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December 4, 2017

Disneyland Candlelight Processional, 2017

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Disneyland Candlelight Processional 2017

The Candlelight Processional originated at Disneyland in 1958 when Walt Disney first held it to thank community partners for their support. With a full orchestra and a mass choir it celebrates the Christmas season with songs and passages from the Bible that tell the story of the birth of the Christ Child. A celebrity guest narrator reads the Christmas story from the Gospel of Luke.

The event takes place in front of the Main Street train station, and begins with the orchestra playing as the choir, carrying candles, walks down Main Street to the risers in front of the train station. The choir is made up of guest choirs from churches, schools, and community groups, as well as the Disney cast choirs.

In recent years the Processional has been held on the first Saturday and Sunday of December, with two shows each evening. There is limited seating, and it's reserved for community leaders, VIPs, and media, with some tickets also available to the participating choirs. Disneyland does not advertise it, but it is very popular with guests who are "in the know," and people start staking out their spots very early in the day.

It's really a very special event. I wish I could describe the power and the beauty of hearing all of those voices in the mass choir. I was an invited media guest, so I was one of the lucky people who had a seat, but I think that the music is so powerful that it is a moving experience to anyone on Main Street who hears it.

Disneyland Candlelight Processional 2017

There are a few featured soloists, but most of the songs are performed by the choir as a whole. That's one thing that I really prefer about Disneyland's Candlelight Processional as opposed the the one at Epcot - I think the Epcot version puts too much emphasis on the Voices of Liberty who perform with the choir.

In addition to the choir and orchestra, performances by bell choirs and herald trumpets (that's Lee's favorite part) are included.

Disneyland Candlelight Processional 2017

Disneyland Candlelight Processional 2017

This year the guest Narrator was Chris Hemsworth, perhaps best known for his role as "Thor". He has a great voice for this, and read the selections of scripture with appropriate gravitas.

Chris Hemsworth Disneyland Candlelight Processional 2017

I didn't record the entire Processional, but this video includes excerpts from several of the songs, as well as some of Hemsworth's narration.

This year the identity of the guest narrator was not publicly known until the day of the event. My personal opinion is that Disney kept it quiet to try to prevent even more people from trying to see the Processional. As it was the Disneyland parking lots were filled to capacity by late afternoon on both days, and Main Street was very difficult to navigate.

I understand why Disneyland only holds the Candlelight Processional one weekend a year and why they don't publicize it. It really makes for all kinds of logistical headaches on Main Street. Because of the risers for the choir the "A Christmas Fantasy" parade has to be re-routed around Town Square, and after the second parade the middle of Main Street is kept clear of guests, making it hard to enter or exit the park. At one point in the afternoon the backstage passageways on either side of Main Street were in use to try to alleviate the congestion. The cast members tried very hard to keep the crowd contained and moving - I know it had to be a very difficult couple of days for them. The good news was that most guests seemed to know what they were in for - I didn't see anyone who was really frustrated. Most people were patient and accepting of the situation.

Disneyland Candlelight Processional 2017

I'm not going to try to offer any viewing tips - but I know there are other sites out there where you can find them if you're interested in trying to see it next year.

In the future I would love to see the Disney Parks Blog live stream the Candlelight Processional as it does so many other holiday events, though I must admit it wouldn't be the same as actually being there.


Disclaimer: I was an invited media guest to the Candlelight Processional. The opinions expressed are my own.






December 10, 2013

Disneyland Candlelight Processional 2013

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Disneyland's tradition of the Candlelight Processional, featuring a massed choir performing Christmas music, began in 1958. Unlike Epcot, it is only performed on two nights, typically the first weekend of December, making it more of a challenge to see. (Last year it was performed on 20 nights, but they did not repeat that this year.) Some people arrive at park opening to stake out their spots for the processional at 5:30 in the evening!

The risers for the choir are set up at the Main Street train station with a stage for the orchestra and narrator.

