• Welcome to the WDWMAGIC.COM Forums!
    Please take a look around, and feel free to sign up and join the community.You can use your Twitter or Facebook account to sign up, or register directly.

Holiday filming for ABC specials to take place early November at Walt Disney World

prberk

Well-Known Member
To be absolutely honest, in regards to the stage performances - I understand why.

One day, many years ago (I want to say 2007ish?) I am walking through the Magic Kingdom and I hear someone singing "Silent Night". I turn the corner and...Beyonce is standing there in front of the Castle, singing her lungs out in this pristine white dress. I was probably 10 yards from her. She finished. Went backstage. Then came back, and sang it again. Then the process happened a third time, and it started to rain a bit.

(Note, this is actually the moment I really began to have real respect for her as a performer, because she just kept going and didn't stop until the director told her to - she kept singing while being rained on for several minutes. She also acted completely graceful and grateful through the entire time she was out there, waving to little kids in between, etc).

Then after a brief pause, she came out - for the fourth time, to start again. Keep in mind, she probably already had done it several times before I was on the scene myself.

Now, as all this is going on, it was probably 60-65 degrees out at the time, not really sunny - so while I was happy as a clam in my T-shirt and shorts, half the audience was bundled up in mittens and hats and coats like they were at a fricking ski resort. And the moment a drop of rain was felt, half of them again started using up umbrellas and throwing those cheap plastic ponchos over their heads. It looked awful, and none of the audience paid any attention to the director with the bullhorn saying "don't do that". It was barely raining at all - I mean, a few droplets landing on me per minute.

Anyway, at this point, people in the audience - even in the front - started to walk away, while she is singing. They had their Beyonce experience, now they wanted to go on rides. So all the PA's are furiously trying to fill the audience with passerbys, because while all the precious little people who thought they were alternatively going to melt or freeze ruined enough of the earlier shots, having big gaping holes ruined a whole different set of shots.

Finally, the sun broke through - they filmed it once or twice more since people were again willing to stop without looking like freaks in snowgear in Florida, or covering themselves in garbage bags to avoid a few sprinkles, and that's the version that ended up on TV.

Watching how frustrating it was for the production staff, and long it took, and how many times she had to redo the song - mostly because the audience was so uncooperative, ruining all those crane shots that are expected in a filmed performance at the Castle like that - I completely understand why they would only use invited guests and fill in with CM's who can follow basic instructions. And as it says - guests can still view it - in fact, I was closer to Beyonce than the actual audience, anyway, from where I saw it (though I did wander down there at one point, I left and went back up because the view was better).

A theme park just is a very difficult place to film something like this, and when the crew has so much to film in a relatively short amount of time (and with talent that they likely only have for an hour or two at most), I really can't blame any of them for doing it this way.

I know that this may go against what you might think makes sense logically, but I actually think that this is exactly why LIVE is better in the long run. It's one and done, and the whole production deals with it, weather and all. That's how the Macy's parade works. And it worked well here for many years. Film a few cutaways ahead of time, but not the whole thing. The kinetic energy is much more fun, even with some quirky audience moments. The "Today" show pulls it off nearly every Friday in the summer with their concerts on the plaza... and by being live, the audience is seeing it only one time... not over and over (with the exception of sound check), and it shows in their excitement.

In the case of a true rainout, you can have a plan either to cut to last year's show (like the National Memorial Day special did on PBS when lightning came and the show had to be stopped) or simply record the previous day's parade as a run-through (like Elvis did for the famous "Live Via Satellite" broadcast from Hawaii in the '70s just in case the live feed broke). So, the weather can be dealt with, but live is the way to go, for many reasons, not the least of which is the true kinetic energy that is the opposite of the plastic infomercial feel it has today.
 
