Behind The Scenes: Deck The Resort

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Back from an extended hiatus is columnist Sparky LD. Good thing too, because our resident Walt Disney World Cast Member is here just in time to talk about the magical holiday season at WDW. So grab some cookies and cocoa, and enjoy another Behind The Secens look from Sparky.

Hey there everyone, back again with another Behind the Scenes look into the Walt Disney World Resort. Since Christmas is only a few days away, let’s use that as our topic for discussion.
Christmas at the Parks is an amazing site. Not only is it beautiful, but how much of it there is and the amount of time it takes in preparation and installation is a modern marvel. A crew of 25 or so work year round in the Holiday Services Warehouse to put together all the trees, garlands, wreaths, and other decor. The Holiday Services Department is responsible for the 4 theme parks, 20 some resort hotels and Downtown Disney. Once Christmas is over, they begin on next year’s displays right away. The Warehouse has racks and racks of ornaments, garlands, tinsels, toppers, etc. These “elves” are also responsible for store window displays around the entire WDW property.
The week before the Christmas season starts, small decor begins to go up. The larger stuff goes up mainly overnight, which doesn’t happen often anymore. Usually the larger stuff will go up over two nights.  Crews of 75 or so install the decor after hours. The Christmas season gobbles up about 3,000ft of garland, 4 million strands of lights, over 2,000 wreaths, more than 1,000 Christmas trees varying in height from 2ft to 80ft, over 1,000 yards of fake snow sheeting will be used, and over 200,000 ornaments will be used for decorating. Not to mention that new castle lighting this year, takes up another 200,000 strands of LED lights, a little over 4000ft of control cable, 300 strobes, and over 10,000 yards of fishing net.
During the Christmas season, certain Cast Members are decked in holiday costumes as well as shows and parades with holiday costumes. There are over 2,500 pieces of holiday costuming used throughout the season. Not to mention the new talking character heads that are used in 3 different shows. You now have Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, Chip, Dale and Pluto talking, winking, and more in “Cinderella’s Holiday Wish”, “Celebrate the Season”, and “Mickey’s Twas the Night”.
You can’t forget the holiday fireworks, “Holiday Wishes: Celebrate the Spirit of the Season” and “Holiday Illuminations”. Holiday Wishes uses the same bunkers as regular Wishes, but they add an extra touch. On certain nights they fire the show with a 180 degree pyro on both sides of the castle. Pyro fires from not only behind the castle, but the left and right sides. This is accomplished by flat bed trucks with pyro bunkers on them that are driven out on the road surrounding the park. They used to do a full 360, which still happens on the rarest of occasions. For that a site on an island in the Seven Seas Lagoon is used as well as other various flat bed bunker trucks. Holiday Illuminations uses all the launch sites for the normal show, plus 1 extra barge and 55 extra launch tubes.
Christmas at the Walt Disney World Resort is the most magical time of year where anything can happen.  From all of us here at the Walt Disney World Resort, and from everyone in the the Parade and Technical Services Department we wish you and your family a Very Merry Christmas.

About the author

Tom Corless

Tom has been regularly visiting the Walt Disney World® Resort from the time he was 4 months old. While he has made countless visits in the last 28 years, he did not become a truly active member in the Disney fan community until the summer of 2007, when he decided to launch the WDW News Today website and podcast. Tom has since become an Orlando-local and is a published author on Walt Disney World.
Contact Tom at [email protected]