Dad’s favorite thing in the whole world is Christmas at Walt Disney World. And my most favorite thing during the Christmas season is the Candlelight Processional. This is the centerpiece of all the Christmas celebrations at Walt Disney World. You’ve got to see this!
What is the Candlelight Processional?
The Candlelight Processional is a show that tells the story of the birth of Jesus in both music and scripture. A celebrity narrator reads the story of the birth from the Gospel of Luke, and the choir, orchestra, and Voices of Liberty perform magnificent Christmas music.
History of the Candlelight Processional
The Candlelight Processional and Massed Choir started in Disneyland in 1958. Uncle Walt loved Christmas and wanted a really special celebration. He really came up with something special. The show gets its name from the Disneyland show, where the choir parades through the park to the stage, holding candles and singing Christmas songs. In the Walt Disney World version, the chorus walks through the American Pavilion to the stage holding candles.
In 1994, the show moved over to EPCOT after being at the Magic Kingdom since its opening in 1971. The show is a big part of the Holidays Around the World at EPCOT.
The music is provided by a 50 piece orchestra, a 500 member choir, and the Voices of Liberty. It’s quite a show. Disney cast members try out to be part of the Christmas Tree (in the middle of the choir) and high school and college choirs from around the country are invited to join.
Here is a list of some of the music you will hear (the music changes a bit from year to year, but for the most part the classics are always there).
- O Holy Night
- Shout for Joy
- What Child is This?
- O Come All Ye Faithful
- Hallelujah Chorus
- Rejoice with Exceeding Great Joy
- Away in a Manger
- Angels We Have Heard on High
- Silent Night
Mrs. Mom and I picked up a CD of the show on one of our trips to WDW. It’s one of our favorite things to listen too.
Here’s the celebrity narrators announced so far for 2019.
- 12/2-12/5 – Neil Patrick Harris
- 12/6-12/7 – Whoopi Goldberg
- 12/13-12/15 Gary Sinise
- 12/16 – 12/18 – Pat Sajak
- 12/22-12/24 – Steven Curtis Chapman
- 12/25-12/26 – Edward James Olmos
These can change without notice, and more will be announced soon.
The Dinner Package
A few years ago, OK, more than a few, Disney came up with a great idea. Pair the Candlelight Processional show with dinner. Who doesn’t want go to dinner before a show? Right? So now, you can add lunch or dinner (and sometimes breakfast!) to your day and enjoy a good meal and get reserved seats for the show.
How this works is that you reserve a Candlelight Processional Dining Package like any other ADR. Then you go to your meal and you get a ticket (wrist band) for the show at a specific time. You line up in the Dinner Package line and you are let in before the general admission guests.Dad suggests you line up early. The closer you are to the front of the line, the better seats you get.
The American Gardens Theater will seat about 1,000 people (Dad’s wild guess). There are about 10,000 people who want to go to each show (another wild guess). Dad has heard stories of people who were in the General Admission line for the 5:00 pm show, not getting in for even the second show.
There are two places to line up for the Candlelight Processional. Dining Package guests line up on the left-hand side as you face the stage, and General Admission guests line up on the right-hand side. The front two-thirds of the theater is “reserved” for guests with the Dining Package tickets. They will be let in first. About 10 minutes before the show General Admission guests seating will be opened.
You will be able to hear the show all around the American Pavilion so you don’t have to be inside the theater, but it sure helps.
Make Plans Now
It’s never too early to start planning at trip to Walt Disney World during the Christmas season. Dad and his partners at Destinations to Travel want to help you create stories and memories that will last a lifetime.
Dad’s Bottom Line
This is one of those extra things that Disney does that sets them apart from other theme parks. In Dad’s opinion, this is one of the absolute best things at Walt Disney World!