I have a young one. And you know, for me myself. I my comfort level is not all the way there to you’re gonna find me at a music festival, which you probably won’t for a really long time. But this I knew Disney was gonna control their crowds just like the food event.

Ariel Landrum 6:02
Yes.

Stefanie Bautista 6:24
So it’s like, okay, yeah, let’s do this. So they had tickets starting from the end of November, I think. Probably like last day of November, all the way until I think the end of December. Don’t quote me on that. I know all of the tickets are sold out now. But I attended. Oh, here we go. November 11 to December 9th. Okay. So people actually could celebrate Christmas holidays way, way early.

Ariel Landrum 7:47
Before Thanksgiving.

Stefanie Bautista 7:49
Yeah. I went November 18. So it was quite early.

Ariel Landrum 7:56
Yes.

Stefanie Bautista 7:57
It was. It was quite early, because I knew I have blackout dates on my tickets for the holiday season. So the earlier the better for me. And yes, you had to wait for a certain time. When they opened the virtual queue. You had to wait in the queue. And…

Ariel Landrum 8:16
And you use the app and not the website?

Stefanie Bautista 8:18
You use the website? Not the app.

Ariel Landrum 8:20
Oh okay, so you were using the website. So you were at home or at work doing this?

Stefanie Bautista 8:24
I was at work doing this…

Ariel Landrum 8:27
On your lunch break obvi.

Stefanie Bautista 8:28
On my lunch break. I was eating, you know, whatever I was eating that that day. Um, yeah, I had my computer I had had my computer and I had my phone out. I know, some people had multiple computers out from some of the blogs that I’ve been reading, because they had a big group that they wanted to buy tickets for. I don’t remember if there was a limit to how many tickets you could get if any of our listeners out there remember if there was. I only have to buy two. So it wasn’t that big of a deal for me. But I know once when I got to the park, there were parties of 13 parties of 15

Ariel Landrum 9:02
Oh, wow…

Stefanie Bautista 9:04
Whole families that were you know, felt like Disney World. They were doing like a holiday event for themselves for you know, like a family reunion sort of thing. So I can imagine how difficult it was to get all of those tickets together. But tickets were available for still a couple weeks after they opened it up.

Ariel Landrum 9:21
Okay.

Stefanie Bautista 9:22
So it wasn’t like Ogee Boogie where because it has like a track record already people snatched up those tickets and no matter of days. These tickets were available for about a month after they released them. And I bought my tickets later, I jumped in that queue the first time and I was just like, “It’s a little bit much. It’s out of my budget right now. I haven’t saved up too much.” And then once I saw that there were still tickets available. I was like, “Okay, let’s do this.” So I actually bought my ticketst wo weeks, no, one week after I had seen the event.

Ariel Landrum 9:53
Okay. Okay.

Stefanie Bautista 9:55
So for all of you out there, if they do this again, I can’t guarantee that that will happen again because I feel like it was such a success, but you may get lucky.

Ariel Landrum 10:04
So you get the tickets. And it sounds like you only needed it for you and your spouse. Do you know the age limit when you have to start buying tickets for your son?

Stefanie Bautista 10:15
Yes, it’s age three.

Ariel Landrum 10:18
Okay.

Stefanie Bautista 10:19
So three is that magic? Ah,

Ariel Landrum 10:21
how they gonna know he’s three though? He little…

Stefanie Bautista 10:25
You know, developmentally, you just kind of can tell.

Ariel Landrum 10:31
It’s true. It’s true. And I guess there are a lot of kids at Disneyland, those they would know.

Stefanie Bautista 10:35
Yeah, let’s be real here. I know, all you parents out there listening to this blog, you’ve all done this. Because I know all my friends have done this. I’ve done this. You keep your kid in the stroller for as long as humanly possible. And you tell them to not say a word. Because once your kid starts going, “Well, I want to do this. I don’t want to make a pretzel and oh my gosh, we’re at Disneyland.” That’s a dead giveaway that you’re over three.

Ariel Landrum 11:01
Well, I think I think the other thing is if they ask, I can see a kid going “No, I’m four.”

Stefanie Bautista 11:07
Yeah. Because they are so excited to be that age. And you know, at that age, they are fully aware of where they are going, why they are going and what they are expecting. My son’s almost two so he still has no idea. He’s just like, I woke up and I’m here again at this place that my parents will clearly like to go to. The wonderment is there but the confusion is also there. I think once the confusion goes away, they’re like, Okay, maybe this is a little bit older. And we need to charge them for the the wonderment that is present in walking through the park.” So same thing for Merriest Nites. You a ticketed tickets are for three and above. And they were $165 per adult.

Ariel Landrum 11:55
Okay.

Stefanie Bautista 11:56
And that includes Disney PhotoPass. You get goodies, which I will mention in a bit. You are you have like a wristband and everybody. Well, I guess I’ll explain that later. I’ll explain the whole like, way because the event was only from seven o’clock to midnight. But if you have a ticket to Merriest Nites, you can go in the park starting five o’clock.

Ariel Landrum 12:25
Okay, so you couldn’t go in the morning?

Stefanie Bautista 12:27
No.

Ariel Landrum 12:28
And it was only for one park.

Stefanie Bautista 12:30
Not California venture. So California venture was still open until 10. But Disneyland was open until midnight, like usual, but only to Merriest Nites ticketed holders.

Ariel Landrum 12:41
And this is pretty common because I think some people who do Oogie Boogie end up really buying like two tickets so you do the event but then they also want to go to the park in the morning.

Stefanie Bautista 12:51
Or if their annual pass holders they kind of double dip. So they get to stay in the park the whole day and then they get to experience it later on at night.

Ariel Landrum 12:59
Okay, okay.

Stefanie Bautista 13:00
Yeah. And I guess for all of you out there I have the official description of Merriest Nites for everyone and, you know, you want to hear exactly what it is. So official Disney description of it is, “As the host of the party Mickey Mouse will welcome you to the party on Main Street USA with Victorian flair and Kermit the Frog Miss Piggy and their friends join in the fun traveling in a special coach with Christmas carol sing alongs muppet antics and a few chickens. Over in New Orleans. New Orleans Square Princess Tiana plan to ring and Noel with guests at her Bayou inspired celebration. In Frontierland Miguel from the Disney and Pixar film Coco will be wishing everyone Feliz Navidad while you kick up your heels during a jolly dance filled fiesta. Three more character hosted holiday parties await you with a tropical party hosted by Lilo and Stitch in Adventurelang,” which got me. “A winter time celebration with Elsa in Fantasyland and Buzz Lightyear taking the holidays to new heights over in Tomorrowland. Your friends and family will enjoy enhanced entertainment such as the photo backdrops and character signings and specialty food and beverage offerings within the event.”

Ariel Landrum 14:09
So you have these different things going on. Do you hop around to them? Or are they timed?

Stefanie Bautista 14:15
Girl, you have to make your own schedule.

Ariel Landrum 14:19
Ah, no!

Stefanie Bautista 14:20
This is where at the end of the day my husband and I were walking back and we’re like “We need to come up with a game plan next time.”

Ariel Landrum 14:30
Ah okay, so that’s where my anxiety has already flared up trying to figure out what has to be axed off the list of this thing that I spent I paid extra money for.

Stefanie Bautista 14:44
And I think this is like the way me and Ariel work is I’ll try out the thing first and I’ll like you know, make the mistakes and stumble all that and then I like when we do that the next time I’m like, “Okay, I’m ready.” I compile like, “You know, this is what we got to do. This is what it is.” And then I create the experience after that for Ariel or whoever I go with. And that’s okay because you know I, I am a okay with the expectation that this is new. This is gonna to be something that I’ve never done before all be it it’s in a familiar place. I know Disneyland like the back of my hand, but for some reason because there were so many things to see I couldn’t navigate on where to go, how much time to spend. Add the layer of you know, I have a young one with me. It was very cold that night.