Disneyland Candlelight Processional 2013
Chairs are placed in Town Square and on Main Street.
Disneyland Candlelight Processional 2013

Lee and I had the opportunity to see the processional on Sunday as guests of Disneyland Public Relations. Most of the photos below are Jason's. He saw it on Saturday night and his photos are better than mine. :-)

It had been a long time since I'd seen the Candlelight Processional at Disneyland - like many of you I am much more familiar with the one at Epcot. The Disneyland version is quite different: there are some aspects I like about it and some where I prefer Epcot's version. But either way, it's still a beautiful and moving experience.

Disneyland Candlelight Processional 2013

The massed choir is composed of Disneyland cast members and a number of other vocal groups such as high school and church choirs, mostly from southern California. We did not receive a program, so I don't have any of the names, unfortunately.

The choir proceeds down Main Street, singing "Hark the Herald Angels Sing", "Oh Little Town of Bethlehem", "The First Noel", and "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" as they enter and fill in the risers.

Disneyland Candlelight Processional 2013

Unlike Epcot, there are no Voices of Liberty at Disneyland. A couple of the songs featured male and female soloists, but otherwise we heard the choir singing - and I really liked that. At Epcot I think the Voices of Liberty overshadow the beautiful sound of the massed choir.

Disneyland Candlelight Processional 2013

There were also performances by a hand bell choir and a guitar soloist. The guitar solo during "Silent Night" was quite poignant.

Disneyland Candlelight Processional 2013

Several of the songs are different than those performed at Epcot: "The Candlelight Carol", "Sing Noel", and "The First Noel". Even those that are the same generally have very different arrangements, like "Joy to the World", and "We Three Kings". I missed one of my favorite Epcot songs: "Rejoice with Exceeding Great Joy" and I also preferred the Epcot version of "Joy to the World". But I really liked "The Candlelight Carol".

The celebrity narrators were Blair Underwood on Saturday and Kurt Russell on Sunday. The passages they read from the Bible were somewhat different than I've heard at Epcot. I must say that I think the song selection at Epcot complements the scripture passages better than at Disneyland. For example, even though "The First Noel" describes events after the birth of Jesus, the song followed the reading of the angel Gabriel's annunciation to Mary. Unfortunately most of them were like that and it seemed a little disjointed to me.

Disneyland Candlelight Processional 2013

One of Lee's favorite parts of the Candlelight Processional is the herald trumpets - and they were featured often. Their placement on top of the train station was very effective.

Disneyland Candlelight Processional 2013

It was a wonderful show - it brings home "the reason for the season" in a way that you don't see very much these days. It's unfortunate that it's so difficult to see at Disneyland, though maybe that makes the experience all the more meaningful.

Disneyland Candlelight Processional 2013


Disclaimer: Laura Gilbreath was an invited media guest. Her opinions are her own.



May 7, 2012

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Saturday, May 5, 2012. Quite a few changes, so we will be presenting his blog in three parts: Disneyland, DCA, and Downtown Disney.


This past week the Gibson Girl, Penny Arcade, and Candy Palace have reopened on Main Street USA at Disneyland.First stop the Gibson Girl. They have moved the counter all the way to the back so there is plenty of space for the queue now.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

The menu appears to be the same.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Still a couple of tables inside but not much seating.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

There is a nice window now to watch them make the waffle cones and bowls.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1


A look at some of the detail around the room.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Stepping next door to the Penny Arcade.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1


Some of the machines from the arcade are still around but integrated into the displays.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

All restored and looking/sounding great!

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1


A look at the front display case.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

The candy kitchen has been enlarged and there are several windows/stations now.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1


The small indoor seating area for Coke Corner is now gone and a place to sell more candy.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

April 29 marked the end of Plaza Gardens as we know it. Walls are up and the transformation to the Princess Fantasy Faire has begun.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1


Speakers for Grad Night are up around the hub.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

There is still a narrow walkway open to get to Fantasyland and for pictures of the Castle.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

With Plaza Gardens gone they have moved the Performing Arts groups out to the Big Thunder Ranch as part of the Jamboree taking place in the Festival Arena. The Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree opened May 3.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

It appears they have added some more covers to the area for shade.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

A few tables with wood carving going on.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

The set up is very much like the Family Fun Days. With a kids activity area in the middle.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

The stage being readied for the next performance.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

A couple of ODV carts. They received signage for the event.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Cowboy Mickey out for pictures.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Look familiar? The cows that used to be in the Bountiful Farm area and then backstage at DCA for the past couple of years have made their way to the Jamboree.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1


Cowgirl Minnie was also out roaming around.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Chip and Dale were running around causing trouble..

