Special Events at Walt Disney World: Lights, Singing, and Santa!

Christmas is around the corner!!!

Exciting stuff at Disney World in November!  There’s special attractions starting up and winding down! 

There are some great sporting events going all through November! 

Reservations and registration are required!

The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights presented by Siemens is the must-see winter holiday event for me!  It is a holiday tradition of millions of lights magically synchronized to holiday music!  This is almost Christmas light eye candy overload!  Everywhere you look, even up are dancing lights changing color, forming soldiers, angels, Santa and his reindeer!  This is the permanent home for the elaborate collection of holiday lights from the Jennings Osborne family.  Since 1995 this fantastic light display has been shared with all mouseketeers at Disney World… if you are at Disney from November 7, 2014 until January 4, 2015, don’t miss this event! It is a nightly event during this time and only requires your valid Disney’s Hollywood Studios park ticket. 

Holidays Around the World at Epcot with the Candlelight Processional is a beautiful way to begin your Christmas season.  Each night a celebrity narrator, accompanied by an almost heavenly host of choir, tells the story of the Jesus and his virgin birth in Bethlehem.  The narrators change every few nights so be sure to check the schedule for your favorite. Only a valid Epcot Park ticket is required for the candlelight processional. Seating is first come first serve unless you purchase the Candlelight Processional Dining package from participating Disney restaurants, prices vary depending on the restaurant you choose. Candlelight Processional Dining package does not include your park ticket.   Performance times are 3 times nightly: 5:00 pm, 6:45 pm, and 8:15 pm from November 28, 2014 to December 30, 2014.  In addition to the Candlelight Processional, Epcot celebrates the holiday season with the International Yuletide Extravaganza as the countries around the world demonstrate their cultural festivities.  IllumiNations fireworks continues to dazzle us at the end of a wonderful day at Epcot.

Another great way to get into the spirit of the Holidays is the Festival of the Seasons at Downtown Disney from November 14, to December 29, 2014, Downtown Disney will be decked in all its holiday finery with lights, a grandiose tree and yuletide wherever your eye might land.  Santa makes appearances for the wee ones to whisper their hearts desires to him and the specialty shops promise to make every gift unique and magical this year!  While you are shopping the holiday carolers, stilt walkers and street performers will dazzle your eyes and ears with their talents and music.  Don’t miss the DJ holiday dance party!  Remember that Disney is sprinkling pixie dust over Downtown Disney for the largest expansion there in history, the transformation into Disney Springs.  This expansion has ongoing construction and is making parking limited.  Disney is recommending to all Disney Resort hotel guests to take advantage of the complimentary transportation options.  For driving guests, please arrive at least 60 minutes before all reservations and planned activities.   

If you haven’t gotten over to the Food and Wine Festival at Epcot for 2014 you better hurry because it ends November 10, 2014!!!!  Your park ticket is all you need to attend the Food and Wine Festival! More than 100 wineries, breweries and cuisines from all over the world are setup in kiosks to purchase samples of their wares ($4.00 – $8.00) as you walk through the world showcase.  At the Food and Wine Festival, you can also enjoy the Eat to the Beat Concert Series with a different performer or group for your listening pleasure at 5:30 pm, 6:45 pm and 8:00 pm at the America Gardens Theater. 

Another fun event that is ending the first week of November is Culinary Adventures in Signature Dining!   This culinary adventure features some of Disney’s signature chefs.  Your taste buds will delight in special dishes and selected wines from these culinary magicians and hosting wineries. Reservations are required so early booking is recommended.  This Signature Dining experience takes place at Epcot International Food and Wine Festival from September 27 to November 8, 2014.  Florida Residents ~ you can pick up a Seasonal Pass for just $20 per month and enjoy all the tasty experiences at Walt Disney World!

Behind the Scenes Tours

Disney offers several behind the scene tours.  Some are strictly for adults while others are all age inclusive.  These tours range from $16.00 to $249.00.

Behind the Seeds is an hour walking tour through Disney’s fish farm and 4 greenhouses at The Land Pavilion.  If Living with the Land is one of your favorite attractions and you love gardening, you will be in heaven during this tour.  When Steve and I did this tour, our guide was just an encyclopedia of gardening the Disney way!  The hydroponics plant-growing technique was absolutely fascinating for me!  Reservations are required.  All ages from preschool up to adults are welcome on this tour!  There is truly something for everyone, from fish and ladybugs to gigantic fruits and veggies! Be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes and arrive 15 minutes before tour time.   Tickets are $16.00 for children; $20.00 for adults. 

Backstage Safari is a three-hour education as you watch the Disney Cast Members take care of the 1,500+ feathered, scaled and furry residents at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park.  Just a couple quick facts:  Disney Cast members prepared over 3 tons of food in the Animal Nutrition Center each day!  During the tour you will see how they manage this feat, explore a backstage animal –housing area, tour the veterinary hospital, and learn how Disney is promoting wildlife conservation worldwide.  Light refreshments are served during the tour and each tourist receives a keepsake.  Portions of the proceeds from this tour go to Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund.  Reservations are required in this tour as there appear to be only 2 tours per day as a general rule.  Sorry folks, but adults, age 16 and over, only at this tour.  Photo IDs are required for this tour too.  No cameras, cell phones or video equipment may be used while you are backstage.  The non-backstage areas do permit photographs so just turn the cellphones off during the backstage portion.  This is an outside tour so be sure to wear weather appropriate clothes and comfortable shoes!  Tickets are $72.00 per adult.

Backstage Magic gets an inside view of all four parks plus more in this 7-hour tour!  If you are an avid Disney Fan, this is the backstage tour for you as Disney flings open its back doors for you to marvel at the history, secrets and daily operations that Cast members do to make every day magical at Disney World!  This is also an adult tour only, 16 years or older with photo ID.  Closed-toed and closed heel shoes are required for safety, photos are not allowed backstage here either.  Non-backstage photography is encouraged!  Tickets for this 7-hour tour are a bit pricey at $249.00 per person, but this tour is on my bucket list to do before I go to the nursing home.

 Till Next Time! Leigh Anne



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Leigh Anne, originally from Mississippi, lives in North Alabama with her husband and a menagerie of furry kids (FIDS), including dogs, cats, exotic birds, fish and a lionhead rabbit. Figment, her African Grey parrot, is named after Disney’s small purple dragon, Figment. She works as a motivational speaker and pastoral counselor. In 1974, Leigh Anne marched with the Enka High Marching Band in the Magic Kingdom daytime parade. Leigh Anne fell in love with Disney while on her Disney honeymoon with her husband in 2002. They have made an annual trip back to Disney to celebrate their anniversary every year since. Since they own a piece of the mouse with their Disney Vacation Club (DVC), some years they go twice! She also plans to be the grandmother that introduces all her grandchildren to Disney World first. She has a great start ~ 2 out of 3 so far! As a DVC member married to the best Disney shopper in the world, Leigh Anne has lots of experience in finding the most frugal way to have the most fun in the parks and resorts! Leigh Anne admits to being spoiled as a DVC member but is always on the lookout to keep their WDW vacations fun and frugal! She blogs at Queen of Hysteria and tweets @la_haygood

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