Ariel Landrum 15:29
Oh..

Stefanie Bautista 15:29
Colder then it was like the first really cold night of this winter and fall season. So we had to do a couple wardrobe changes. Like, I went into the mentality of, “Oh, there how PhotoPass for us, so let’s dress up.”

Ariel Landrum 15:46
Ah.

Stefanie Bautista 15:47
Yeah, there’s a thing about Dapper Day never being in the winter. And there’s a reason why.

Ariel Landrum 15:50
Yes.

Stefanie Bautista 15:52
Because my hair just did not look the same as when I walked in the park. And, you know, you really had to dress up like winter and us being from Southern California. We are not 100% prepared for any outfit to be transformed into that.

Ariel Landrum 16:08
And then in NorCal they get hit with the snow so bad that there’s it’s not cute. I mean, you’re like the I would say anybody who’s ever thought that a snow bunny is like, kind of like a real look has never actually been cold. Or is like going to a ski resort with fake snow.

Stefanie Bautista 16:27
Yeah, or like never stepping out of the lodge I feel.

Ariel Landrum 16:31
Yeah. Because that would be me. I just stay by the fire and drink some hot cocoa and have fun furry boots.

Stefanie Bautista 16:36
I on the other hand, I was an avid snowboarder before and I never looked cute. Ever. Especially when you’re trying to do new things. You just you don’t look cute. You look like you’ve been on the slopes all day.

Ariel Landrum 16:51
Take that out of your mind.

Stefanie Bautista 16:53
Take that on your mind. It’s a Christmas party. But it’s six Christmas parties. And you have to go into the mentality if you go next time. It’s six different parties. I mean, party hopping between two parties is like difficult enough. Going from Disneyland to California Adventure, I feel like your party hopping at that point. There’s so many things happening in DCA. There’s so many things happening at Disneyland. But yes, they condense it to one park but it’s still like six unique experiences.

Ariel Landrum 17:23
And all over the park like I’m trying to map out like the walking route that is not easy.

Stefanie Bautista 17:28
It’s not a Star Wars Land Batuu to was closed. So they were cast members just standing there reminding people, “You can’t go in here anymore. Like we closed up that area.” Which was good because that if they ever do a Star Wars Christmas, I mean, it would be so freakin cool. But they have to open it up to like, not just seven o’clock. They have to start earlier. Because there’s no way you can experience all of that.

Ariel Landrum 17:59
Well was it busy?

Stefanie Bautista 18:01
Okay, so this is actually a really good question because at going to the parks, because I’ve never been to the parks. Like in the evening, it was actually quite bizarre. Because Daylight Savings had happened already. So it was already getting darker than normal. So we we left from work. Got my son ready. And then we headed over around for four o’clock like about an hour away.

Ariel Landrum 18:28
So wait, you had a whole workday too?

Stefanie Bautista 18:31
Oh, yeah. No, I want to work. No days off here.

Ariel Landrum 18:36
Had a whole work day, god dress did your hair got your kid ready?

Stefanie Bautista 18:42
Had a whole work day, got dressed, did my hair. Yep. Got my kid ready. Yeah, anything is possible when your mom or so you think and then and then it falls apart. But anyway, we had picked out our outfits already weeks in advance. We sort of planned out where we wanted to go. Like I knew I wanted to go to Adventureland because Lilo and Stitch had like a whole other holiday island party, which is you know, my favorite. And so yeah, we left. We actually left The Valley quite early. We left The Calley around like 330 ish to be able to get there on time. Because I knew my son’s his nap time. And you know, he would, you know, go through traffic because traffic at that point, it would take you no, less than an hour and 15 minutes to get to Anaheim. So we got there around 4:45. And we parked but I thought I thought parking was gonna be like “Oo we’re doing in the first level is gonna be great.” No, the park was full that day. So you’re battling people who have already been at the park, people who are currently leaving the park and the fact that not all of those lights that tell you what space is available are working. So I actually circled more times than I’ve ever circled before trying to find a close parking spot.

Ariel Landrum 20:07
Oh, were you irritated?

Stefanie Bautista 20:09
I was a little irritated because my husband had worked so he was sleeping also. I was the only one awake as I drove. And I like went around like I think like four or five times trying to find like a good parking spot. And I’m like, “You know what, forget it. I’m just going to pick the one that’s closest to the walkway that takes you from that one half of the parking to the other half. And that like is a straight shot to the elevators.” Because we had a stroller. We got everybody dressed, put my son shoes on and everything. He wore a little bow tie, I made sure that was on. He had like suspenders and I was like “Ooo it’s was gonna be cold.” So got him a jacket, got him another jacket and I got him a blanket. And so we’re off and you go downstairs. The trame still not working.

Ariel Landrum 20:56
Ah.

Stefanie Bautista 20:57
You had to walk the way the whole tramway. I hear it’s coming back next year.

Ariel Landrum 21:01
Okay.

Stefanie Bautista 21:01
Fingers crossed. They could block every other one but just please, let’s use the tram. I’m done with this.

Ariel Landrum 21:08
Yes.

Stefanie Bautista 21:09
I decided to wear flats that night because I’m not gonna walk that hallway.

Ariel Landrum 21:13
No.

Stefanie Bautista 21:14
I did it during Dapper Day and it was not the best experience. But so we’re walking the hallway I noticed everyone’s outfits. So some people are dressed dapper.

Ariel Landrum 21:27
Oh, Christmas Dapper.

Stefanie Bautista 21:29
Yeah. Some people are just Victorian. I saw long Victorian dresses. Um, some of them were Disneybounding as like Mickey and Minnie and their Victorian outfits. I saw a Ursula and Ariel a mom and a daughter. She had beautiful braided hair. Her mom had an Ursula like I think it was like Mickey ears, but like a tiny wig in the middle for and mom was dressed in like a black Victorian gown. And Ariel was dressed in a like a green one. It was very, very pretty. And some people were wearing onesies. So a lot of Christmas, onesies. Winnie the Pooh onesies, Stitch onesies. So it was all over the place, like people were dressed, just in straight up pajamas. And some were dressed like in winter clothing, like as if they were just going to Disneyland and it was cold, which is understandable. So you have the option to you know, be whoever you want to be at this event. It’s not like there’s a dress code or anything but whatever you feel comfortable to fill meery. That’s what people wore. And then so we got inside the to the gate, they separated the entrances, all the entrances on the left, were exits now, for people who are leaving the park and all the entrances on the right where it said that you had flipped the sign and it said “Special Event.” And so you had to show them your ticket, which you link to your Disneyland app.

Ariel Landrum 23:00
Okay.

Stefanie Bautista 23:01
Or you can print out a ticket. And then once they scan it, they give you a physical ticket.

Ariel Landrum 23:06
Okay.

Stefanie Bautista 23:06
They take your picture, or if you have a picture on hand they use that one. And then the chaos happened.

Ariel Landrum 23:12
Okay, so before we get to the chaos going in, as the park already decorated, like even in the middle area in between the two parks like and are you seeing any new decor than what you’ve seen before?

Stefanie Bautista 23:24
Yeah, so it was already Festival of Holidays at Disney’s California Adventure. So if you look to your right, it’s this Festival of Holidays. To the left everything is not pumpkins anymore, because last time I went it was Halloween. Everything is like snow themed. There’s snowflakes everywhere up on top and in the middle. I think the banners were holiday themed. I don’t remember, but nothing too special in the middle. It was still like open for everyone. But yeah, everything was very holiday looking.

Ariel Landrum 23:52
Because we haven’t really talked about the decor for holidays in general on Main Street. What what is the the big holiday decor for Halloween? And what is it for? For I guess you’d say the holidays?

