Walking down Main Street during the holidays is always a heart-warming feeling. But behind the twinkling, towering Christmas tree and the Mickey-shaped garlands is an entire team of cast members who handcraft every bow and ornament. We talked to Alecia Keen and Cathy Carson who are part of the Holiday Services team about what it takes to transform the resort into a winter wonderland every year.

What do you take into consideration, in terms of designing decor for each themed section of the park?

One of the things we do is consider the storyline for each area. Each land gets a specific story. For instance, the Main Street tree this year is brand new and it’s a Victorian theme because it’s meant to reflect the childhood from Walt’s early years. It’s all new foliage, all new ornaments.

How are ornaments used to create the illusion that the tree is taller than it actually is?

The ornaments come in three sizes to achieve forced perspective. The smaller ornaments go at the very top of the tree and the larger ornaments are down on the lower limbs.

How long does the process take to install all the festive decor?

Our install schedule runs about five weeks. The tree alone takes several weeks to prepare, and one night to install. We do a lot of work in advance to make the install process quick.

“Be sure to look for the candles on the tree. They look like real flickering candles you see in the movies and pictures of old-time Christmas. It adds a really fun dimension to the tree this year.” —Kim Irvine, art director at Walt Disney Imagineering


Can you name a specific material you used to construct some of the ornaments?

We replicated mercury glass which is used in vintage, Victorian-style ornaments.

Who makes up the Holiday Services Team?

There are only about 10 of us who work on decorations throughout the year. For the install process, we do need extra hands. We pull from the props and horticulture departments, and we hire extra seasonal cast members as well. Our Holiday Services Team does everything. We design the decor, fabricate it, and install it. We take on the project from beginning to end. We’re also there to go in if there are any problems.

Can you give us a sense of the size, scale, and magnitude of the decorations?

The Main Street tree is the largest decoration we install, standing at 60 feet tall. We also use 2,015 feet of garland on Main Street.

Where are some of the most unique decorations installed in the park?

New Orleans Square is always fun. A lot of the balconies have unique story lines, so there’s always individual styles. We love the touches of magnolia flowers and masks.

So, you’re both in the Christmas spirit all year long?

Oh, it’s Christmas every day for us. Except for Halloween.


The most magical time of the year at the Disneyland Resort is happening now until January 6. Learn more about Holidays at the Disneyland Resort here!

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