John Stamos: Our All-Time Favorite Candlelight Processional Narrator
Who’s the best Candlelight Processional narrator? That’s obviously subjective, and Walt Disney World fans will have a range of opinions based upon their favorite celebrities, Disney Legends, and so on. The most popular narrator at Epcot for the past several years has been Neil Patrick Harris (one of his nights was even chosen as this year’s live stream of Candlelight Processional), with other favorites including Whoopi Goldberg, Jodi Benson, Cal Ripken Jr., and Pat Sajak.
We’ve seen over a dozen different narrators over the years, and until this year, my favorite would’ve been someone different entirely: John O’Hurley. If you responded “who?!” that’s a shame. Watch this in full before reading on. Now that you’re back, kudos on a job…done. Perhaps better known as J. Peterman on Seinfeld, we loved John O’Hurley because his powerful voice added punch to Candlelight Processional, while also reminding us of the bombast utilized when delivering one of J. Peterman’s rambling diatribes. O’Hurley’s narration was moving, yet also slightly humorous (to us) for its unintentional similarities to Seinfeld.
But this is not an article about Seinfeld (no matter how much it should be). This is about our new favorite Candlelight Processional narrator, John Stamos. From one 1990s sitcom, we jump to an even older one. Except here, what’s old is new again, as Full House has been revived by Netflix as Fuller House…and because John Stamos “ages” (air quotes) like a fine wine.
It probably doesn’t require a full blog post to say what could more succinctly be said in the title of one, but I took a ridiculous number of photos during our viewing of Candlelight Processional–not just of John Stamos, but also of the conductor Dr. Jeffrey Redding (who was exceptional), and also of other random things.
I thus figured I’d expand upon my thoughts about John Stamos as the celebrity narrator and share some other thoughts as an conduit for sharing these photos.
John Stamos scores major points as Candlelight Processional narrator for a few reasons. Most significantly, he’s actually a Disney fan. Celebrity aside, this is the big reason that Neil Patrick Harris is a perpetual favorite, and John Stamos is arguably a bigger Disney aficionado. Not that such a thing can be measured, but the size of the giant Disneyland ‘D’ owned by Stamos says quite a bit. And that’s just one Disney item he’s won at auction.
Stamos is also regularly-spotted as a guest at Disneyland (we’ve seen him both there and at Walt Disney World), he’s hosted an Imagineering panel at the D23 Expo, and even proposed to his now-wife at Disney California Adventure. By all accounts, he’s a huge Disney fan.
In fairness, being a Disney fan is not a prerequisite for being a good Candlelight Processional narrator. I’d hazard a guess that many narrators–even the good ones–view it as fulfilling a contractual obligation or a nice way to make their kids happy with a holiday trip to Walt Disney World. Passion isn’t necessary to do a competent job. (Just look Bill Paxton’s truly superlative work in the ‘Twister…Ride It Out’ pre-show…or maybe don’t.)
In the case of Stamos, though, passion enhanced the job he was doing. During songs, he looked like he was on cloud nine. He had an ear to ear grin, and clearly was enjoying himself. He was riffing between delivering his dialogue, and danced during a couple songs.
It certainly didn’t seem that he was just hamming it up for the audience (much of the time, his enthusiasm was out of the spotlight); this came across as genuine enthusiasm. He was very into the experience, and we attended his final show of the weekend, so it’s not as if it was new and exciting at that point.
Stamos was conversational and personable during Candlelight Processional, and his closing remarks were moving and sincere. There was nothing workmanlike or ordinary about his narration, and this ‘above and beyond’ approach really made a huge difference to us. I’d assume the same is true for other Disney fans who got the chance to see John Stamos as Candlelight Processional narrator.
If you didn’t have the opportunity to catch one of John Stamos’ appearances at Candlelight Processional, do not despair. I’d hazard a guess that he will be back. To be honest, I’m surprised that he isn’t in the regular rotation for Candlelight. He did such an exceptional job and it’s such a natural fit that he should be one of the marquee annual narrators.
Or, perhaps Walt Disney World has contacted him every year since he last hosted (which I believe was over a decade ago) and schedules have gotten in the way. Stamos had the same type of presence and relatability as Neil Patrick Harris, which has made the latter a fixture of this season at Walt Disney World. As with NPH, Stamos needs to be back in this role again.
Here are some additional Candlelight Processional photos:
Whether you want to see John Stamos, Neil Patrick Harris, or one of the other popular celebrity narrators, we’d suggest purchasing the Candlelight Processional dining package. You can read about the various options in our Candlelight Processional Info & Tips post. We also shared our favorite dining package choice in our “A Christmas Feast at Epcot’s Biergarten” post.
Failing that, we would not recommend lining up for hours in the standby line. The amount of seating set aside for the dining packages grows every year, meaning the time you need to line up for a standby spot gets earlier and earlier. Instead, consider just watching from outside the American Gardens Theatre. We’ve done this now for a couple of different narrators, showing up ~5 minutes before showtime in both cases.
That’s definitely not the best way of seeing Candlelight Processional, but it’s the least expensive option in terms of time and money. We’d further suggest doing this for the last show of the evening, going on a school night, and aiming for colder weather, if at all possible.
