Disney Announces Three Holiday TV Specials All Filmed At Theme Parks

Now that we got that pesky Halloween out of the way, we can focus on Thanksgiving and Christmas and Disney thinks that the best way to do that is by creating more holiday TV specials that use their own theme parks as a backdrop.

Disney has a long-standing tradition of presenting Christmas specials at the Disney theme parks on Christmas morning, but this year the Disney Company is adding two new Thanksgiving specials and all three will feature some of the same guests probably singing some of the same songs.

As part of Disney’s “Share the Joy” campaign, all three specials will “grant wishes” to different families wandering around the theme parks that will hopefully inspire others to “give back” and encourage viewers to volunteer to help others.

Siblings Julianne and Derek Hough
Siblings Julianne and Derek Hough will host two Disney TV specials. [Image by ABC]

While you’re making your plans on where to shop on Black Friday, you can enjoy The Wonderful World of Disney Magical Holiday Celebration presented on Thanksgiving night, November 24 at 8:00 p.m. on ABC. Filmed at Walt Disney World Resort, the two-hour long special will be hosted by Dancing with the Stars siblings, Julianne and Derek Hough. Julianne will also be serving as executive producer of both this and the Christmas day special. While this is a new gig for her, this is familiar territory for Derek who served as host of the Disneyland 60th Anniversary special last year. Sofia Carson from the upcoming Disney Channel movie, Descendants 2, will join in the festivities as well.

While technically a “Thanksgiving” special, the show will mostly be Christmas-themed. Musical guests include solo and duet performances by Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks from their new Christmas album, Christmas Together and Kelly Clarkson who will be performing “Underneath the Tree” from her 2013 Christmas release, Wrapped in Red and “Stronger.” Other performances will be announced soon.

Dove Cameron, Cameron Boyce, Sofia Carson and BooBoo Stewart from "Descendants 2" [Image by Disney Channel]

On Black Friday night, November 25, the stars from the highly anticipated sequel Descendants 2 will host Disney Parks Presents: A Descendants Magical Holiday Celebration at 8:00 p.m. on Disney Channel. The special will feature music from the Christmas album, Disney Channel Holiday Hits released a week earlier than the special. In the middle of the festivities, Jenna Ortega and Isaak Presley from Stuck in the Middle and Olivia Rodrigo and Madison Hu from Bizaardvark will join Sofia Carson and Cameron Boyce by surprising families from across the country, who are involved in various charities, with trips to Walt Disney World Resort.

The Magic Kingdom in Florida at Christmas. [Image by Disney Channel]

Mostly a musical special, the program features the following musical numbers and guests:

  • “Jolly to the Core,” (a holiday rendition of the song “Rotten to the Core” from the first Descendants movie) by Dove Cameron, Cameron Boyce, Sofia Carson and BooBoo Stewart, are the “Descendants.”
  • “This Christmas” by China Anne McClain
  • “Silent Night” by Sofia Carson
  • “Celebrate” by Forever In Your Mind
  • Plus two more songs from Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks and Kelly Clarkson.


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Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Jordan Fisher and Sofia Carson [Image by ABC]

Finally, on Christmas morning, December 25, The Disney Parks’ Magical Christmas Celebration will air at 9:00 a.m., just after the little ones have opened up their presents and are looking for something else to do. Julianne and Derek Hough will host again with more musical performances by Trisha Yearwood, Garth Brooks, Kelly Clarkson, and Sofia Carson, but Jordan Fisher will also be on hand to sing “The Christmas Song.”

There are more performances scheduled to appear and will be announced at a later date.

[Featured Image by ABC]