If want to know how to celebrate the holidays at Disney World, what’s new, and what you shouldn’t miss, this guide is for you.
Celebrating the holidays at Walt Disney World Resort is quite magical, even if it’s the busiest time of the year. The décor is simply beautiful, and all the parks now celebrate the holiday season with special theming and entertainment.
If you’re staying on property, you’re also in for a treat: the resorts look especially festive. If you have time, visit the Grand Floridian’s life-size gingerbread house, which is a work of art. Disney’s Beach Club Resort boasts a life-size, edible carousel as a holiday tradition, while a holiday village with a miniature train takes center stage at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort.
Remember to get to the parks as early as possible during the holiday season, because they often reach capacity by noon. That’s why I also recommend you spend a bit more and get tickets for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom. That way you get to enjoy select rides with fewer people, unique shows, and special treats such as cookies and hot chocolate (hot cocoa) as you make your way through the park. You must buy tickets in advance, since it sells out.
Here is a complete guide on how to celebrate the holidays at Disney World.
Get in the holiday spirit with Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
With new fireworks, shows and holiday treats, this special event puts the entire family into a festive spirit. For the first time I enjoyed Mickey´s Very Merry Christmas Party as a media guest, and it was so much fun! I loved getting cookies, hot chocolate, and warm soft pretzels as I made my way through Magic Kingdom. Just look for the candystripe inflatables: that’s where you can find treats. The lines move quickly, so be patient. If you or your child have allergies, there are alternatives such as GoGoSqueeze. Just mention it to Cast Members.
- With glittery Cinderella Castle as its centerpiece, Magic Kingdom shines bright during the holidays. Seasonal music, characters in their festive finery and fireworks bursting above set the mood. During A Frozen Holiday Wish stage show, Queen Elsa magically transforms Cinderella Castle with glistening ice.
- Holiday Fireworks Dessert Parties are a sweet way to enjoy the new holiday fireworks. Offered nightly, each festive party includes seasonal treats and dazzling views of the new fireworks spectacular. Dessert parties are not included with theme park admission. For schedules, pricing information and reservations, guests can visit DisneyWorld.com or call (407) WDW-DINE.
- Each of the 23 nights of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party will feature performances of Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas and Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration stage show. Guests will also experience select rides and attractions (including the “Jingle Cruise”), savor complimentary treats, discover event-exclusive merchandise and delight to a magical “snowfall” on Main Street, U.S.A.
This year, you can enjoy Mickey´s Very Merry Christmas Party until December 29. For more information and ticketing, call (407) 939-1872.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom offers new holiday décor
- On Discovery Island, find stylized, life-sized animal puppets mingle with villagers who make the island their home. As day becomes night, rooftop luminaries in animal shapes and bird lanterns throughout Discovery Island will bring a warm glow to the village.
- As the sun sets, the Tree of Life will awaken with a series of wintry tales emerging from within, backed by a familiar and heartwarming holiday musical score. Between awakening moments, the Tree of Life will shimmer and sparkle throughout the night, alive with the magic of nature and the spirit of the holidays.
- Dinoland, U.S.A. will rock out with the DJ-led “Holiday Hoopla Dance Party with Chip ‘n Dale” and plenty of interactive fun and games. Throughout the land, characters gathered for “Donald’s Dino-Bash!” will get in the holiday spirit with colorful costumes.
- Diwali, the Holiday Festival of Lights in India, has inspired the residents of Anandapur in Glowing flowers, lanterns and more will illuminate the main square leading to the waterfront stage, home to authentic and colorful cultural performances.
- The village of Harambe in Africa will welcome guests with a unique holiday presentation, fusing Western traditions with the colors and texture of authentic African celebrations; colorful costuming and new music flavors each performance.
- Tusker House diners get their merry on as Safari Donald Duck and his pals spread holiday cheer.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios Glitters with Special Holiday Entertainment
Expect larger than usual crowds at Disney’s Hollywood Studios due to the opening of Galaxy’s Edge and the Rise of the Resistance, so plan on early start make the most of your day. While you’re at the park enjoy the seasonal shows, enchanting “snowfalls,” décor and more.
Here are a few highlights during the holidays at Disney’s Hollywood Studios:
- Watch the Sunset Seasons Greetings show projected onto the Hollywood Tower Hotel. Boasting amazing laser effects and “snow,” the experience also includes stories, songs and cheer courtesy of favorite Disney friends.
- At nighttime, “Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!” will treat holiday-goers to iconic music, fireworks, special effects and state-of-the-art projections to create a one-of-a-kind holiday experience at the iconic Chinese Theatre, where a new ride will open in March 2020.
- Don’t missToy Story Land, as well as joyous greetings from Santa or Santa Goofy.
- As a curtain-closer, Olaf delivers a special holiday finale in For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along.
Epcot International Festival of the Holidays
Joyous traditions from across the globe are at the heart of the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays through Dec. 30, 2019. Enjoy holiday decorations and entertainment, themed merchandise, festive cuisine and costumed storytellers in the 11 World Showcase nations.
- The Candlelight Processional features the retelling of the Christmas story by a celebrity narrator backed by a 50-piece orchestra and massed choir. Performances will run three times nightly during the festival. Narrators already announced for this year include Whoopi Goldberg, Pat Sajak, Steven Curtis Chapman, and Edward James Olmos. Dining packages include guaranteed seating for the holiday event and can be booked by calling (407) WDW-DINE.
- Special Holiday Kitchens sprinkled throughout World Showcase serve up tasty treats inspired by treasured holiday recipes from across the globe. Try the Coquito and Chocolate Crinkle cookie!
- Have some family fun by participating in Chip & Dale’s Christmas Tree Spree Scavenger Hunt. You need to purchase a map and stickers from select merchandise outlets and scout World Showcase locations looking for the famous chipmunks and their ornaments. Completed maps are returned for a special festive surprise, courtesy of the chipmunk duo.
- Watch the new nighttime spectacular Epcot Forever, which burts above World Showcase Lagoon.
- Santa and Mrs. Claus will greet guests at The American Adventure pavilion.
Special holiday offerings at Disney Springs
Disney Springs offers so much more than shopping and great restaurants. During the holiday season, expect special entertainment such as toy soldier stilt walkers and carolers in holiday attire. You can also join in Stitch’s Holiday Gift Hunt and discover where the mischievous Experiment 626 is hiding. Finally, don’t miss the Christmas Tree Trail with custom-decorated holiday trees featuring your favorite Disney characters.
The Disney Springs festivities run through Jan. 5, 2020.
I hope you enjoy this guide and now know how to celebrate the holidays at Disney World!