Disneyland's holiday design secrets revealed

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Decorating experts at the Disneyland Resort have to get started early to make the holiday magic happen. By Catherine Holland Decorating experts at the Disneyland Resort have to get started early to make the holiday magic happen. By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

THE MERRIEST PLACE ON EARTH (ANAHEIM, Calif.) -- Decorating experts at the Disneyland Resort have to get started early.
 
The holiday season at Disneyland Resort starts Thursday, Nov. 13, and continues daily through
Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015.

Design experts at the resort work all year preparing for the massive holiday transformation.
 
With only 10 full-time employees, this group has to work fast, and they must be efficient. That means they must stick to a plan.  It's a plan that's now been proven.

They work in a warehouse a few miles away from Disneyland Resort.

By fall, temporary employees are brought in, and the team of 50 is off and running.

Some of them wear gloves to protect the garlands that will go up over Main Street, U.S.A. during the first phase of the install, which happens when the park closes Halloween night.

At least 4 yards of ribbon are used to create just one of more than 800 bows that adorn those garlands. And that's only one tiny sliver of the park.

The team also trims nearly 700 trees to display in Disneyland Park, Disney California Adventure Park, the resort’s three hotels and the Downtown Disney District, which is converted to a whimsical Winter Village.

The smallest tree is at Storybook Land, and the largest is at Town Square – both in Disneyland.

The Disneyland Christmas tree in Town Square has become a favorite spot for snapping holiday photos. The artificial tree stands 60 feet tall and has 280,000 pine-tip branches molded from actual tree branches. It is decorated with more than 2,000 ornaments, including the 3-foot star on top and nearly 4,800 energy-efficient LED lights.

When the Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle show reaches its finale crescendo, more than 60,000 LED lights and 1,200 strobe lights are added to the effect.

Since the introduction of the artificial Christmas tree and LED lighting technology in 2008,
the Christmas tree has used 50 percent less electricity than it did previously.

Holiday decorators use 50,000 lights on the façade of the "it's a small world" ride and an additional 200,000 mini-lights in the trees, hedges and topiaries surrounding the attraction in Fantasyland.

Among the holiday special effects inside the attraction are pine tree and peppermint scents in the European scenes and 75 gallons of bubble juice to make bubbles throughout the season in the South Seas scene.

Nearly 150 giant candles decorate the Christmas tree in the European scene. The finale features a 14-foot snowman made of crystal snowflakes and lit with thousands of lights.  The snowman stands atop a 10-foot-wide snowflake and holds a beautiful "icicle" sign that spells out "Happy Holidays" in colors that change as guests float by.

The first Disneyland holiday celebration was in 1955, when Walt Disney placed a Christmas tree
in the Hub at the north end of Main Street U.S.A., near Sleeping Beauty Castle.

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