A Guide to the Holidays at Walt Disney World

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A visit to Walt Disney World can be a memorable event filled with fanciful sites, sounds, and experiences. There is one time during the year when the resort adds even more magic to its offerings with elaborate decorations, parties, food and more. Of course, we are speaking of the holidays, and Walt Disney World goes out of its way to help guests ring in the season, making it one of the best times to visit the resort. Let’s take a look at the many ways you can celebrate the holiday season on your next Winter visit.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

On select nights in November and December, the Magic Kingdom hosts a Christmas party full of yuletide fun. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is an after-hours, separately ticketed event featuring a full night of holiday revelry. Guests can enjoy a specially themed fireworks show and parade, character dance parties and meet and greets, complimentary hot chocolate and cookies, a selection of open rides and even snow on Main Street!

This year there’s even more to enjoy with a new upgraded holiday castle fireworks show. Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks will take place at Cinderella Castle during each party and will feature all-new projection mapping lights mixed with dazzlingly festive fireworks. Guests can also catch the Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade during the party. This fan-favorite features a ton of characters with holiday-themed floats, music and a visit from Santa himself! A selection of attractions is open during the party allowing guests to ride with little wait time. Fans of characters can enjoy meet and greets with their characters dressed in their finest holiday attire. Guests wanting to add even more fun to their party can take advantage of fireworks dessert parties and Tony’s Most Merriest Town Square Party. These separately priced events offer guests snacks and desserts with reserved viewing areas for the fireworks display at the dessert parties and reserved viewing for Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade for guests at Tony’s.

Check out our full Guide to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party for all of this year’s offerings.

Christmas at Walt Disney World

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party takes place this year on select nights from November 8th to December 22nd. On party days, the Magic Kingdom will close around 6 pm, and only guests with party admission will be allowed in the park. Guests with party tickets, but no park admission, can get into the Magic Kingdom as early as 4 pm. Tickets run from $99 to $139 (before tax) for adults and $94 to $134 (before tax) for kids, depending on the date.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party 2019 Dates

8, 11, 12, 14, 15, 17, 19, 21, 22 and 24

1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 20 and 22

Epcot International Festival of the Holidays

Epcot has it’s own holiday celebrations with a focus on the 11 countries in World Showcase and their traditions. Epcot’s International Festival of the Holidays features special performances, decor, and food from each pavilion daily from November 29th to December 30th. It wouldn’t be an Epcot festival without food booths, and the holidays are no exception. Holiday kitchens will be set up around the park featuring seasonal small bites and beverages from around the world including a holiday cookie stroll.

Epcot International Festival of the Holidays

Guests can also enjoy Chip and Dale’s Christmas Tree Spree, a scavenger hunt where you can search for ornaments hidden in World Showcase to win a festive surprise, for an additional fee. Daily performances include JOYFUL! A Celebration of the Season featuring Gospel, R&B, and holiday songs, World Showcase holiday storytellers sharing the seasonal traditions of each pavilion and the popular Candlelight Processional. Access to Epcot’s International Festival of the Holidays celebrations is included with park admission.

Check out our full guide to the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays for more info!

Candlelight Processional

One of the most popular holiday offerings at Epcot is the Candlelight Processional performance. This star-studded event is open to all guests with park admission and features a 50 piece orchestra and mass choir accompanying an array of celebrities as they tell the story of Christmas. On select nights from November 29th to December 30th, a celebrity narrator reads the biblical tale of the first Christmas with seasonal orchestral performances woven throughout. This is one of Walt Disney World’s most beloved holiday traditions and can become crowded with certain narrators. There are three performances nightly at 5:00 pm, 6:45 pm, and 8:15 pm so the Professor recommends trying the earliest shows for lower crowds. This year’s announced lineup of narrators are:

  • Ming-Na Wen
  • November 29 through December 1
  • Neil Patrick Harris
  • December 2 through December 5
  • Whoopi Goldberg
  • December 6 and 7
  • Isabella Rossellini
  • December 8 through 10
  • Chita Rivera
  • December 11 through 12
  • Gary Sinise
  • December 13 through 15
  • Pat Sajak
  • December 16 through 18
  • Warwick Davis
  • December 19 through 21
  • Steven Curtis Chapman
  • December 22 through 24
  • Edward James Olmos
  • December 25 and 26
  • Marlee Matlin
  • December 27 and 28
  • Lisa Ling
  • December 29 and 30
Candlelight Processional

Guests wishing to add extra magic to their Candlelight Processional experience and guarantee a good view can book a special dining package that includes a meal at one of a selection of Epcot Table Service locations and a reserved seat for the show. Each meal includes an appetizer, entrée, and dessert or one full buffet (where applicable), along with a non-alcoholic beverage and is available for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Pricing varies by location and mealtime.

