Disneyland Candlelight Processional 2019
As a Partners’ Cast Member, I’m delighted to attend one of The Walt Disney Company’s most honored traditions. One of the longest running events is the Annual Candlelight Processional. This is a time honored and elegant affair similar to Florida’s Candlelight Processional at Epcot.
Disneyland’s Candlelight Processional took place over 2 nights, December 7th and 8th and was held in front of the Disneyland Main Street Train Station. Traditionally, the celebration features a celebrity narrator. Past narrators have included Dick Van Dyke, James Earl Jones, Neil Patrick Harris, “Guardians of the Galaxy” star Chris Pratt, and “Thor” star Chris Hemsworth. This year’s narrator was the creator of Hamilton and star of last year’s Mary Poppins Returns, Lin-Manuel Miranda!
This tradition began in 1958 as a way for Walt Disney to show his gratitude to the local Orange County community that became home to his first theme park and showed support for the Disney company. Built around community, tradition, and the sharing of the Christmas spirit, Disney invited local school choirs and organizations to come together and sing songs that would convey the true meaning of Christmas. As the years passed, the event continued to grow into the holiday spectacle that it is today, with a grand stage, elaborate lighting, and hundreds of talented performers.
Today, more than 600 choir members from local schools, clubs, community organizations, and the Disneyland Cast Member Choir sing alongside the Disneyland Orchestra, handbell players and fanfare trumpeters on the steps of the Main Street Train Station. A celebrity narrator is on hand to tell the story of the first Christmas woven throughout classic Christmas hymns by the choir. Talented conductor Nancy Sulahian directed the 600-member choir and orchestra during the ceremony along with a live orchestra.
Though, the threat of rain loomed over the evening, drops never really fell on the event. It was a cool, comfortable night as the procession began with the music playing in earnest and the spirits of those in attendance grew lively and warm.
It was wonderful to see the mass choir make its way into Town Square, singing Christmas carols. Once the choir was in place and much to my excitement, the voice of Disneyland Bill Rogers introduced Lin-Manuel Miranda. Making his way onto the podium in front of the Main Street Station at Disneyland, Miranda launched into the tale of the first Christmas between songs. I found myself impressed by his delivery of the Christmas story, and it was exactly what one would expect from him – quick and full of spirit. The accompanying choir was beautiful, as was the orchestra, fanfare trumpeters, and handbell choir. Other than a few sprinkles that could be seen coming down through the spotlights, the performance went off without hitch. The choir sang crowd favorites like The First Noel, Joy to the World and one of my favorites, Silent Night.
The ceremony was a great personal reminder of the strength and beauty of the holiday spirit. I and everyone in attendance, unquestionably received a holiday treat!
Authored by Emily R. from Partners