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Earliest Official Candlelight Photo from 1959

Heather Hust Rivera

by , Director of Public Relations, Walt Disney Publishing

This past weekend we celebrated Candlelight at Disneyland park. As we were getting ready for the event, we came across this photo from our archives.

Candlelight 1959

Candlelight started in 1958 at Disneyland park, but the first photo we have of the ceremony is from 1959. The colors are so vivid, and Main Street, U.S.A. looks much like it does today. It seems as if the photo was just taken yesterday. However, if you look a little more closely, you’ll notice that the members of the choir are sporting various looks from the ’50s.

Look at the people in the crowd along Main Street and see how well-dressed they are.


  • I was an enterainment division cast coordinator for several of the Candlelight events in the 1970’s. It was always such a great experience. It was fun working behind the scenes, watching as the choirs rehearsed and meshed so beautifully together. Also, we got to meet and work up close with some fabulous narrators (John Wayne, Cary Grant, Gregory Peck, Cesar Romero, Ross Martin and others.) I have nothing but pleasant memories about my days as a Disneyland cast member.

  • Being a part of Candlelight 2004 with my HS choir was one of the best and most cherished memories. As a HUGE Disney fan, it really was a dream come true. Ever since then, I have made it a part of my yearly tradition.

  • My family’s greatest memories have been during Christmas at Disneyland. The decorations, the music, the aromas, pictures taken by the Main Street Christmas tree.

  • We have been attending for the last 5 years either in Disneyland or in WDW. Candlelight is one of the heights of our Christmas. Thanks you so much to all that participate and to Disney, who keeps up the tradition in our too PC world.

  • Wow…..that’s so cool. I was at the candlelight processional this past weekend and it was my second time. The performance was sooooo wonderful! It was truly a memorable weekend!

  • Very cool pic! I sang in the Candlelight with my high school choir back in the 80s. It was such a fantastic experience!

  • I remember walking down Main Street in 1981 with my high school choir. It was a lot of fun!

  • WOW, when I did look at it… I could not believe that was a picture from 1959! Honestly I thought it was far more recent.

  • Anyone notice the skimpy garland over Main Street? Far better today.

  • I had the honor or performing with the Disney Employee Choir for the first time this past weekend. It was a surreal experience for me, being a Disney geek as far back as I can remember. Amazing experience. :)

  • Dresses and heels, suit jackets and ties! Now those were the days when people cared about their appearance in public! I love it! This is a beautiful photo… just like it was taken yesterday. Hard to believe that with all the photos Disneyland has taken since their first day of operation that they weren’t able to find one from the first Candlelight ceremony. Maybe someone from the public has one they’ll share!

  • I can remember walking down Main Street around 1961 with our Anaheim church choir, in our choir robes and heels, and being part of the Christmas tree in front of the depot. What a thrill it was for all of us as we sang our hearts out for the enjoyment of all attending Disneyland that Christmas.

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