Yes, I know Halloween isn’t here yet, and even though it’s the middle of the Fall festivities at Walt Disney World, those Disney elves are already busy making preparations because….well creating Disney holiday magic takes time!
So let’s talk a bit today about some of the highlights of the Disney Holiday Season, so you can start making YOUR Disney Christmas season plans!
For anyone traveling to Disney World in the coming two months, prepare to find TONS of Christmas events and attractions. Decorations abound, characters are in their festive finest, and music, entertainment, and yes, of course, food all combine to make this one of the most special….and popular times of the year to visit Walt Disney World. And best of all, most is free. Some of the highlights include:
The centerpiece of the Holiday celebrations is Cinderella’s Castle, decked out in “Winter Lights” that sparkle, shimmer, and glisten to create a breathtaking sight. Do not miss this. Lit every evening as part of a special ceremony, the Winter Lights are amazing: if you think the Castle is lovely at other times of the year, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. And it is free to see, every night, starting early November.
In addition to all of the special decorations, Magic Kingdom features Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party on select nights from November 8 to December 18. A “hard ticket” item that requires separate admission, this fun evening event features a showing of the Holiday Wishes edition of the fireworks, as well as the popular Christmas parade (both of which can be seen….for free…..without attending MVMCP, after the 18th until New Years.)
Epcot is probably my favorite place at this time of year. In addition to the beautiful decorations, World Showcase offers some wonderful programs, for no additional charge, as part of the “Holidays Around the World: if you have ever wondered what it would be like to celebrate Christmas in another country, this is the place to find out. Each country shares their most interesting holiday traditions, and many have Holiday Storytellers that highlight some fascinating and fun customs. Look carefully to find Father Christmas in England, Pere Noel in France, and St. Nicholas in Germany to name a few. It is delightful and yes, educational, in a very fun way.
Probably the highlight of the Walt Disney World holidays in Epcot is the Candlelight Processional, a nightly presentation of the Christmas story with a celebrity guest narrator and a huge massed choir made up of professional, college, and high school choirs from around the country. You can reserve a seat by purchasing a Candlelight Processional dinner package for one of the 3 shows each night, or if you don’t want to pay for the dinner package, you can take your chances and wait in the stand-by line. If you love Christmas music, you will find this to be a dramatic, powerful, and very moving experience.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
At Disney’s Hollywood Studios you will find the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights, held nightly on the Streets of America. There are literally millions of lights and it is an absolutely amazing experience….and also free. The streets can get very crowded however, so if you want to get the most of your visit here, consider going during the nightly Fantasmic show, or at the end of the evening, before the park closes. It is much more enjoyable when you are not elbow to elbow with people!
But Wait, There’s More!
If you still want more parades, then Animal Kingdom has Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade, with all the characters in their holiday finest. Plus, you will want to visit Downtown Disney for the Festival of the Seasons, where you can finish any holiday shopping, visit Santa before Dec. 24, and say hi to Santa Goofy from Dec. 25 to early January. And then there are the resorts: some of them feature decorations that are attractions in themselves. Of particular interest are the towering trees at Wilderness Lodge and Animal Kingdom Lodge, the Gingerbread House in the Grand Floridian, and the Carousel at the Beach Club. Tour the Disney resorts for a fascinating, and free way to spend an entire day!
The Christmas Season is a wonderful time of year at Walt Disney World and I hope you have the chance to plan a visit during this most magical season!
- Disney Vacation Planning: Should we go at Christmas Time?
- Wordless Wednesday: Disney’s Most Wonderful Time of the Year
- Planning Your Disney Itinerary: New Year’s Eve 2014
- 10 Ways to Make the Most of Your Disney World Christmas Vacation
- The Most Wonderful Time of the Year at Disney World: Creating Dining Magic