This year Disney parks is doing not one, not two, but three holiday television specials. The first will feature a star-studded cast of entertainers performing in Disney parks around the world to launch a “25 Days of Christmas” countdown when “The Wonderful World of Disney: Magical Holiday Celebration” airs Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017, from 9:00–11:00 p.m. EST on ABC.
The two-hour event will be hosted by Emmy Award-winner Julianne Hough, multiplatinum recording artist and television personality Nick Lachey, and sports star, broadcast correspondent and commentator Jesse Palmer. The show will give viewers a front-row seat to a Disney Christmas party like no other – a family holiday tradition brimming with colorful lights, snow flurries, memorable music and more. From the Cinderella Castle stage at Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, Hough and Lachey will perform a spectacular opening number named for the primetime special.
Tony Award-winning actress Idina Menzel will join fellow “Frozen” star Kristen Bell to perform together for the first time on primetime television. The pair, who voiced the characters of Elsa and Anna in the animated blockbuster, will perform in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland in California accompanied by a 30-voice choir. The two stars of stage and screen will sing “When We’re Together” from the brand-new Walt Disney Animation Studios featurette, “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure.”
The holiday special’s other unforgettable, wish-come-true moments will include an extraordinary castle lighting extravaganza from Disney theme parks around the world – traveling the globe from California and Florida to Paris, Shanghai and Hong Kong.
Musical performances in the primetime special will include:
- Ciara will perform a joyful Christmas medley, including “Jingle Bells” and “Jingle Bell Rock” from a sparkling Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom.
- Grammy Award-winning country artist Darius Rucker will sing “Winter Wonderland.”
- Emmy-nominated actress and singer Lea Michele will be joined by special guest Joey McIntyre to sing the classic holiday duet, “Baby It’s Cold Outside.”
- Multiplatinum-selling group Fifth Harmony will sing “Can You See,” from The Star soundtrack, plus “The Christmas Song.”
- Fitz and the Tantrums will perform their platinum-certified hit, “HandClap,” and their original Christmas song, “Santa Stole My Lady.”
- Multi-Grammy-nominated trio Hanson will light up the night singing “Finally It’s Christmas,” from their recently released Christmas album.
- Boy band In Real Life will sing “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.”
- Multiplatinum powerhouse Jason Derulo will perform “This Christmas.”
A Sneak Peek at New Star Wars and Toy Story Themed Lands
The force will be with all who tune in for a sneak peek at Disney’s new Star Wars-themed lands, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, opening at both Disneyland in California and Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World in Florida in 2019. The new lands promise adventure on a galactic scale when guests steer the Millennium Falcon on a customized secret mission in one attraction and engage in a climactic battle between the First Order and the Resistance in another.
From the edge of the galaxy “to infinity and beyond,” viewers will discover Andy’s world in the new Toy Story Land to open next year at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The new family-friendly Slinky Dog Dash roller coaster and the Alien Swirling Saucers attraction will join the original Toy Story Midway Mania! attraction to give Woody, Buzz and Andy’s entire toy collection a backyard play land scaled to render park guests seemingly toy-sized.
Viewers at Home Will Be Able to “Glow with the Show”
For the first time, viewers will be able to “Glow at Home” during select performances in the holiday special, thanks to the brand new “Made with Magic 3.0: Connected Ear Hat” and the Shop Disney Parks app. Leveraging Bluetooth technology, the Shop Disney Parks app enables viewers wearing the new 3.0 edition ear hats at home to sync with the ABC holiday special playing on the viewers’ TVs or other devices. Viewers will feel like they are part of the show.
The app also has a remote-control feature to adjust the ear colors and speed of the strobe – a brand-new feature for the Made with Magic Ear Hats. If viewers at home don’t have the special edition ear hats, not to worry. The Shop Disney Parks app will allow them to enjoy a second screen experience as their mobile phone comes alive, mirroring the spectacle on-screen during select performances. The Made with Magic 3.0: Connected Ear Hat and the interactive ear hat remote control feature on the Shop Disney Parks app will both be available Nov. 17.
Holiday magic is endless as Disney theme parks transform into winter wonderlands filled with seasonal attractions, joyful entertainment, festive décor and special treats that make every day feel like a holiday. The spirit of the season shines even brighter in these magical places where families share traditions and make memories together.
(Photos courtesy Disney/ABC and Todd Anderson (Top), Matt Petit (2nd).)