Stefanie Bautista 24:04
Yeah, so for Halloween, it’s the big Mickey pumpkin in the middle on Main Street and everyone loves to take pictures with that. I I haven’t stood in that line to take a picture in front of that pumpking in so long because it’s so long. Yes. But now this time is the Christmas tree. Huge, huge, huge Christmas tree. I feel like they put way more lights on it or I just don’t remember because it’s been such a long time, but Main Street is decked out. And on top of that now not only do they have like holiday, like wreaths and things like that they now have projections on Main Street. So it’s as if it’s alive. And there’s people inside the buildings like you know, like serving each other cookies or like baking pie. It was very, very nice. And we got to sit a little bit on Main Street to kind of like soak everything in. But yeah, they do. They really amped up the decorations this year.

Ariel Landrum 24:56
And I think something that I definitely learned and remembered is that taking a picture with that pumpkin is very difficult because it’s a pumpkin and one face at least with a Christmas tree and because it’s 360, you kinda can just get any angle that’s good. And I feel like it goes by faster because other people don’t have to wait for the one spot that everybody takes.

Stefanie Bautista 25:15
Yeah, the tree is so massive that you can’t get the whole tree anyway, unless you step all the way, all the way which we ended up taking our Christmas tree picture from The Great Moments with Lincoln.

Ariel Landrum 25:26
Oh.

Stefanie Bautista 25:28
Because that actually has an I saw a lot of people doing a lot of influencers doing this. Because it’s dark and Great Moments when Lincoln has the best lighting, you could still see the tree in the back, you might see people, but if you angle it right, you’ll have the tree and the top of the tree. But you will have yourself in really good lighting. So protip if you want to take super good pictures of your outfit during Christmas at night, go to Great Moments with Lincoln because the lighting is great there.

Ariel Landrum 25:53
Yeah, yeah. Okay. That’s that’s really good. And PhotoPass, how many times were you able to use it? Or is it just the one spot?

Stefanie Bautista 26:02
Unlimited, you can use it as many times as you want. But it doesn’t start until seven where the actual events start. This is the one time I’ve never seen cast members like actually go, “Oh, no, you have a minute left. We’re not starting until seven.” Menus changed at seven. Like we saw them change. And I was only because we ended up stepping inside the restaurant at that time to get food because we got hungry around like 6:50. And yeah, some people were told we don’t have the holiday stuff yet, but we got lucky. And the guy was just like, “Here you go. It’s 6:59. But I don’t care.” And he sold it us.

Ariel Landrum 26:39
Nice. Thank you cast member.

Stefanie Bautista 26:43
Thank you cast member. You guys are awesome. And I am gonna shout out the cast members later because they they are true troopers during this event.

Ariel Landrum 26:51
Back to some chaos.

Stefanie Bautista 26:53
Back to the chaos. So when you go inside, they scan your ticket everything. Normally you have the option to just go to the front of Main Street Station, take a picture with the monkey flowers, or go to the right or go to the left. No, everyone had to go to the right. On top of that they had little tables with Christmas lights. And that was the first giveaway which was cute. They were Christmas lights I would show them to you but Arlo like took them apart and he’s been wearing them for like the last two weeks. They’re ike the light of Christmas like that you get a Disneyland big holiday bulbs. And at the bottom there’s a little card that says Merriest Nites. And then on the back of it it says, “This is one of the indicators that we use that you have purchased a ticket and our you know here for our special event, Merriest Nites. So please have it on you if you can.” And you know it was another cute decoration to have on you very much like a pin lanyard. And it lit up three different ways like blinked, that sparkled and you know it stayed on. So there’s that. However, you’re looking at like five lanes, maybe six lanes of people going in. And then this weird, cause you’re curving over to the right. I have a stroller. So I was telling when you get a wristband too. You get a wristband, so I was telling my husband, oh, go get mine. And I’ll wait for you at the end, which normally is like our go to plan. So the only one person has to go on to have to like lug the stroller around. We lost each other. And it’s I was tending not that far away. But there was so many people coming in and like you kind of just get pushed with the crowd.

Ariel Landrum 28:37
You’re like salmon.

Stefanie Bautista 28:39
Yeah, yeah, like exactly. And apparently you have to show them your wristband to get it. So I had to go back against the current. He was so pissed off. I had to go back against the current and get my lights because you needed that in order to make sure that people knew you were there. So and I wanted one because they were cute.

Ariel Landrum 29:00
Yeah.

Stefanie Bautista 29:01
So I brought Arlo with me because we end up getting three. But that was like really difficult. And then you couldn’t get any like moment of relief until you got to Greate Moments with Lincoln because the whole area was like people are waiting for their party people are trying to reunite with their party. People we’re looking at the stage on Main Street because the characters were like already there. And I don’t know if we mentioned this in a previous podcast, but Main Street Station at night is closed off for character appearances. So Mickey, Minnie, Goofy in their you know, whatever outfits they’re wearing, they’re all there. So yeah, it was kind of chaotic.

Ariel Landrum 29:39
And it sounds like congested.

Stefanie Bautista 29:41
Congested because of all the people who knew they could get in at five.

Ariel Landrum 29:45
Yeah that makes sense.

Stefanie Bautista 29:46
Yeah. By the time we were already walking into the park, it was like near six o’clock, like we we weren’t rushing to get down the tramway. We’re like “We’re gonna take our time we’re gonna be walking a lot.” And that’s something that I remember from last time because we rushed last time and then I was so tired so early. So we’re like, “Okay, it’s, it’s gonna be six o’clock anyway. So let’s just take it easy and like, let’s just figure this experience out.” But yeah, like apparently a lot of people were coming in at six trying to get that like last hour or whatever in. And then you see all the people who are already at the park. Now they’re soaking in all the lights, because you know, everything’s dark and pretty. People are taking pictures. And then we were gonna head down Main Street. The announcer guy comes on, it’s just like, “Ladies and gentlemen, we’re about to start our you know, holiday, or we’re going to get ready to light the castle.”

Ariel Landrum 30:44
Ah!

Stefanie Bautista 30:44
Ah snap. “So everyone, if you would like, please stay where you are until, like the lights come back on. And you know, we will have our, you know, lightning of the castle or whatever. So people stop, they stay put.

Ariel Landrum 30:58
Okay, they listened.

Stefanie Bautista 30:59
They did, but think about all the people coming in. And so…

Ariel Landrum 31:05
There’s no room for new people.

Stefanie Bautista 31:06
There was no room.

Ariel Landrum 31:08
Oh no! They made a blockade!

Stefanie Bautista 31:11
They made her own blockade. See, and now you’re seeing this and you’re just like, “Oh my gawd.” So we tried to like find refuge in like one of the nooks on Main Street like you know, because there you have the window displays and everything all down Main Street. So I had to like maneuver away to like kind of stay on the side because they still keep the walkways open for people who want to navigate around the park. But everybody’s like staying put now. Because now all of the lights on Main Street are dimmed, the castle is not lit up, so you can’t really see too well. And then they start the thing. They be like, “Merry Christmas!” It’s really pretty. And then “Whoa!” the castles lit. And then there’s snow.

Ariel Landrum 31:53
Ah…

Stefanie Bautista 31:55
They do the snow there at the lighting of the castle. And then you know, it’s about maybe like a five, maybe eight minute thing. And you know, everybody is like, “Oh my gosh!” Like once the snow came down. Everybody just started to get up and go all sorts of directions. So we had to stay put and let all of that happen and then wait. And we had no choice but to just go to Tomorrowland because it was like people leaving people coming people going everywhere. People taking pictures, like….

Ariel Landrum 32:29
They’re like mad dashing to their their party.

Stefanie Bautista 32:32
Yeah. And like people who knew that the park was gonna close at six or seven for them. They were trying to get to whatever rides they wanted to go to like right beforehand. And yeah, I would say like for the first hour or two, maybe first two or three hours, it was pretty busy.

