Disneyland's Candlelight Processional started in 1958 when Walt Disney wanted to show his appreciation to the community by hosting a choral celebration on Main Street U.S.A. Since then the Candlelight choir, made up of cast members and community choir members, has sung hymns to music provided by the Disneyland orchestra. Guest narrators are invited to read the Christmas story in between songs.
This year, the narrators are two well-known actors: Blair Underwood will read on Saturday December 7, and Kurt Russell will narrate on Sunday, December 8.
The following guide will help you navigate the park during these events, whether you wish to attend or merely access the attractions in other lands.
There are two performances on each day. The following is the schedule for Saturday and Sunday:
4:45 p.m. - Invited guest seating begins for the first performance.
5:20 p.m. - The processional begins when the choir walks from the gate near the Mad Hatter shop to their performance location at the Main Street Train Station.
5:30 p.m. - The first ceremony begins at Town Square.
7:15 p.m. - Invited guest seating begins for the second performance.
7:50 p.m. - The second processional begins.
8:00 p.m. - The second ceremony begins at Town Square.
If you want to view the ceremony, there are some options. All standby viewing is on a first-come, first-served basis and is very limited. Bench seating is available near the Christmas tree on the west side of Town Square; standing-room-only locations are located near City Hall, the Opera House, and any open spaces behind the seating area in Town Square. Viewing for the 5:30 p.m. performance will open at park opening (8 a.m. each day, with Extra Magic Hour and Magic Morning at 7 a.m. on Saturday), but viewing on the east side of Main Street will not be available until after the 3:30 p.m. "A Chrismtas Fantasy" parade passes that location.
All guests must leave the viewing area after the first performance has concluded. The line for the 8:00 p.m. performance will form at the south end of Main Street as soon as the 5:20 p.m. Processional has passed.
Guests with disabilities may sit in any of the previously mentioned viewing areas. A special assistance viewing area will also be provided on the east side of the viewing area, outside of the Opera House.
The performances on Saturday and Sunday will affect a number of stores and attractions in the Town Square area. The following attraction, food, and store closures will be in effect both days:
- Disneyland Railroad - 4:00 to 9:45 p.m.
- Main Street Vehicles - 12:30 p.m. to midnight
- Main Street Opera House - 3:00 to 10:00 p.m.
- Captain EO - 1:00 to 8:00 p.m.
- The Mad Hatter on Main Street - 4:00 to 9:00 p.m.
- The Disney Gallery - 4:45 to 9:00 p.m.
- Town Square popcorn and churro carts - all day
In order to manage the large crowds in and around Town Square, traffic flow will become one way in a circular fashion, starting at the gates and moving through the right hand (eastern) arch past the Opera House and up Main Street. To exit, the traffic will flow down the west side of Main Street and around through the western arch to the gates. Guests can cross over Main Street at Center Street. At times, the backstage area west of Main Street may be used to accommodate excessive crowds.