Disney is magical no matter the time of year but at Christmas… it’s simply amazing. The parks and resorts are all decorated and ready for guests by Thanksgiving each year. If you are a Disney lover… or simply love the Holiday season, then you need to add DisneyWorld to your bucket list.
First off, the Fall season in Disney is beautiful, but after Halloween, the Christmas decorations start to go up in the Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. By Thanksgiving, Epcot and the Disney resorts are all decorated and ready for guests. Not able to make it early in the season? Don’t worry, the decorations usually don’t come down until the middle of January. If seeing the decorations are at the top of your list, come early January, the best part? Fewer crowds.
Speaking of crowds, Christmas and New Year’s at Disney is peak season. So be prepared for the parks to be crowded. But, it’s crowded most places during this time. Want to avoid some of the crowds? Then try coming mid-November (not all of the decorations will be up by then) or the first half of December. If you think about it, most people don’t travel after Thanksgiving and wait until Christmas. A bit less crowded, but there will still be crowds.
What can you expect at Disney during Christmas? Fun, food and parties of course! First, is Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. This is an after-hours special ticketed event. It usually starts around 6pm. You can wander through Magic Kingdom and taste complimentary cookies and hot cocoa, ride rides and see an amazing parade. Then… snow falls on Main Street. I am not sure how they do it, but it feels like a winter wonderland. I’ll chalk it up to Disney magic. Of course, during Mickey’s Party, you will see a special parade and fireworks show. If you haven’t had a chance to be part of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, I encourage you to do it at least once. Especially if you love Christmas… and Disney.
Not ready to stay for Mickey’s party? You can still enjoy Christmas at Magic Kingdom. Take a ride on the Jingle Cruise. The famous Jungle Cruise is transformed and decorated for the season and skippers talk about being homesick aboard their Christmas themed boats. Or, check out Cinderella’s Castle, which is draped in lots of beautiful white lights. Some say over 200,000 lights. I’m not sure how many, but Queen Elsa puts on “A Frozen Holiday Wish” show at dusk each evening. Using her powers, she lights the castle. On days Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is planned, the crowds tend to be a bit smaller during the day. So, free tip here, if you aren’t attending Mickey’s Party, plan to visit Magic Kingdom during the day and then head out when the ticketed event starts.
If you love food then plan to head over to Epcot for the International Festival of the Holidays. You can tour the different world pavilions and taste different seasonal snacks from around the world. This event runs for most of December. Want to go on an adventure while visiting Epcot? Then grab a map for Chip and Dale’s Christmas Tree Spree. This is a paid scavenger hunt that allows you to explore the world pavilions to find ornaments to put on Chip and Dale’s tree.
The highlight at Epcot every year is the Candlelight Processional. A celebrity narrator retells the Christmas story with a choir and a full orchestra. Another tip, make reservations for dinner which includes seats to this event. You will be able to get a seat, and not have to stand in line for hours to ensure you get a seat. This, by far, is one of the most popular events during the Christmas Season at Epcot. As you wander through the world pavilion stop by and check out the Holiday Storytellers. Each country tells the story of Christmas dressed as that country’s version of Santa Claus.
Other events to check out include Hollywood Studios’ “Jingle Bell, Jingle Jam” a special fireworks show and, of course, snow on main street. Disney Springs has a Christmas Tree trail showing off decorated themed trees. One of my personal favorites is the Gingerbread House at the Grand Floridian.
As you can see, there is no limit to events and sights to see while at Disney during Christmas. But, if you are feeling overwhelmed, and need help pulling together the perfect Holiday vacation to Disney, contact us for a no-obligation quote.
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Michele & Kevin O'Connor
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