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NFFC Disney World Holiday Extravaganza places the emphasis on in-park fun

Jim Hill

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NFFC Disney World Holiday Extravaganza places the emphasis on in-park fun

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I don’t know how many of you got to see Jason Garcia’s great story about the Space Mountain redo at WDW’s Magic Kingdom (It was featured on the Orlando Sentinel’s new Daily Disney blog. Which is well worth adding to your Favorites list, by the way).

Space Mountain and its reflection in extremely calm water
Copyright Disney. All Rights Reserved

Anywho … What was interesting about this particular post is that Garcia used the recent retooling of this Tomorrowland attraction as a way to illustrate the different philosophical & operational challenges that the Disneyland & Walt Disney World Resorts face.

To be specific, because so many of Disneyland visitors come from the local area and visit that theme park multiple times a year, they’re much more tolerant of lengthy rehabs. Whereas people who are visiting Disney World … Well, because it costs so much to fly the family into Orlando, a trip to WDW (for lots of folks, anyway) tends to be a once-in-a-lifetime occasion. Which is many Guests react poorly when they arrive at the Parks and find that one of Disney’s iconic attractions (i.e. Pirates of the Caribbean, The Haunted Mansion, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, etc. ) is out of commission.

Which is why the execs who operate Walt Disney World do their damnest to make sure that any rehabs that are done on rides, shows and attractions at this Resort’s four theme parks are completed as quickly as possible.

NFFC Disney World Holiday Extravaganza logo
Copyright 2009 NFFC (National Fantasy Fan Club). All Rights Reserved 

I’m bringing up these operational / philosophical issues because – as it turns out – WDW executives aren’t the only ones who noticed that people have very different expectations when they visit Disney World. Anita Schaengold, the Special Events Chairperson for the NFFC-Disneyana Fan Club, picked up on this difference as well. Which is why she made some tweaks to this year’s NFFC Disney World Holiday Extravaganza.

“In years previous, we’ve run our December Disney World event just like our annual convention in Anaheim. Which meant lots of time spent inside of a hotel conference room listening to guest speakers,” Anita explained. “But people – when they spend that much money to get down to Walt Disney World – they don’t want to spend all of their time trapped inside. They want to get outside and see the Parks.”

Which is why – for this year’s NFFC Disney World Holiday Extravaganza – Ms. Schaengold has attempted to move as many events as possible out in the Parks themselves.

The Osborne Lights spell out Merry Christmas in Disney's Hollywood Studios
Copyright Disney. All Rights Reserved

The fun gets underway on Thursday, December 10th. When NFFC-Disneyana Club Fan Members will first meet for lunch at the ABC Commissary at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Then it’s time for a park-wide trivia challenge, followed by a how-to-draw-Mickey lesson from noted Disney artist Alex Maher. That day’s event ends with a viewing of the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. Where one lucky conventioneer will be the person selected to turn on the lights that evening.

The next morning, everyone heads over to the AMC 24 Theater Complex at Downtown Disney. Where conventioneers will be treated to a 10:30 a.m. screening of “The Princess & the Frog.” Mind you, what will make this screening particularly interesting isn’t the free popcorn & Coke. But rather the talk that veteran animator Tony West will be giving. Where the co-director of “Dream On Silly Dreamer” will talk about what it was like to work on Walt Disney Studios’ return to hand-drawn animation.

From there, NFFC-Disneyana Fan Club members will board a bus for a special tour of the Resort. Where these conventioneers will visit five hotels on property (i.e. Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club as well as Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge) to check out some of the spectacular holiday decorations that have been created just for these Resorts.

The handmade gingerbread house at the Grand Flo is a spectacular Christmas site at Walt Disney World
Copyright Disney. All Rights Reserved

Then on Saturday, December 12th, it’s time for the World Chapter’s All Disneyana Show and Sale at the Regal Sun Hotel. Where you’ll find all sorts of Mouse-related goodies to place under the tree. And did I mention that some of your favorite Disney webmasters & podcasters will be on hand for this event?

Later that evening, conventioneers return to the Regal Sun for a special fund-raising dinner for Give Kids the World. And then – on Sunday, December 13th – it’s off to Epcot to sample some holiday-themed desserts as well as a scavenger hunt around World Showcase. And once the sun goes down, NFFC-Disneyana Fan Club members will gather for a viewing of the Candlelight Processional.

The Candlelight Processional puts you in the holiday spirit at Epcot
Copyright Disney. All Rights Reserved

That’s an awful lot of show, doesn’t you think? Especially when you consider the NFFC Disney World Holiday Extravaganza’s price tag of just $95 a person (admission to the theme parks is extra, of course).

“That was our goal for this year,” Ms. Schaengold continued. “Keep things affordable. More importantly, keep things flexible. So that if Club members – for example – wanted to attend Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party on Friday night, December 11th … Well, there’d be a hole in the schedule that would then allow people to attend this after-hours event.”

Santa flies over Main Street at Disney's theme parks
Copyright Disney. All Rights Reserved

And clearly people have responded to this revamped version of the NFFC-Disneyana Fan Club’s December event. Given that – as this article is being posted – there are only 15 spots left open for this year’s Holiday Extravaganza.

So if you want to get in on the fun, you might want to take a break from your Black Friday bargain hunting and go register for this upcoming NFFC-Disneyana Fan Club event.

And speaking of Black Friday ... Before you begin your holiday shopping on Amazon.com this year, could you please click on the banner above? If you do that ... Well, JHM then gets a teeny tiny chunkof  whatever you spend. Which would be a nice way to show your appreciation for all the great stories that you've read here on Jim Hill Media over the past year.

Happy Holidays!

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