Are you ready to experience Christmas at Disney World?
Another Yuletide season is here and I couldn’t be more excited!
It’s a time when our inner child comes to life in anticipation of all the new holiday experiences at Walt Disney World.
It’s a season when we share good tidings with friends, take some time off our busy lives and schedules, and most importantly spend time creating colorful and exhilarating new memories with the people that matter most to us, our family.
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Celebrating the Holidays at Disney World In a Glance:
- Disney starts decorating for the holidays on November 2nd 2023; however the festivities don’t officially kick off until November 11th 2023.
- Visit all of the Gingerbread houses! No admission is required to visit the Gingerbread displays at Disney World; however, you may need a dining reservation to be able to park at a hotel. You can avoid this by parking at Disney Springs and taking the bus over to the resort.
- Enjoy all of the holiday fun in Disney Springs such as the Christmas Tree Hunt (and it’s FREE)!
- Be sure to wear some festive and holiday-themed clothing to get the best Disney Christmas pictures while you’re here
- Don’t forget to check out the incredible food and entertainment on property
- Party it up at Jollywood Nights, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and EPCOT Festival of the Holidays.
Keep reading to get a full guide on the best way to explore this Disney holiday experience like a pro!
The Joy of Christmas at Disney World
Chances are, families like yours will be looking to visit a fun destination where you all can make magical, new holiday memories and have an experience of a lifetime.
There is no better place to write a new holiday story and allow your youthful side to come out than at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
If you have visited uncle Walt’s wonderful theme park in the past, then you already know what marvels and amazement awaits you. After all, there is always something new to experience and see.
However, if you have not visited Disney World before, then this is one location you MUST go to at least once in your lifetime. Especially during Christmastime.
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What to Expect During the Holidays at Walt Disney World Resort
On your Disney trip you can expect to see so many Christmas decorations that are unlike anything in the world.
You’ll get to see a castle covered in thousands of ice-inspired lights (postponed this year) to some of the largest Christmas trees you probably ever seen.
There’s so much to do during the holiday season at the Walt Disney World Resort such as:
- A Star-studded Twist on Christmas at Hollywood Studios with Jollywood Nights
- The Wild Holiday Adventure at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
- Decorations Galore at the Resort Hotels
- Holidays Around the World at Epcot
- Lifesize Gingerbread Houses
- Mickey’s Christmas Party After Hours Event
You’ll also get to meet the famous Disney characters like Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Goofy in all their holiday gear.
As you can see, Walt Disney World will leave you speechless and under its spell during the holidays.
When does Christmas start at Disney World?
While you can see some of the Christmas decorations the day after Halloween, the official dates for this year’s holiday celebration is from November 11th 2023 until December 30, 2023.
However, The Epcot International Festival of the Holidays starts on November 24, 2023 and ends on December 30, 2023.
You’ll be happy to visit Walt Disney World for the holidays this year as they’ll be combing the Yuletide festivities with 100th anniversary.
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Celebrating Christmas at Disney World
As we go through this holiday guide, my goal is to answer your top questions about visiting Disney at Christmas. Plus, I want to inform you on all the popular events you can attend while at the parks.
I’ll also give you some handy tips that will help you have the most fun while sticking to your budget.
So, let’s get right to it and learn about the magic and hidden treasures of Disney World at Christmastime.
8 Things to Do at the Magic Kingdom for Christmas 2023
Orlando is one of the best places in the world to be at during the holidays especially at Christmas.
Since there are a many theme parks in Orlando competing for our attention during this season, it’s great to be in this area for the holidays.
But Disney is undoubtedly the most famous comes out on top each year as the best destination for Christmas in Orlando. Especially with the holiday happenings at the Magic Kingdom theme park.
Nothing screams Christmas than a visit to Disney’s Magic Kingdom theme park. Walking through the highly decorated area of Main Street U.S.A. is enough to get you excited for the holiday magic to come.
So, while you’re there be sure to enjoy all of the following Christmastime experiences below!
