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Where Disney's Holiday Magic Comes to Life

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© Travalliancemedia Owned Media (Staff Photo) Christmas Trees Stored at Walt Disney World's Holiday Services Warehouse (Photo by Lauren Bowman)

By Lauren Bowman, TravelPulse

If you’ve ever been to Walt Disney World around Christmas time you know the happiest place on Earth becomes a magical spectacle.

Holiday Services – those behind the Christmas magic – provide décor for 780 locations in 41 different properties – including 4 Disney Theme Parks, 27 Disney Resorts, Disney Cruise Line, and Disney Vacation Club.

In Magic Kingdom alone there are 590 strands of garland, 40 trees and 147 wreaths littering the park in festive charm. The largest tree stands 70 feet tall and is located at the Contemporary Resort.

Production

Just thinking about this huge undertaking can be overwhelming. In order to keep up with a production of this scale, Holiday Services employs 43 full-time Cast Members year round to work on the extravaganza.

It’s their job to design, create and maintain ideas into the beautiful décor seen around the parks and resorts. Decorators are given free creative design, but they must stay within a certain color palette depending on where the décor will be showcased.

Storage

In 1996 Disney moved all Christmas decorations into a warehouse in the Magic Kingdom back lot. Up until eight years ago, everything was able to fit into this 54,000 square foot warehouse. But now two additional warehouses are used – bringing the grand total to 160,000 square feet of Christmas storage.

As you can imagine, the warehouses are kept immaculate – everything organized and in its place. All ornaments are categorized and sorted into bins that would make any craft store jealous.

Installation

Installation of the decorations is done in stages – beginning on Halloween night and ending by Thanksgiving. On the first night, all Halloween decorations are taken out and one-third of the Christmas decorations take their place. About 90 extra cast members are hired during this time to help accomplish this daunting task.

Magic Kingdom is the first priority when it comes to the parks. Hollywood Studios normally takes just 1 night and Epcot takes about 3 nights.

Upkeep

With so many decorations showcased outside and weathered by the elements – and visitors – it is essential that upkeep of decorations are maintained.

Holiday Services Cast Members visit each of the locations nightly to ensure that the decorations look as good as they did when they were first installed – fluffing any trees that may have gotten a little squashed through the day’s events and straightening any wreaths.

In the offseason, all pieces of decoration are inspected to see if any items need to be replaced. Foliage is on a six-year cycle for replacement. The material of the trees can be different depending on where the tree is going to be placed – whether it will have to withstand more weather elements, etc.

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Travel - U.S. Daily News: Where Disney's Holiday Magic Comes to Life
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