Performer lineup and schedule revealed for Disney Parks and ABC Holiday TV Specials

Nov 16, 2023 in "Holidays at the Magic Kingdom"

Filming the 2023 Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade at Magic Kingdom
Posted: Thursday November 16, 2023 5:24pm ET by WDWMAGIC Staff

ABC and Disney Parks will air two holiday specials in 2023, which will be available on ABC, Hulu, and Disney+.

This year's shows were filmed at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, Disneyland Resort in California, Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa in Hawai'i, and aboard the Disney Fantasy cruise ship.

Derek and Julianne Hough return to host "The Wonderful World of Disney: Magical Holiday Celebration" on ABC on Sunday, November 26 (8:00-10:00 p.m. EST). They're joined by country music star Mickey Guyton and "The Golden Bachelor" host Jesse Palmer as co-hosts for the 40th anniversary of "Disney Parks Magical Christmas Day Parade" airing on ABC on Monday, December 25 (10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. EST/9:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m. PST). Both specials will also stream on Hulu and Disney+ the day after their premieres.

This year's "The Wonderful World of Disney: Magical Holiday Celebration" features a special appearance by DJ Khaled along with the following musical performances:

  • Derek Hough and Julianne Hough – "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas," "What Christmas Means to Me," "Dance to the Music" medley
  • Michael Bolton & Mickey Guyton – "Christmas Isn't Christmas"
  • Andra Day and Adam Blackstone – "Someday at Christmas" and an Adam Blackstone original song "Legacy Christmastime"
  • Mickey Guyton – "Jingle Bell Rock"
  • Chris Janson – "Holiday Road"
  • Tori Kelly "This Christmas" and "Winter Wonderland"
  • Chrissy Metz – "Santa Claus is Coming to Town"
  • The Smashing Pumpkins – "Silver Bells"
  • Robin Thicke – "Let it Snow" and "Perfect Holiday"
  • Iam Tongi – "White Christmas"

The Christmas Day parade was filmed at Walt Disney World Resort this year with all of your favorite Disney characters making their traditional appearances. "Disney Parks Magical Christmas Day Parade" will also feature musical performances for the special including the following:

  • Derek Hough and Julianne Hough – "Good Morning" and "Deck the Halls" Medley
  • Ariana DeBose – "This Wish" from Disney's "Wish"
  • Chrissy Metz – "Silver Bells"
  • The Smashing Pumpkins – "Evergreen" (A new, original holiday song!)
  • Iam Tongi – “Mele Kalikimaka”
  • The Cast of Disney's "Aladdin" on Broadway – "Friend Like Me"

The Christmas Day show also features these special looks back at some of the most iconic performances from years past:

  • Gwen Stefani (2018) – "Winter Wonderland"
  • Beyoncé (2006) – "Silent Night"
  • Stevie Wonder (2009) – "What Christmas Means to Me"
Discuss on the Forums

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BrianMar 30, 2024

I would also like to see snowcapped turrets and a little garland worked in. But I'll certainly take the OG Dreamlights back. It's really so stunning in person.

yensidtlaw1969Mar 30, 2024

Oh I agree that projections are insufficient. I just think the Dreamlights weren't quite all that, even at their best. I would also be plenty thrilled with a winter overlay that's closer in line with what Disneyland does. Of course their castle is much smaller and easier to decorate in this way, but the snow-capped roofs make such a tremendous positive difference in both the daytime and nighttime look (their icicles could use some work though, they don't look so hot during the day)

wdwmagicMar 30, 2024

They did get pretty quick at the install in later years, and it was a true wow moment for guests when lit. Projections don't come close.

MisterPenguinMar 29, 2024

Everything's an LED!! Everything's an LED!!

bmr1591Mar 29, 2024

Putting a ton of LEDs in the walls of the castle would make perfect dreamlights, not be an eyesore during the day, and let them be used for other shows.

aladdin2007Mar 29, 2024

Just me but I would rather them restore the castle back to its original colors instead of covering it in lights.....granted the lights are seasonal...but just saying in terms of money being spent...........I guess though it will be eons before we ever see it happen. :rolleyes:

mattpetoMar 29, 2024

They need to do something to bolster their Christmas offerings. And Halloween. Really surprised Villains didn’t make it back, they went with Enchantment for an AH draw instead.

yensidtlaw1969Mar 29, 2024

This may be an unpopular opinion, but the Dreamlights never quite earned their keep for me. They take forever to install, muck up the face of the castle during the day, and look kind of cool at night but not as sophisticated as I think they should. I wish they'd just find a way to run Fiber Optics all over the castle, take a season to install them properly, and then keep them permanently to be used mainly just at Christmas Time. Maybe an occasional punctuating moment of magic in a Fireworks show or the Kiss Goodnight. Something that you wouldn't know was there unless you really looked for it, but could still make the castle sparkle on command.

CntrlFlPeteMar 29, 2024

I assume they would just projection map the castle these days. about six weeks of people complaining that a crane ruined their once in a lifetime trip ;)

wdwmagicMar 29, 2024

200,000 LEDs

mattpetoMar 29, 2024


mattpetoMar 29, 2024

That doesn't feel low enough to get the Dreamlights back, but I guess we'll see.

pigglewiggleMar 29, 2024

What are Dreamlights?

jrhwdwMar 29, 2024

Frozen Holiday Surprise with Castle Dreamlights? Also, is POE Tag too much to Ask????????