Disney Parks Frozen Christmas Celebration Archives

November 15, 2014

Tips for attending taping of Disney Parks Christmas special


The theme parks usually get a jump on the holidays and begin their Christmas celebrations in November, and this year is no different. In addition to the annual tradition of holiday parties, fireworks and parades, The Walt Disney Co. already has begun production on its television special that airs on Dec. 25.

Earlier this week, segments of the Christmas Day show were taped at Disneyland, and that's when fans first realized some of the changes in store for the production. First, the show has been retitled "Disney Parks Frozen Christmas Celebration" from the "Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade." That should come as no surprise to anyone who has seen all the Frozen-themed entertainment that has been added to the holiday offerings at Walt Disney World this year. (Read more about A Frozen Holiday Wish and Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime Parade here.)

Rob Marciano

Expect those popular attractions to be showcased when the tapings occur here in Orlando. (More on that below.) But in sunny California, it doesn't appear that any "Frozen"-themed segments were taped. Instead, the West Coast got a new host this year, welcoming ABC News Senior Meteorologist Rob Marciano from "GMA Weekend."



Trey Songz


Trisha Yearwood

Other performers who taped performances at Disneyland in front of Sleeping Beauty's Winter Castle were Grammy-winning musical group Train singing "Shake Up Christmas"; Trey Songz performed "All I Want For Christmas Is You"; and Trisha Yearwood sang "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas."

Lucy Hale

At Disney's California Adventure Park, Lucy Hale performed "Mistletoe" on a stage in Cars Land. The cast of ABC Family's "Baby Daddy" -- Tahj Mowry, Chelsea Kane, Derek Theler, Jean-Luc Bilodeau and Melissa Peterman -- also appeared in Cars Land.

Here in Orlando, taping for the production is expected on Saturday, Dec. 6 through Tuesday, Dec. 9 -- twice as long as in most recent years. I'm told that the additional time is needed because all the parade floats are being filmed in Orlando for the first time; in the past, filming of the floats was also done at Disneyland. In addition, celebrity performers' schedules may have contributed to the extended schedule. Walt Disney World officials do not release the taping dates, but historically production work occurs the first weekend in December. A source also told me that the large-scale dance number on Main Street, U.S.A., still is set for Saturday, and the other days will be used for the celebrity performances and taping of the actual parade floats.

Fans love to speculate who will be performing, but that, too, is a closely guarded secret, for the most part. Presumably, this is to help avoid overwhelming crowds that would be disruptive to other guests' park experiences.

For years, Walt Disney World invited various groups, such as passholders and sports volunteers -- and even the general public, to apply for free tickets to the tapings. In exchange, ticketholders agreed to be in the audience for a block of time. For the last couple of years, however, only cast members were eligible for the tickets.

But even if you don't have one of the complimentary production tickets, you still may be able to take part in the tapings -- or at least see some of the acts. The Magic Kingdom opens to the public at 9 a.m. on Dec. 6, 7, 8 and 9. Passholders and guests who pay admission may enter the park, and if there is room in the roped-off areas for the pre-selected audience -- which usually happens later in the afternoon -- they may be allowed to join cast members.

A word of warning: This is an actual television production, which means that songs are sung multiple times and individual floats are sent down Main Street over and over again to get the desired image from the correct camera angle. That means you most likely will spend more time waiting than viewing the events, and you shouldn't expect to see a seamless concert or parade.

I speak from experience when I say this can be a tedious process when you have young children. If you're determined to take part, though, I'd suggest bringing plenty of snacks, drinks and electronics to occupy the kids during the wait. Still, it can be a unique opportunity. When else would my daughter stand feet away from Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers while they serenaded the crowd with Christmas songs a few years ago?

Now, if Disney could just make her Christmas wish come true and get One Direction to stick around and visit Walt Disney World after their taping at Universal Orlando next week "

The Disney Parks Frozen Christmas Celebration airs at 9 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on Dec. 25 on ABC.


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