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Holidays at Walt Disney World: Behind the scenes of Disney Christmas in Orlando

8:39 AM, Dec 23, 2013   |    comments
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Lake Buena Vista, Florida -- If you love the holidays and decorations, check out this incredibly rare look at how Walt Disney World gets its theme parks ready for Christmas.

Santa has a workshop -- and so does Mickey Mouse.

Step inside Walt Disney World's enormous Holiday Services warehouse and you'll be stunned by the scale.

Glitter is stored by the gallon, buckets of balls fill an entire four-story wall, and tree limbs are hauled in literally by the truckload.

The warehouse covers two acres behind the Magic Kingdom and it's likely the biggest storage space for holiday cheer on earth.

Bow after bow, row after row -- it's so big, you could put every item and shelf from six supermarkets into this one building.

Other holidays have some space here, but 98 percent of what they do is Christmas.

In the corridors that stretch on for city blocks, every single decoration has to be in exactly the right spot.

Each position on every shelf is labeled with a code like "MK-090," where "MK" stands for Magic Kingdom.

That system's in place because you can't just throw stockings and ribbon up at Walt Disney World and have it work.

Every decoration has to be designed to match the special look and feel of its area "so you are immersed in the entire story of the resort," explained Lisa Borotkanics, who manages this enormous place.

"We're always striving to do a better job so that we can provide that 'ultimate wow' for our guests," she said.

From the 70-foot trees that sit at the center of the theme parks, down to a room just for ribbon, her staff prepares the seasonal flair for 27 resorts, four parks, four cruise ships, and even the Disney Cruise Line's private island in the Bahamas.

A team of just two dozen elves works year-round here.

Over the off-season, the staff tests every... single... bulb... to make sure it works. And each ornament gets wired on so it doesn't go home with somebody as a souvenir.

"At the time that we go to install, everything has to be ready. We don't have a moment to say, 'Oh these lights are broken.' Everything has to be ready," Borotkanics said.

Then it's all tucked into more than 80 trailers and sent out to spread some cheer.

There's one more Disney touch, too.

They choose a particular park or resort and set up everything there in a single night.

"In resorts, we'll be there in the morning when they're waking up. And they'll come out -- you'll hear the excitement in their voice. So, yeah, it makes us all feel very good," Borotkanics said.

Nobody does magic quite like this mouse.

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