Fun Fact: During the holidays, Magic Kingdom is home to 40 trees, 147 wreaths and 590 garlands that measure a total of 5,188 feet.
1. Christmas Shopping and Exploring the Holiday Decor on Main Street U.S.A
Not to mention all of the detailed Christmas decor down Main Street U.S.A.
It makes you feel as if you’ve truly been transported into a fun little American holiday town at the turn of the 20th century.
You’ll also love all of the Christmas gift options that you will find in the shops lining Main Street U.S.A.
When does the Magic Kingdom switch from Halloween to Christmas?
Believe it or not, the Magic Kingdom switches from Halloween to Christmas on the night after the last Mickey Not-So-Scary Halloween Party/Boo Bash After Hours Event ends. This usually ends up being on November 1st; however this year it was on November 2nd.
Disney Cast Member works EXTRA HARD to make this magic happen overnight!
2. Enjoy the Holiday Projections on Cinderella Castle
On most nights, Walt Disney World will transform Cinderella Castle into a holiday spectacle with Christmastime-inspired projects leading into the castle’s transformation into a beacon of magic with Frozen Holiday Surprise.
Unfortunately the holiday lights on the castle will not return to the castle this year so that’s pretty sad to hear.
3. Party it Up during “Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party”
“Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party” features special shows including Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade, grand fireworks, over-the-top dance parties, holiday stage shows, free treats, photo-ops with Disney characters as well a handful of other unique activities from now until December 22, 2023.
A must-do is a nighttime show called “Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks!”
This holiday spectacular will take you through some of the most heartfelt holiday stories and song on select nights during this festive party.
2023 Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Tickets and Dates:
Tickets for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party are limited and can be purchased on the Walt Disney World website with prices $159 – $199 ages 10 and up while the child tickets range from $149 to $189 ages 3 to 9.
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Event dates are:
- November: 9, 10, 13, 14, 16, 17, 19, 21, 22, 26, 28, 30
- December: 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 10, 12, 14, 15, 17, 19, 21, 22
Hipster Power Tip: Wait until after December 22nd 2022 to catch the Christmas Parade and Holiday Fireworks without having to be a part of the “Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party ” event.
4. Visit the Magic Kingdom Christmas Store
Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe is a year-round holiday store located in Liberty Square where you can find some of the coolest Disney Christmas items to gift yourself or someone you love this year.
I love stopping by this place throughout the year to cheer me up, but it’s definitely extra special during the holiday season at the Magic Kingdom.
5. Say Hi to Santa!
You’ll have the opportunity to the man himself, Santa Claus, as he’ll be making appearance throughout the park from now until December 24, 2023.
6. Ride Jingle Cruise
This classic Disney attraction gets a holiday overlay with all the sarcastic jokes you can handle!
Hipster Power Tip: Don’t forget to visit the other holiday overlays on select attractions such as: Space Mountain, Tomorrowland Speedway, Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor and Mad Tea Party.
7. Play in the Snow!
Enjoy the magical snowfall in the heart of Main Street, U.S.A. Nothing says Christmas in Florida like the flurries of our “snope.”
Although it’s not the real thing, we truly appreciate the effort of bringing a white Christmas to Orlando.
You can enjoy the snow in Main Street U.S.A each evening in the Magic Kingdom.
8. Enjoy the Tasty Christmas Food at the Magic Kingdom
Delight yourself in all the holiday exclusive treats at the Magic Kingdom. There are so many cool things to try this year and I’m here for ALL OF IT!
Below are some of favorite treats this year. Be sure to get the full menu on our guide to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party!
