Disneyland Candlelight Processional 2022 Dates, Celebrity Narrator Rumors, Info & Tips
Disneyland’s Candlelight Processional occurs twice nightly this weekend. This post offers dates for the show, viewing tips, celebrity narrator info, our review and history of the event, which is held at the Main Street USA Train Station during Christmas. (Updated December 3, 2022.)
In contrast to Epcot’s Candlelight Processional performances that are held dozens of times over the course of the Christmas season in an outdoor theater, Disneyland’s Candlelight Processional is held 4 times, total, and is an intimate affair. Also unlike Epcot’s version, Disneyland’s Candlelight Processional is a mostly-private (we’ll get to what that means below) event.
The 45-minute show is a musical retelling of “The First Christmas” story through song and scripture, featuring a mass choir as the centerpiece of the show. The Disneyland Symphony Orchestra, fanfare trumpets, hand bell ringers, and a celebrity narrator join the choir in this joyous holiday tradition.
Disneyland’s Candlelight Processional will be held on December 3 and 4, 2022 for invited guests, Club 33 members, and other VIP guests with shows each night at 5:30 pm and 7:45 p.m. Regular park guests are also able to see the show from Main Street, which we cover in with viewing recommendations below.
The narrator of the 2022 Candlelight Processional at Disneyland has not yet been announced, despite the first performances being today. Usually, the narrator is unknown until right before sound check on night of the first performance, with fans speculating about who it’ll be and rumors–usually wrong–circling prior to that.
Currently, there are no credible rumors about the 2022 Candlelight Processional narrator at Disneyland. We’ll update this section later today once rehearsals start and it becomes obvious who is narrating. (Unless Disney manages to conduct rehearsals out of guest view, in which case we’ll update when the first Candlelight performance starts!)
With that said, it’s always fun to guess, so my shot-in-the-dark prediction is Angela Bassett. She’s done a lot with Disney in the last few years and is in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. I can’t think of anyone else who checks all of the same boxes, save for one of the Guardians of the Galaxy stars. (So perhaps Chris Pratt again?)
Often, the narrator of Candlelight Processional at Disneyland is a celebrity appearing in a Christmas season Disney, Marvel, Pixar, or Star Wars movie. Or someone who recently appeared in such a film. These are the “contract obligation” narrators. The last few years have several examples of this, including Lin-Manuel Miranda, Chris Hemsworth, and Chris Pratt.
Last year, the Disneyland Cast Member choir was informed that Sterling K. Brown will be the Candlelight Processional narrator. Sterling K. Brown is best known for his role in the NBC television series, “This Is Us.” For Disney, Brown played N’Jobu in Marvel’s Black Panther and voiced Lieutenant Mattias in Frozen II.
Other times, the Candlelight Processional narrator is simply a famous or well-respected Disney Legend who has nothing to promote and is in no way a synergistic pick. There are lots of examples of both throughout the history of Candlelight Processional (more on this below).
Now, let’s move on and cover what occurs during Candlelight Processional at Disneyland…
These celebrities narrate the Christmas story at the Main Street Train Station while the Candlelight mass choir is sings beautiful holiday songs. Disneyland’s Candlelight Processional has been a tradition since 1958. Celebrities like Cary Grant, John Wayne, Dick Van Dyke, Gary Sinise, Kurt Russell, Jon Voight, Geena Davis, Chris Hemsworth, and James Earl Jones being past narrators.
Disneyland sets up seats for Candlelight Processional, which are reserved for invited guests. These “invited guests” are typically Disneyland VIPs, such as Club 33 members, media, and high-profile Disneyland guests. We have gotten a lot of questions about how to get seats for Candlelight Processional at Disneyland (that’s actually our reason for posting this), but the unfortunate reality is that if you don’t already know how to get seats…you can’t get seats.
There are no dinner packages, no standby line for regular guests, no ticket lottery, nor any means of becoming an invited guest. Because of this, Disneyland does not publicize the event. There are typically not posts on the Parks Blog, social media, or elsewhere until after the event. That’s why info on Disneyland’s Candlelight Processional is so scarce.
Despite this, Candlelight Processional at Disneyland is held during park hours, and at the very front of Disneyland, where it is plainly visible to guests entering the park. This, coupled with the small size of the reserved seating area, means that guests who camp out in Town Square can get a good view of the show. (Additionally, if there are empty seats, Disneyland sometimes allows regular park guests to fill them–but no promises there.)
However–and this is a huge however–it’s not simply a free for all up front. Because Disneyland is so busy these nights and seating/standing areas are in high demand, there are strictly-enforced limitations on where you cannot stand or sit to watch Candlelight Processional. If you’re attempting to wait and watch in a thoroughfare, you will be told to move in short order by crowd control Cast Members.