Ariel Landrum 32:49
Okay.

Stefanie Bautista 32:50
After that. It was deserted. It was like a night and day difference between once everybody’s going in the park and then once everybody’s left and it’s just the ticketed people.

Ariel Landrum 33:04
Okay.

Stefanie Bautista 33:04
Then it felt like what I was expecting, but you had to kind of go through that in order to experience it.

Ariel Landrum 33:11
So really, there wouldn’t have been any time to enjoy the park from five to seven the like going on rides are really doing anything.

Stefanie Bautista 33:21
No, no, not I mean. Yes. If you have specific things in mind.

Ariel Landrum 33:27
Well, small things.

Stefanie Bautista 33:29
Yeah, small things like in you know, like Jungle Cruise…

Ariel Landrum 33:32
And Tiki Room.

Stefanie Bautista 33:33
Yeah at the Tiki Room. Even if you’re going all the way to holiday Haunted Mansion, I think that line started to dwindle pretty fast, because it’s so far in the park, that people you know, don’t really like tend to go there too much. And it was getting cold really, really fast. So if you were not prepared for the day, you were already making your way out like at 6:30 or 7.

Ariel Landrum 33:53
So it’s now I don’t want to say dead but it’s quiet and it’s quieted down. You headed to Tomorrowland was there room and space at the parties to move around and enjoy yourselves? And how did your evening unfold?

Stefanie Bautista 34:07
Yeah, so our evening kind of unfolded like we we just made like a circle. I think that’s what happed. We just made like a circle.

Ariel Landrum 34:16
And for anyone who has watched any of the shows on Disney+ in regards to making the parks, they they are they are spokes and wheels is essentially how they’re described. And that this was inspired from a lot of the roads in France. So everything branches out from a middle and those are also essentially circular. No, they’re not perfect circles. But it’s it’s around object here and here and here in the spokes in the wheel.

Stefanie Bautista 34:45
Yes, yes, very true. And yeah, because we always known that Tomorrowland is like always pretty dead. Because I feel like it’s the most it’s the the least recently updated part of the park. Tomorrowland is always like our go to if we need a breather, if you know like we just need a lot of seating. And we just kind of want to get away from everyone Finding Nemo is still closed. So the only rides that you can go on are Star Tours, Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, and Space Mountain. So we go there. They have a DJ there. And the DJ was spinning from the top of the oh my gosh, what is it called the Carousel of Progress.

Ariel Landrum 35:30
Oh.

Stefanie Bautista 35:32
Yeah. So there’s a balcony there at the Carousel Progress, the Carousel Progress that was modeled after you know the the World’s Fair stuff. It’s still there. It’s still functioning but it’s not like an actual thing anymore. It used to be that used to have like all these exhibits in there but the DJ was spinning up there. I thought they were going to be at the little area in front of the restaurant were like Darth Vader in them used to do their like, like little show…

Ariel Landrum 36:00
In Jedi kid camp training. Yeah…

Stefanie Bautista 36:03
Yeah, but you’ll find in every single party, all of the musicians are high above.

Ariel Landrum 36:08
Okay.

Stefanie Bautista 36:09
None of them are ground level. They’re all above and I’ll explain that for the other parts to but it was really nice because it ensures everyone is still social distancing. And you’re not getting like a big crowd getting too close to the performers who are there you know performing all night. So the carousel progress was a Disney Merries Nites merchandise spot. So they tell you what’s available in the front and then if you say, “Yeah, I want to go buy something,” they let you in. And it’s like a little like a little area on the first floor of it. You can kind of see that there’s still Star Wars and Marvel stuff beyond but. Like you can’t go into that area at all. Basically just pick what you want. You had a choice of the Merries Nites jersey a t shirt, a special pin. And I think they were out of the either mug or tumbler and they were out of something else. I forgot what it was but I ended up getting a long sleeve Merries Nites like jersey.

Ariel Landrum 37:07
Nice…

Stefanie Bautista 37:08
And the pin. That’s what it looks like.

Ariel Landrum 37:11
For our listeners Mickey and Minnie. Their strolling has I think from what I can see the Disneyland font old school font. And it’s in that old, very Victorian sort of font and says Merries Nites. There’s a tree and it says Disneyland 2021. And the tree is that little twig tree that makes me think of when Mickey and Minnie did the you know how there’s like those themed Christmas tropes. And this is the one where he like buys her like a chain for her locket it but in order to get it he like sells his pipe and she like sells her. Her locket it to get him like a troubadour for his pipe. And it was like giving up these precious things because the person is most precious to us what matters in the holiday sort of theme thing. They had that tiny sort of twig tree that would like to block sticks in the pin. Very adorable. Very nice. Oh a square. Not rectangle shaped pin.

Stefanie Bautista 38:14
Yeah, rectangle shape. Yep, yep, yep. Yeah, so we ended up getting just getting those two things. This pin was a special edition. So it’s $18. $18 the jersey I think was like I think 30, 32 $35.

Ariel Landrum 38:31
And what’s the jersey look like?

Stefanie Bautista 38:34
That I can actually get it for you. So it’ll be I’m going to have to do like a super zoom in because of my filter. I don’t know if you can see that.

Ariel Landrum 38:42
Also says Merries Nites and the pretty font some sparkly stars the castle. I can’t tell you that in the corners that Jessie and Tiana? Oh, no, it is. It’s Coco. Okay, it is Miguel. Like I said her virtual background trying to blur everything out.

Stefanie Bautista 39:00
Yeah sorry.

Ariel Landrum 39:01
But I do see a giant hat that’s red. Like we Jesse. We see Elsa on there for Frozen says 2021 on a little bulb. We got Buzz Lightyear with a Santa hat on. And then Mickey Minnie and their vintage garb, the same one that they’re wearing in the pin. Er, and then there’s their Stitch, ah he’s wearing a Santa outfit with the beard and everything.

Stefanie Bautista 39:29
Yeah. And then in the middle is the castle. Very lovely.

Ariel Landrum 39:32
And it’s red.

Stefanie Bautista 39:33
Yes. Very, very red. This one was $39.99 It was close. Yeah, so those are the two things that I got. And yeah, so we kind of did a circle. Sadly, Small World was still closed at this time, because it’s November 30. And apparently there was a flood.

Ariel Landrum 39:55
Yeah, that was in the news.

Stefanie Bautista 39:58
There was a flood that damaged a lot of stuff so it was supposed to open when Merries Nites opened on November 11, at least. But by November 30, it was so close. So I was kind of bummed out.

Ariel Landrum 40:10
I will say for people if they haven’t gone to Disneyland during the holidays, they changed the song.

Stefanie Bautista 40:15
Yeah.

Ariel Landrum 40:17
Something I didn’t know until staff took me for the holidays because it would not have occurred to me to go to Disneyland for the holidays. And they are not singing, It’s a Small World. They are singing instead…

Stefanie Bautista 40:26
Jingle Bells!

Ariel Landrum 40:28
ding ding ding

Stefanie Bautista 40:32
They’re saying Jingle Bells. And it’s so so cute. And like everybody is in, in their traditional holiday where whatever you have for you know, different places. So in in the European section, they have like, you know, like a Parisian Christmas and you know, Julia Noel and they like, say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays in different languages. And you’ll see like that represented in animation and like with what they’re wearing. It’s very cute. I love it.

Ariel Landrum 40:59
And the cards at the end are also holiday cards.

Stefanie Bautista 41:03
Holiday cards, not just you know, the postcards that you’re used to seeing. I don’t know if you saw this, but this is really funny that I noticed. Oh, not there, but apparently there’s like a petition, or somebody wants to make a petition to decorate the little Filipino girl with more stuff. Cause all she’s holding is an ornament.

Ariel Landrum 41:24
Yes, yes. That is all she’s holding.