Auntie Gravity’s Galactic Goodies
- Lump of Coal in your Stocking: Cookies ‘n cream milkshake topped with whipped cream, cookies ‘n cream crumbles, and a chocolate doughnut hole (New) (Available during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party only)
- Candy Cane Tart: Chocolate tart filled with peppermint ganache and topped with festive meringue (New) (Available during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party only)
- Magic Holiday Tree: Coconut, pecans, and M&M’S chocolate candies on a graham cracker crust (New) (Available during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party only)
The Friar’s Nook
- Holiday Ham Fried Pie: Flaky pastry filled with baked ham, candied sweet potatoes, and spiced pecans served with pineapple glaze (New) (Available during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party only)
Golden Oak Outpost
- Gingerbread Cake layered with cream cheese frosting and dulce de leche ganache topped with a gingerbread man chocolate piece (New) (Available during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party only)
Main Street Bakery
- Minnie-shaped Cinnamon Roll: Cinnamon roll topped with red icing, holiday sprinkles, and a chocolate bow (Available during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and regular park hours)
Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Café
- Chicken Tamale served “Christmas-style” with mild red chile and green chile-pumpkin seed sauces, cilantro rice, pinto beans, and queso fresco (Available during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party only)
Plaza Ice Cream Parlor
- Peppermint Brownie Sundae: Peppermint ice cream, hot fudge, and candy cane sprinkles served on a brownie (Available during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and regular park hours)
Sleepy Hollow Refreshments
- Milk and Cookies for Santa: Brown sugar cookie cake topped with chocolate chip cookie dough mousse, milk mousse, and chocolate chip cookies (New) (Available during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party only)
Sunshine Tree Terrace
- Cranberry Citrus Float with Orange-Vanilla Soft-serve Twist: Orange-vanilla soft-serve twist with Sprite Winter Spiced Cranberry and fruity boba pearls (Non-alcoholic beverage) (New) (Available during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and regular park hours)
Various Carts Throughout Main Street U.S.A.
- Red Velvet Wreath: Doughnut topped with buttercream and holiday sprinkles (Available during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and regular park hours)
14 Pro Tips for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
Now that we have an idea of what to expect at the Magic Kingdom for Christmas, let’s go through a few tips to make the most of your time at the party.
- Buy your tickets ahead of time as this event is know to sell out
- Go during the weekday to avoid the crowd and to pay lower amount on your admission ticket
- Have a game plan set before your trip in order to know what characters your want to see the most in between all the entertainment that will be offered to you
- Start early by getting to the front gates of the Magic Kingdom by 4 p.m. to maximize your time (although party officially starts at 7 p.m., you can ride the attractions early and enjoy the Christmas festivities later)
- Don’t miss the nightly lighting of Cinderella Castle
- Ride Jingle Cruise before the party start (between 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.) to avoid the crowds
- Don’t miss all the stage shows in Tomorrowland and on the main center stage
- Taste your way through the sweet Christmas treats exclusive during the holidays
- Watch the second parade which less crowded than the first (if available)
- Take advantage of the Magic Shots which add a little bit of holiday flare to your photos
- Pace yourself and try not to be unhappy if you’re not able to see everything
- Watch the spectacular fireworks show
- Make more than one round on the treat stops where you can get your free milk and cookies
- Check the weather before you go because during this time it may be a chilly night or a muggy, warm night in Florida
8 Things to Do for Christmas at EPCOT
Epcot is another theme park within Disney World that was originally built to celebrate cultures from around the world and the amazing human achievements.
If you are doing Christmas at Disney World for the first time and you want to explore on your own, you will find the Epcot theme park the perfect place to start your solo adventure!
This part of Disney is especially exciting to visit as you are treated to a plethora of seasonal fun designed to thrill you and your family from November 24th to December 30th of 2023.
1. Watch the Epcot Candlelight Processional
In the holiday season, this Disney park hosts the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays.
The festive annual event showcases delicious food and wine, traditional yuletide storytelling, a Candlelight Processional and so much more!
At the annual Epcot International Festival of the Holidays, the Candlelight Processional show is a must-do especially if you love Yuletide carols and listening to the Story of Christmas.
Fun Fact: The Candlelight Processional will be performed 97 times at Epcot this holiday season with a 50-piece orchestra, mass choir and 12 different celebrity narrators.
