Show Spotlight: The Buena Vista Street Community Bell Ringers

“Let the bells ring out for Christmas at the closing of the year.”

Max and Audrey in the center and Rich and Violet (I think?) on either side – from the Buena Vista Street Community Bell Ringers.

Max and Audrey in the center and Rich and Violet (I think?) on either side – from the Buena Vista Street Community Bell Ringers.

What is the Buena Vista Street Community Bell Ringers?

This show was first introduced during holiday time in 2012 as part of the re-imagining and re-theming of Buena Vista Street at Disney California Adventure, but really established itself with the 2013 version of the show.

As the story goes, some of the local “residents” of Buena Vista Street (not to be confused with the Citizens of Buena Vista Street!) get together each year to bring Christmas cheer to their neighborhood during the holiday season. So they practice their bell ringing and then perform out on the Street for passersby.

The songs they sing range from traditional to modern, but all are enhanced by the beautiful sounds of the English hand bells that they so enchantingly play!

Who are the performers?

Billy, Audrey, Tommy, Violet (I think?).

Billy, Audrey, Tommy, Violet (I think?).

There are eight bell ringers in total – four guys and four gals: Max, Audrey, Billy, Carrie, Rich, Dixie, Tommy and Violet. Each of these folks were very well defined and characterized in the 2013 version of the show, but they’ve become fairly interchangeable in the past two years. For example, Dixie was the Southern Belle of the group, Max was the goofball, Carrie was a bit vain, etc. Now, the characters don’t seem to have as much time to explain themselves as they dash from song to song.

There are also one or two numbers where an audience member is pulled up to participate. And no, hiding in the back won’t help you avoid it!

When and where can I find them?

Entertaining the crowds with Christmas carols – bell-ringing style!

Entertaining the crowds with Christmas carols – bell-ringing style!

The Bell Ringers perform daily on Buena Vista Street in Disney California Adventure throughout the Christmas season, often near the stores. Check your Entertainment Times Guide for the schedule.

They also participate in the nightly Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at 5pm at the tree near the Storytellers statue.

Why spotlight it?

Bell ringing is serious business and requires great concentration!

Bell ringing is serious business and requires great concentration!

I absolutely flipped for this show when I discovered it in 2013 – I went to see it multiple times each day that I was at the park. I was completely charmed by the show, the performers, the comedy, the audience interactions, the songs and of course, the talented and melodic bell-ringing. It was probably my favorite Christmas entertainment in the entire Resort! (Yes, maybe even more than the wonderful Christmas Mad T Party – to be spotlighted next week!)

Last year, for whatever reason, they changed and shortened the script and the jokes, and I found it less compelling. But I still really liked some of the performers (although they had less to do and less material with which to define themselves) and the songs and the bell-ringing.

This year, they sadly kept last year’s routine and again I find it less appealing and far less “must repeat view”. That said, I think it’s still worth stopping by during the season to listen to the pretty songs sung well and presented in a different instrumental style than the Dapper Dans Christmas set or the Resort Hotel Christmas Carolers. And if you’re going to listen to any song in particular, do yourself a favor and check out one they often end sets with: “The Closing of the Year” – an obscure but stunningly beautiful number from the Robin Williams’ movie Toys. It absolutely gives me chills every time I hear it. Just wonderful.

The Bell Ringers definitely add to the quality and theming and atmosphere of the seasonal park entertainment, and I do hope they stay around Buena Vista Street for many years to come. I just wish they’d return to the truly engaging and more cohesive set list, storylines and interactions of the 2013 show. (I miss the Rudolph echoes with the group!)

Have you stopped to listen to the Buena Vista Street Community Bell Ringers? What is your favorite song that they perform?

The Buena Vista Street Community Bell Ringers Performers:

Performer Spotlight Flashback: Max @ The Buena Vista Street Community Bell Ringers

Performers Spotlight: Carrie and Billy @ The Buena Vista Street Community Bell Ringers

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