I like to say that if you like Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade, then you’ll really like Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade. I also like to say that if you like Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade, then you’ll really like Mickey’s Jammin’ Jingle Jungle. Of course, the hilarious joke here is that Mickey’s Jammin’ and Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parades are very similar. In fact, the Jingle Jungle Parade is basically the exact same Parade as the Jammin’ Jungle Parade, only with the characters and vehicles dressed up for the holidays. Expect a lot of wreaths, garland, scarfs, and holiday lights. I’ll save the pictures for the end of this post should you wish to see the Parade in person without the pictures ruining the surprise.
Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade is scheduled every day at 3:45pm through January 3rd. Last year, Disney extended the Jingle Jungle Parade for a couple additional days into January. With the other holiday shows (Osborne Lights/Castle Dream Lights) being extended to January 7th, we may see the Jingle Jungle Parade dates extended as well.
Seeing Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade
Mickey’s Parades at Animal Kingdom are the only ones that start and end in the same location. Specifically, Mickey’s Jammin’ and Jingle Jungle Parades begin and end in Africa in front of the entrance to Kilimanjaro Safaris. Should you wish to, you can set up shop along the Parade route in Africa and see the Parade twice – once at 3:45pm and then again when it returns to Africa around 4:05pm. Unfortunately, Africa is usually the most crowded viewing location, along with much of the Parade route around Discovery Island. This is due to the number of people exiting the very popular Kilimanjaro Safaris, as well as people returning from Rafiki’s Planet Watch via the Wildlife Express and those walking the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail.
The least crowded viewing locations are along the path that connects Africa and Asia in the back of Animal Kingdom. Because the Parade arrives here near the end of its run, you won’t see the first floats until around 4pm. Alternatively, you can also wait to see the Parade in Africa after it returns. For one reason or another, people love following the Parade and most people will instinctively follow it to the exit or over to DinoLand USA or Camp Minnie-Mickey after it passes through. Personally, my favorite thing to do is walk the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail from about 3:30pm to about 4pm, exit the Trail, and find a spot to see the Parade as it returns to Africa. Because the Parade inhibits traffic flow into and out of Africa, Pangani Forest Exploration Trail will be virtually deserted during the Parade. Because it can be difficult to move around the Animal Kingdom during the Parade anyway, it’s also a nice way to get away from the congestion of the Park.
This is the Africa section right before the Parade begins. As you can see, people here are four, five, and even six people deep. Had they simply turned the corner and walked down past Tamu Tamu Refreshments on the way over to Asia, they would find that the area is nearly empty.
After the Parade
Leaving Animal Kingdom immediately after the Parade is a mistake.
This is the crowd of people following the Parade from Africa through Discovery Island. It’s a slow, frustrating experience. You don’t want to be part of this group. Because so many people are headed to the exit, the first and second buses that arrive to take guests back to their Disney resorts after the Parade will also be packed with people. Plan to do something – anything – for at least 20 minutes after the Parade ends. Shopping, eating, walking a Jungle Trek, hopping on a ride with a short wait, seeing a show are all good choices. Eating, especially.
If for some reason you must exit Animal Kingdom from Africa (or Asia), plan to skip ahead of a lot of people by walking through one of the major stores. Here, we’re headed into Island Mercantile.
Walk straight through and you’ll exit right in front of the bridge that takes you toward the Park exit.
Skipping hundreds of people, if not more.
Here’s the Parade:
The Cheshire Cafe is now open at Magic Kingdom (as of about three days ago), replacing the Enchanted Grove. Cheshire Cafe is located just below Mad Tea Party and across from Bay 3 of Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe in Fantasyland. The changes are all cosmetic – the menu remains the same as it was when it was known as Enchanted Grove.
You may remember Enchanted Grove looking like this:
Cheshire Cafe looks like this:
This is the side of the building, which is directly to the left of the entrance to the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.
The new logo.
The front of the building, which unfortunately doesn’t capture most of the differences. GO FIGURE! The roof is the main difference – no more light blue shingles. To the right of where you order, the ivy has been removed, which makes the window visible. It’s subtle, but makes the building feel more approachable. Underneath the menu and ordering window, we see flowers painted instead of fruit.
Otherwise, the menu is the same and the Cheshire Cafe operates just like the Enchanted Grove.
It’s a nice change – I like the theming, which fits well with Mad Tea Party and the Alice/Mad Hatter/White Rabbit Meet and Greet that takes place in front of it. The building looks great too.
With Thanksgiving but a blip on the Disney radar, the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights is in full force this holiday season. The Lights will be dancing every night from November 10th through January 7th, with the exception of December 8th when Hollywood Studios closes at 5pm for the Pop Warner party. Note that while the original end date for the Osborne Lights was January 3rd, they have been officially extended through the 7th.
