From the moment I read that the Candlelight Processional had been expanded to 20 consecutive evenings, I was apprehensive that it might turn into a disaster. It turned out, however, to be a very well managed, well orchestrated, and enjoyable 20 evenings that left me amazed at how well it went. I had the unbelievable fortune to be able to attend 4 of the performances. I went to the 7:30 shows on the 9th, 10th, 12th, and 16th and I was seated in either the 2nd or 3rd row just to the left of the narrators every time. Dick Van Dyke even posed for a photo for me from the podium while the orchestra played. I met Bill Rodgers (the "Voice of Disneyland" for and his lovely wife Camille ((the "Voice of Disney California Adventure) that first evening and he even recorded a voicemail message for me on my phone! On subsequent evenings, I introduced my guests to him as well and he was always gracious enough to take photos with them and spend a few minutes chatting. Maynard was doing some crowd control and did an impromptu Happy Birthday song for one of my friends.
The Candlelight nights were very magical indeed. I was afraid that the heart of this tradition would be diminished due to it being stretched from 2 nights (4 performances) to 20 (40 performances - minus the ones that got cancelled due to rain). Now that the show has ended, I miss it. The goose flesh and misty eyes during the Silent Night sing-along portion is what I miss the most. There's nothing quite like it. So, from the bottom of my heart, I just want to say Thank You to everyone who contributed to the success of this year's multi-week experience. The logistics had to have been enormous as well as the months of preparation. Thanks to the narrators who graced us with some wonderful readings on the birth of Christ and His subsequent importance in our culture. Thanks to the behind-the-scenes workers who built and operated, often invisibly, the nightmare of wires, lights, microphones, and stage scenery. Thanks to all the choir members, musicians, soloists, and trumpeters who lent their voices, talents, and time in making this treasured tradition every bit as magical at 20 days as it was when it was just a single weekend. A huge Thank You to the cast members who managed, twice nightly, to herd thousands of guests to wherever they were going while remaining polite and rarely exhibiting any signs of fatigue or exhaustion. And finally, thanks to the decision makers who had the crazy idea of putting on this live spectacular for an insane 40 performances. I was skeptical and was almost eager to hear what I expected would be tons of disaster stories. Instead, professionalism was the order of the day and the performances were stellar. Also, a special thanks to our beloved conductor, Nancy. We, as Disneyland guests, know her so well that she receives applause by simply walking out to conduct her orchestra. I am already looking forward to next year when we will, once again, be singing Silent Night as one, united voice at The Happiest Place on Earth. In a place that is rapidly becoming known as The Most Expensive Place on Earth, it was very nice to be given this free gift of song, music, and togetherness. I am blessed to have been able to be there as often as I was. I do not take that for granted one bit.