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The Holidays @ Walt Disney World - Candlelight Ceremony

This annual tradition has been around in one form or another since Disneyland opened back in the 50s (December 20, 1958 to be exact). In the early 60s the show adopted its current format with the live choir and narrator. When Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom opened in 1971 a second version of the show started there then was moved to EPCOT in 1993 where it has been ever since.

The show is similar at both parks, but each has its own unique elements and the song list/arrangements are different. The ceremony consists of a large choir, an orchestra, and a guest narrator. The guest narrator reads the story of Christmas and it is intertwined with song. Past guest narrators have included James Earl Jones, Robert Urich, Marie Osmand, Roy Disney, John Wayne, Carey Grant, Dick Van Dyke and the list goes on.

At Walt Disney World the show takes place on the American Gardens stage on a much smaller scale than Disneyland but much more often. They run several shows a night (usually three) from Thanksgiving through Christmas. Guest narrators usually do 2-4 nights in a row. The choirs process in from the backstage gate near the American Adventure and assemble on risers around the stage. In the center of the stage the Voices of Liberty stand and they lead the show musically.

Since the show occurs many more times than the Disneyland version seating is easier to come by. The early shows each night do flll up quickly though. The most popular way to reserve seating is the Dinner package where you eat at an EPCOT restaurant and get a reserved seat at the show. This package is so popular it makes it challenging to get dining reservations on many nights. There is usually a standby line which will vary in length depending on the narrator, weather, etc..

If you do not mind standing you can usually find a spot with an ok view, but good sound, without a lot of hassle.

Here is a clip from the opening in 2010:

For pictures from the Candlelight and more visit our holiday section or Walt Disney World Picture Section. Or to learn about the Disneyland Candlelight Ceremony.

Geek's Suggestion

I think the Candlelight is a not to be missed Disney event. I find the Disneyland one more impressive and I tend to favor the song arrangements and selection too, but that just may be my West Coast bias.

Quick Facts
  • Walt Disney World Show Order:
    1. Shout For Joy
    2. O Come All Ye Faithful
    3. Away in a Manager
    4. O Holy Night
    5. Angels From The Realms Of Glory
    6. Angels We Have Heard on High
    7. Rejoice With Exceeding Great Joy/We Three Kings
    8. What Child Is This?
    9. Do You Hear What I Hear?
    10. Silent Night
    11. Joy To The World
    12. The Hallelujah Chorus

    This is from the CD that was released in 1997



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