Stefanie Bautista 41:27
Okay for my our Filipino people out there. We only have one representative doll.

Ariel Landrum 41:32
Yes, just one.

Stefanie Bautista 41:34
In the island section. She’s just very cutely in her Maria Clara. And she’s just she’s been chillin there for years by herself. And you know, for Filipinos we celebrate Christmas so early. We felt we started celebrating in September. So I think somebody was just like, “Can we give her like a parol?” Which is like a paper star that is traditional in the Philippines.

Ariel Landrum 41:55
Yes.

Stefanie Bautista 41:56
Or even like somebody said, “Can we like give her a lechon?” Which is like a little roasted pig?

Ariel Landrum 42:02
Yeah lechon! That would be perfect! Or some, honestly some homies…

Stefanie Bautista 42:08
Some homies!

Ariel Landrum 42:09
I don’t know many traditional Filipino families where it’s like, “It’s just me!”

Stefanie Bautista 42:13
No, you’re completely right. Give her her family.

Ariel Landrum 42:18
“Me with my little bulb that I’m holding.”

Stefanie Bautista 42:21
Yeah, so she’s still holding the bulb, and somebody is just like, “Please can we get like everyone calls her Tita Baby,” because that’s like the universal name for everyone…

Ariel Landrum 42:29
Yes.

Stefanie Bautista 42:30
“Let’s give Tita Baby a little bit more love.” But I mean Disney if you’re listening I we can we can give ideas and tips and tricks. But yes, that was one of the only rides that was closed sadly because they’re still fixing everything. But everything else the train all the other rides they were they were still working.

Ariel Landrum 42:52
At Tomorrowland was was there like a dancing section? Or was it is just merchandise? So it was a DJ is just spining?

Stefanie Bautista 42:59
The DJ just spinning everyone’s vibing. Oh, and here’s the thing like all the cast members because I feel like the best songs are the best. DJ was at Disney at Tomorrowland because she was like spinning like a lot of freestyle and like, you know party music. And it was like a good change to like, not hear Disney music but your contemporary. Like not Disney, radio music but like, actual music that we like. And DJ was a woman…

Ariel Landrum 43:28
Yeah, shout out to women DJs!

Stefanie Bautista 43:31
Yeah, she was a woman of color.

Ariel Landrum 43:33
Yes!

Stefanie Bautista 43:34
She was fantastic. All the cast members who were around there were just like dancing and invite them like, “You guys have the best spot. Because A. you don’t have to do anything. You just have to stand there and tell people where to go. B. you get to listen to all these, you know, amazing songs.” So yeah, I really like that as an adult.

Ariel Landrum 43:52
Yes, yes. Okay. Okay. It was just the place of vibe, got it.

Stefanie Bautista 43:55
Yeah, place the vibe. So we go through to Fantasyland because we’re like, “Oh, let’s try going on Peter Pan.” We always try to go on Peter Pan. But that stuff is so of Peter Pan. I love you, but I hate you. Because the lines are always so long. Everyone knows it’s the best mini right at Fantasyland because you are suspended instead of just in a cart. So we go there, wait is only 30 minutes, which is good. But once we step in line the ride breaks.

Ariel Landrum 44:01
Noooooo!

Stefanie Bautista 44:17
So we left we left it instead we went to Snow White which I haven’t seen since the refurbishment and that’s when I found out people came and parties of 15. There was a party right behind us. And there were there’s only three of us and if you’ve ever been on Snow White, it’s literally a cart and you could fit in max, two and max three in the back. And that’s it. It’s very short.

Ariel Landrum 44:54
And it has like I’m gonna say like a hard stop it goes it goes dark quickly and all sudden there’s rainbows and you’re like, “What just happened?” It’s this hard stop.

Stefanie Bautista 45:04
Hard stop is right. Because you’re in a living diorama. Basically, you’re in your living diorama that moves, has lights and stuff. But yeah, I don’t know, the girl pointing it or counting out people. She had a look on her face. And I was like, “Oh may the Lord be with you. Cause this is gonna be difficult.” But yeah, you have to keep your mask on inside. If you’re on the ride. There’s a person before the person that counts you. Make sure you have your mask on you ready to pull up because you know half of the ride you’re standing outside and then once you get inside it gets you’re inside really fast. So we go on Snow White. I do appreciate all the updates that they went through. The story makes sense now. You’re not just like, “Dark dark dark, scary. Scary. Scary. Scary. Oh, all of a sudden the rides done rainbow.”

Ariel Landrum 45:53
It was a creepy ride. I’m not gonna lie.

Stefanie Bautista 45:55
Yes and…

Ariel Landrum 45:58
I didn’t know how to feel when I got off.

Stefanie Bautista 46:00
Rightfully so because it was called Snow White’s Scary Adventures. Now it’s called Snow White Enchanted Adventure.

Ariel Landrum 46:06
Ah.

Stefanie Bautista 46:08
Yes, they change the name.

Ariel Landrum 46:10
Okay. So more creatures I’m assuming?

Stefanie Bautista 46:12
More creatures more storyline. You you see the old you see? You see what happens to her. But you do see the prince going in for us sort of kiss but you don’t see it was weird. You have to you and when we go next time, I’m going to point it out to you. It’s actually quite hilarious how he like bends over and leans to kiss her because it’s a diorama. Like, it’s not even animatronic. This is just like a mannequin doing this. It’s really It’s funny. But I mean, yeah, you know, good on you, um, Disney for updating it and making the story a little bit more easier to follow.

Ariel Landrum 46:50
Yeah, but not not completely changing it by keeping it still a diorama.

Stefanie Bautista 46:54
Yeah, no, which is good. But yeah, so we went on that. And then after that, we decided to go to the B not Be Our Guest. And that’s at Disneyworld.

Ariel Landrum 47:10
Oh, that place was good, though.

Stefanie Bautista 47:12
Oh I love that place so much. Um, maybe that’s why. So we go to the restaurant that is Beauty and the Beast Themed in the corner. Right? It’s feeding. Is it Pinocchio? I don’t know. I think it’s both. But they still saw the gray stuff. It’s delicious. So that’s why I always think it’s a Beauty and the Beast, but it’s to the left to the right of Pinocchio. The Pinocchio Ride? It’s to the right of that.

Ariel Landrum 47:34
Yeah.

Stefanie Bautista 47:35
I really wanted the cold brew eggnog, which was one of the special food that they have.

Ariel Landrum 47:40
You said you were in a restaurant when you saw the signs change.

Stefanie Bautista 47:43
That’s the restaurant I was in. Yeah, the fast food restaurant. Yep.

Ariel Landrum 47:47
Okay.

Stefanie Bautista 47:47
Um, so we were there at 6:50. And I guess they still had like regular stuff. But we knew and they already had a little card that said, you can get the cold brew eggnog here and Mickey Gingerbread, which I really, really wanted. And so we go over there and I guess we there was no people there. There was no one in there. We get enlightened. We order stuff. And apparently all the people behind us the guy at the front was like, “Oh, we’re not doing holiday stuff yet.” So we didn’t like the last ones to like go on there. I don’t know. It was kind of weird. Red Rose Tavern. That’s what it’s called.

Ariel Landrum 48:21
Yeah.

Stefanie Bautista 48:22
So they had a frozen flurry which is a citrus and bubblegum slush top with whipped cream candy decor and a glow cube inside. Coffee nog cold brew coffee eggnog caramel whipped cream and a gingerbread smore. Enchanted Forest fries tossed in Buffalo seasoning drizzled with ranch and top and with and topped with cotija cheese. I didn’t get the frozen flurry or the forest fries, because I didn’t see it on the menu.

Ariel Landrum 48:45
Oh.

Stefanie Bautista 48:46
We order and our food is taking a really really long time.

Ariel Landrum 48:51
And all you got was the coffee.

