Yanni preparing for the taping
For many years I've watched the Disney Christmas parade on TV, and always thought it would be fun to go on Christmas Day and see the parade! It really wasn't until recently that I learned that the parade itself is actually filmed several weeks prior to Christmas. Knowing this, I've been paying attention to Disney-themed blogs and tweets, looking for tips on how to get into the filming.
If you already have some sort of ticket (annual pass, etc), then it's just a matter of learning when the filming days are. However, keep your eyes open, because once filming passes become available, you might be able to get in for special filming events. The filming e-tickets also include free park admission and free parking, which turned out to be a great deal for us. We attended the tapings on Thursday, December 3rd and Sunday, December 6th. Although we had special e-tickets for the Thursday event, we found that anyone in the park could participate in the taping. The same was true on Sunday.
You will not usually have any idea who you are going to see. A few days prior to filming, we learned that Celine Dion and Kris Allen would be performing, as well as possibly Miley Cyrus. We also learned that Jonas Bros. were definitely NOT perforing. As it turned out, this was not accurate. Although Celine did perform, it was on a different day and venue due to rain. Miley Cyrus didn't perform at all, and the Jonas Brothers did in fact show up on Sunday. So you never know!
On Thursday we were able to see the Yanni Voices performance and promos taped by Nick Cannon. Kris Allen (American Idol) also performed that day but we were exhausted from watching the Yanni taping and had decided to take a break and missed Kris Allen completely.
The Yanni Voices performace was great. They performed one song, "Oh Holy Night." Their arrangement of this song was wonderful. I've heard so many versions of "Oh Holy Night," and theirs is my new favorite. It's available on iTunes, so go get it y'all!
I also learned that these performances are NOT lip-synched. We watched various performers over two days of taping, and nothing was lip synched. I've always wondered about that, and now I know.
Sunday we went back for a second round of taping, and saw Kelly Ripa, the float portions of the parade, Steve Rushton & the Santa Buddies, and the Stryker Dance team. Stupidly, I left my camera battery in the car, and after recovering from that boneheaded mistake I decided just to buy a disposable. If you've been to Disney, you know that retrieving something from your vehicle is likely to take an hour and a half, so I decided to be safe and just purchase the disposable. Unfortunately, the quality and quantity of the photographs I took is seriously diminished, but at least I have some record of the events.
If you decide to go next year, take note of my tips below:
- Filming tends to run late-November/early-December. Subscribe to your favorite blogs, and check out the production company website.
- Be flexible. Weather and talent often cause schedule changes. We attended Thursday hoping to catch Celine Dion and Jonas, but it turns out they weren't performing until Friday (later rescheduled again). We watched the Yanni Voices, and ended up LOVING it!
- Ask questions. Cast members have daily schedules in their pocket and will do their best to answer your questions about where and when to see various acts. Not all CMs have the same level of information, so don't hesitate to ask another CM if your not getting the info you need.
- Take snacks and drinks for children. It can be very long and boring for them, and honestly most of them just aren't that excited about being on TV. (Olivia wasn't - so it was hard to keep her motivated to be patient).
- Don't wear SpongeBob, Spiderman or other characters that aren't Disney-related. You just won't get on TV, no matter how cute you are.
- Don't look at the camera, ever.
DON'T FORGET TO LOOK FOR US ON THE ABC DISNEY PARKS PARADE ON DECEMBER 25th!
Nathan Pacheco (Yanni Voices) Performing "Oh Holy Night"
Ender Thomas & Leslie Mills (Yanni Voices) before taping. How cute is he? Seriously. My daughter has a serious crush now.
Yanni Voices during their performance. High-class, clean performers. Very enjoyable.
Longtime Disney Parks entertainer Billy Flanagan. He was so funny, the perfect host. Provided great directions to the crowd and served as a stand-in for the talent during the crowd shots.
My children with Billy, as you can see, Olivia is done with this whole thing.
The "truck" (aka director)
Preparing for next shot with Yanni.
My pics of Nick Cannon are terrible. I was shooting directly into the sun.
Seeing what the shots actually look like on the monitor
This is from Sunday, Steve Rushton performs on top of the Main Street Cinema.
Another pic of Steve Rushton and the dancers
Final "take" of the Santa Buddies shot. Confetti only goes off during the last take. In between takes, the street cleaners come out and clean all debris.
The dancers were incredible. The young lady front and center is from Mississippi, probably has a career as an entertainer!
Olivia enjoying the Santa Buddies (in the background being held by their trainers)
The Club Disney Penguins. I giggled when the director kept shouting at them to face forward!
Alice & Billy Flanagan
Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade Performers
The Santa Buddies (so cute, it's unbelievable)
All the production equipment on Main Street
For more pics please visit my Flickr Photostream