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A Primer for the Magical Christmas Day Parade

A Scene from 2013 Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade

If you are familiar with WDW Radio, I’m sure you are aware of the Magical Christmas Day Parade.  It’s a tradition highlighting the magic of the Parks, complimented by performers singing classic Christmas songs. 

Hosting this year’s special will be Derek and Julianne Hough from Walt Disney World and Trevor Jackson and Sherry Cola from Disneyland.  You will be able to tune into the parade at 10am ET until 12pm ET.  If you miss it, you will be able to stream it on Hulu the following day.

Performing at this year’s parade:

  • Derek and Julianna Hough – “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town”
  • Jimmie Allen – “White Christmas”
  • Kristin Chenoweth – “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”
  • Darren Criss – “Christmas Dance”
  • Meg Donnely – “Jingle Bell Rock”
  • Brett Eldredge – “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”
  • Norah Jones – “Run Rudolph Run”
  • Pentatonix – “I Saw Three Ships”
  • Gwen Stefani – “Cheer for the Elves”

This year’s parade special will also show a sneak peek at the Disney Wish, the newest Disney Cruise Line ship. 

Did you know that Walt Disney himself presented the first holiday parade from Disneyland?  In 1962, Walt was our tour guide through the celebrations and grandeur of the holidays at Disneyland Park during a segment on NBC’s “Wonderful World of Color.” 

The parade itself is actually not taped live.  Some performances and the parade were reported to have been filmed during the second week of November.

The parade started to be regularly televised starting in 1983.  Joan Lunden and Mike Douglas were the hosts for the first ABC Broadcast of “Walt Disney World Very Merry Christmas Parade.”  The parade has appeared every year except for 2000, when Disney aired a Christmas Eve “Tracking Santa” special, and in 2020, where the pandemic caused the special to be filled with clips from previous parades and other features. 

The televised special has seen a few name changes, including the Disney Parks Frozen Christmas Celebration in 2014.  Those names include:

  • The Walt Disney World Very Merry Christmas Parade
  • Walt Disney World Christmas Day Parade
  • Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade
  • Disney Parks Frozen Christmas Celebration
  • Disney Parks Unforgettable Christmas Celebration
  • Disney Parks Magical Christmas Celebration
  • Disney Parks Magical Christmas Day Parade
Photo Credit:  Disney Parks


About Lou Mongello

Lou Mongello is a former attorney who left the practice to pursue his passion, and is now a recognized Disney expert, author, speaker, and host of WDW Radio. Learn more…

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