Walt Disney World Holidays: What You Must See During the Chrismas Season

If you have plans to travel to Walt Disney World during the Christmas holiday season, congratulations! You will be visiting during one of the most magical times of the year, even for Disney.

Let’s start with the Magic Kingdom. You will find Cinderella’s Castle decked out in breathtaking “icicle” lights each night. Be sure to get pictures: if you are like me and not great with taking night-time pictures, then be sure to get a few PhotoPass shots in front of the castle. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did! šŸ™‚

Magic Kingdom also hosts Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party on a number of nights in December, prior to Christmas. This is a separate ticket, so if you want to attend (and it is VERY fun), you will need to purchase tickets separately from your park pass. One of the highlights is the Christmas parade, featuring those famous Wooden Soldiers. If you want to see the parade, but don’t plan on going to the Party before Christmas, you will be able to see it daily, every afternoon, typically starting Christmas Day…no separate ticket needed! (Please note: The Walt Disney World Christmas Parade that you see on TV every year on Christmas morning is NOT a live event and is, in fact, taped weeks before. So PLEASE do not go to the Magic Kingdom on Christmas morning expecting to see/be in the parade!)

And of course, the nightly Wishes fireworks display is held every night, but with a “Holiday Wishes” theme that is truly delightful.

What about Epcot? I have to say that Epcot is my personal favorite. While the decorations are beautiful, World Showcase offers a number of wonderful programs related to the “Holidays Around the World” theme, and if you have ever wondered what it would be like to celebrate Christmas in another country, here is your chance. Each country presents their favorite holiday traditions, and many have Holiday Storytellers that highlight some very interesting and fun customs: don’t be surprised to see 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 Wald 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. Do NOT miss this! Although there are 3 showings each night, the line for seats starts well in advance of each show. You can reserve a seat by purchasing a Candlelight Processional dinner package, and I highly recommend this. If you don’t want to do the dinner package, then assign someone in your group to wait in the stand-by line. It is dramatic, and powerful, and very moving.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios has their fair share of holiday entertainment with the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights, held nightly on the Streets of America. There are literally millions of lights and I promise, you will be amazed! The streets can get very crowded however, during this busy season, so my advice, to get the most of your visit here, would be to go 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!

If you still want more parades, then Animal Kingdom has Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade, with all the characters in their holiday finest. And be sure 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 through just after New Years.

The Walt Disney World holiday season is truly spectacular and if you are visiting this year, you are sure to create some wonderful memories.

Question of the Day: Do you have a Disney Christmas vacation planned? What are you most looking forward to seeing? If not…..what do you think you would enjoy the most?

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15 Responses to Walt Disney World Holidays: What You Must See During the Chrismas Season

  1. Beth M says:

    I would love to see the castle glowing in the icicles! So pretty!

  2. Krist Taylor says:

    I am working on a 2014 Christmas Disney Vacation, I love all the magic that is present at WDW and can only imagine Christmas at WDW, but I must say though I would love to see it all, The top of my list would be Oborne Family lights, the second the choirs, I get all excited thinking about it, like a kid on Christmas morning! šŸ™‚

  3. Heather Williams says:

    I have always wanted to go to Disney during the holidays to see all of the fantastic decorations.

  4. Tonja says:

    When does all of this start, November or December? We are going Nov 11 through Nov 17 but are unsure of how much we’ll get to see.

    • Nancy says:

      Most things kick off around the time that you will be there Tonja! šŸ™‚

      • Alysia says:

        I’m most excited to celebrate my daughter’s birthday at Micky’s holiday party at night. I’ve been to the Not So Scary Halloween Party, so I’m sure this will be fantastic too.

  5. AJ Schlicher says:

    I have never been to Disney during the holidays, and we don’t have a trip planned for this year. I look forward most to seeing Cinderella Castle lit up at night and the magical feelings it brings. I look forward even more so to seeing my now 5 week old Daughter experiencing the magic for the first time too.

  6. Jessica Ortiz says:

    We plan our time we will be there December 1 I’m looking forward to see everything, first time at Christmas and looking forward to see the magic and see my kids faces and having a great time. I heard the most enjoyed is the Mickey very merry Christmas party and the procession at Epcot so so far I booked the part and next it will be the procession so excited can’t wait!!

  7. Elizabeth says:

    I haven’t been to Disney during the holidays yet, but I’d like to go at some point. I think I would most like to see the Magic Kingdom all decked out in holiday glamor. I’ve also heard that they make it snow on Main Street as part of the Christmas Party, and that makes my inner child do a happy dance.

  8. Dana Vanveckhoven says:

    We spent our 20th anniversary at WDW last December! I loved seeing MK decorated for my favorite holiday šŸ™‚ It was truly magical!

  9. Cathleen King says:

    The last Disney Christmas we went to was back in December 1999, don’t know when the next will be. When we do decide to go next time, the holiday decorations and trying the holiday treats.

  10. Tammy Wright says:

    I do not have a holiday trip planned (going end of September) but I have gone during the holidays and I loved the Osborne Lights!! They are AMAZING!

  11. I have always enjoyed Disneyland during the Christmas season, growing up in California. We went to WDW for the first time last year, early in December. LOVELY! The Candlelight processional was magical… the Festival of Lights was lovely… Just so much to take in!

  12. Jasmyn LaFreniere says:

    My first trip EVER to Disney World was during the very beginning of the 2011 Christmas season. My son and I had the most amazing time…but the biggest treat was when Wendy and Peter invited my son to play ring toss behind Cinderella’s Castle. It was truly Magical! When the game was over Wendy hugged my son, kissed his cheek, and whispered, “Merry Christmas!” My son was star-struck for days.

  13. Shep C. Willner says:

    I went to Epcot last December, and I can tell you, it gets VERY dark around both World Showcase and Future World. Make sure you have flashlights or other kinds of lighting gear to steer your way through the throngs and on the various pathways (I learned that the hard way by falling down on a curb I didn’t see because it’s too dark around 7 PM). The lights in Epcot do not turn on until it’s time for the IllumiNations show in the lagoon. When I visited Animal Kingdom the next day, I made sure to buy one of the Mickey light wands. It was a godsend to use when finding my way out of the park after dinner at Tiffins.

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