Stefanie Bautista 48:52
All I got was the coffee and like the regular items. So it was like chicken tenders, and a flat bar a flatbread pizza, which is like their regular items.

Ariel Landrum 49:02
Still offered along with the holiday stuff?

Stefanie Bautista 49:04
Yes, but the menu only had the regular stuff. It’s just the cold eggnog, which I knew I wanted was on the side. And I guess it was another menu? I don’t know. I don’t know. But I was just like, “Give me the cold room. I’m fading right now. I need coffee.” And so it’s taking a really, really long time maybe like 20 minutes, which is not normal for a fast you know, like the what do you call it?

Ariel Landrum 49:26
Cafeteria.

Stefanie Bautista 49:28
Cafeteria style food! Yes, thank you. So apparently, no one knew how to make the cold brew back there.

Ariel Landrum 49:36
It’s as cold brew should already be made.

Stefanie Bautista 49:40
A will because it came with eggnog caramel whipped cream, AJ told me that there was a huge argument in the back and he saw it all happen. That no one knew how to make it and they had to find somebody who knew how to make it but that person was still coming on their shif. So they had to and there was like, seven now eight now nine tickets have cold brew, and it’s inching closer and closer to seven o’clock when they did and they did the shift change, which is I think kind of messed everything up. So our food was already kind of cold when we got it but I was just like what happened? He’s like, “No one knew how to make the drink.”

Ariel Landrum 50:15
Dang cause they were like, “Morning crew don’t have to learn it’s night crew.” Got it. Got it.

Stefanie Bautista 50:19
It’s Merriest Nites crew. Merriest Nites crew has to know.

Ariel Landrum 50:21
See that’s why you always have a bridge crew man. You always have one that that straddles the line between both.

Stefanie Bautista 50:27
I mean, it could have been a one off. Who knows. But I mean, it is one of the smaller fast food issue restaurants there. So I guess they weren’t tripping about it too much. And I mean, it’s cold brew eggnog caremel… AJ was like, “I’m gonna go back there and make it myself.” I mean, it’s not that difficult, but I mean, I get it. It was delicious, though. I think it was the best thing that I had there.

Ariel Landrum 50:50
Once the homie who knew how to make it came. They knew how to make it.

Stefanie Bautista 50:54
Once the homie we knew how to make a came, he knew how to make it. So it was so so good. I don’t like eggnog, everyone, I really don’t. I never liked it. I tried. I really, when we used to work, you know as baristas I would try to like, spice it up or whatever. Ariel would do her thing. I just don’t like it. It’s too it’s too thick without being a milkshake for me. So the cold brew was so good. And I think now because they have their own coffee provider, the Joffrey’s coffee that they had at Walt Disneyworld, now that they’re everywhere at Disneyland, I think they just solely provide the coffee there at the park. So it was super good, the gingerbread was really good. And we were on our way. Try not to go during the shift change everyone.

Ariel Landrum 51:35
Yeah.

Stefanie Bautista 51:36
It kind of it sucks. And you’ll wait a long time. But after that, I think that’s the whole theme of this thing is like, you have to get through the transition of Disneyland goers and regular Disney day to be able to, you know, reap the benefits of what you paid for.

Ariel Landrum 51:55
Okay.

Stefanie Bautista 51:55
And you kind of just have to stick it out. Because they do offer a lot for you. It’s just, you have to, if you are going to get there early, you have to kind of go through all of that, let them do their thing, and then you can enjoy the party.

Ariel Landrum 52:08
And that goes back to when we talked in this episode, in regards to anyone who has anxiety, the biggest thing to address anxiety is creating moments of transition and accepting that there are moments of transition. And that anytime things feel pushed or forced or forgotten, that anxiety usually builds. So if you if it sounds like for this event, if you go in accepting that that the whole park is in transition, that’s why it feels chaotic or confusing. It’s not because you’ve done something wrong or forgotten something or your anxiety lying to you. It’s that is the transition time or we’re just feeling the flow.

Stefanie Bautista 52:45
And transitions are hard for everyone. Transitioning and that is like a big thing in the classroom too. Even transitioning from a math lesson to language arts lesson, you have to have that like five minute like, “Let’s take a break we are we are transitioning into another thing. If you want to stretch, if you want to do something that you know makes you feel comfortable, you go ahead and do that.” Any sort of transition is difficult for anybody, no matter who you are. Whatever, you know, parameters you’re give yourself transitioning is hard.

Ariel Landrum 53:13
Very hard.

Stefanie Bautista 53:14
Just like when you’re transitioning from real world to Disneyland world. From regular day to holiday in your face. You have to give yourself that grace, you have to give yourself you know, a little bit of space. And you know, for us we know the nooks and crannies of every land. So we knew the Red Rose Tavern was a good place to eat because it’s not a sit down restaurant, we know that it’s you know, cafeteria style almost. And we could chill there inside. You know, we knew these things already from the past. So it helped us make that decision to be like this is where we’re going to eat and chill before we go on about our day.

Ariel Landrum 53:51
And it sounds like there’s even acceptance because, “Okay, we knew that this is a place where you can chill and it’s usually efficient. It isn’t today, it’s not because we’ve done something wrong or we’re not being explicit or that our expectations are too high is that it’s there in transition.”

Stefanie Bautista 54:07
Yeah. Yeah. And it’s not Disney’s fault either. I think it’s not their fault that you know, things will be lost in translation if you’ve ever worked food service from the day crew to the night crew. Especially if you’re doing an event which they are already loaded with all this information about how to process all of these foods and things like that that are specific to the event. So you know it’s it was all learning experience. I got my coffee. I was happy. So we yeah, we went on down to where did we go next? Oh, I really wanted to go to New Orleans because they had a jazz band playing on the Mark Twain.

Ariel Landrum 54:46
Ohhhhh!

Stefanie Bautista 54:47
And it takes you around. And I thought this whole time it was like someone dressed as Tianna singing and I would have died because I would have loved that so so much, but it’s just a band which was equally as good. She was fantastic. She did sound like Tiana because it’s very hard to see where the stage was on the Mark Twain. So the Mark Twain is the riverboat that you if you’re familiar with, you know the area, it’s replicated after a real steamboat. It is a real steamboat. It powers on steam. But it’s a smaller version of like the ones you see in you know, the south. But there’s the. Help me with the boat terms because I’m not quite familiar. The front of the boat is called the…

Ariel Landrum 55:30
The bow.

Stefanie Bautista 55:31
Okay. So the bow, held the band. So it was a jazz band had upright bass, a guitarist, the singer, and a drummer, and they blocked all of that off, and everybody else gets to see. So really, the best seats were just in front of the ropes on that same level. Everywhere else, you could hear her completely fine, but you just couldn’t see her. Even if you were at the balcony, which we tried to do looking down. it’s very hard to see because there’s you know, ropes in the way and like, you know, the actual boat. A good opportunity for my son to kind of run around the boat safely. And you know, everybody was just like really vibing and like, you know, listen to jazz music. It was all jazzy renditions of holiday songs. Very lovely and nice. It takes you around. And you’ll see you know, the dioramas that are there around the Rivers of America. And when you come back down like that’s, that’s basically the show. And it’s cool, because once you get off of the boat, you’re right in front of the Golden Horseshoe, which is either Western, and the mariachi band for Feliz Navidad that is on top.

Ariel Landrum 56:37
Okay.

Stefanie Bautista 56:38
They’re on the top balcony. And they were so fun!

Ariel Landrum 56:42
From jazz to mariachi.

Stefanie Bautista 56:44
Mariachi, and I love their energy because like, they were seeing their grito, and all that stuff. And they, they seem like all of these musicians were I feel like they’re actual musicians like outside. They’re not just hired, you know, they don’t just work for Disney, but their actual musicians. They perform as such. So they’re all very high quality level musicians. And then after that, we sped around, we didn’t write any rights at this point, everyone. Besides Snow White, we were just like, let’s do all the holiday stuff first, and then maybe get to our rights. We went around to Adventureland. And we did our first photo op there. So every land has a light up larger than life postcard.

