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The 2010 holiday season kicks into high gear at Disneyland, SeaWorld and Universal Orlando

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The 2010 holiday season kicks into high gear at Disneyland, SeaWorld and Universal Orlando

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With only 20 days now 'til Christmas, theme parks around the country are really getting serious about the holiday season.


Photo by Paul Hiffmeyer / Disneyland. Copyright
Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

At the Park that started it all, this past Friday, JHM's Shelly Valladolid got the chance to talk with Doug McIntyre, Director of Development for the Entertainment Division at the Disneyland Resort about the many holiday-themed offerings to be found at the Park this year ...

... which - of course - features the return of that seasonal favorite, Haunted Mansion Holiday. Which - for this year's edition - features a gingerbread recreation of this attraction's façade.


Photo by Paul Hiffmeyer / Disneyland. Copyright
Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

And speaking of foods associated with the holidays ... While she was at the Park last week, Shelly got to chat with Jay Garcia, Chef de Cuisine at the Disneyland Resort. Who then showed this JHM rep how to prepare chicken tamales with Tomatillo Sauce. Garcia also talked with Valladolid about some of the seasonal food offerings found around the Merriest Place on Earth for the 2010 holiday season.

Yeah, there are lots of fun things to see and do at the Disneyland Resort this time of year. Like checking out the Christmas trees at Disneyland ...


Photo by Paul Hiffmeyer / Disneyland. Copyright Disney
Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

... and Disney California Adventure theme park.


Photo by Paul Hiffmeyer / Disneyland. Copyright
Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

Of course, if you're in the mood to see more than two Christmas trees, then Anaheim isn't where you should be headed this holiday season. But - rather - Orlando. Where SeaWorld Orlando, as part of its "Where the Season Meets the Sea" celebration, has just debuted its Sea of Trees ...


Copyright 2010 SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment. All Rights Reserved

... Which features 74 massive Christmas trees (some as tall at 30 feet) which have been placed in SeaWorld's center lake. Which - once night falls - will come alive with lights, color and music.

Of course, if you're looking for something to do 'til it gets dark, you could always check out SeaWorld Orlando's new Christmas Market. Which is located along the Park's Bayside Pathway and features all sorts of one-of-a-kind gifts and delicious holiday treats.


Copyright 2010 SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment. All Rights Reserved

Or - better yet -- you hop aboard The Polar Express Experience.


Photo by Nancy Stadler

Which does a terrific job of translating SeaWorld's Wild Arctic attraction into a multi-sensory recreation of this 2004 holiday film.

As you make your way through the pre-show and load area, you'll encounter iconic props from this Robert Zemeckis movie ...


Photo by Nancy Stadler

And as for the train trip itself ...


Copyright 2010 SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment. All Rights Reserved

... wait 'til you experience that roller coaster-like ride through Glacier Gulch and then across that frozen lake. Which - thanks to Wild Arctic's motion-based simulator technology - becomes even more magical and thrilling.

But the best part of the Polar Express Experience actually comes after you've exited the attraction. And - in a brilliant bit of misdirection - SeaWorld Orlando visitors are first drawn to that beautiful Christmas tree which is positioned at the top of the ramp near the Beluga Whale pool ...


Copyright 2010 SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment. All Rights Reserved

... only to realize- once they reach the top of this ramp - that Santa and his sleigh are just off to the side, around the corner. It's honestly worth it to just stand there for a while and watch how kids react when they first see Saint Nick. Their expressions, honestly, are just priceless.


Copyright 2010 SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment.
All rights reserved

And speaking of priceless expressions. Check out little Kadence Wolfe of Gainesville, GA ...


Photo by Kevin Kolczynski. Copyright 2010 Universal
Orlando Resort. All rights reserved

... who couldn't stop smiling when she ran into the Grinch this past weekend at Universal's Islands of Adventure.

Of course, there are lots of things that will make you smile this time of year at the Universal Orlando Resort. Which - as the ad says ...


Copyright 2010 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved

... has holiday cheer that you'll only find here. Great pieces of seasonal entertainment like daily live performances of "How The Grinch Stole Christmas." Which - now that this 30 minute-long musical is being staged inside of Soundstage 20 - is bigger & better than ever.


Copyright 2010 Universal Orlando Resort.
All rights reserved

Better yet, be sure and check out the Macy's Holiday Parade. Which features authentic balloons and floats from the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. Not mention marching bands, street performers as well as appearance by characters like the Simpsons and the Penguins of Madgascar.


Copyright 2010 Universal Orlando Resort
All rights reserved

Of course, the best present that Universal Orlando has under this year's Christmas tree is the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Which - thanks to that blanket of magical snow that covers Hogsmeade Village ...


Photo by Jim Hill

... seems Christmas-y all year round.


Photo by Jim Hill

Speaking of Hogsmeade Village ... If you were thinking about doing a little Christmas shopping at Zonko's, Ollivanders, Filch's Emporium and/or Dervish & Banges but were worried that - what with the holiday crowds - that it might be difficult to get into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter ... Well, not to worry.

You see, the Universal Orlando Resort has just opened its first-ever online store. Where you can not only purchase Harry Potter-centric souvenirs like Pygmy Puff Plush toys  ...


Copyright 2010 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved

... not to mention theme park merchandise that's tied to other popular Universal Orlando attractions like the Jurassic Park River Adventure, Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, the E.T. Adventure and Jimmy Neutron's Nicktoon Blast.


Copyright 2010 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved

For further information on Universal Orlando Resort's online store, please click on this link. And for more info on what other theme parks around the country will be celebrating the 2010 holiday season, come back to JHM next week. When we'll be continuing our Christmas coverage.

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Thanks and Happy Holidays!


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