Yesterland
 
The First Christmas at
California Adventure
Celebrate like it’s 2001
Christmas in 2001 at Disney's California Adventure

Golden wreath and golden garland on the Golden Gate


Welcome to the holiday season at Yester California Adventure. It’s now 2001 here. It’s the new park’s very first Christmas.

The big show for 2001 is LuminAria, the nighttime show that invites you to “see the holidays in a whole new light,” featuring “innovative pyrotechnic effects set to a stirring soundtrack.”

But that’s not all. There are also festive decorations and a chance to visit Santa Claus.

Christmas in 2001 at Disney's California Adventure

Three Hollywood stars

The grand entrance to the Hollywood Pictures Backlot is even more grand with golden Christmas decorations, befitting the Golden State and the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Christmas in 2001 at Disney's California Adventure

A wreath around the ABC logo

The outside of the ABC Soap Opera Bistro is not decorated except for a wreath with red ornaments around the ABC logo on the tall sign. Inside, there are plenty of Christmas decorations at the Chandler Mansion “set” from All My Children—because that’s how it’s decorated year round.

Christmas in 2001 at Disney's California Adventure

Kermit and his decorated arms

Kermit’s outstreched arms serve a useful purpose during the this season—to hold an evergreen garland with lights and gift packages. A Santa Claus cap completes his ensemble.

Christmas in 2001 at Disney's California Adventure

Santa hat on the water tower

There’s a much larger Santa Claus cap nearby on the Hollywood Pictures water tower next to Stage 12, home of the Hollywood & Dine food court.

Christmas in 2001 at Disney's California Adventure

Christmas at the Mission Tortilla Factory

There’s a rustic cornhusk garland with tiny orange lightbulbs on the Mission Tortilla Factory. Nearby, the Santa Rosa Seed and Supply store at Bountiful Valley Farm is also festooned with cornhusk garland.

Christmas in 2001 at Disney's California Adventure

Holiday scarecrows at Bountiful Valley Farm

Speaking of Bountiful Valley Farm, the scarecrows in the agricultural gardens are dressed up for the holidays. There’s Santa and Mrs. Claus, an angel, a snowman, a nutcracker in the traditional red jacket uniform, and even Rudolph the Red-Nosed Scarecrow.

Christmas in 2001 at Disney's California Adventure

Banner at Bountiful Valley Farm

Banners throughout the park advertise LuminAria. In some parts of the park, the banners seem to be the main holiday decorations.

Christmas in 2001 at Disney's California Adventure

LuminAria Holiday Art Card Center

The San Francisco block has gone unused for park’s first nine months, but now it’s the LuminAria Holiday Art Card Center. Take your kids inside to make Art Cards. Over one hundred cards are selected to be in each LuminAria show. Maybe you’ll see your kids’ artwork projected tonight.

Christmas in 2001 at Disney's California Adventure

Golden garland on Golden Dreams

The Golden Dreams rotunda, modeled after the Palace of Fine Arts from the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition, is decorated with golden garland and golden wreaths—just like the park’s Golden Gate Bridge and Hollywood Pictures Backlot entrance.

Christmas in 2001 at Disney's California Adventure

Not many decorations around Paradise Bay

Some parts of park don’t have many decorations. Chomp on a Hot-Link Corn Dog at Corn Dog Castle and shop for gifts at Souvenir 66 without being immersed in holiday decor.

Christmas in 2001 at Disney's California Adventure

Colorful garland on the “train platform” shade canopy

If you didn’t find gifts for everyone on your list at Souvenir 66, you might want to pop into streamlined California Zephyr rail car. You might even be glad you waited. Just look at what you can get for your family or friends—or maybe for yourself.

Christmas in 2001 at Disney's California Adventure

Souvenir toys on display inside the California Zephyr

You can buy toy versions of your favorite California Adventure attractions, such as the Orange Stinger, complete with yellow-and-black bee abdomen seats, and the Sun Wheel, with the smiling California sun face in the center of the wheel. Then there’s the Mark V Monorail, just like the one that goes through the park (except that this one is missing three of the five cars).

Christmas in 2001 at Disney's California Adventure

More toys on display inside the California Zephyr

There’s an accessory that you should get if you buy the toy Monorail: a genuine, oddly proportioned Golden Gate Bridge, just like the one at the entrance to the park (except without golden garland or a golden wreath).

Christmas in 2001 at Disney's California Adventure

Santa by the waterfalls

Don’t forget to visit the outdoorsy Santa Claus who greets guests near the waterfall below Grizzly Peak.

Did you enjoy your holiday 2001 visit to the park? At least it wasn’t crowded!


Disney’s California Adventure opened February 8, 2001. Nine months later, it was time for the new park’s first holiday season.

The park was not off to a good start. In a Christmas Day 2001 article (“Reflecting on a very long year”) in the Orange County Register, Jonathan Lansner wrote, “Disney thought spending a billion in Anaheim or so would gain it an instant smash with California Adventure. Oops, they basically built a ghost town.”

The big holiday offering at Disney’s California Adventure for 2001 was Disney’s LuminAria. The reaction to the show was mixed, and it never returned. Beyond that, the park offered holiday decorations and Santa Claus. There were fewer decorations than at Disneyland Park.

Much of what is shown in this article is now gone—and more will be gone in the future. The 2010 holiday season was the last one for the Golden Gate Bridge that hid the Disneyland Monorail track. A new bridge based on the Glendale-Hyperion Bridge is appropriate to the Los Angeles setting of the park’s new entrance area, Buena Vista Street.


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© 2010-2102 Werner Weiss — Disclaimers, Copyright, and Trademarks

Updated July 10, 2012.

All photos of Disney’s California Adventure: 2001 by Allen Huffman.