The holiday season is right around the corner and before long, the festivities will be in full swing!  There is something truly magical about spending the holidays at Walt Disney World! This is your complete guide to all of the holiday things throughout the resort.

Whether you are looking for tasty treats, festive shows, or magical character interactions, you will find it all at the Walt Disney World Resort.

The Theme Parks

Magic Kingdom

Disney Visit Magic Kingdom Christmas

Photo Credit Amy Orlick, KTTW Travel

Something magical always seems to happen right after Halloween at the Magic Kingdom! The festivities at the Walt Disney World Resort officially begin on November 6, 2021. However, decorations often pop up throughout the parks a little earlier.

This year, there are no parties taking place at the Magic Kingdom. However, the Very Merriest After Hours Event starts on November 8, 2021, and takes place on select nights through December 21, 2021. This separately ticketed event takes place after the park closes. It includes shorter wait times and some holiday extras that are only available during the event!

The most exciting in my opinion is the return of the Christmas parade! Yes, “Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade” will return to Main Street U.S.A. during this event. In addition, there will be a new stage show called “Mickey & Minnie’s Very Merry Memories”.

Then, look to the skies for a special show seen only during the event. “Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks” will fill the skies and light up Cinderella Castle with projections and holiday music.

During regular operating hours, there is still plenty of holiday magic at the Magic Kingdom. Last week, we shared the exciting news that character meet and greets have returned to the Magic Kingdom! Now, stop in and chat with Mickey Mouse or some of your favorite princesses! This is just in time for the holidays!  In addition, be on the lookout for the big guy himself where guests will have the opportunity for individual time with Santa Claus to share their Christmas wishes and grab a socially distanced photo!

In the evenings, Cinderella Castle turns festive with holiday magic and special projections. Then it gets an EARidescent glow as “Disney Enchantment” lights up the skies.

EPCOT

Disney World Holidays

The EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays runs from November 26 to December 30, 2021. This festival offers fun for all ages. It is like no other with Holiday Kitchens, the beloved Holiday Cookie Stroll, and more as you explore holiday traditions from around the world!

Holiday Kitchens
EPCOT Festival of the Holidays - Holiday Kitchens

Photo Courtesy Disney

As you stroll around the world, make sure you grab your Festival Passport and stop by your favorite Holiday Kitchens! There are many tasty treats to choose from as we celebrate the most magical time of the year!

  • American Holiday Table – American Adventure Pavilion
  • Bavaria Holiday Kitchen – Germany Pavilion
  • Chestnuts & Good Cheer Holiday Kitchen – Near Port of Entry – NEW!
  • The Donut Box – Near Test Track Presented by Chevrolet
  • Holiday Hearth Desserts – Near Port of Entry
  • Holiday Sweets & Treats – Near Port of Entry
  • L’Chaim! Holiday Kitchen – Between Morocco and France Pavilions
  • Le Marché de Noël Holiday Kitchen – France Pavilion
  • Mele Kalikimaka – Near Port Of Entry
  • Las Posadas Holiday Kitchen – Mexico Pavilion
  • Shi Wasu Holiday Kitchen – Japan Pavilion
  • Tangierine Café: Flavors of the Medina – Morocco Pavilion
  • Tuscany Holiday Kitchen – Italy Pavilion
  • Yukon Holiday Kitchen – Canada Pavilion

In addition to the Holiday Kitchens listed above, there are some other locations throughout the park where guests can enjoy seasonal treats!

Funnel Cake – Between the American Adventure Pavilion
Don’t miss the holiday classic: Pumpkin Pie Funnel Cake. It’s sure to satisfy any sweet tooth, especially if you are a pumpkin lover!

Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea Company – Throughout EPCOT
Find the tasty selection of coffees but also grab a delicious holiday-themed treat!

Refreshment Outpost – Between the China and Germany Pavilions
This year, there is a holiday surprise: Coconut-Pineapple Cake with DOLE Whip.

Refreshment Port – Showcase Plaza
Enjoy holiday poutine and specials like Coquito Soft-serve, also available with Spiced Rum.

Holiday Cookie Stroll
Holiday Cookie Stroll

Photo Courtesy Disney

The Holiday Cookie Stroll is back this year! When you purchase one cookie from each of the 5 different locations listed in your Festival Passport, head to Holiday Sweets & Treats to collect your specialty cookie! Make sure you get your passport stamped for each cookie purchased! This is fun for all ages and can be done throughout your day at EPCOT.

