UPDATED Nov 2015
Believe it or not, until 2013, I’d never seen the Candlelight Procession at Disneyland. It’s one of the things I was most looking forward to during the Christmas season (5 Reasons to be Excited About Christmas at Disneyland This Year), and for the first time ever, I was able to experience this amazing celebration of the birth of Jesus right here in the Happiest Place on Earth!
Disneyland continues it’s traditional one weekend / two shows per night schedule they have used in the past instead of the twenty night schedule from 2012. This year the show is being performed on December 5th and 6th with two shows nightly. Readers haven’t been announced, but each year it’s always done well and it’s an amazing spectacle! The choir, the singing, the lighting – all of it just is breathtaking. If you have the chance, you should go at least once in your lifetime.
To be sure, if you want premium seating, early arrival is a must. Some camp out on the few benches made available from park opening to the time of the performance, but that isn’t necessary if you simply want to see and hear the show. I’ve had friends who walked up at the last minute (especially for the second show) and were able to see and hear perfectly well. But if you want to guarantee a great view here are some helpful tips to make it as easy as possible.
Tip #1: Get there early. While you may not need to wait 10 hours like a few truly intense people did, to get a good view you certainly will have to wait a while. Perhaps stake out a spot before the afternoon parade and simply don’t move afterward.
Tip #2: Make sure the spot you are holding onto will be a place you can stay during the performance. Because it is not the same as a parade, the traffic flow in and around the train station follows a different pattern. It took a lot of asking because not every Cast Member had information about what areas were safe to watch from, but do ask around. Cast members began showing up for guest control about three hours in advance of the event.
Tip #3: Bring a friend with you. Because it does involve waiting for such a long period, unless you are skilled at not going to the bathroom, you will need to switch off with someone. Plus, it would be handy to have a friend to go and get snacks while you are waiting.
Tip #4: If using a wheelchair or ECV, there is a place for you to watch from, but it gets packed early, too. I’m not sure if you are limited to the number of people who can watch with you from that area. Would be good to check before you stake out a spot. Since that area got opened after the other areas, it might be good to stake out a regular spot first just in case.
Tip #5: Make sure your whole party is there at least an hour before the show. That’s when it starts getting crowded and if you’re in the front, you may not be able to “hold a spot” for family and friends past this point. People are asked to stand and holes get filled in very quickly.
Hope these tips help you enjoy the Candlelight Procession! Believe me, if you can go it’s completely worth it. I still think I even had a better seat than the people in the chairs who were pretty squished in there. After the seating time was over, any left over seats were open to all of us waiting. My spot was so good, I declined a seat. Hope you get a good spot too and Merry Christmas!