At the show, a celebrity narrator retells the Nativity story while a mass choir performs in between portions of the narration, alongside a large, majestic orchestra.
The Epcot Candlelight Processional is guaranteed to give you goosebumps and truly put you in the mood for Christmas.
When is the Epcot Candlelight Processional?
The Candlelight Processional happen three times every night from November 24th to December 30th of 2023 at the American Garden Theatre in Epcot.
Here’s who is scheduled to appear at the Epcot Candlelight Processional:
- Chrissy Metz (NEW): Nov. 24-25
- Luis Fonsi (NEW): Nov. 26-27
- Ann-Margret (NEW): Nov. 28-29
- Simu Liu: Nov. 30-Dec. 2
- John Stamos: Dec. 3-5
- Neil Patrick Harris: Dec. 6-8
- Marlee Matlin: Dec. 9-11
- Brendan Fraser (NEW): Dec. 12-14
- Eva Longoria (NEW): Dec. 15-16
- Joey McIntyre (NEW): Dec. 17-18
- Sterling K. Brown (NEW): Dec. 19-20
- Jordan Fisher (NEW): Dec. 21-23
- Steven Curtis Chapman: Dec. 24-26
- Audra McDonald (NEW): Dec. 27-28
- Lisa Ling: Dec. 29-30
Epcot Candlelight Processional Times and Details:
- Where: America Gardens Theatre at World Showcase, Epcot
- When: Daily from November 24th through December 30th of 2023
- Showtimes: Nights at 5:15 p.m., 7:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
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2. Say Hi to Santa!
Hurry and see him by December 24, 2023 because he will have to prepare for his busy evening.
3. Go on a Scavenger Hunt with Olaf
This is another Disney scavenger hunt for you to participate while visiting EPCOT during Christmastime.
Olaf’s Holiday Tradition Expedition Scavenger Hunt takes you on a quest to hunt for all of his holiday favorites all over Epcot World Showcase!
How does the holiday scavenger hunt work at Epcot?
All you have to do is buy your map and stickers from the Creations Shop, Port of Entry or World Traveler at International Gateway.
Once you find all of Olaf’s holiday favorites on the map, you can bring your completed map back to Disney Traders, Creations Shop or World Traveler at International Gateway to redeem your gift until December 31, 2023. The cost for this experience is $9.99 plus tax.
4. Feel the Spirit through a JOYFUL Performance!
Watch JOYFUL! bring down the house with their gospel celebration of the season.
Just know that this group of singers are some of the BEST on Disney property PERIOD!
This year you can catch them on the Showcase Plaza Stage as they honor the holiday traditions of Christmas and Kwanzaa.
5. Enjoy the Holiday Storytellers and Entertainers from Around the World
Epcot’s World Showcase offers some entertaining international storytellers who love to engage the crowd with stories, folklore, and songs from their countries.
These incredible performers share oral holiday and Christmas traditions from their countries with songs and stories.
2023 EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays Storytellers and Entertainers:
- Mexico: Listen to tunes of the Las Posadas Celebration with the Mariachi Cobre band and dancers
- Norway: Watch the mischievous Barn Santa try to help tell the Christmas storyteller in Norway
- China: Check out a captivating performance that brings good fortune and happiness in the Lunar New Year
- Italy: Learn how Italy celebrates the Eve of the Epiphany through the tale of La Befana
- Santa Claus at the Odyssey Pavilion: Meet jolly ole St. Nick AKA Santa Claus (available until December 24, 2023)
- Japan: Learn about the Daruma doll and Japanese culture for the New Year
- Between Morocco and France: Learn about the Hanukkah celebrations across the globe
- France: Listen to Père Noël speak on the Magic of Christmas
- United Kingdom: Learn about the holiday traditions of the U.K. from Father Christmas
- Canada: Learn about the Great White North holiday traditions with the Canadian Holiday Voyageurs
6. Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth on the Holiday Cookie Stroll
Do the Cookie Stroll which allows you to go to a few select locations where you buy a cookie and get your passport stamped with a special design.
