The Candlelight Processional has always been a part of Walt Disney World since the park opened in 1971. In Walt Disney World’s early years and before EPCOT, the Candlelight Processional was held on Main Street with the narrator reading from balcony area of the Main Street Train Station.
The processional was just one part of the Magic Kingdom’s Christmas festivities. Town Square in 1971 featured a 50-foot Christmas Tree and there was a special holiday parade which ran daily from December 10th to January 2nd. The Candlelight Processional was a two-night affair on December 18th and 19th with the show starting at 6 pm. The narrator in that first year was movie star, Rock Hudson.
Hudson would go on to narrate the processional at Walt Disney World again in 1973, 1974, 1977, and 1980. The processional stayed at Walt Disney World until 1993 when it moved to the American Gardens Theatre in EPCOT.
Christmas at Disney has come a long way since that first Walt Disney World Christmas in 1971. Now, we have Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party which starts in November, Christmas Around the World at the EPCOT World Showcase, the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Hollywood Studios with the Candlelight Processional still taking place in the American Gardens Theatre in EPCOT.
List of Walt Disney World Candlelight Processional Narrators (Magic Kingdom)
Rock Hudson: 1971, 1973, 1974, 1977, 1980, 1984
Cary Grant: 1972
Dean Jones: 1975, 1987
Joseph Campanella: 1976, 1983, 1990
Ross Martin: 1978
James Hampton and Darrin McGavin: 1981
Pat and Shirley Boone: 1982
Howard Keel: 1985, 1986
Walter Cronkite: 1988
McLean Stevenson: 1989
George Kennedy: 1991
Paula Zahn: 1992
Information for this article was pulled from:
The Rock Hudson Project