♪♫♪ It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…♪♫♪♫♪♪♫♪
Every Disney World park, resort, and cruise ship in the world gets decorated overnight for the holidays in early November. It’s a massive worldwide task transforming from Halloween to Christmas.
At Disney World, Disney Parks manager of Disney’s Holiday Services, Lisa Borotkanics, explains how it happens.
“Yes! All Halloween goes away right after park close [on November 1st, last night of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party] and some Christmas goes up,” a “tired and excited” Lisa says just a few days after managing this year’s holiday overhaul.
By “some Christmas,” she means about 50 percent of what ultimately will comprise the Disney World holiday display.
Holiday decorating continues to go on behind the scenes from November 2nd through Thanksgiving, but you’d never know it: “We want guests to feel that it is all done in one night! The reality is, what they see that first morning is done in less than seven hours. And it’s a very large decor package”
In just the Magic Kingdom alone, there are 40 trees to put up and decorate, 147 wreaths to hang and 590 fruit-ladened garlands to adorn the train station, the Cinderella Castle, cornerstone buildings, Main Street USA, and the lamp posts of Magic Kingdom by the time guests walk in the gates the next morning.
Additionally, each of Disney World’s three other theme parks, Blizzard Beach water park, Disney Springs, and all of the Disney World Resorts will have erected their own Christmas trees and wreaths, strung tens of thousands of LED lights and ornaments, and other holiday themed decorations by the morning of November 2nd.
There are about 160 cast members working on Borotkanics’s Holiday Services team and they are primarily responsible for implementing all these quick turnarounds.
Her job is to ensure that preliminary set-up is both subtle and flawless. For weeks ahead of that crucial November 2nd rollout at around 1am after park close, she oversees the “pre-wiring” of the parks and resorts: “In some cases, like [Disney Hollywood] Studios and [Disney] Springs, we’re putting up the overhead cables early to put up the garlands across the street.”
“Have you ever stood at the Magic Kingdom when it opens on the second day of November and seen the guests come in for the first time when it’s decorated for the holiday season?” asks Lisa. “Hearing children giggle and laugh and say to their parents ‘Oh my gosh, it’s Christmas now!’ That’s just an incredible feeling.”
Once the holiday’s are done on January 6th, 2020, she’s in charge of returning every single one of those 40,000-plus decor items back to Disney World’s 160,000 square feet holiday warehousing backstage, where all the trees, wreaths, garlands, lighting, and other miscellaneous Disney holiday items are put through a cycle of refurbishment and, in some cases, retirement. “Every six years,” she confirms, “there’s a complete change-out” of the decorations.
“We’re always going to decorate on the exterior with fruits and sticks and berries and bows and candles,” Borotkanics says. But the little annual swap-outs and décor updates are all the more reason to keep your eyes open next time you spend the holidays at Disney World.
It’s Christmastime at Magic Kingdom!
Just a few hours after celebrating the last Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party of the year on November 1st, Main Street USA is now fully decked out for the holiday season.
It’s amazing how they can transform Main Street overnight from Halloween to Christmas.
Video link: Christmas Decor Arrives at Magic Kingdom
It’s all so beautiful!
It’s beautiful during the day, but just magical at night:
Christmas by the Numbers
150 semi-trailer truckloads of decorations are bought in for decorating 27 resorts, 4 theme parks, and Disney Springs.
8.5 million lights are strung throughout WDW property.
99% of the lighting used for holiday décor is now LED while 1 percent is compact fluorescent lighting.
There are over 1,300 decorated trees across WDW property during the holidays.
300,000 yards of ribbon and bows are used to decorate the 1,300 Christmas trees.
Over 15 miles of garland is strung.
1,314 wreaths are hung.
There are 170 performers and 15 floats in Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade at Magic Kingdom.
More than 800 performers participate the Candlelight Processional at Epcot.
And, finally let’s not forget all these bright lights!
There are over 200,000 LED lights on Cinderella Castle – the fabulous Castle Dream Lights.
We could watch them change colors all night!
We’ve written two books about our time working – and playing – as Disney Cast Members at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
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Have a magical day!
Two Disney Sisters
Finally, every resort has their own huge decorated tree: