It’s the most wonderful time of the year! If you sang that instead of reading it, then you know EXACTLY what this post is about! Yes, it’s Christmas! There’s so much to love about Christmas and no one does it quite like a Disney park. Some of my fondest memories growing up in Florida include visiting the Magic Kingdom® Park over Christmas break. Now that I am grown and have children of my own, my husband and I have tried to create those special memories with our children by visiting Walt Disney World® Resort during the Christmas season. What makes it so wonderful? Family time! Perfect weather! Larger than life trees! Lights galore! Christmas music! Special events! Ride overlays! Characters decked out in their Christmas best! I could go on and on! There is no better place for you to ignite the fire and spirit of the holiday than at a Disney park. Decorations go up as soon as Halloween is over (sorry Thanksgiving purists, but in Disney’s defense it IS hard to decorate for Thanksgiving) and the special events start shortly after.
Here are some of the Christmas season Must Dos at Walt Disney World® Resort:
- Candlelight Processional: This is one of the most special events I’ve ever been to! Beginning November 24th and continuing through December 30th, the Candlelight Processional at Epcot® is hosted by a rotation of celebrity narrators who lead the retelling of the Christmas Story. This moving performance is accompanied by a live orchestra and full choir performing the best Christmas classics. As Stephen Curtis Chapman said during his narration that I attended a few years back, “If this didn’t light your fire, your logs must be wet!” While this event is free with park admission, the American Gardens Theater does fill up at each performance. Due to the overwhelming popularity of the show, dining packages are available for booking which guarantee you a seat at this event. Your Key to the World Travel® Planner can assist you with those reservations.
- Castle Dream Lights and Frozen Holiday Wish: Is there anything prettier than Cinderella Castle? Well actually, there IS! Cinderella Castle lit by hundreds of thousands of lights! During the season, when the sun goes down, Queen Elsa will appear on the castle stage and use her magic to transform Cinderella Castle into a breathtaking beauty that appears to be draped in twinkling icicles. The castle will stay lit throughout the evening and is the perfect spot to get a PhotoPass® photo made!
- Epcot® International Festival of the Holidays: It’s no secret I love Epcot®! It truly becomes more special during the holidays though! Beginning in Future World on the Fountain Stage, your Christmas journey will start with JOYFUL! A Celebration of the Season, featuring Gospel favorites. As you move into the World Showcase, stop off at Pin Central, Disney Traders, or World Traveler to buy your map for Chip and Dale’s Christmas Tree Spree Scavenger Hunt. As you find the special hidden ornaments throughout the World Showcase, make sure to mark the spot on your map with a sticker. Once your map is complete you can return to one of the shops named and receive a special surprise! Speaking of the World Showcase, eat your way around the world by way of the Holiday Kitchens set up throughout the 12 pavilions. As you snack, make sure to check out the Holiday Storytellers in each country, sharing the unique holiday traditions of their country. Yes, Epcot® really goes all out for Christmas!
- IllumiNations Holiday: IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth is the regular nightly fireworks, laser light, and pyrotechnics show at Epcot® and for the holidays, it transforms into something really special! I still get goosebumps every time I hear the holiday greetings from around the world as the show then finishes up with its special holiday ending, “Let There Be Peace on Earth”. It is a very moving finale to an always fabulous show!
- Sunset Seasons Greetings: Beginning Nov 9th and running through Dec 31st at Disney’s Hollywood Studios®, watch the billboards of Sunset Boulevard come to life and the Hollywood Tower Hotel transform as beloved characters share the stories that make the season so special. This is capped off by the nightly performance of Jingle Bell Jingle BAM! at Mann’s Chinese Theater. Enjoy the best holiday songs, projections, special effects, and fireworks as the stars of ABC’s Prep & Landing race to find Santa!
- Resort Hopping: This is my own personal favorite thing to do during the holidays at Walt Disney World® Resort. All the resorts get into the festive spirit! I do have some that I always recommend people take the time to visit though. I usually make an afternoon of it, and make sure to grab a snack or special treat at each stop! It makes for a relaxing break from the hustle and bustle of the parks.
- Disney’s Contemporary Resort—the highlight is not just the giant tree out front, which is absolutely gorgeous at night, but the 17-foot-tall gingerbread mural of Cinderella Castle which can be found on the main concourse inside.
- Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa—here you will find exquisite Victorian décor, capped off with a beautiful tree. You will also find the one-of-a-kind, famous, life-size gingerbread house! While you are taking in all the amazing details of this edible display, make sure to stop in the front where the house becomes a refreshment stand selling delicious gingerbread shingles and other holiday treats.
- Disney’s Wilderness Lodge—If a Victorian Christmas isn’t your style, you will love the natural beauty of the Lodge at Christmastime! Giant trees, fireplaces, rocking chairs…it’s like a scene from a Hallmark movie!
- Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts—Here you will find a whimsical, life-size, edible carousel made of chocolate, fondant, and gingerbread. Again, the attention to details is amazing! You will also find a huge Christmas Village with working train, reminiscent of the train scene in Germany in the World Showcase.
So, there you have it! These are some of the fun and festive things you can see and do during the holidays! There are many others of course, such as Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (a separate ticketed event), which is why a Disney vacation for the holidays is such a treat! If you would like to celebrate the season the Disney way contact your Key to the World Travel® Planner today! The gift of travel is the gift of lifetime memories!
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Senior Travel Planner
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