Finally, a few plugs. First, the 2018 edition of our free Vacation Kingdom at Christmas eBook is now available for download! This free eBook is 90 pages, with 100+ photos, and tons of great tips & info for the holiday season at Walt Disney World. For more details on how to get this totally-free ebook, click here. Did we mention that it’s free?! 😉
For comprehensive tips for planning your Christmas-time trip to Walt Disney World, check out our Ultimate Guide to Christmas at Walt Disney World. For Walt Disney World trip planning tips and comprehensive advice, make sure to read our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide and related articles.
Who is your favorite Candlelight Processional narrator? Or, do you not care about the narrator at all, and focus solely on the beautiful music and story? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!
James Earle Jones was my favorite. It was a long time ago when the Candlelight Processional was still in the Magic Kingdom. I can still hear him!
In a bit of a contrast, did you happen to see the Chris Pratt Ruins Christmas show at Disneyland this year? I used to like him…
The link you have posted in regards to John O’Hurley redirects to Amazon. I think you meant it to go to a You Tube Candlelight Processional.
My wife and I love the Candlelight Processional. We love the music and the story. We must have gone the night before you as Robby Benson was our narrator. He did a great job. We were wondering if you know how they get just some of the lights in the Christmas trees to blink. Because so few lights blink, and when they do, it is a random pattern, it must be something special. We would like to have that effect in our trees but don’t know what to look for in the lights. Thanks for any help.
My favorite memory is when John’s brother (Richard Stamos) came onstage and opened the Candlelight Processional with a falsetto version of “Lovin’ You”. Or wait, maybe that wasn’t the Candlelight Processional…
Did he sing the high F note at Candlelight Processional haha
Did the bomb go off on the “doot un doo doo” or the “ahh?”
Super cool. My wife and I are lucky enough to have both of our kids singing in the choir, three shows a year over the last four years. Our favorites have always been NPH, John Stamos, and Gary Sinise, with Gary taking the top spot in hearts. However, you nailed it on the conductor. Seems as if every show the kids do they get Dr Redding, and they LOVE him. His energy is insane and after meeting him backstage a couple of times, he is truly a very kind person. He loves the kids and they love him.
The story and music are the draws for me, and the narrator is a bonus. However, I will say that, from having participated in the Cast Choir, Edward James Olmos was a mesmerizing narrator, Jodi Benson was moving in the way you could feel that she was overflowing to share the story of her faith, and Whoopi Goldberg, known for laughs, treated the experience with lovely reverence. All 3 were really memorable for their sincerity, no matter whether that was because of a belief in the Christmas story or a respect for what that story means to those who do hold that belief. All 3 also took time to engage with the choir while waiting in the wings before or after the show, which really meant a lot and makes for some great memories. I also met Eartha Kitt one year, as a guest, after seeing her narrate, and her narration and graciousness were fond memories. May she rest in peace.
My husband and I were there for J.S’s first performance this year. LOVED it! I agree, he obviously enjoyed himself which made it even more enjoyable for us. On a side note, Do Not book your dinning package at Ale and Compass. There is a different (limited) menu ; that we were not told about. The price was high, and we could not order what we wanted.Would do again, just with a different restaraunt.
You’re not the first person I’ve heard complain about Ale & Compass. Apparently, they’ve been way over-booking on a regular basis, too. Did you experience a long wait to be seated?
We were seated right away, but our waitress took forever to get our”special” menus. Then, we saw her only once after that. Overall worst dinning experience during our trip.
I watched the streamed version with NPH and I enjoyed it. My preference would be to see Gary Sinise since I enjoy him as an actor and a narrator plus he is great guy for his work with veterans.
My wife and I have seen the Processional 4 times. Our favorite is NPH and we have seen him twice, the most recent being this year in the cold. We thought we would like Steven Curtis Chapman but found him “dull” (also found him the same way in a Christmas concert several years ago). The best we think we have seen was in 2007, Rita Moreno. Her singing and narrating was very much filled with the spirit. She “held church” is the way my wife put it.
This was my very first time at CP in WDW. I’m a California native and often go to Disneyland in early December. They squish their CP in front of the train station close to the entrance and I just can’t deal with those pressing standing crowds. My first December in Florida I decided to make it a priority. Ate at Hacienda San Angel for the dining package. Only good thing on menu was the corn soup. Service was great but food is lackluster and not even close to the 80$ per person tag. However, after seeing Stamos and the event, it was worth every dollar. Great seat and truly felt like society was celebrating something together. Met great people in line and will never forget it. By the way: I went as a “ single” as my hubby & son went to Universal. Loved it!
We were right there at Beach Club! John Stamos is my childhood crush (and lets face it, adulthood too). But Saturday was our “do nothing” day. I am really, really beating myself up for not buying an extra day ticket to go see it. We saw Robby Benson and the entire thing was fantastic. But I am really sad in my heart that I didn’t get to see him when we were so close.
I’ve never done this but I think I’d like to see Edward James Olmos. He seems like he’d be excellent.