25 Years of Parades on the 25th

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Walt Disney World is celebrating 25 years of the Christmas Day Parade this year and has released a small article about the milestone and this year’s edition:

In a way, you could say that it really all started back in 1950, when Walt Disney was welcomed into homes around the country on Christmas Day, appearing in his first-ever TV show. Or you could say it started in 1971, when Walt Disney World Resort opened its doors–and began a tradition of holiday season revelry. One way or another, Disney has been making the yuletide bright for a very long time!

But this year marks a special anniversary, as the Walt Disney World Christmas Parade celebrates 25 years of telecasts. For a quarter-century, watching the Parade on Christmas Day has brought a slice of Disney magic – and Florida sunshine! – to millions of families. We thought it would be fun to look back at some Parade highlights over the years, and see what special events we can look forward to this year as ABC-TV brings us all the festivities on Christmas morning.

Although the earliest telecasts were focused on events at Walt Disney World, today audiences get a peek at events at Disneyland Resort and beyond. We’ll also see a special segment courtesy of Adventures by Disney that gives us a look at Christmas in Italy, hosted by Joey Fatone.

The first official Walt Disney World Christmas Parade took place at the Magic Kingdom Park and included floats celebrating “Jungle Book” Characters, “Herbie the Love Bug,” “Dumbo,” “Pinocchio,” “101 Dalmatians,” and “Alice in Wonderland.” The Toy Soldiers that delight Guests each year have also been a part of the Parade from the very beginning – the tradition started at a Disneyland holiday parade way back in 1955, and they’ve been part of the Christmas Parade every year.

Through the years, Guests and viewers have been treated to some spectacular moments – in 1994, Olympian Nancy Kerrigan ice-skated during the event; a number of Presidents of the United States have offered holiday greetings on the telecast; and stars from Mariah Carey to Andrea Bocelli to Julie Andrews have performed. 2008 might just be the most star-studded year ever, with performers including Miley Cyrus, the Jonas Brothers, Sarah Brightman, Jose Feliciano, American Idol’s David Cook, and Vanessa Williams. This year, Corbin Bleu will be debuting a brand-new song on the telecast. And, of course, Santa is one Parade performer we can always count on making an appearance – after that snowy trip around the world on Christmas Eve, we’re sure he welcomes a dose of Florida sunshine!

Regis Philbin will be cohosting with Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest once again in 2008. Regis is practically a Parade tradition, having been involved for 18 years, starting as a “man on the street” commentator. Other hosts over the decades have included, Joan Lunden, Alan Thicke, Suzanne Somers, Tom Bergeron, and Jerry Van Dyke.

The Parade has grown and changed through the years, and it’s a bigger, brighter, more spectacular show than ever. The floats change, new performers make their debuts, and Guests and television viewers alike can be sure of new surprises every year. But some things about the Walt Disney World Christmas Parade, we hope, will never change – the magic, the joy, and the warm holiday spirit that makes Christmas morning extra-special for millions.

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]