A Disney Christmas Story!


Earlier this month I visited the “Happiest Place on Earth” with a few friends. Our main mission was to witness the Candlelight Processional, a long standing tradition at both Disneyland and Disney World. Apparently it is rumored that Walt Disney declared in his will to have the theme parks host this traditional homage to Christmas Day. The Candlelight Processional is held every December, happening only two days at Disneyland and lasting more than a month at Disney World. (I’ll focus my blog entry on the Disneyland performance which occurred twice for those two days.) Choirs from surrounding schools and churches participated in this magical, musical event, featuring some soloists for several numbers.

The processional first started out from the back of the theme park, near Storybook Land. Hundreds of choral singers marched in rows of two from that point, towards the giant Christmas tree, and finally to the stands at the entrance of Main Street.  Each member held a single candle in between their hands and were singing as they walked. It was a very touching processional and reminded me of when I was a choral singer in high school. (We performed a similar candlelight processional as the intro for our holiday concerts.) Once the final member was in place on the stands, the stage was complete, revealing the shape of a Christmas tree formed by some of the singers. Disney’s Christmas Story derives from the scriptures and intermingles music between passages like that of a church mass.

The Christmas Story basically recounts the tail of the virgin Mary giving birth to baby Jesus. The story then proceeds to describe events that took place around that historic birth such as the tale of King Herod and the three Magi, who upon seeing the shining star in the sky, plotted a course to find baby Jesus. Herod saw the baby as a threat and wanted to get rid of it. Once the Magi met baby Jesus, they presented him with their gifts of frankincense, gold, and myrrh, then they departed for their homeland, never returning to the king.

All this was narrated by Gary Sinise, an actor famous for his roles as Lt. Dan in Forrest Gump and as detective Mac Taylor on the popular TV show CSI. Disney chose well when they picked Gary to narrate this year’s Christmas Story; he had a very commanding voice with a rich tambour, perfect for the atmosphere. The musical accompaniment was all very traditional and was an interesting contrast to what I normally see at the park.

Thanks for reading. Best wishes from me to you and your family. Looking forward to a new year with many exciting adventures to come! I’ll leave you with another clip from the event, the show’s finale.
~AJ

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