The Holidays at the Disneyland Resort begin this Friday, Nov. 12—and earlier this week, cast members working during the overnight hours installed one of the most iconic symbols of the season at Disneyland park, the 60 foot-tall Christmas tree in Town Square. As holiday music played in the background, third-shift cast waited with anticipation in the chilly morning air for the first “unofficial” tree lighting of the season, celebrating by enjoying some donuts and coffee.
“This is a very special tradition at Disneyland park that’s been taking place since 1955, the year our very first Christmas tree was installed,” said Disneyland Resort President Ken Potrock, who helped place the star atop the tree with help from the Resort Enhancement team, plus Disneyland Park Vice President Kris Theiler. “Thank you to the amazing talents and efforts of our cast behind the merry and magical transformation of our resort.”
It was a symbol of hope for Kyle Enos from the Resort Enhancement team (above, second from left), who helped oversee all safety measures during the installation. “Hundreds of cast members put this all together, and seeing the tree light up means something special.”
It was also a reminder for Roxanne Arana from Custodial of moments missed last year while the parks were closed. “Seeing the tree light up [for the first time] in over two years brings a sense of joy and wonder that was lost over the last year… Seeing everything come back to life is beautiful.”
After the tree lighting, Ken also placed a menorah in the window of Disney Clothiers, Ltd. in celebration of Hanukkah. Erin Doyle from Resort Enhancement (above) said the display reflects the resort’s efforts around inclusion and representing more of the holidays our guests and cast celebrate. In addition to the menorah, the window display includes other Hanukkah traditions, like latkes and sufganiyot (jelly donuts) that are typically served during the eight-day celebration. “This makes my job [feel] so important and meaningful when other people feel special,” said Erin.
The festive atmosphere reminded Bill Eagleman from Security (above) of a poignant moment while working this time last year. “I was here when no one else was here during Christmas, when the only tree we had was in Walt’s apartment. So, to see this go in today, to see it all week long, the culmination of everybody’s work to light that tree up is super special to me… You can’t put it all into words what you’re feeling inside, but the smiles on everybody’s faces and enjoyment they’re feeling right now speaks volumes.”