Disney: Making Holiday Magic Explained at D23 Expo


Since 1955 Disneyland theme parks have harbored a hub of fantasy, romance, and smiles. The parks have expanded worldwide, really cementing their place as holiday makers. Those special events wouldn’t be the same without all of the magic offered at the happiest place on earth. The parks are constantly offering new attractions for guest, keeping the excitement alive. So you can imagine if there are 12 parks since 55’, then there are loads of alterations (6 resorts, 12 parks). A new book called “Making Holiday Magic” has captured the history of Disney holidays over the years. The book, written by 3 Disney enthusiast, has been in the making for nearly a decade and has pulled old footage from 1955 on, as well as compiled their own.

The authors held a panel at Anaheim’s bi-annual D23 convention where they discussed all of the elements apart of their new book. Halloween and Christmas are the big talks of the book as Disney completely goes all out for these events. During Disney’s early years, music festival were originally held where Fantasy Faire currently is. This was known as The Christmas Bowl and featured the first incarnation of the Candlelight ceremony at an on-site gazebo. Incredible jazz concerts were also held at the parks requiring special tickets to see the very talented Louie Armstrong perform.

During 1959, Walt became interested in pop warner football, leading him to hold his first annual Disneyland pop bowl. The event inspired him to start a tv show called Moochie of Pop Warner Football where he showcased footage of Disneyland 1959.

The book then provides original footage of Zorro, where Guy Williams would perform live fight scenes at Disney parks for guest to enjoy.

Many children were big fans of the character and would dress up as Zorro even though cosplay at the parks wasn’t big during the time

Every year, Disney makes sure to spruce it up from their shows to their landscape. Each Halloween season, there is new floral decor at Disneyland, celebrity pumpkins like Elvis and Louis Armstrong, giant pumpkin on Main Street, and an eclectic amount of decorations and more.Floral decor is planned 9 months to a year before. During the season, the grounds are swapped around three tines.

The photos take a look at the recent development of how halloween has changed and progressed over the years. Remember the live pumpkin carvers?

The book shows a look at photos of pumpkin men, the phantom cruise line from 2003, photos of Hong Kong’s Disney and their very own haunted house, nightmare versions of our favorite Disney characters and tons more from around the world.Beyond the theme parks, we take a look at Disney shopping centers like Downtown Disney and its development with holiday decor throughout the years.

Decor is always chosen to reflect their chosen area. Toon town was especially highlighted as a fun setting. Sleeping beauty’s castle and the light show are a staple in the history of Disneys history and easily the most recognizable.

Fun fact - Paris was the first park to cover its castle in lights in early 2000’s.

The book will feature many hidden gems of what it takes to make the magic, a true behind the scenes look at how decorations are originally made by hand. How the Christmas trees are built and how the decorations are stored are also captured.

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