Welcome to Extinct Attractions. Christmas is just around the corner, so this week I took a look back at a Tokyo Disneyland Christmas parade.
On November 8, Tokyo Disneyland began its Christmas celebrations, starting right around the time of the other worldwide Disney parks and giving a full two month window for park guests to experience the most magical time of the year at one of the most magical places in the world. One might not expect Christmas to be that big of a deal in Japan, but the holiday is widely celebrated in the country, though as more of a celebration and less of a religious holiday.
Though Tokyo Disneyland doesn’t do any Christmas parties for the holiday, there are a few traditions that they uphold. Haunted Mansion receives a similar The Nightmare Before Christmas overlay to Disneyland’s version and its nighttime parade, Dreamlights, also receives an overlay. Each year also features a Christmas parade with the goal to keep things fresh and try and switch out the parade every couple of years. So for today’s story, let’s jump back to November 7, 2011 and the beginning of Disney’s Santa Village Parade.
Santa Village started out with exactly who you would expect, a few elves that somehow looked cute and creepy simultaneously. They danced their way forward, while almost running because behind them was a float with Donald, Daisy, and Scrooge McDuck. One does not see Scrooge pop up super often during parades, so it was really fun to see him make an appearance.
Next up were Duffy and a friend, who like most of the other characters in the show, had outfits with a distinctly Japanese flair to them. As someone from the United States, it’s already cool enough to see characters in their Japanese style outfits, but then it’s even more fun to see them in Christmas versions of those outfits.
The characters’ cavalcade continued with Pluto on a relatively small float followed quickly by Goofy and Max who were skiing with a snowman. Most of the other floats had some loose theming with snow and some other things, but the float with Goofy and Max was easily my favorite because of its uniqueness.
Via Far East Gizmos
Following Goofy and his son, a float appeared with Clarabelle, Horace, Mickey and Minnie on it dressed in some cute outfits. At this point in the show (well, in the video above), the parade featured a show stop, which are very popular in Japan but seldom used domestically. Up until that point, the parade had seemed to be moving pretty quickly, so it makes a lot of sense that they needed to basically power through before stopping everything for like five minutes.
With the show stopped, the performers did some simple dances and sang Christmas songs. Interestingly, the Christmas songs were in English, but most of the dialogue in between was in Japanese. The show stop really helped get me in the Christmas spirit as they jumped through a nice medley of songs.
Via Dan Rudin
Following the stop, there was still a bit more parade left, starting with Chip and Dale who seemed to be running their own little toy shop. Next up were the Three Little Pigs who had some cute boots on, with the interesting part being that the float was actually added in the parade’s second year after its successful first run.
And then of course, the parade closed with Santa (as it was his village) with Huey, Dewey and Louie helping him with his sack of toys. The brothers were pretty close to being elves themselves, so it made too much sense to enlist them as helpers.
After a couple of years, they changed the soundtrack a bit in 2013 to tie with the park’s 30th anniversary, but that was pretty much the extent of the changes that the parade went through during its four years as Tokyo Disneyland’s Christmas parade, eventually closing on December 25, 2014. The parade itself wasn’t anything outside the box, but it definitely served its purpose of getting people excited for Christmas and entertaining guests with some Disney characters in the middle of the day, and sometimes that’s all you can ask for.
As always, don’t forget to check out my interactive maps of the Disney Parks throughout the years where you can watch or learn more about all the attractions from every Disney park around the world.
Thanks for reading and have a magical day!