More than 50 years ago, Walt Disney World celebrated its first holiday season, and the center point of the celebration was the Candlelight Processional, but do you know who the very first celebrity narrator was for the event, which was held on Main Street, U.S.A.?
Per Walt Disney World Live Entertainment, the Candlelight Processional began in 1958 at Disneyland, three years after Walt Disney’s first park opened to guests. The event took place for the first time at the Walt Disney World Resort in December 1971, just over two months after the resort opened.
The Walt Disney World Resort’s Candlelight Processional event took place annually at Magic Kingdom until 1994 when it was moved to the America Gardens Theater at EPCOT.
Every year, during the Candlelight Processional event, a celebrity narrator appears to share the story of the birth of Jesus. The narrator is joined by a huge choir, often comprised of Walt Disney World cast member volunteers, as well as high school student groups and community groups from Florida and other states as well.
It’s estimated that during each holiday season, as many as 16,000 “amateur vocalists” volunteer their time and talents to participate in this beautiful and moving presentation at EPCOT, which takes place as part of the International Festival of the Holidays.
Celebrity Narrators at the Candlelight Processional
Disney World’s First Candlelight Processional
Because Rock Hudson never starred in a Disney film or Disney television series, many fans don’t realize that he was Disney World’s first Candlelight Processional celebrity narrator. He did so well that Disney World asked him to narrate the story of the birth of Jesus again in December 1973, and it was during that visit that he took part in the dedication of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.