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Find the Disney Channel stars at WDW
Are your kids as crazy about the Disney Channel as mine are?If so, finding the connection to the DC shows and stars when you're on property might be worth your while.
High School Musical 3
At Disney's Hollywood Studios, your fans can take in the High School Musical 3: Senior Year, Right Here, Right Now! show five times a day in front of Mickey's Sorcerer's Hat. Fourteen cast members perform 6 songs from the third movie, and there are parts when young Wildcats are invited to join the performers. Be sure to arrive at least 20 minutes early if you want a front-row seat for the action. Sit or stand along the taped lines on the concrete.
Walt Disney World Christmas Day parade taping
The annual Walt Disney World Christmas Day Parade is usually taped during the first weekend in December in the Magic Kingdom. The first day typically involves the concert performances in front of Cinderella Castle and the second is the actual parade on Main Street. Disney Channel stars have been a part of both days for many years. The last three included Miley Cyrus, the Jonas Brothers, Ashley Tisdale, Corbin Bleu, Lucas Grabeel, Monique Coleman and Sabrina Bryan.
Wristbands for reserved viewing areas have been issued through various methods. In the past, a passholder giveaway distributed tickets for the spots in front of the castle and along Main Street. Then local production company Lightship Entertainment handed out the remaining tickets, which included free admission to the park, to the general public. Last year, without prior notice, wristbands were distributed through Disney.com.
The Magic Kingdom is open to the public on taping days, so even if you don't get a wristband, you might be able to see the performances on Main Street. This is what happened to my family last year. We heard that Miley would be there, so we headed to the Cinderella Castle stage to see if there was an area for viewing Miley's performan ce. Guests were starting to gather in the nearby Rose Garden, so we wandered over there. Cast members didn't volunteer details about Miley's performance, but asking the right questions helped. "When will Miley perform?" didn't get an answer. But "If Miley were going to perform, should I wait in this line?" got the affirmative.
We waited in that line for four hours before we finally were led to the area in front of the stage, and my daughter was about 4 feet from Miley. It was almost surreal, considering her concerts this past year sold out in minutes. She performed "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town." For production purposes, she sang the song three times, which, of course, made everyone happy. And Miley was gracious about greeting fans in between takes.
If you've never gone to the taping, be forewarned that both days involve a lot of standing around and waiting -- this is a television production, people! In other words, you will not see the parade travel seamlessly down Main Street. Each float may be started and stopped several times to ge t the correct camera angles. Likewise, performers will come out and sing their songs multiple times after you watch hours of prep work by the crew.
Still, seeing a live television production is interesting and somewhat unique to a lot of us. You can view 2008 photos here .
Epcot Candlelight Processional
This annual tradition is a retelling of the Christmas story with a celebrity narrator, a mass choir and a 50-piece orchestra. High School Musical's Monique Coleman has been one of the narrators for the past two years. So, if you have HSM fans in your family and you'll be vacationing at Disney in December, this just might make the evening more special. Be aware that the celebrity lineup can change so be sure to doublecheck before making travel plans.
Disney Channel Games
For the past two years, the Disney Channel Games were filmed at Disney's Wide World of Sports. Fa ns could watch the tapings over several days, and most of the young stars were gracious about stopping to talk and sign autographs in between events. They also appeared in a parade at Disney's Hollywood Studios. The highlight for many, though, was the free concert at the end of the week by some of today's most popular acts. The 2008 concert featured Miley Cyrus, Jonas Brothers, Demi Lovato, The Cheetah Girls and Jordan Pruitt.
Unfortunately, Disney announced the DC were put on hold in 2009. That meant disappointed fans everywhere, including at my house. I spoke with families last year that took kids out of school for the week and stayed at Disney World solely because of the Games.
The weeklong events gave young fans a decent shot at actually meeting the stars. My own kids got autographs from The Cheetah Girls, Dylan and Cole Sprouse and Kyle Massey in 2007. One girl we met last year had collected 20 signatures, including those of the Jonas Brothers, by mid-week.
Here's hoping that the DCG return to Orlando in 2010.