Ariel Landrum 57:28
Ah.

Stefanie Bautista 57:30
And that larger than life postcard, you get in line and then they snap your pictures and then they just show up after you scan your photo pass. And all of the postcards were designed by Disney animators who have art at Wunderground. Okay, so shout out to a friend of a friend Ann Shen who does a lot of they’re really cute when she did the Mele Kalikimaka one at Adventureland and it was Jumba and Pleakley. And they’re decorating the Christmas tree. And that was situated where the strollers usually are at Jungle Cruise. So to the left. And right above there was the two Hawaiian musicians, a singer and his partner with a ukulele and they were singing holiday songs in Hawaiian. And…

Ariel Landrum 58:17
So duet.

Stefanie Bautista 58:18
Yeah, duet. It was very nice and calm and their holiday treats were at the tropical hideaway so you could get a… It was a very very sweet dole whip. I couldn’t really get through this one because it was very sweet. Paradise party float blue pineapple juice topped with watermelon dole whip.

Ariel Landrum 58:41
Oh, I love watermelon. Oh, I wouldn’t think to do that for a holiday event. I would think immediately summer so that’s really cool.

Stefanie Bautista 58:50
Yeah. And they topped it with like a orchid. It was very cute. Um, the blue pineapple juice is too sweet for me, but I love the watermelon dole whip. That was super super good. Those were the two big things that I wanted to do. I wanted to do Mele Kalikimaka and I wanted to see the Muppets do their show…

Ariel Landrum 59:09
But wait, did you see Lilo and Stitch?

Stefanie Bautista 59:12
Oh yes, I did. Oh my gosh, I totally forgot.

Ariel Landrum 59:15
These are Stef’s charaters!

Stefanie Bautista 59:18
Yes these are my characters. These are the these are my people. People okay, I guess this is another thing I can mention people start lining up for character pictures really really early. Lilo and Stitch we’re on the down steps of the exit of Enchanted Tiki Room.

Ariel Landrum 59:32
Oh gorgeous.

Stefanie Bautista 59:33
Yeah beautiful. And they had like the tiki torches lit up and all that stuff. And they they both had like… Stitch was dressesed as Santa and then Lilo had lei around her and she was you know in her dress. Very cute. But the line was so long.

Ariel Landrum 59:47
Oh, no.

Stefanie Bautista 59:49
So long. You wrapped around all the way to the front of the Tiki Room and I was like, “Oh…” And at this point, it’s already like eight And we’re like, “Okay, we got to like, do other things. We want to see the parade. We want to see the Muppets,” and I was just like, I just took a picture of them even take a picture with them. To the side. It was a little sad, but you know what? It’s fine. I guess I’ll just have to go to Aulani.

Ariel Landrum 1:00:15
Yes, yes, you definitely do. I mean, you had to either way.

Stefanie Bautista 1:00:19
But yes, a lot of the people especially for like Miguel, and for Elsa and Tiana. People were lining up really, really early to do these character photo. We just walked on over to Main Street. Because all the shows were starting all the shows happened between like eight or nine o’clock. So the Muppets came around in the bus. The double decker like, I guess it’s a bus, right?

Ariel Landrum 1:00:45
Yes. Yeah. It’s like a London double decker bus. And that’s really cool because the windows are arched similar to like, I think when I think of The Muppet Show.

Stefanie Bautista 1:00:54
Yeah.

Ariel Landrum 1:00:54
So that’s perfect. That’s perfect for puppeteering.

Stefanie Bautista 1:00:57
Perfect. We’re puppeteering the stop right in front of Walt in Mickey statue. So if you wanted to watch it, they like roped off an area like right in front. My son loves Sesame Street and he loves puppets. And ‘kay, we did not get the greatest seats because obviously everybody was like, Oh, I’m gonna sit here like forever, like, you know, true Disneyland fashion.

Ariel Landrum 1:01:19
Just parking it.

Stefanie Bautista 1:01:20
I’m just parking it three hours early, even though the vents only five. So we were like to the side under the umbrellas near the Jolly Holiday. And I forget that my eyesight is a POS. I need my glasses to see. But my son has perfect vision. He is a baby. He’s one years old. He has perfect vision. He sees things that I have no idea what’s going on. So we we have him on my husband shoulders. And he is just locked in like locked in the whole entire time, just like in awe that are these things that are puppeting at him. He is not reacting. He’s like, I don’t know if he’s happy. And he’s just locked in.

Ariel Landrum 1:02:05
Hyper focusing. Puppets.

Stefanie Bautista 1:02:08
He’s just hyper focus. Just like I was trying to take cute pictures of that. No, he was just like, dead face serious. He’s never seen a puppet show before like, all the puppets he’s interacted with through the TV, YouTube. So I think just seeing that and next time if we ever go I want to get up close. Because just seeing the Muppets live, I think is so special. I mean, those characters truly come to life. You really do forget that there’s just a hand in those pieces of fabric.

Ariel Landrum 1:02:36
What did they sing?

Stefanie Bautista 1:02:38
They did a whole bit. It was a whole comedy bit.

Ariel Landrum 1:02:40
Yes!

Stefanie Bautista 1:02:41
They incorporated holiday songs and be like, Oh, this is our next song. But then like, Fozzie would go missing or like Pepe would say something stupid and Kermit and like, Miss Piggy would be like, she would be arguing and like barking. It was like, very classic Muppet banter, but incorporating holiday songs. And it was it was just so cute. They even they had the eagle I forget his name….

Ariel Landrum 1:03:06
Sam.

Stefanie Bautista 1:03:07
Yeah, Sam. Yep. Beaker was there. Dr. Honey Do the honeydew melon. Yeah, yeah, they’re all there. Gonzo was there. Of course Pepe was there Fozzie was there.

Ariel Landrum 1:03:20
Any of the the chickens.

Stefanie Bautista 1:03:21
All the chickens were there just bawk bawk bawking. I think the whole like bit was at their bus broke down. And they were on their way to somewhere. And then Dr. Honeydew was supposed to, like try to fix it and whatever. But in the interim, they like seeing their holiday songs. So…

Ariel Landrum 1:03:38
Aas was Chef there because he’s my favorite.

Stefanie Bautista 1:03:41
You know, I think he was in the back. So like, because it’s like a double decker. The bottom one housed more Muppets than the top deck. Because the top deck, you know, you could only see some and Pepe was on the top. That was a you can’t see he’s so small.

Ariel Landrum 1:03:53
Pure king prawn.

Stefanie Bautista 1:03:54
Yeah. I mean, that was the highlight for me. I mean, my son loved it. Like I everybody loved that they do. They did like four shows throughout. So you could always go. But there was also the Holiday Parade, which was like, cool. I haven’t seen a parade in a really long time. But it’s still the same parade that they do every year. Nothing special. Nothing new. But yeah, like it was it was nice to see that in a much more intimate setting. And at this point around eight o’clock. Everyone going on rides, they check your wristband and they check your lanyard. So if you did not have a lanyard or a wristband, you would be asked, “Hey, the park is actually closed for you know, the date and it’s just for special ticketed, you know, event holders.” So they would just, I guess, politely ask you to leave.

Ariel Landrum 1:04:41
What do you think made this event special or sets it apart from some of the maybe the other holiday events.

Stefanie Bautista 1:04:47
The ambitiousness of having six different holiday parties? I think that sets it apart. Definitely. With all the different themes that they’re able to do. Also as inclusive as they’re trying to be with, you know, Tiana’s celebration and Miguel’s celebration and Lilo and Stitch’s a celebration. I think it’s a really good way to explore those worlds and when you wouldn’t be able to otherwise in, you know, their special holiday setting. Because holidays are so special to certain cultures. And I mean, even the inclusion of like Nordic cultures with Elsa and Ana. Oh, what’s his name was there. The bad guy? The Prince.