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Another cow lurking in the bushes.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Chip and Dale caught Donald...

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

But he broke free eventually.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Time for the Cowboy Roundup. This happens twice a day over the weekend, high noon and 2:15pm this weekend.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Mickey and Minnie taking in the show.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Farley the Fiddler and Miss Chris host the round-up.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

There are a set of dancers too.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Here is a video of the performance.

Big Al came out for pictures. Still great to see him in the park and listen to the fans.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Goofy was in the second wave of characters too.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

The Irvington Wind Ensemble.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

One of the tables set up for coloring.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1


Walked by the Matterhorn. All the scaffolding is down from the mountain as well as the station.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Some water has returned too.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1


Tomorrowland Terrace has new menu boards. I think the menu items are the same. (Laura's note: Yes, the menu is the same, not even a price change.)

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Hmm the seagulls flew away from the submarine lagoon??

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Thought this was fun. A table set up with a puzzle as you walked through the stores on Main Street.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1


From the monorail here are some Matterhorn pictures as we circled Tomorrowland.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

They were cycling some bobsleds this afternoon.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

The back nose cone of Monorail Orange has a wrap. Guessing this is to help with the heat in there.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

The shooting gallery in Frontierland is being worked on.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Looks like they were or are going to be working on one of the Fantasmic units in the river. They have the walls up. There was water in there, just a bit lower than the river level.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Some work going on in New Orleans Square making for some tight walkways.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

The companion restroom in the Oasis is open, but nothing else going on.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Made a second pass through the Jamboree. Two more Country Bears out having fun. Here they were playing the drums.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Goofy joining the gang.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

A choir performing.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Big Al was checking out the wood carving.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1


Elvis, Scot Bruce, was at the Tomorrowland Terrace and he had quite a few couples dancing there too.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Time for Magical (it premiered Friday night for the summer).

Disneyland Resort Photo Update 5/5/12 - Part 1

Stay tuned for parts 2 and 3, with updates from DCA and Downtown Disney. For additional photos and details from this trip you can check out the full Disneyland Update I posted on my site, http://disneygeek.com. I have also been Tweeting live pictures from the parks @disneygeekcom.



February 3, 2011

Disney Gallery: Magic on the Water

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A new exhibit opened in the Disney Gallery on Saturday, January 29: Magic on the Water: The Art of the Happiest Fleet on Earth.

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From the sign posted inside the exhibit:

"Magic on the Water highlights nearly 60 years of nautical designs by Walt Disney Imagineers, from the smallest Storybook Land canal boat to the newest modern classic for the Disney Cruise Line, the Disney Dream. Come aboard for a retrospective that's sure to set sail a sea of memories - and prepare you for an ocean of new ones."

Some of the artwork is available as "Art on Demand."

In the center of the room is a model of the Disney Dream.

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Jungle Cruise boat concepts, loosely modeled after the African Queen.

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Concept art for Storybook Land canal boats.

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Riverboat concept art from Disneyland, Magic Kingdom, Disneyland Paris and Tokyo Disneysea.

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Submarine art from Disneyland, Magic Kingdom, and Disneyland Paris.

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Models of the bronze sculptures that are in the atriums of the three Disney cruise ships: Helmsman Mickey, Ariel, and Admiral Donald.

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The exhibit also includes boat concept art from Walt Disney World and Tokyo Disneysea.

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The Gallery also includes an exhibit called A Dream Come True - An Artistic Celebration of Disney's Newest Cruise Ship. Artists such as Shag, Noah, Jeremy Fulton, and Larry Nikolai have created artwork inspired by the Disney Dream.

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Prints of many of these works are for sale in the Gallery's shop.

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Other Disney Dream merchandise is also available.

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About Main Street USA

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Salute to All Things Disney but Mostly Disneyland in the Main Street USA category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Main Street Electrical Parade is the previous category.

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Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.