Filming the Disney Christmas Day Parade

Growing up, I hoped that one year I could spend my Christmas watching the Disney parade from the sidelines instead of my couch. If I’d ever gotten my wish, my young self would have been disappointed.

That is because Disney does not hold their Christmas Day parade on Christmas Day. Instead, they film in nearly a month in advance. Tomorrow the parade you’ll see on your screens was taped on December 3-5.

Disney usually announces the dates for their annual taping near the end of October. Those interested in obtaining tickets for the event should keep close watch on the website for Disney World (and for Disneyland, for those who want to take part in any events there) starting in October. Tickets usually sell out almost as soon as they are released.

If you visit the Magic Kingdom on the day of the filming it is possible to view the parade filming without tickets; however, you will likely have to fight very large crowds and will not be able to get too close to the show.

If you are interested in being part of the crowd for the Disney World Christmas parade, make sure you know what to expect. If you want a family vacation visiting the park, plan to visit for more than just the days of taping.

Anyone who’s been an extra in a film knows what it takes to be in front (or in the background) of a camera: patience. Filming means a lot of standing around and waiting, and there’s plenty of that during the Christmas Day parade taping.

Don’t expect to watch and cheer as the parade rolls past just like in other, normal parades. The filming takes place over three days; usually the first two are taken up with concerts in separate areas of the park.

During these days Disney will film the crowds rocking to the concerts that will then air during intervals in the parade on Christmas Day. Then the final day of filming is usually the parade itself. But it too is filmed in pieces, with the directors starting and stopping filming in order to get the perfect shot.

In addition, the crowd is prompted to sing songs multiple times and watch the same float travel down the street more than once, all so the cameras can film the action from multiple directions.

So if you have small children, you should perhaps wait to participate in the filming of the parade until your kids are a bit older and more likely to handle all the waiting involved. I know when I learned the details of the filming it seemed like an ordeal; it turns out I’d much rather curl up on my comfy couch Christmas morning to view the festivities!

This year’s Disney Christmas Day parade is hosted by Kelly Ripa. Ryan Seacrest of “American Idol” fame will correspond from the festivities at Disneyland, and Nick Cannon from “America’s Got Talent” will report from the crowds in the Magic Kingdom. Performers for the event include Miley Cyrus, Stevie Wonder, the Jonas Brothers, Celine Dion, Demi Lovato, and Selena Gomez.

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