Ariel Landrum 1:05:31
Hans?!

Stefanie Bautista 1:05:32
Yes, he was there.

Ariel Landrum 1:05:35
Ewww!

Stefanie Bautista 1:05:36
I think I actively said “Ewww,” too when I saw him, and I’m like, “What’s this guy doing here? I don’t like him.”

Ariel Landrum 1:05:42
I guess you always have people come over holiday you don’t really want there. That might be an accurate representation of, “He had to be invited. Our kingdoms trade.”

Stefanie Bautista 1:05:58
Oh my gosh, that is. You are totally right. We we ended up staying until midnight. Because we wanted to ride Haunted Mansion, which we did. And it’s still Haunted Mansion from Halloween. So that’s that’s so really special.

Ariel Landrum 1:06:21
So when you say from Halloween is it that it is basically a Nightmare Before Christmas?

Stefanie Bautista 1:06:27
Basically Nightmare Before Christmas. Jack and Sally are on the top again saying, “Hi!” And “Happy holidays.” So that was nice. Um, you could I feel like there were more opportunities to you know, intimately as much as possible take pictures with characters. You saw Donald as the Scrooge walking around.

Ariel Landrum 1:06:49
Oh!

Stefanie Bautista 1:06:51
And goofy and Chippendale as the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future.

Ariel Landrum 1:06:58
Yes.

Stefanie Bautista 1:06:59
So really a lot of like, tie backs to Christmas specials that Disney you know, animation has and things that you just normally wouldn’t see. I think that’s the most special part about going to a ticketed event like this is that you could use you see rare things that you don’t normally see in a regular Disney Day. I think the $165 price point you’re getting. You’re getting unlimited photos, but you have to take advantage of it. So if you’re not taking advantage of it, you know, you kind of are at a loss there. You get special shows. You get live music six different ways. You get a giveaway of a lanyard and you also at the end when you exit the park. They give you postcards one that was from each and every photo op.

Ariel Landrum 1:07:46
Oh!

Stefanie Bautista 1:07:48
So spoiler alert in your Christmas gift Ariel I gave you postcards! From the event!

Ariel Landrum 1:07:56
Ahh postcards! yeah!

Stefanie Bautista 1:08:00
I’m not going to spoil the other part but I gave you the postcards that we got from Merriest Nites because obviously we got three of put three packs. So if you open that side of your present. You’ll see you have the postcards too. Yeah, and I did not I kept them pristine for you. Because they’re so all the animations are so lovely. And you can display them. I think I want to display my set in like, you know, a case or something or like even just in a binder because they’re really, really nice. And I did not expect that gift. Going out of the park, they were like, “Stop.” And I’m like. “Ahh I’m trying to leave!” And they’re like, “Here you go.” And I was like, “What?” And it was dark. So I couldn’t see anything. I’m like, “What is this?” With my old lady like squint. I was like, “Oh my gosh, they’re postcards from every land!” So, um, I don’t, I don’t guarantee that they’re gonna do the same lands next year. They might mix it up to you know, keep it fresh. But I think from a souvenir standpoint, from an experience standpoint, and even from a foodie standpoint, you’re kind of getting all of those experiences rolled into one because there are a lot of things that I didn’t get to try that andouille sausage poboy that they had in New Orleans Square. I didn’t get to have the Thanksgiving leftover burger that they had at Tomorrowland. They had gingerbread fraps, they had special waffle fries. They had seasonal beignets. They had blueberry lemonade. Like they had this churro ice cream, it was a lot so you could seriously hone in on like one experience and just do that and then your time is up.

Ariel Landrum 1:09:35
Something to just go back to for the Elsa experience. What was the music like? Or did you get a chance to go?

Stefanie Bautista 1:09:42
I didn’t get to experience that one too much. I know that Elsa and the Frozen characters were at the there’s like a little step above. On your way to It’s a Small World. You remember that right where it’s like the lights that they usually use for the parade when it comes back. It’s like a little step like two steps up like a little, like, what do you call it? Metal, I guess a plaza of some sort. So they’re just hanging out there. There wasn’t any musicians, though. I think they did, which is similar to what the Victorian Christmas was on Main Street is that they had music playing. So it was like Frozen-ish music, like music from the movies. And you know, you could, because you could actually go up and talk to Elsa and Ana.

Ariel Landrum 1:10:26
Oh.

Stefanie Bautista 1:10:27
I feel like it was more intimate. And also because small world was closed. You really just enjoyed their presence. And you know, that winter wonderland.

Ariel Landrum 1:10:38
So we really, it sounds very intentionally diverse, diverse music and not just diverse music, but even in how it’s being presented. Because you have a DJ, you have a mariachi band, you have a jazz band, you have a duet, that that sounds very cognizant and thoughtful. And it sounds like really opportunity. Like if you just didn’t ride any of them rides at all, you would have still felt that you got your money’s worth.

Stefanie Bautista 1:11:05
Absolutely. Yeah, it’s a it’s a true entertainment experience. And it’s layered, very, very layered. I believe that they will bring this back next year. But you know, just go into the experience knowing that you will have to deal with transitions, you will have to deal with not thinking you did enough. But also try to just pick a couple things like you know, you usually do in a Disney trip and try to do those and you’ll be good.

Ariel Landrum 1:11:35
Yeah, your non negotiables. And looking at it as because it’s still a new event, even if it happens again next year, they’re still working out a lot of the kinks to see if how viable and how to make it more efficient. Well, thank you, everyone, for joining us. And thank you, Stef, for sharing your merriest night with us.

Stefanie Bautista 1:11:53
My merriest night in November. Yes, so we hope you all have a really good and safe holiday season. We are so happy that you have chosen us to listen to. We are so very grateful that you know there are plenty of Disney podcasts out there. But you know, a lot of the feedback that we’ve gotten make it really special for us to continue to do this. And know that even though we go through seasons in our lives too, so we are still wanting to create you know more content more episodes for you guys, but in the spirit of expectations and being good to yourself. We do want to take care of ourselves too as much as we want you all to take care of yourselves.

Ariel Landrum 1:12:38
Yes, if you went to Merriest Nites, like Stef did. If you think they should bring it back. If you think Tita Baby should have something more than a bulb. Go ahead and tweet at us @HappiestPodGT or DM us on Instagram @HappiestPodGT.

Stefanie Bautista 1:12:59
Yep. Happy holidays everyone and Happy New Year.

Ariel Landrum 1:13:02
Happy holidays. Bye!

Stefanie Bautista 1:13:03
Bye!

Media/Characters Mentioned
  • Frozen
  • Anna
  • Elsa
  • Hans
  • Miguel
  • Lilo
  • Stitch
  • Enchanted Tiki Room
  • Buzz Lightyear
  • Princess Tiana
  • Mickey Mouse
  • Minnie Mouse
  • The Muppets
  • Miss Piggy
  • Kermit
  • Fozzie Bear
  • Pepe
  • Gonzo
  • The Chef
  • Dr. Honeydew
  • Bunsen Beaker

Topics/Themes Mentioned
  • Holidays
  • Music
  • Tradition
  • Diversity
  • Family
  • Festival
  • Transitions
  • Celebrating
  • Mangaging expectations

Questions? Comments? Discuss this episode on the GT Forum.

 Website: happy.geektherapy.com
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 | Stef on Twitter: @stefa_kneee | Ariel on Instagram: @airyell3000 |

Geek Therapy is a 501(c)(3) non-profit with the mission of advocating for the effective and meaningful use of popular media in therapeutic, educational, and community practice.
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