With one of our least favorite years on record coming to a close soon, it’s time for the holiday season at Walt Disney World! And while things may look and work a bit different at the resort this year, there’s still a lot of holiday experiences coming for guests visiting this Fall and Winter. For 2020, Disney has reimagined many of their holiday celebrations to adhere to new safety guidelines while still spreading cheer. This year’s events take place from November 6 through December 30.
It’s not a holiday season at Walt Disney World without Mickey and the gang, and 2020 will be no exception! At this time, character meet and greets have been suspended to adhere to physical distancing guidelines, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still see and say hi to some of your favorite Disney pals as they get ready for the holidays. Walt Disney World will be adding to their already popular cavalcades with new additions of some holiday characters as well as old friends dressed up in their finest holiday attire. These pop-up mini parades appear throughout the day in the parks and offer guests a chance to take photos and wave at Disney characters from a safe distance.
At Magic Kingdom, guests can look forward to appearances by favorite Disney characters in their finest holiday attire joined by holiday characters like elves, gingerbread men, and even Santa Claus himself! The fan-favorite toy soldiers usually featured in the Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party parade will make a special appearance as they march down Main Street with the Main Street Philharmonic band.
At EPCOT guests can enjoy new cavalcades like Queen Anna and Elsa in the “Frozen Holiday Promenade,” and Mickey Mouse and his pals making merry on the “Mickey and Friends Holiday World Tour.” At Disney’s Hollywood Studios “Merry Motorcades” will take characters through the streets in holiday-decorated cars, and characters will wave to guests as they appear in festive flotillas along the waterways of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Santa will also make appearances in each park throughout the season.
Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays
One of our favorite holiday events at Walt Disney World is the International Festival of the Holidays. This park-wide festival combines the fun of the holiday season with celebrations from cultures around the world. This year the festivities take place from November 27 to December 30 and offer a modified version of past festivals.
The festival Holiday Kitchens will be returning, offering delectable holiday dishes around World Showcase with offerings like slow-roasted turkey from the American Holiday Table, pork schnitzel at the Bavaria Holiday Kitchen, or the beef bourguignon from the Yukon Holiday Kitchen.
For entertainment, EPCOT will be featuring daily performances at the America Gardens Theater. The Voices of Liberty will step away from their performance space in the pavilion to share classic Christmas carols and Mariachi Cobre will venture from the Mexico pavilion to perform Las Posadas, a celebration of Mexican holiday customs through music and dance. The always fun and entertaining JAMMitors will bring their interactive percussion performance to the Mill Stage in the Canada Pavilion. And returning this year, the gospel holiday singers of JOYFUL! A Celebration of the Season will be singing their hearts out inside World ShowPlace.
If you’re wanting to satisfy your sweet tooth, you can take part in the Holiday Cookie Stroll throughout World Showcase. This delicious scavenger hunt allows you to taste 5 themed cookies from the Holiday Kitchens and collect a stamp for each cookie. You can then turn your completed stamp book in for a free bonus cookie. If you want to enjoy a holiday scavenger hunt without all the added calories, EPCOT will also offer the new Olaf’s Holiday Tradition Expedition. After you find all of the hidden Olaf’s around World Showcase, you can turn your map in for a special holiday gift.
Check out all of the details in our Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays Guide!
Holidays mean food around my house, and that also usually goes for a Disney holiday celebration as well! For this year’s modified festivities guests can enjoy a special character meal at Hollywood & Vine in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Beginning November 6, Minnie Mouse will host a yuletide gathering featuring Disney characters preparing for the holidays including Santa Goofy. This character meal offers family-style dining combined with physically distanced appearances from characters. The characters still make their rounds to say hi to all guests and pose for photos, but stay at a distance. Reservations are accepted beginning at 60 days prior to arrival and are strongly recommended.
There will also be a number of special holiday-themed drinks snacks throughout the resort.
