The spirit of Christmas has taken over Newport’s Fashion Island with the annual tree-lighting ceremony on Friday evening, joined by Mickey Mouse and friends.
Disney characters danced to Christmas carols at the Neiman Marcus-Bloomingdale’s courtyard. Large crowds gathered around the stage to kick start the festive celebrations.
Many Disney fans were prepared for the event; people had started lining up in the morning with lawn chairs and picnic mats to save a spot for the whole family.
Marcy McKenna said her husband arrived at 11:30 a.m. to get the family a good spot to watch the performance and some other families had been there since 8:30 a.m., even before shops at the mall opened.
As it grew closer to the starting time of the event, more people gathered around the stage to see what “The Happiest Place on Earth” would bring to the start of the festivities.
By the time the sun set around 6 p.m. the audience extended from one end of the courtyard to the other.
People who were shopping stopped by to join in the holiday cheer and enjoy the entertainment that Disney had prepared.
A large television screen was set up so that even people who were just passing by could catch a glimpse of the performance and people at the back who were tiptoeing to try and see what was going on wouldn’t miss out on the Disney magic.
After the 20-minute performance by Mickey and his friends, the towering tree came to life and artificial snow transformed the outdoor mall into a white wonderland to make the Christmas celebration magical.
The 90-foot tree was covered in lights and ornaments, illuminating the courtyard. Families and friends were brought together around it as people snapped photos to commemorate the special event.
“It was so magical, a perfect way to kick off the holiday season,” McKenna said, who was celebrating her anniversary this year with the Disney event.
Her son Colin, who was wearing a Mickey Mouse hat, described seeing Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck come on stage as his best memory of the evening.
Courtney, his sister, enjoyed Feliz Navidad, the Spanish rendition of a Christmas carol.
This Disney event put smiles on many children’s faces and was a great way to get everyone excited for Christmas just as radio stations are starting to play carols and stores have been putting up Christmas decorations.
Shoppers at Newport Fashion Island can continue to see the tree light up every evening at 5 p.m. through Jan. 5, 2015.