We’ll start with what you can expect to see before the Lights are turned on. The Times Guide for the week will indicate the Osborne Lights are turned on at “dusk,” but you can be assured that “dusk” translates to 6pm. Still, we’ll plan to be in the area by 5:45pm just to be sure we don’t miss anything.
In addition to the regular drinks at Studio Catering Company – High Octane Refreshments, there are some special holiday additions. For the regular menu (which is still offered) and more information about its location, see this post. In short, it’s attached to Studio Catering Company on the Backlot Tour side. It’s not very obvious, which means a lot of people pass right by and lines are usually short. This sign out on the street does bring people in though.
It’s about 5:20pm here and there are already people in the area waiting for the Lights to be turned on. If you would like to see Mickey Mouse and the Lighting Ceremony, you don’t need to arrive until around 5:45pm. Fill in the space on the Street.
Off to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.
Let’s go over the evening and see what we can do to minimize frustration and maximize the experience. Unfortunately, because it’s dark out from the beginning of the event, a lot of these pictures are garbage. Nonetheless, they should help further the narrative. Hopefully http://www.disneyphotographyblog.com will get over there to capture some images where we can all see what’s going on and say, “Wow, that is gorgeous!” You’re just going to have to take my word for it on some of these.
As in past years, you can enter Magic Kingdom with your Mickey’s Christmas Party ticket as early as 4pm, even though the event doesn’t officially begin at 7pm. Should you purchase your tickets online and select the “Will Call” option, you can print your paper certificate and take it to any ticket window to pick up the plastic tickets that you’ll use at the turnstile to enter the Magic Kingdom. This includes guest services at any of the theme parks, your Disney resort concierge desk, and the Ticket/Transportation Center. For more information on purchasing and picking up your ticket, see the first three sections of my Mickey’s Halloween Party Review here.
Disney has additional bag check lines nearest the buses to expedite the security check process.
Once you (hopefully) make it through security, you’ll see Guest Services ahead of you on the far right of the turnstiles (before you enter the Magic Kingdom) and a Will Call window behind you. This is important if you still need to exchange your Will Call certificate for the plastic tickets or need to purchase tickets for the event. Otherwise, continue to the turnstiles.
If you are entering Magic Kingdom with your Mickey’s Party Ticket, you’ll be directed to use the turnstiles on the far right side nearest to Guest Services. The turnstiles say “event entrance” above them. Just inside the turnstiles, you’ll see cast members dressed up in festive outfits handing out wristbands. Present your ticket and they will fit you with a wristband. For some reason these people on the left are in a line even though there is no one in either of the two turnstiles to the right. If you previously entered the Magic Kingdom with a different kind of ticket (Magic Your Way, Annual, Complimentary, etc.) you can either head back to the front of the Park to pick up your wristband or head over to the Stitch’s Great Escape FASTPASS machines in Tomorrowland to pick up your wristband.
Just popping over to Magic Kingdom quickly to check out Cinderella’s Holiday Wish and the Castle Dream Lights again. There had been a few questions as to how early one needs to arrive in order to see Cinderella’s Holiday Wish, which is the seven minute show that precedes the “lighting” of the Castle. As we’ll see, especially because of the Move It, Shake It, Celebrate It! Parade, you don’t need to arrive much earlier than 6pm for the 6:15pm show. And really, most adults should have no problem sauntering up around 6:10pm to catch it. Like a lot of other stage shows, the only real problem you’ll run into is the parents with a nine year old sitting on their shoulders. And like concerts or other sporting events where everyone has to stand up once the group in front decides to stand up, more and more kids are up on the shoulders as the show progresses.
This is why we’re not going to Hollywood Studios today. This is the line at the Ticket/Transportation Center for the Studios’ bus. If you’re transferring from Magic Kingdom and want to visit the Studios, you would need to transfer to the Ticket/Transportation Center via monorail or boat and then catch the bus here to the Studios. As mentioned in a previous post, Disney is planning to install bus stops at Magic Kingdom that would transport guests directly to Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios, but those stops are a long ways off.
Since it’s getting dark, I’m using my 50mm lens on a cropped sensor camera, so everything is going to be more zoomed in than we’d like it to be. TOUGH BANANAS!
Plenty of turnstiles in operation. Magic Kingdom was not recommended today, like Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. We’ve got longer hours than we’ll see later in the week and a rare Main Street Electrical Parade/Wishes Fireworks now that Mickey’s Parties are starting back up again.
A great Photopass “opportunity” in front of the Park with the Christmas decorations, train station, and “Let the Memories Begin” banner in the background. Each of the turnstiles is also adorned with a nice holiday wreath.