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Epcot Holiday Tree

Disney World Resort Holidays

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Holiday Decorating

Cecil Gordon, of Walt Disney World Holiday Services, is putting the finishing touches on the face of a six-foot angel tree-topper inside one of Disney's warehouses in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

© The Walt Disney Company/Garth Vaughan, Photographer
In this photo, Cecil Gordon of Walt Disney World Holiday Services, touches up the face of a six-foot angel tree-topper in one of the resort's warehouses in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Going behind the scenes to see how Disney manages to put together 150 tractor-trailer truckloads of holiday decorations was eye-opening. The operation employs "elves" year round to ready the miles of garland, yards of ribbon, hundreds of trees and millions of twinkling lights for the holiday season.

There is no time to waste. As soon as the decorations are taken down at the end of the season, the elves begin repairing, replacing and refurbishing each ornament, tree, wreath, light, ribbon and bow. When finished, trees and wreaths are placed on pallets, wrapped in plastic and stored in a climate-controlled warehouse.

While I have trouble decorating one tree every holiday, can you believe that there are more than 1,500 decorated trees throughout the Disney World property? Every theme park and resort has a themed tree — one Christmas tree in the Magic Kingdom has a base that is 26 feet wide and a 70-foot-tall tree takes center stage in Disney's Contemporary Resort entrance lobby — and each has a life-span of about five to seven years on a rotating basis. That means special creative elves are constantly working on new designs. Once those storyboards are approved, production begins, with every ornament and every bow made and placed by hand.

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