I've been in pretty much this same spot since 9:30am. Not even a restroom break! Let's start the show!
The lights around Main Street dimmed and the voices of the processional filled the air. They're coming!
It's dimly lit and therefore hard to see individual people, but I'm always hopeful to see Ruston as he's coming in. And I did! And even better, I got a picture too!
Now, I've been coming to see Ruston sing since 2008. A lot of those years it is just to "hear" Ruston sing. He's so tall, he's usually stuck in the back of a row, buried in the shadows somewhere. But this year, things are different. During rehearsals on Thursday night, he was placed in his usual "back of the row" location. Bummer.
But on Friday night, he got a text from the Cast Choir organizer. After 17 years of performing, a little Disney Magic happened for Ruston.
Ruston is the Star! I'm so excited for him!
And now you know why I was fine with camping out all day and crossing my fingers the rain wouldn't cancel the show. I had to make sure I could be there to see this special event.
Trumpeters right above his head.
Lin-Manuel Miranda's introduction.
The child soloist did a great job with "Away in a Manger".
The handbell choir.
I took so many pictures of Ruston on the top of the tree.
I love the smile Ruston gives at the end. He really loves doing this.
The picture of the entire stage. From this spot, this is about the best view you can hope for.
One of my favorite parts of the show is when Conductor Nancy Sulahian and Drew Tablak lead the entire audience in the singing of Silent Night. And this year the people around me weren't shy singing, which makes it even better.
The Hallelujah chorus is great too, when everyone stands together as soon as the first few notes of the song are played.
The Voice of Disneyland - Ladies and Gentlemen, we extend our sincere thanks to - Our Candlelight Choir. The featured soloists and guitarist. Our sign language interpreter. The candlelight orchestra, bell choir and fanfare trumpeters. Our conductor Nancy Sulahian. And tonight's special guest narrator Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Lin-Manuel Miranda's Closing Remarks
Ladies and Gentlemen, it was my honor to share this beautiful candlelight ceremony with all of you.
The moon came out just for y'all tonight.
You know, there are many traditions and many ways to celebrate this wonderful time of year. However you and your loved ones choose to do so, I hope you find your lives renewed with meaning and with purpose.
Let's embrace every one of our tomorrow's through hope and love.
And through this holiday spirit may we continue to spread peace and goodwill throughout the world.
On a personal note, this is my family's first trip to Disneyland. It's a pretty good way to do it.
Muchísima Gracia. Thank you. And Merry Christmas!
It was a beautiful ceremony tonight. Made even better by seeing Ruston as the Star.
I headed over to the front of the stage just on the chance that I might see him as he walked off. He would tell me later that his section comes down from the stage and goes directly towards the Main Street Bank.
Never-the-less, it's a beautiful sight with everyone leaving, the lights pointing everywhere, and all the saturated colors.
As everyone is leaving, Nancy and the orchestra continue playing to an empty stage. This would be an amazing view for the show. I had to go up to the stage and say hi to Nancy and thank her.
She just wrapped up the last song and I was at the base of the stage. Someone else (not me) called her name and she turned around.
(This next part blew my mind)
Nancy turned around, saw me and said "Hey! Where are my elves?"
(Wow, she remembers me from last year coming up here with the kids)
Me - Oh they wanted to come. They're at home sick unfortunately.
Nancy - Oh. Now don't tell me. It was Ian... and Alli.
(Oh my goodness. How does she remember that. Nancy must have an amazing memory)
The kids really loved her and all the time she spent with them last year.
Still amazed at how she remembered us, I asked if we could get a picture together.
Nancy - Oh you don't want a picture with me up here. Let me come down there to you.
Nancy, you're amazing. I think I overheard that you've been doing this since 1998. Thank you so much for everything you do to prepare and put this on every year.
I went up to the stage to take one more look.
Things are starting to clear out around here. There's another showing here in an hour.
Reserved seats for Disney executives, special guests, and Club 33 members.
As I'm leaving the area, I can see into the control booth. This would be a really interesting view too.
The area along Main Street is quite crowded with people lined up for the second and final showing of Candlelight. From my timestamps, it's right around 6:40pm that they were letting people in.
Getting the handicapped benches filled up first.
Ruston made his way from backstage into the park and over to me. It's been tradition to get a photo together in front of the tree.
Who is hungry? I've only had snacks all day.
Pasta is sounding great. Pizza Planet has some tasty chicken fusilli. Yum!
For dessert, the two of us found some gingerbread cookies at the Penny Press Arcade on Main Street, which has an old fashioned candy counter inside.
Passing by the Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor right next door, Ruston said "Ice cream?"
I mean, it's never a bad time for ice cream. Because a double cone is only 75 cents more than a single, it was more economical to get a double scoop and split it. They're giant scoops anyway. And a peppermint candy cone, yes please.
Walking out, the last showing of Candlelight is just now starting (7:45pm). It would be rough being so far in the back.
The entrance to Disneyland is fairly quiet considering the madness on the other side of the railroad station. It's an interesting sight seeing trumpeters from this side.
Ruston and I wandered through the Redwood Creek Challenge Trails in California Adventure. Jumping on the Jingle Bridge, signing Santa's Nice List (but not waiting in line), and watching other kids meet Santa.
Finally the two of us wandered into The Grand Californian. Looks like the Gingerbread house is finished! The kids are going to love coming back here to find all the hidden Mickeys.
What better place to enjoy our gingerbread mickeys.
The lobby of the Grand is a great place to hang out. We watched as Santa finished meeting the last few kids before finally going back to the North Pole for the night (8:15pm)
We chatted while listening to the lobby piano player and then to the Holiday Handbell Carollers.
It's been an eventful day today. It's always great coming to see Ruston perform!