Magic Kingdom Park
Twice Upon a Cupcake – A confetti Christmas tree tops a vanilla cupcake with a red velvet hidden Mickey (Available at Main Street Bakery Nov. 6 – Dec. 30)
Let it Snow Taco – Sugar cookie “taco shell” filled with salted caramel and spiced chocolate mousse (Available at Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe Nov. 6 – Dec. 30)
An Orange Bird Christmas – Orange–scented white chocolate mousse filled with orange curd (Available at Sunshine Tree Terrace Nov. 6 – Dec. 30)
Chip and Dale Christmas Churros – Gingerbread churros topped with apple pie filling and chocolate chips (Available at Westward Ho Nov. 6 – Dec. 30)
Pistachio Chai Tea Float – Pistachio soft–serve, spiced chai tea, and a red velvet cake pop ornament (Available at Aloha Isle Nov. 6 – Dec. 30)
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Frozen Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate – Frozen salted caramel hot chocolate topped with marshmallows, green sugar, and a chocolate drizzle served with a souvenir Mickey Glow (Available at PizzeRizzo, Backlot Express, ABC Commissary, and Rosie’s All–American Café Nov. 6 – Jan. 4)
Mickey’s Holiday Cookie – Vanilla butter cookie enrobed with white chocolate and sugar snowflakes (Available at ABC Commissary and Rosie’s All–American Café Nov. 6 – Jan. 4)
Holiday Whoopie Pie – Red velvet whoopie pie filled with a classic cream cheese filling (Available at The Trolley Car Café and Backlot Express Nov. 6 – Jan. 4)
Olaf’s Snow Flurry – Yellow cupcake with vanilla buttercream, snow flurry sugar, and Olaf Glow (Available at Rosie’s All–American Café Nov. 6 – Jan. 4)
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
White–Chocolate Peppermint Cream Cheese Mousse – White chocolate peppermint cream cheese mousse with peppermint sauce and chocolate cookie crumbles (Available at Satu’li Canteen Dec. 20 – Jan. 2)
Menagerie Cupcake – Gingerbread cupcake with cream cheese frosting topped with a white chocolate bear (Available at Creature Comforts, Flame Tree Barbecue, and Restaurantosaurus Dec. 1–30)
Pumpkin Ice Cream Sandwich – Vanilla Ice Cream sandwiched between two pumpkin cookies decorated with fall sprinkles (Available at Dino–Bite Snacks Nov. 1–30)
Santa Mickey Mousse – White chocolate peppermint mousse dome on a brownie base, snowflake sprinkles, and chocolate Mickey ears (Available at Creature Comforts Dec. 1– Jan. 2)
Spiked Frozen Apple Pie – Ole Smoky Apple Pie Moonshine with Minute Maid® Apple Juice and Cinnamon (Available at Block & Hans now – Dec. 31)
Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays Sneak Peek! Maple Bûche de Noël – Maple mousse and cranberry rolled in gingerbread chiffon cake
The holiday celebrations don’t stop at the theme parks, and guests staying at a Walt Disney World hotel will have a few festive additions to their stay. Disney hotels usually go all out to decorate the lobbies and public areas, and this year is no different. Guests can look forward to beautiful decorations themed to the resort they are in. For instance, Pop Century decorations are a collection of holiday Americana from the 50s to the 90s, while those at Caribbean Beach Resort feature tropical flowers and pineapples. Each hotel also features a large Christmas tree in the lobby that’s perfect for holiday photos.
If you want to get some holiday shopping done while enjoying Disney’s holiday festivities, look no further than Disney Springs. Walt Disney World’s center for shopping, dining, and entertainment will have a few of its own holiday experiences this year. One of the most popular offerings at Disney Springs makes a modified return this year with the addition of elaborately-decorated Disney Christmas trees spread throughout the area. In the evenings, Town Center, West Side, and The Landing areas will offer magical snowfall and Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar will transform into Jock Lindsey’s Holiday Bar complete with delightful holiday décor and a delicious limited-time menu filled with festive favorites.
This is a great time to plan your perfect vacation! Having a travel advisor means someone there to have your back in any occurrence. There is no additional cost to you and you have peace of mind knowing that your vacation is in good hands. Contact our friends at Key to the World Travel® for a free, no-obligation quote for your next trip. Click here.
Photos Courtesy Disney