It’s hard to imagine a place that would get more into the holiday spirit than Walt Disney World. Christmas is my favorite time at Walt Disney World. While late fall/early winter in Florida is much warmer than it is here in MA, the entire resort gets in on the festivities with events, decorations, and a special parade – all starting right after Halloween.
Here are some of the fun holiday happenings at Walt Disney World. Although the parks do tend to be crowded during the holiday season, a Walt Disney World Christmas is worth the extra crowds, especially if it’s not something you’ve experienced before.
I am a former member of the Disney Parks Moms Panel and have been on some complimentary press trips at Walt Disney World, but all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. A purchase through one of these links may result in a commission paid to us.
Walt Disney World Christmas Events
Holiday Events at Epcot
Walk around the World Showcase and experience the holidays in the eleven countries. You’ll see decorations, entertainment, and so much more. You’ll also get to taste seasonal food and drinks. The World Showcase usually opens a bit later than the rest of Epcot, so you’ll want to check the app or the Times Guide for exact times.
Offering different celebrity narrators throughout the season, the Candlelight Processional features a 50-piece orchestra and choir telling the story of Christmas. This event is included in the admission to Epcot. But since it’s so popular, I’d recommend booking one of the Candlelight Dinner Packages, which includes lunch or dinner, guaranteed seating, and VIP viewing for Illuminations. It’s one of the most beautiful shows I’ve ever experienced – definitely worth doing.
If you book a dinner package, you’ll receive a coupon to stand in the dining package line at the Candlelight Processional. You don’t need to go right to the show, so it’s okay to book an early dinner. The line does get long though, so I still recommend arriving early for the best seating, even when you do have VIP seating.
My favorite of the holiday events at Disney World is Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a separate ticketed event that runs on select nights in November and December. The party starts at 7pm, although you can access the party as early as 4pm. Arrive at 4pm to maximize your evening. If you are traveling to Walt Disney World during a party night, I’d recommend attending if your children are able to stay up that late. We love the party, but we didn’t go until my kids were a bit older so that we could enjoy the entire event.
However, it isn’t cheap, so I would only recommend it if you think your kids will be able to stay up to enjoy the parade and fireworks. The Christmas-themed parade and fireworks are so fun, and the atmosphere is absolutely festive with falling snow, Christmas carols, and beautiful decorations. Tickets do sell out on occasion, so be sure to purchase them in advance. The park does close at 7pm on party nights, so guests must have a special event ticket to attend. You’ll receive a wristband when you enter the party, which lets the cast members know that you have an event ticket.
Flurry of Fun at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
This new event features a decorated Tower of Terror which is transformed to the Hollywood Toy Hotel via projection. There is also a new show – the Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!, and decor on Echo Lake and Sunset Boulevard.
Decorations at the Parks and Hotels: When Does Disney World Decorate For Christmas?
Starting right after the Halloween celebrations end, the Walt Disney World parks and hotels get into the holiday spirit with world-class decor. It’s absolutely worth taking some time to visit the gingerbread house at the Grand Floridian, the gingerbread carousel at the Beach Club, and the amazing display at the Contemporary.
While the parks start decorating right after Halloween, the Disney resort decorate more around Thanksgiving. We’ve visited over Thanksgiving in the past, and watched as the resort decorations went up.
Thanksgiving Activities at Walt Disney World
Speaking of Thanksgiving, you may be wondering what goes on over Thanksgiving at the Walt Disney World resort. Typically during that very busy long weekend, there isn’t a Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. While there aren’t any specific Thanksgiving parties or events, many of the restaurants on property do offer a traditional turkey dinner to order.
Jodi Grundig has loved traveling since she was a little girl. She started blogging in 2007 on her popular review site Mom’s Favorite Stuff and after doing quite a bit of family traveling, decided to launch her own travel blog. Jodi resides in Massachusetts with her husband, thirteen-year old son, fifteen-year old daughter, and Havanese dog. Read More…