With holiday decorations and experiences that popped up the day after Halloween, Walt Disney World Resort is fully into the festive, most wonderful time of the year. From Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and Epcot’s Festival of the Holidays to the iconic gingerbread displays at the resort hotels, there really is something for every type of holiday fan at Florida’s Disney parks.
A Disney World Christmas at the parks
Magic Kingdom – Perhaps the biggest and most popular holiday event at Disney World every year is the separately-ticketed Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Highlights of the nighttime event include “Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration” stage show, “Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks,” “Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade’ down Main Street U.S.A., holiday overlays at select attractions, and a lengthy menu of holiday-themed food, drinks, and treats.
There’s a lot to see, do, and eat at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, so check out our tips for making the most of your trip.
Some of the attractions that get festive upgrades during the holiday season include the Jingle Cruise (Jungle Cruise), Space Mountain, Tomorrowland Speedway, Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, and Mad Tea Party. Guests can also celebrate the holidays alongside Buzz Lightyear, Mike Wazowski, and Stitch at the “A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas” show at the Rockettower Plaza Stage.
Find tickets and more information about Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party here.
Animal Kingdom –Over at Animal Kingdom, there’s the Merry Menagerie full of life-sized sculpted puppets of animals greeting guests and dancing to music at Discovery Island. Then, when the sun goes down, head to the Tree of Life for some wintry tales projected on the iconic tree, set to holiday music.
Hollywood Studios – At Hollywood Studios, Sunset Seasons Greetings turns the boulevard into an old Hollywood Christmas party with a projection show on the Hollywood Tower Hotel. Santa Claus also cruises down Hollywood Blvd. during the “Merry Motorcade,” and Olaf stars in the holiday tunes-filled finale of “For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration” attraction.
Blizzard Beach – Just in time for the holiday season, Blizzard Beach water park reopened with a “Frozen”-themed update. The Tike’s Peak area now features Anna and Elsa’s igloo castle, or youngsters can splash around in a warm wading pool with Olaf and his Snowgie friends. New specialty snacks include the Orange Bird Dole Whip cone and peppermint milkshakes. Through Dec. 31, Blizzard Beach will also have daily snowfalls, holiday music, and themed inner tubes, plus Santa dressed up in tropical holiday attire.
Epcot International Festival of the Holidays
- Event dates: Nov. 25-Dec. 30
“Candlelight Processional –One of the most beloved Disney Parks traditions features celebrity narrators telling the biblical Christmas story alongside the Voices of Liberty a cappella ensemble, choirs of Disney cast members and local community groups, and a live orchestra. Check here for a list of this year’s celebrity narrators.
“Joyful! A Celebration of the Season” – Epcot celebrates Christmas and Kwanzaa through daily live music performances at the park.
Holiday traditions live performances around World Showcase – Keep an eye out for live storytellers and musical acts to learn more about different holiday celebrations from around the world.
Holiday kitchens – Eat and drink while you celebrate the holidays at more than a dozen holiday kitchens serving up classic dishes, festive drinks, and plenty of sweets and treats. New offerings this year include the Nochebuena Cocina near Port of Entry, which will serve Impossible Chorizo Tamales, Pernil (mojo pork with tostones and ketchup-mayonnaise), and Alfajores (vanilla shortbread cookie with dulce de leche and coconut).
Holiday Cookie Stroll – Another holiday favorite is the Cookie Stroll, which lets you do a scavenger hunt and buy different cookies around the park. When you complete it, you get one final cookie to complete your sweet collection.
Disney Springs and the resort hotels
Even beyond the parks, there are holiday decorations, lights, and festive music everywhere you go at Walt Disney World.
There are more than 1,300 Christmas trees spread around Walt Disney World Resort, including some that are more than 65 feet tall. Disney Springs also has nightly snow flurries, themed Christmas trees and decor around the shopping center, and occasional live music.
Christmas Tree Stroll – Disney Springs also hosts the annual Christmas Tree Stroll – a scavenger hunt to find all the themed trees and return the map for a special surprise.
Jock Lindsey’s Holiday Bar – The Hangar Bar turns into the Holiday Bar with jolly decorations and themed drinks and snacks.
Meet Santa Claus – Once Upon a Toy at Disney Springs hosts the big man himself for kids and families to take photos and share holiday wishes.
Gingerbread displays: Whether you’re staying on property or not, one of the best experiences is to tour the resort hotels’ iconic gingerbread displays. Find displays and gingerbread treats at Disney’s Grand Floridian, Beach Club Resort, Boardwalk Inn, Contemporary Resort, Animal Kingdom Lodge, and the American Adventure Rotunda at Epcot’s World Showcase.
Buy park tickets and find more information about the holidays at Walt Disney World Resort at DisneyWorld.com.