For the first time in more than 30 years, Disney will expand its most beloved seasonal tradition – its annual Christmas Day special – to include three all-star celebrity and musical spectaculars that celebrate the entire holiday season – and Disney Parks around the world play a starring role.
With the Disneyland Resort and the Walt Disney World Resort all aglitter in holiday decorations – including for the first time the newly expanded Disney Springs – the broadcast specials make merry for performances by some of the world’s most popular recording artists.
Newly-announced talent for the first-ever multi-program holiday lineup include Mariah Carey, Gavin DeGraw, Flo Rida, OneRepublic, and Alessia Cara, who will join more of today’s hottest names in music and entertainment, including Kelly Clarkson, Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood, in what is sure to be the most magical and festive Disney television extravaganza to date.
The parks themselves are festively cast with spectacular holiday experiences, making them the perfect destinations for families celebrating the holidays and for the ABC and Disney Channel specials.
- All four parks of the Walt Disney World Resort get in the holiday spirit with new shows, thrilling spectaculars and beloved characters to create lasting memories. At Magic Kingdom Park, in addition to exciting new entertainment for the special-ticket “Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party,” Cinderella Castle transforms into a shimmering ice palace as Queen Elsa leads “A Frozen Holiday Wish” nightly. At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, an all-new “Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!” sends beloved Disney characters on a mission to get Santa back to the North Pole in time for Christmas Eve. At Epcot, in addition to global entertainment, guests can explore what the holidays taste like around the world. For its first-ever full holiday celebration, Disney Springs is wrapped in festive décor, entertainment and dozens of new stores with the welcome mat out for holiday shoppers. An all-new nightly spectacle, “Starbright Holidays,” fills the skies above Disney Springs with 300 show drones in an amazing aerial ballet set to holiday music.
- At Disney California Adventure Park in the Disneyland Resort, a new “Festival of Holidays” treats guests to music, dance, food and heartwarming holiday traditions. The popular World of Color nighttime water spectacular is also transformed into “World of Color – Season of Light” with holiday music and treasured Disney animation. Among a sleigh-full of holiday events and activities at Disneyland Park is “A Christmas Fantasy,” a daily parade of floats, music, tin soldiers and holiday cheer. In addition, Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle creates magical snowfall moments along Main Street, U.S.A.
Disney Parks around the world will play a sparkly supporting role to kick-off the holidays with dramatic castle lighting moments.
In addition to a stellar lineup of musical acts, all three broadcast specials wrap festive warmth around the holidays and celebrate the importance of family togetherness. From learning the heartwarming stories of incredible real-life families to witnessing once-in-a-lifetime Disney wishes come true, each celebration personifies what truly makes it the most wonderful time of the year at the Walt Disney Parks & Resorts.
It all starts Thanksgiving night, Thursday, November 24, with a prime-time two-hour ABC special hosted by “Dancing with the Stars”’ dynamic brother-sister duo, Julianne Hough and Derek Hough from the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. The next night, Friday, November 25, stars of Disney Channel’s “Descendants” kick off the festivities from the Disneyland Resort in California and the Walt Disney World Resort with an energetic music and dance celebration airing on Disney Channel.
Emmy Award-winners Julianne and Derek resume their hosting prowess on Christmas Day to present “The Disney Parks’ Magical Christmas Celebration” from the Walt Disney World Resort. Premiering Sunday, December 25, on the ABC Television Network, the final celebration culminates with the fan-favorite Christmas parade delivered by special Disneyland correspondent, Good Morning America’s Jesse Palmer, right from the action-packed parade lines.
Backed by an exciting roster of talented hosts, all-star performers and special celebrity guests, Disney’s cherished tradition of bringing friends and family together for the season is destined to be bigger and better than ever before. A complete list of performances, along with corresponding air times, is outlined below.
“The Wonderful World of Disney: Magical Holiday Celebration” – Thursday, November 24
8:00-10:00 p.m. EST on the ABC Television Network and on the ABC app
- Boyz II Men, joined by JoJo, sing a holiday favorite from the steps of Cinderella Castle
- Alessia Cara sings “How Far I’ll Go” from Disney’s animated feature film, “Moana” (in theaters November 23) for the very first time on broadcast television
- Mariah Carey performs “All I Want for Christmas is You” from the Disneyland Resort
- Kelly Clarkson performs “Underneath the Tree” and “Stronger”
- JoJo sings a holiday classic from a stunning location at the Walt Disney World Resort
- Flo Rida performs two of his smash hits
- From Disney’s Hollywood Studios, OneRepublic performs one of their hit songs
- Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks perform “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” “Ugly Christmas Sweater” and “Marshmallow World,” from their new album, “Christmas Together,” out November 11 (Pearl Records, Inc.)
“Disney Parks Presents: A Descendants Magical Holiday Celebration” – Friday, November 25
8:00-9:00 p.m. EST on Disney Channel and on the Disney Channel app and Disney Channel VOD, beginning at 12:01 a.m. PST
- Dove Cameron, Cameron Boyce, Sofia Carson & Booboo Stewart perform “Jolly to the Core”
- Hollywood and Republic Records recording artist Sofia Carson sings “Silent Night”
- Kelly Clarkson performs a song from her 2013 holiday album “Wrapped in Red”
- “Descendants 2” star China Anne McClain sings “This Christmas”
- Forever In Your Mind performs “Celebrate”
- Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks perform a festive holiday duet from their new album
“The Disney Parks’ Magical Christmas Celebration” – Sunday, December 25
10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. EST on the ABC Television Network; airtimes vary, check listings
- Alessia Cara performs a holiday favorite
- Mariah Carey gives a special repeat performance of one of the biggest selling holiday songs of all time, “All I Want for Christmas is You”
- Sofia Carson delivers a new arrangement of “Silent Night” from her Disney Channel performance
- Kelly Clarkson performs “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”
- Gavin DeGraw sings a Christmas classic in front of Cinderella Castle
- Jordan Fisher performs “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)”
- OneRepublic performs from Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks deliver solo and duet performances
To stay updated on the holiday specials produced by Disney|ABC Television Group and IMG, follow along with the #DisneyHolidayCelebration, #DescendantsHoliday and #DisneyChristmasCelebration hashtags on social media.