Neil Patrick Harris has had a lifelong love affair with all things Disney. From an early age, he was enchanted by the magic of Disney movies and characters. As he grew into a successful actor and entertainer, his connection to Disney only deepened through opportunities to be involved with Disney productions and events.
Early Love of Disney
Like many children, Neil was entranced by Disney films from a very young age. Classics like Peter Pan, Mary Poppins, and Bedknobs and Broomsticks captured his imagination. He had Disney storybook records that he would listen to over and over. During family trips to Disneyland as a child, Neil was in awe of seeing his favorite characters come to life before his eyes. This early exposure to Disney magic sparked a lifelong passion.
Acting Career Intersects with Disney
As Neil pursued acting, his path intersected with Disney in a few notable ways early on. He landed a guest role in a 1989 Mickey Mouse Club serial called “Good Morning, Miss Bliss.” A couple of years later, at age 15, Neil was cast in the Disney Channel original movie My Two Dads. When the opportunity came along to voice the lead character in Disney’s animated film A Christmas Carol in 2009, it was a dream role for Neil. He later said, “it combined two of my favorite things, animation and the holidays.”
Hosting Disney Events
Neil’s charisma, energy, and showmanship made him a natural choice to host various high-profile Disney events over the years. This started in 2010 when Neil was selected to host the World Premiere of Tron: Legacy at Disney’s California Adventure. The next year, Disney tapped him to host a medley of Disney songs as part of the 2011 Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade television special. In 2015, Neil had the honor of hosting the World Premiere of World of Color – Celebrate!
During the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration. He enthusiastically led the crowd in a countdown before the first-ever performance of the new World of Color show, highlighting classic Disney milestones. Most recently, Neil hosted the Disney Family Singalong in April 2020. This ABC television special, filmed during quarantine, featured celebrities performing classic Disney songs from their homes. Neil’s infectious enthusiasm – even remotely – brought some Disney magic into households during a difficult time.
Disney Attractions Voice Talent
Neil has lent his iconic voice to several Disney attractions over the years. In 2010, Neil recorded custom ride audio for California Screamin’, the rollercoaster at Disney’s California Adventure. His cheeky comments add fun flavor to the ride. In 2017, Neil voiced several roles for Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. His multiple roles include bioluminescent plant life and the role of guide for the Na’vi River Journey attraction. Most recently, in 2022, Neil recorded custom narration for the new Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind rollercoaster at Epcot. His narration guides riders on their journey into the Galaxarium planetarium before taking off on an intergalactic chase through space and time.
Narrating Candlelight Processional
One of Neil’s most cherished Disney traditions is narrating the Candlelight Processional at Epcot during the holidays. Since 2013, Neil has returned to Epcot almost every December to retell the Christmas story as the celebrity narrator. The Candlelight Processional features a mass choir and live orchestra performing traditional holiday music alongside the biblical narrative. In 2022, Neil marked his 10th year narrating the Candlelight Processional. He noted during one show, “it’s been a huge tradition in our lives” to perform this heartwarming holiday event. Neil brings his dramatic flair and showmanship to the Processional each year, entertaining crowds during his stretch of performances.
Frequent Disney Park Visits with Family
Beyond special hosting duties and voice acting gigs, Neil and his family visit Walt Disney World and Disneyland frequently as devoted Disney fans. Neil has said, “I’m a huge Disney nerd. I go there so often with my kids.” His Instagram feed features regular Disney trip photos with his husband, David Burtka, and their twins Harper and Gideon riding attractions, meeting characters, enjoying treats, and taking in shows. The family particularly loves visiting during Halloween and Christmas seasons to enjoy the holiday festivities. Neil and his family always go all-out with creative, coordinated costumes during the Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween events. Their color-coordinated group costumes make them Disney fan favorites each year.
Lifelong Disney Enthusiast
From early childhood viewings of Disney films to hosting major Disney events and narrating beloved attractions, Neil Patrick Harris has demonstrated lifelong devotion to Disney. His charisma and showmanship lend themselves perfectly to Disney productions and events over the years. As an enthusiastic Disney park guest, Neil relishes opportunities to create magical memories with his family. It’s clear Disney holds a special place in Neil’s heart – and will continue to do so for years to come.
Key Disney Events Hosted by Neil Patrick Harris
Here are some of the major Disney events Neil Patrick Harris has hosted over his career:
Here are some standout Disney memories from Neil Patrick Harris over the years:
First Disneyland visit at age 5 in 1979, meeting Mickey Mouse
Starring in 1989 Mickey Mouse Club serial “Good Morning Miss Bliss”
Seeing New Fantasyland for the first time in 1983 with Pinocchio’s Daring Journey dark ride
Riding Splash Mountain for the first time in 1989 and getting soaked
Attending several early D23 Expo events in Anaheim as a Disney fan
Hosting World Premiere of World of Color – Celebrate! at Disneyland in 2015
Annual family Halloween costumes at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party
Narrating first Candlelight Processional performance at Epcot in 2013
Celebrating Haunted Mansion 50th anniversary with family at Disneyland in 2019
Experiencing new TRON Lightcycle Run coaster at Magic Kingdom in 2023
Neil Patrick Harris has narrated several children’s audiobooks, including his own “Magic Misfits” fantasy series. In the author’s note for Book 2 of the series, “The Second Story,” Harris shares fond memories of visiting Disneyland as a child and being transported into fantasy worlds. He hopes his books similarly spark children’s imaginations.
The magic of Disney has touched Neil’s life from early childhood through today. He continues to create special Disney memories year after year, especially with his family. Neil’s lifelong love of all things Disney is sure to continue for years to come.