Sunday, October 26, 2008

Christmas with Lieutenant Dan

Chris – My first Christmas at WDW was in 2002. My wife and I had recently moved south and we had ramped up our Disney visits considerably now that we were within driving distance. Upon reading about the Candlelight Processional at Epcot and seeing the list of celebrity narrators I commented to her that I would love to see Gary Sinise. I’ve always been a fan and he was doing the narration for December 24th-26th. My wife surprised me and booked us a room for Christmas Eve at Port Orleans Riverside. And so began our tradition of spending the holidays at WDW and always making it a point to see the Candlelight Processional.

So, what is the Processional? Simply put, CP takes place three times nightly in the American Gardens Amphitheater and is the telling of the Christmas story by a celebrity narrator. Accompanied by a mass choir and a 50 piece orchestra, with holiday music interspersed through the whole thing it is an unforgettable way to spend forty-five minutes. If you want to experience CP you’ll need to know that there are two ways to get in. There is a standby line that fills up extremely early and there is the Candlelight Processional Dinner Package. The package is booked ahead of time and in one of three tiers of restaurants. Included in the package are an appetizer, entrée and dessert. More importantly though, the package guarantees you seating as those who purchased the package are seated first. This is a great deal at one of many great restaurants and I can’t recommend it enough.

Tier 1 restaurants: Biergarten and Garden Grill
Tier 2 restaurants: San Angel Inn, Nine Dragons Restaurant, Rose and Crown Pub, Restaurant Marrakesh
Tier 3 restaurants: Le Cellier Steakhouse, Chefs de France, Teppan Edo / Tokyo Dining, Tutto Italia, Coral Reef

Shows are at 5:00, 6:45 and 8:15 p.m.Scheduled Celebrity Narrators include:

John O'Hurley Nov. 28 - 30
Neil Patrick Harris Dec. 1-3
Brian Stokes Mitchell Dec. 4 - 6
Virginia Madsen Dec. 7 - 9
Marlee Matlin Dec. 10 - 12
Monique Coleman Dec. 13 - 15
Chita Rivera Dec. 16 - 18
Abigail Breslin Dec. 19 - 21
Steven Curtis Chapman Dec. 22 - 24
Edward James Olmos Dec. 25 - 27
Angela Bassett & Courtney Vance Dec. 28 – 30

Narrators change from year to year (we’ve seen Gary Sinise, Rita Moreno and John Stamos, all of whom were awesome!) but the one thing that never changes is the passion and emotion conveyed through the Candlelight Processional. I’ve talked to many people from all walks of life and with very different beliefs and it seems that everyone can find a piece of the show that moves them and fills them with the spirit, whatever that may be for them, of the holidays.

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