Last edited:

HauntedPirate

Sheltered-at-home Park nostalgist
Premium Member
So the "MAGICAL!!! Disney Parks MAGICAL!!! 90 Minute MAGICAL!!! Infomercial" isn't even taped at WDW anymore? Sad. It also shows how out of touch with this I am, because I stopped caring when they stopped calling it the "Walt Disney World Christmas Parade". I liked it better when it was an actual Christmas parade. Has it changed from what it became, an endless cavalcade of commercials for Disney products, fringe acts, and B- and C-list entertainers made to seem like they are some kind of huge deal? (Edit: I know, I know, that was just a bit over-the-top and exaggerated, but it gets the point across)

We've been there for a couple of tapings (And I think I got my oldest son on the broadcast for about half a second in 2003 :D), and never thought they were particularly disruptive. Inconvenient at times, to be sure, but the years we were there for the tapings were years when the parks could still be slow(er) during the times they taped.
 
Last edited:

Launchpad McQuack

Well-Known Member
I think last year's actual Christmas day special was an improvement over the last couple years before it, but the show peaked to me in 2013 when Neil Patrick Harris hosted. The intro song alone made it worth the watch. The two after that were just awful, especially the one that was mostly just Robin Roberts and Tim Tebow sitting/standing around talking (2014, I think). the other thing they did last year (on Thanksgiving, I think) with the Houghs and the live performances was pretty bad. I think they were both just really awkward/cringeworthy with their performance and shtick. Then the live performances on that one were mostly bad, too.

Anyway, my thoughts on how it should be... focus on the parade, get a charismatic host, ONLY sing Christmas/holiday songs during the stage performances, and focus less on the families and their stories (maybe this is a bad way to look at it, but I just mostly don't care/don't want to watch these stories, especially when it's something as simple as "my mom hasn't seen her best friend in years... neither one is dying, and they both know planes exist, but they haven't seen each other").
 

yensid67

Well-Known Member
I just turned the BIG 50, and I watched the parade up until last year! I, too enjoyed when it was a truly LIVE ACTUAL parade. Now its just one BIG 2 hour infomercial for Disney Company. They didn't even do a parade last year, instead just had some floats on Main Street USA or the musical performers...how sad that the kids nowadays will not get to see an AWESOME Christmas Day parade. I am so sad that I usually end up watching another Christmas Day Parade in Philadelphia or somewhere else!
 

seabreezept813

Well-Known Member
Agreed, we put this on every Christmas and the worst is the crummy singers.. take a page out of the thanksgiving day parade and find some classic artists. They always seem to have a few class acts.
 

Biff215

Well-Known Member
I know that this may go against what you might think makes sense logically, but I actually think that this is exactly why LIVE is better in the long run. It's one and done, and the whole production deals with it, weather and all. That's how the Macy's parade works. And it worked well here for many years. Film a few cutaways ahead of time, but not the whole thing. The kinetic energy is much more fun, even with some quirky audience moments. The "Today" show pulls it off nearly every Friday in the summer with their concerts on the plaza... and by being live, the audience is seeing it only one time... not over and over (with the exception of sound check), and it shows in their excitement.

In the case of a true rainout, you can have a plan either to cut to last year's show (like the National Memorial Day special did on PBS when lightning came and the show had to be stopped) or simply record the previous day's parade as a run-through (like Elvis did for the famous "Live Via Satellite" broadcast from Hawaii in the '70s just in case the live feed broke). So, the weather can be dealt with, but live is the way to go, for many reasons, not the least of which is the true kinetic energy that is the opposite of the plastic infomercial feel it has today.
It’s very doubtful they’d attempt live performances today even if they wanted to. They don’t need a Mariah Carey moment on Christmas day in the MK. I’ve been there for taping and now it usually consists of the actual star running through once or twice followed by a stand-in lip syncing over and over to get all those fake crowd shots.

I agree what we have today is just a glorified commercial, but I can’t see it ever being live again for a number of reasons, most of all not wanting to take the chance of what might transpire.
 

Sunset7132

Active Member
Myself and my parents are visiting the resort for the first time and this taping happens to be the weekend in the middle of our two week holiday. As we were not aware of this taping, could any regulars elaborate on what impacts or disruptions we might be likely to notice if any (changes to entertainment, cut off areas of parks, crowds etc)?
An extremely packed, but fun time if your in good health .. glad we did it once , saw awesome entertainment... but once was enough
 

DisneyDebRob

Well-Known Member
That’s why my wife and I tape it.. go about our business for the day enjoying our visits and present opening. Then mid afternoon or so he get some coffee or whatever and buzz the thing. We turn it into a solid half hour of what was good and we enjoy it.;)
 

disney4life2008

Well-Known Member
I saw the opening taping last year. It was ok nothing to get excited over. I think both Juliana and that guy are bone heads so i wasn't interested. I did end up in the front row during taping.