Here are the locations and cookies to collect:

  • Yukon Holiday Kitchen: SNICKERS®-Doodle Cookie made with SNICKERS bar pieces
  • L’Chaim! Holiday Kitchen: Black and White Cookie (plant-based item)
  • American Holiday Table: Chocolate Crinkle Cookie made with DOVE® Dark Chocolate
  • Bavaria Holiday Kitchen: Linzer Cookie
  • Holiday Hearth Desserts: Gingerbread Cookie
Fun for All Ages

In addition, an exciting scavenger hunt with everyone’s favorite snowman is returning this year! Help Olaf find all of the holiday traditions he has gathered in Olaf’s Holiday Tradition Expedition Scavenger Hunt. Purchase your map with stickers from select Festival merchandise locations. Then, explore the World Showcase and use the stickers that come with your map as you find each “tradition”. Then, bring the completed map to Disney Traders, Port of Entry, or World Traveler at the International Gateway to collect your prize. As Olaf would say, it’s worth melting for!

In the Land Pavilion in Future World, make sure you head to Living with the Land! This boat ride is filled with some extra holiday magic during the festival. As you take a cruise through the greenhouses of EPCOT, relax and enjoy the holiday light displays!

In the World Showcase, be on the lookout for Storytellers! More details to come about them as they share the traditions and tales of the holiday season!

The Candlelight Processional
Candlelight Processional

image courtesy Disney

The beloved “Candlelight Processional” will finally return to EPCOT this holiday season. Starting on November 26, this show will feature a live orchestra, cast choir, and a celebrity narrator retelling the traditional Christmas story. It takes place at the America Gardens Theatre and dining packages have also been released.

Here is a list of the celebrity narrators scheduled to attend:

  • Chita Rivera: November 29 – December 1
  • Jodi BensonDecember 2 – December 4
  • Alton Fitzgerald White: December 5 – December 7
  • Lisa Ling: December 11 – December 13
  • Steven Curtis Chapman: December 23 – December 25
  • Blair Underwood: December 26 – December 28
  • Pat Sajak: December 29 – December 30

This list will be updated as additional narrators are added. Celebrity narrators, dates, and other entertainment are subject to change or cancellation without notice.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Disney World Holidays - Hollywood Studios

At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Sunset Seasons Greetings returns! Each evening, the Hollywood Hotel is transformed with holiday magic to celebrate the Muppets, “Toy Story”, “Frozen” and “Mickey’s Christmas Carol”.

Then, in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Walt Disney World Resort, the Hollywood Hotel becomes a Beacon of Magic, filled with an EARidescent shimmer celebrating 50 years of magic.

Then, make sure you stop by and sing along to your favorite songs from Arendelle. This holiday season, everyone’s favorite snowman is joining the show for a grand finale with some holiday tunes perfect for “that time of year”!

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

This year, the Merry Menagerie returns to Disney’s Animal Kingdom! Discovery Island will come to life with winter animals including polar bears, penguins, reindeer, and more! These life-sized puppets will delight guests of all ages as they are joined by musicians creating a fun and festive atmosphere.

Then, be on the lookout as you walk along the Discovery River. Your favorite Disney friends are celebrating the holidays in a wild way! They bring their own style as they sail through the jungle and wave to guests along the way!

Disney Springs

There is plenty to do this holiday season at Disney Springs! Whether you are looking to do some holiday shopping at the many stores or enjoy a tasty meal or drink, this is the place to be! There are special holiday offerings available at many restaurants including Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar, The Ganachery, and D-Luxe Burger.

As you explore the food and shopping, make sure that you check out the Disney Springs Christmas Tree Stroll. The trees are scattered throughout Disney Springs and are elaborately themed for Disney movies and characters. There is also live music and decor seen throughout. Then, in the evenings, head to Town Center to see a magical snowfall! There’s nothing like seeing snowfall to bring the spirit of the holidays to life, even in Central Florida!

Dining

The holidays are a great time to enjoy all of the festivities at the Walt Disney World Resort. However, it’s also a great time to try all of the tasty treats! Whether you are spending time in the theme parks or looking for a tasty bite at one of the resort hotels, there are many palate-pleasing options. Many restaurants offer special menu items unique to the holiday season. Plus, there are cute holiday-themed treats everywhere you turn!

Make sure you plan those dining reservations early! Our friends at Key to the World Travel can help you find the best fit so that you can enjoy a magical holiday trip!

Are you considering a trip? 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. Click here for a free, no-obligation quote for your next trip.

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