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Finding Disney on Christmas Morning

Extraordinary Magic in Everyday Life

Christmas Gingerbread Men-DisneyToday let’s delve into a memory that’s been shared by thousands of people every year—both on Walt Disney World property and in families’ living rooms: the Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade.

The Walt Disney Company’s involvement in Christmas morning telecasts dates back to the early 1950s, when Walt Disney himself hosted several programs to promote “new” theatrical releases like Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan. These were the precursor to the long-running Disneyland television series that debuted in 1954 and eventually segued into Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color.

Those early-50s specials mainly consisted of clips from classic Disney films and cartoon shorts. (For a fun treat, you’ll find the first, One Hour in Wonderland, as a bonus feature on the Alice in Wonderland DVD and Blu-ray. It’s delightful.) It was not until 1983 that Disney began to air a program similar to what we now see annually on Christmas morning: a spectacular parade broadcast from none other than Walt Disney World. Over the years the parade has gone by several names, including the Walt Disney World Christmas Day Parade, the Walt Disney World Very Merry Christmas Parade, A Magical Walt Disney World Christmas, and the Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade. The parade used to air live on Christmas morning, but now is taped several weeks in advance and is split between portions from both Walt Disney World in Florida and Disneyland in California.

Frozen Holiday Wish
This year, hopping on the hot ticket of 2014, the telecast is titled Disney Parks Frozen Christmas Celebration. It will be fun to see how this change of theme adds some freshness to the special. You know many families will be thrilled to see Anna and Elsa on TV Christmas morning.

While the special can feel promotional at times—there are quite a few looks at new park attractions and current Disney movies—it’s become such a tradition for many families and, for some of them, it’s the only sneak peek they get into this magical place that they’ve heard so much about. It offers a glimpse into what Disney brings to its Guests, and you can’t help but sit back and enjoy it, perhaps while reminiscing with your family about your previous Disney trips or your favorite Disney memories.

Watching the parade with family is one of my favorite Christmas traditions. Usually we watch it in several sittings due to the business of Christmas morning. It’s still so fun, though, to watch things and remark, “Whoa, that looks cool!” and fantasize about experiencing it, or “Hey, remember that?” and then proceed to recall a treasured memory. For me, Disney’s Christmas morning telecast is a celebration of some of the most special memories of my life.

What’s your favorite part of this 30-year Disney tradition?


(Images © Disney.)

Blake studies Electronic Media and Film at Appalachian State University. He enjoys making his family of six watch the parade in Frontierland and then sprint to Main Street in time to see it again. You can find him on Twitter @olddirtyblake or at BlakeOnline.com.