Check out our full guide to Epcot’s Candlelight Processional for all the details!

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Guests visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios can enjoy classic decorations and some lively new shows. Every evening from November 8th to January 5th, the Chinese Theater and surrounding buildings come to life with a Christmas lights and fireworks spectacular. Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! features projection-mapping light show with scenes from Mickey’s Christmas Carol, Beauty and the Beast, Pluto’s Christmas Tree, Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas and the elves from ABC’s Prep and Landing holiday specials.

Sunset Seasons Greetings at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Also happening every night from November 8th to January 5th, the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Sunset Boulevard are transformed into a dazzling display of lights, sounds, magical billboards, and snow! Sunset Seasons Greetings happens multiple times each evening and features a show where the billboards along Sunset Avenue come to life with Disney friends celebrating the season as well as bringing the Tower of Terror to life with state-of-the-art effects. Toy Story Land gets some special decorations during this time as well, featuring oversized lights and theming. At this time there has been no announcement on any holiday celebrations coming to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, but the Professor is certainly crossing his fingers for a Wookie Life Day overlay. All of these experiences are free to guests with park admission.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

For the first time, Disney’s Animal Kingdom gets in on the holiday festivities this year with the addition of new celebrations and experiences. Holidays at Animal Kingdom begin on November 8th and features beautiful decorations, themed character interactions and more. Guests can celebrate Diwali, India’s festival of lights, in the Asia section, party with Donald and friends in Dinoland U.S.A., enjoy familiar holiday traditions on a far off planet in Pandora and watch a holiday-themed Tree of Life awakening. Discovery Island will come alive with life-size, artisan-sculpted animal puppets including reindeer, foxes and polar bears during the day and colorful rooftop luminaries and lanterns will light up the sky at night. Characters in holiday-themed outfits like Mickey, Minnie, Dug, and Russell will also be on hand for meet and greets. All of Animal Kingdom’s holiday celebrations are included in park admission.

Holidays at Disney Springs

Walt Disney World’s shopping and dining center has recently added some holiday celebrations to its offerings in the past few years. Guests wanting a break from the parks can enjoy the Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail, Santa meet and greets, a holiday scavenger hunt and more. Not to mention that the abundance of shops make this a great place to get all of your holiday gift shopping done!

Holidays at Disney Springs

Disney Springs’ Christmas Tree trail features a display of trees decorated with touches from favorite Disney characters, films and attractions. This experience is free of charge and lets guests take fun photos with falling snow and holiday music. Guests can also help Stitch find the lost items on his Christmas wish list at Stitch’s Holiday Gift Hunt. This paid experience comes with a special surprise for those that can find all of the hidden gifts.

Ultimate Disney Christmas Package

There’s a relatively new way for families to experience the highlights of Christmas at Walt Disney World with the addition of the Ultimate Disney Christmas vacation package last year. This package offers guests an itinerary full of Yuletide offerings, including a five-night stay at a select Disney Resort hotel from Dec. 21-26, 2019, four-day theme park tickets with the Park Hopper Option and some exclusive holiday experiences just for guests on this package – giving the whole family festive fun to enjoy. Itinerary includes:

  • Saturday, December 21: Exclusive nighttime access to experience select attractions at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, including Avatar Flight of Passage, Na’vi River Journey, and Expedition Everest, plus catch an exclusive showing of the new Rivers of Light: We are One show.
  • Sunday, December 22: Tickets to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom Park
  • Monday or Tuesday, December 23 or 24: Exclusive reserved viewing area at World View Plaza for the new Epcot Forever fireworks show for either night. Plus a digital $50 Epcot Theme Park Dine Promo Card for each guest ages 3 and older for use at select Epcot dining locations. 
  • Wednesday, December 25: A special holiday gift delivered to your room!
  • The Ultimate Disney Christmas Package requires a 5-night stay from December 21 – December 26, 2019, at a Moderate, Deluxe, or Deluxe Villa Resort, and includes a 4-day Theme Park ticket with Park Hopper Option, as well as a ticket to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party! 

This package can be booked now through October 26th, or until spaces sell out.

If you need help planning your perfect holiday escape, contact our friends at Key to the World Travel® for a free, no-obligation quote for your next trip. Click here.

Photos Courtesy Disney