Some guests camp at the perimeter of the reserved seating area for the entire day on Candlelight Processional days. We’ve rope-dropped Disneyland on these days, and instead of racing to Peter Pan’s Flight and Space Mountain, we’ve seen guests racing to areas at the edge of the reserved seating area.
This is excessive, even by crazed-Disneyland fan standards. We are sharing this info so you know what you’re potentially getting yourself into should you decide to camp out for Candlelight Processional. In fairness, you can typically show up “only” a couple of hours in advance and still get a decent view of the stage, but it’s not going to be ideal.
However, don’t expect to be walking through Main Street 10 minutes before Candlelight Processional starts and simply stop to watch. It doesn’t work like that. There’s a good chance you won’t be allowed to stop in Town Square even an hour before Candlelight Processional begins.
Additionally, some of those individuals who camp out early in the day will leave following the first performance of Candlelight Processional, so if you show up towards the end of this, you might be able to wiggle your way into a better position. Again, no guarantees, as most guests who camp out all day will stay for both shows.
One word of warning: Candlelight Processional is held on two busy weekend nights during the Christmas season, which is already a busy time of year at Disneyland. At the front of the park. This means that the crowd in Town Square is basically a restless mob by the time Candlelight Processional rolls around, packed into the public areas like sardines. We would only recommend this to locals with a surplus of time.
If you’re vacationing at Disneyland, this is not a good use of your time. Moreover, if you’re vacationing at Disneyland during the Christmas season and will be visiting the park during either of these days but are not interested in Candlelight Processional, stay away from the front of the park before, during, and shortly after the showtimes. Getting people into and out of Town Square (and even the Hub) is an operational nightmare, and it will take a long time to navigate to/from Main Street.
If you are interested in Candlelight Processional at Disneyland, but not camping out for a spot to view it, the processional does come down the parade route. Guests who line the curb on Main Street shortly before the processional starts will be treated to something beautiful and uniquely “Disneyland.” While we don’t recommend camping out for the show, we do recommend this. It’s a special little moment that you can enjoy without nearly the time commitment.
We did Candlelight Processional a couple of years ago at Disneyland with Kurt Russell as the narrator, and we were blown away. It’s a lavish production that is wonderfully presented, and it felt like an intimate experience that probably still bears a lot in common with the 1958 edition.
We far prefer the Disneyland version to the way it’s performed at Epcot, but the difference is that one has stayed true to its roots while the other has opted for a more guest-friendly offering that tries to accommodate the high level of demand for the show. It’s hard to fault either version for their approach, but it is too bad that there is not a feasible way of having the best of both worlds.
If you are lucky enough to be invited to attend Candlelight Processional at Disneyland, do not pass up the opportunity. It is an incredibly memorable experience. Our only recommendation would be to treat it like the lavish event that it is: get dressed up, have a nice meal at Napa Rose or Carthay Circle Restaurant, and then enjoy Candlelight Processional at Disneyland. It’s perfect for a Date Nite at Disneyland!
If you’re visiting Disneyland during Christmas-time, make sure to read our Ultimate Christmas at Disneyland Guide to get the most out of the special Christmas offerings! As for figuring out the rest of your Disneyland trip, including what to pack, whether you should stay off-site or on-site in a Disney hotel, where to dine, and a number of other things, check out our comprehensive Disneyland trip planning guide!
Have you ever done Candlelight Processional at Disneyland? Did you have reserved seats or did you camp out? What did you think of the experience? Was it worth it? Any tips to add? Share any other questions or comments you have below!
Years ago my husband I attended this event. They USED to allow you to buy tickets as a dining package. Silver, gold and platinum packages. We ate at Steakhouse 55, with a fixed menu, and then were given out tickets to the show. We ended up front row center and the host was John Stamos. I feel pretty lucky now we did this since now it’s only for the “special” folks.
My husband and I are disabled. I am in a wheelchair. Is there any special info or helpful hints you can give me with my circumstance? I don’t imagine they have an ADA section to watch, like they have for parades, though that sure would be wonderful if they did. It’s my DREAM to see this and I actually have a reservation for Dec 4th! My stomach is in knots of both excitement and nervousness.
There is not a designated ADA location for park guests that did not receive an invitation to the event. However, in the past, I have seen CMs allow those with mobility issues into the roped-off area just before showtime if there was space available.
With that in mind, there will be CMs working the entrance to the seating area on the City Hall side of the square, near the train station. This will sound a little vague, but find the CM that appears to be a “supervisor, ” or better yet, a manager, and ask id ther is any space for you and your party. if they say no, wait a little while and ask someone else. I’ve seen this work twice. Once was about 40 minutes before showtime, the other eas about 10 minutes prior. If you can walk up a couple of steps, there is a bench on a patio just to the left of City Hall. it gives an ok limited view and is slightly elevated.
in the last 10 years, we’ve been lucky enough to have been invited twice and have seen it several other times. Well worth your time.
there is a roped off section for wheelchairs and motorized chairs just right behind the ropes of vip. I assume you need to get there about 1 and half hrs b4 show starts
You actually used to be able to buy tickets to this event! My family went for years and years in the 80s/90s, and even got tickets in 2013 for it. It wasn’t this “invitation” only stuff back then. I actually had no idea they had made it that way. That makes me sad! It is such a great show, it seems everyone should get the chance to try and buy tickets to be able sit and enjoy it! I hope it never goes away though. Such a great piece of Disneyland History.
