Hopefully you all had a relaxing Thanksgiving and profitable Black Friday weekend! Disney has three specials planned for us this season, with the first two already airing: Magical Holiday Celebration under the WWoD banner on ABC, Descendants Magical Holiday on Disney Channel, and the traditional Christmas Day special on ABC.
Since the first two have already aired, my posts will serve more as a run sheet of what happened, in case you don't have time in this busy season to watch the entire show, and would prefer to skip to certain segments.
WWoD: MHC opened with a pretty spectacular dance number (what else??) from Derek and Julianne Hough, with a medley of Christmas songs, a walk-through from Disney Princesses, and a nice fireworks finale.
We then get our first musical performance, with Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood singing "Marshmallow World", also with a fireworks ending.
Derek then throws to Jesse Palmer, who introduces the lighting ceremony for Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland.
Julianne, from Mission: Space, introduces the first #ShareTheJoy family, which focused on an adoption process.
Sofia Carson made her first appearance of the night, interviewing Alessia Cara, who has a new song in "Moana". (Sidenote: I probably won't be personally seeing Moana, but family and friends have all said it's a great movie with solid animation, and Dwayne Johnson does a solid job of delivering comedic lines in family-focused confines.)
Kelly Clarkson performs "Underneath the Tree" at "Mission: Space", and Jesse interviews Mariah Carey.
Next up is Alessia's performance at the Tree of Life at Disney's Animal Kingdom, with her song "How Far I'll Go" from "Moana".
A Cast Member from Tokyo provides an introduction in Japanese for its Cinderella Castle, leading to Sofia returning to interview Flo Rida, who then performs "My House" and "Zillionaire" on the Magic Kingdom stage.
The music performances continue with OneRepublic singing "Kids" and a cover of "What a Wonderful World" at Disney's Hollywood Studios, and Garth and Trisha singing "Baby, It's Cold Outside" and "Ugly Christmas Sweater" at Magic Kingdom. These are separated by a Sofia Carson interview of Garth and Trisha.
We break from music for a just under 1 minute teaser for Pandora at Animal Kingdom, another family whose daughter was born premature with Cerebral Palsy (TBC on Christmas Day at Aulani), and the Hong Kong Disneyland Sleeping Beauty Castle lighting, with native CM introduction.
JoJo performs "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" at Animal Kingdom.
ESPN makes a surprise appearance with Rece Davis, Joey Galloway, and Danny Kanell, making a bracket of four Disney World attractions as part of the new "Magic Is Endless" campaign.
The lighting of Enchanted Storybook Castle at Shanghai Disney is shown, with some cool fireworks, and another family is previewed on Disney Cruise Line, to be featured on the Christmas special.
Music performances return when Julianne interviews Kelly Clarkson, who sings "Stronger", and Sofia interviews Boyz II Men with JoJo, who go on to perform "Let It Snow"
Bob Iger gives a thank-you message to viewers, and introduces a mix of clips from Rogue One. It looked like (to me, anyway) these were all featured in previous trailers, which would make sense given we're less than three weeks away from the premiere.
The lighting of Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant at Disneyland Paris, and MK's Cinderella Castle finish the castle lighting ceremonies, and a brief clip of Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! at DHS is shown.
Mariah Carey ends the night at "it's a small world" at Disneyland with "All I Want for Christmas is You" under a backdrop of fireworks.
Two hour specials can occasionally feel too long, especially when marketing or music becomes too heavy-handed. Thankfully, with the exception of Garth and Trisha's double performance, and possibly Flo Rida's extended performance, most music features were short enough to avoid fatigue.
My only problem is the amount of performances. I know that's a typical complaint, whereas I would much rather see more behind-the-scenes on logistics of how the park decor is readied. I don't need a whole two hours of it (never mind, that would be fascinating and I'd totally watch) but it would be helpful to break up the "music - interview - family feature - music" process that the show had.
Overall, your enjoyment of the show may vary. If you, or someone watching with you, is watching for music, you'll highly enjoy it. If you're watching more for seeing the Parks on display, you will be severely disappointed, as the Parks are only featured in the ~30 second castle lighting videos for the six castles, in background for music performances or hosting. While I wasn't a fan of most of the performances, the backdrops of fireworks and lighting ceremonies made it an enjoyable show for what it was.
I'll be back in a few days with a review of the "Descendants Magical Holiday" special!