Each holiday season, Disneyland Park transforms into a winter wonderland, complete with a massive Christmas tree that greets guests as they enter. It takes a team of 36 employees from nine departments to transport, set up, and operate the 26,000-pound artificial tree. David Caranci, manager of resort enhancement, has worked for Disney for 25 years and oversees the process of installing the Main Street Christmas Tree.
What’s the history of the Christmas tree?
Caranci: Disneyland Park has had a Christmas tree on Main Street, USA, since 1955. It’s always been a live tree, until recently. The live trees were grown on Mount Shasta. But the decision was made two years ago to go green and use an artificial tree, which was designed by Disney engineers and manufactured in three different countries. The steel structure was built in the U.S., the main skeletal branches and pine branches were built in Mexico, and the molded pine tips were manufactured in China.
How does the tree get into Disneyland Park?
Caranci: The tree is stored in a warehouse outside the park. There, it’s checked over for safety and gets a little sprucing up, so to speak. In mid-October, the tree is transported into the park in six pieces, in the middle of the night. The pieces travel three miles on large flatbed trucks and are escorted into the resort. The tree is then completely built in the backstage area of Disneyland Park, and Disney technicians test the light show. In late October, the tree is taken apart into two sections. The first week of November, 15 cast members and two cranes install the tree on Main Street—all in less than eight hours.
What are some interesting facts about the tree?
Caranci: It sits 60 feet above ground and five feet below ground. It has a three-foot star on top. There are 1,200 branches on the tree, with 280,000 pine tips. There are 70,000 LED white lights and 4,800 C-9 LED lights throughout, and the electrical cable used to power the lights weighs 5,000 pounds. It takes 2,000 ornaments to decorate it, and the tree itself weighs nearly 12 tons.
How many additional holiday decorations are used in Disneyland Resort?
Caranci: The Disneyland Resort uses miles of garlands and lights throughout Disneyland, Disney’s California Adventure, Downtown Disney, and the three hotels. Thousands of ornaments, bows, and decorative elements add to the overall decor. On Main Street, USA, 7,410 total feet—1.4 miles—of ribbon are used to make 812 bows. More than 8,000 feet of garland are used throughout the resort, with 2,015 feet used just on Main Street.
What are some other things guests can enjoy during the holidays at Disneyland?
Caranci: Sleeping Beauty Castle is transformed for the winter and has snowcapped turrets, icicles, and lights. Guests can also enjoy “A Christmas Fantasy,” a parade starring Disney characters and Santa Claus. Then they can visit Santa’s reindeer in Frontierland at the reindeer roundup. In the evening, the “Believe In Holiday Magic” fireworks show lights up the sky.
What’s the best part of your job?
Caranci: The best part is knowing that what we do makes a difference. We have the ability to change the park from Halloween to Christmas overnight. What we do in such a short time is so dramatic that guests get really excited about Christmas at Disneyland. You can see it on their faces every day when they walk into Disneyland and see the Main Street Christmas Tree.
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