We were extremely lucky last year. My husband and two grandsons were leaving the park We asked someone what the event was. We were asked if we wanted seats as some were available. This was 15 minutes before the show. It was incredible! My daughter in lea will be singing in the event this year and we look forward to seeing it again!
How wonderful. Is she a cast member?
Question: Is there a procession down Main Street as the third pic above shows? Or is that just in the past? I think that would be a wonderful compromise for us regular, everyday, non-rich guests, since they’re only allowing ‘special folks’ to watch the show! I mean, I don’t think Walt would have approved of this preferential treatment for the elite. 🙁 They could feed in from the backstage gate between Refreshment Corner and Jolly Holiday Cafe and fill the street and start singing!
Yeah, I know. Wishful thinking. lol *sigh*
Multiple-year Candlelight Choir participant, here: We do usually process down Main Street. In the past, we step off from the usual parade route entrance. If memory serves correctly, we emerge from the gates near Small World.
Walt actually created some of the ‘elite only’ preferential treatment of certain people, so it’s not fair to say he wouldn’t like it. He had his apartment that he only let certain people in, he had an elite club behind Plaza Inn, and he commissioned the creation of Club 33! Lots of examples of him having preferential treatment, as well as evidence for his reason behind those decisions. He was a great man, but he was also very smart about some decisions he made, including events where some were not included.
We lucked out tonight! Walking by with no idea what the event was. We got in a line and were ushered to seats. We were blown away by this beautiful event. Sterling K. Brown was magical telling the story of the birth of Christ. We loved the 2021 Candlelight Processional.
We stumbled onto it in 2018 with Chris Pratt, then Lin-Manuel Ortega in 2019. We love the music. Choir, bell ringers & trumpeter. Having a Christmas story told in a secular setting is AMAZiNG to witness. The Christmas Christian music with the wonderful choir and orchestra is heart warming. So excited to be here this year!!!!
We stake our spot at 3pm. Has worked well for us.
where do you usually stand at 3pm?
Where do you stake your spot?
We are attending without being invited. We got reservations for the 5th. We have a friend going on the 4th and they will test out ways to see it. We will either watch on Main Street, follow it down Main Street, or we have a friend that will camp out all day so we can go on rides.
Our only complaint was having to stand for such a long time!! We are in our late 60’s and early 70’s, so it was SO difficult. But I still wouldn’t have missed it for the world. We have been professional entertainers all our lives and the music just blew us away!! My nephew had been with us earlier in the year and was part of a popular band at that time, ‘Rixton’ we were treated like royalty, but he wasn’t with us at xmas unfortunately, ha ha. We want to go again this Christmas. Although we live in England, our son is in LA and covid permitting we hope to spend xmas there. So I am definitely going to see it again, seat or no seat!!!
I was a performer at the candlelight ceremony three years in a row 2006, 07 and 08! Through the constant rehearsing and other Christmas performances I never thought until recent years I’d be interested in attending a performance. But my husband hasn’t ever seen a choral performance with the story of Christmas and besides the one at Walt Disney Hall this was always my favorite one to be in. I didn’t realize you couldn’t buy tickets though…is the only way to be a guest in the audience by being in club 33 or a guest of a club 33 member?
Fortunately my cousin oversees this event. we have been blessed 5 years in a row to this exclusive event. She is Disney’s special events coordinator and I’ll go every single time she continues to bless us
I just made reservations for December (‘20) at the Grand Californian, Disneyland. I’m thinking about the Candlelight Processional…do you think there will be one this year. Which weekend would it be? I have seen it from the steps near the Firehouse and might like to try and see it again. Thank you for leaving a little magic in your blog.
In addition to Club 33 some of the Parks managers, and above, can get 2 seats for one night. Some press get passes as well as local vip’s.
I think you mean Grand California, WDW.
This year I was lucky enough to get invited by a Club 33 member for the 5:30 show. (I’ve never seen it before and only heard about it for the first time last year!) People start lining up around 4:00 at the front of the park for the (ticketed) seats, and we got in line at 4:30 and managed to get a seat two rows from the front. We had a partial view of the choir but were directly below Lin-Manuel Miranda. We bumped into another friend who found a standing spot right after the first show ended and later was directed to an open seat. So it is possible to snag a seat last-minute!