As for the special, 90 percent of it will be about pandora. Boring!
 

Raineman

Well-Known Member
Great. Our last 3 days at WDW, they will be filming in the same parks that we will be in for those three days. How much disruption to the average park guest does this cause? Do the filming areas close off walkways and make foot traffic unbearable? The last thing I want is some D-list celebrity or some brown-nosing PAs to impact ours, or anyone elses, vacation. They are getting paid to be there, the rest of us are paying to be there.
 

MansionButler84

Well-Known Member
In the Parks
No
Great. Our last 3 days at WDW, they will be filming in the same parks that we will be in for those three days. How much disruption to the average park guest does this cause? Do the filming areas close off walkways and make foot traffic unbearable? The last thing I want is some D-list celebrity or some brown-nosing PAs to impact ours, or anyone elses, vacation. They are getting paid to be there, the rest of us are paying to be there.
Yes, walkways close, but there is a way around.

Personally, I'd switch to different parks, but I know that's not necessarily reasonable with ADRs and FPs given that you were only given 3 week's notice. Would've been nice to have this schedule out 60 days in advance.
 

Raineman

Well-Known Member
Yes, walkways close, but there is a way around.

Personally, I'd switch to different parks, but I know that's not necessarily reasonable with ADRs and FPs given that you were only given 3 week's notice. Would've been nice to have this schedule out 60 days in advance.
As soon as I know where the filming locations are for each day, I am going to avoid those areas like the plague, unless I have an ADR or FP. Not really impressed with the timing of this.
 

MansionButler84

Well-Known Member
In the Parks
No
As soon as I know where the filming locations are for each day, I am going to avoid those areas like the plague, unless I have an ADR or FP. Not really impressed with the timing of this.
It should mostly be in park entrances. It's unfortunate that you miss a Christmasy Main Street USA during the daytime, but they'll open the backstage walkway so you can get to the lands. Rides shouldn't be impacted and the filming will end by evening, so you can still see a Christmasy Main Street at night. It may not be ideal but it can only impact you to the degree that you allow it to.

What if you get to see Beyonce?!
 

Raineman

Well-Known Member
It should mostly be in park entrances. It's unfortunate that you miss a Christmasy Main Street USA during the daytime, but they'll open the backstage walkway so you can get to the lands. Rides shouldn't be impacted and the filming will end by evening, so you can still see a Christmasy Main Street at night. It may not be ideal but it can only impact you to the degree that you allow it to.

What if you get to see Beyonce?!
Well, if I like her, then I guess I'll have to put a ring on it, but my wife might not like that too much :D
From what you've said, I think we'll be fine. Our first day at WDW is the Monday before the filming, so I guess the good news is that I'll be able to see the MK in Halloween and Christmas mode all in the same week.
 

MansionButler84

Well-Known Member
In the Parks
No
Well, if I like her, then I guess I'll have to put a ring on it, but my wife might not like that too much :D
From what you've said, I think we'll be fine. Our first day at WDW is the Monday before the filming, so I guess the good news is that I'll be able to see the MK in Halloween and Christmas mode all in the same week.
It's actually a spectacular transition to witness. Someone missed the opportunity for a $300/person 1 night only Nightmare Before Christmas Party where the Boo to You Halloween Parade is followed by Holiday Wishes and the Sanderson Sisters interrupt Mickey's Most Merriest Celebration.
 

danyoung56

Well-Known Member
I'm sure this is really petty, but I wish people would stop writing about "filming" something. Film is no longer used outside of movies - hasn't been for years. "Taping" is also incorrect, as video is recorded to either hard drives or chip arrays. So it's correct to talk about a shooting schedule, or an event being recorded, not filming or taping.

Sorry, been in the video production biz for most of my adult life, and this drives me nuts!
 

Register on WDWMAGIC. This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.

Top Bottom