For many, many years now, it has been a family tradition to watch the Disney Christmas parade each year. It started way back when it was just the Walt Disney World Very Merry Christmas Parade and when it was broadcast live, way before it grew to the pre-taped show involving both Disneyland and Walt Disney World that it has become now.
This year, the show was called the Disney Parks Frozen Christmas Celebration, trying to cash in on some of the Frozen hype that is still out there a year after the movie was first released. We don’t usually watch the show when it is actually broadcast, and this year was no different. So in the afternoon on Christmas day, the three of us along with my parents sat down to watch what we had recorded.
Here is the short review: We were all disappointed.
If you want the longer review, here it is:
Back in the old days, the focus was mainly on the parade, much like you would watch the Macy’s Parade on Thanksgiving. Joan Lunden and Regis Philben (or Alan Thicke way back in the early days) would give you a rundown of what you were watching. And then there would be some segments showing what was new in the parks for the upcoming year. Yes, it was a big two hour commercial for Walt Disney World, but it was a very well done commercial, one that would make me want to go back there as soon as possible.
The show has evolved over the years, including the previously mentioned inclusion of the Disneyland Resort and now even throwing in portions from Aulani in Hawaii and a little bit from Castaway Cay in the Bahamas, too. And if that were all that had changed, that would still be good. If it were done well.
But now, the main focus of the show seems to be one musical performance after another by a string of mid-grade musical entertainers, none of whom anyone in my family group that was watching cared anything about. Just one song after another, along with some try-to-make-you-cry segments about three different reunions at the Disney parks.
There were a few mentions here and there of upcoming things, such as Disneyland’s 60th anniversary celebration, but otherwise, there was very little focus on the parks and attractions. Oh yeah, they did show a few parade floats for a few seconds, too. But even with their editing, it still appeared that they brought out a few random floats and parked them to get some film footage, instead of actually showing scenes from the parade.
Yes, I know that “parade” is now nowhere in the title any more, and I’m actually fine if they don’t include any of the parade at all. But perhaps a more accurate title would be “People Singing Christmas Songs and Other Songs at Disney Parks.” Because that is about all that was.
As I mentioned earlier, for its entire run, the main purpose of the Christmas program has been to be a big, long commercial for the Disney parks. To make you want to experience all the fun that they have. To make you want to go there.
And this time, for me, it failed.