Festival Disney, part of Disney Youth Programs, is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2014. Marching bands and auxiliary ensembles that take part in the adjudicated program at Walt Disney World will find even more magic than those that participated previously. “We’re all about using the number 10 this year,” notes Tim Hill, director of Disney Youth Programs. “We have 10 different weekends for the Festival, so we are planning 10 different surprises—one for every weekend.”
Over the years, Festival Disney has become a popular program for all types of ensembles, including concert bands, jazz ensembles, marching (parade) bands, orchestras, vocal ensembles, show choirs and auxiliary units, Hill says.
So what makes Festival Disney better than other travel opportunities? Unique venues, like Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort Performance Hall, are highlights. In addition, marching ensembles can look forward to performing on the streets of Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
The whole experience is capped with an awards ceremony, where each participant receives a medal and awards are given for the highest-rated groups in each category. Disney characters entertain the students during the event. Hill says that many of the anniversary surprises will occur during the ceremony.
Directors can choose between competitive and non-competitive adjudication, and all groups receive comments on their performance. Ensembles also have the opportunity to watch other groups perform. “There’s really something for every group,” says Hill.
And the program shows no signs of stopping. After 10 years of performances, Festival Disney has found its niche at Walt Disney World but might expand. “Is [Festival Disney] a program that expands and goes to Disneyland?” Hill asked. “We often look past the boundaries of Walt Disney World.”