How does the EPCOT Holiday Cookie Stroll work?
All you have to do is buy a cookie from EACH of the five holiday kitchens notated on the Festival Passport.
After you have tasted every cookie listed on your itinerary, you will return your stamped passport to the Holiday Sweets & Treats kitchen to receive a special cookie.
Epcot Holiday Cookie Scavenger Hunt Locations:
- Nochebuena Cocina: Spiced Chocolate Cookie
- Yukon Holiday Kitchen: Snickerdoodle Cookie made with SNICKERS® bar pieces
- L’Chaim! Holiday Kitchen: Black and White Cookie (plant-based)
- American Holiday Table: Gingerbread Cookie
- Bavaria Holiday Kitchen: Linzer Cookie
- Holiday Hearth Desserts: Peppermint Pinwheel Cookie
- Sunshine Seasons: Jingle Sugar Cookie made with M&M’S® chocolate candies
- Connections Café: Holiday Sugar Cookie
7. Ride the Holiday Version of Living with the Land
You may not know this, but each year Epcot places a holiday overlay throughout the Living with the Land attraction.
Your boat will sparkle and gleam with cheer as you see a Florida snowman smiling when you pass him on your festive adventure!
Riding on Living with the Land at Epcot during the holidays is one of my favorite things to do at Disney World.
I know you will love it so don’t miss it!
8. Eat Your Way Around the World for the Holidays!
Be sure to take your time trying all of the unique dishes around Epcot World Showcase that will show off the holiday delights of different countries and cultures.
This is by far the BEST part of the EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays.
2023 EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays Food Booths:
- American Holiday Table – American Adventure Pavilion (Traditional American dishes)
- Bavaria Holiday Kitchen – Germany Pavilion (Classic German holiday dishes)
- Bubbles & Brine – Near Port of Entry (Seafood and Champagne)
- Char & Chop – Near Disney Traders (Gourmet Meats)
- Holiday Hearth Desserts – Near Port of Entry (Christmas desserts and hot cocoa)
- The Holiday Sweets & Treats – Near Port of Entry (Holiday desserts and tantalizing drinks)
- L’Chaim! Holiday Kitchen – Between Morocco and France Pavilions (Classic deli goodies)
- Las Posadas Holiday Kitchen – Mexico Pavilion (Enjoy delicious Mexican yuletide treats)
- Le Marché de Noël Holiday Kitchen – France Pavilion (Delicious wine and specialty cocktails)
- Nochebuena Cocina – Near Port of Entry (Bold Latin Flavors)
- Shanghai Holiday Kitchen – China Pavilion (Don’t miss out on the traditional holiday treats from this popular food booth at Epcot)
- Shi Wasu Holiday Kitchen – Japan Pavilion (Indulge yourself in merry delights)
- Tangierine Café: Flavors of the Medina – Morocco Pavilion (Enjoy kebabs and cocktails)
- Tuscany Holiday Kitchen – Italy Pavilion (Have traditional Italian holiday dishes)
- Wine & Wedge – Near Disney Traders (Artisanal cheeses and Accoutrements)
- Yukon Holiday Kitchen – Canada Pavilion (Enjoy hearty options and intoxicating drinks)
- Funnel Cake – Between the American Adventure Pavilion (You can’t go wrong with a holiday inspired Funnel Cake)
- Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea Company – Throughout EPCOT (Taste seasonal coffees and treats)
- Refreshment Outpost – Between the China and Germany Pavilions (Don’t miss the Peanut Stew with sweet potatoes, mustard greens and roasted peanuts)
- The Refreshment Port – Near Canada Pavilion (The winner is the holiday poutine for you to pair with a delicious adult beverage)
You can view the FULL menu for the EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays here.
6 Things to do at Hollywood Studios for Christmas
Although Disney’s Hollywood Studios is the smallest theme park in Walt Disney World, it really comes alive during the holidays with lights and decorations all throughout the park.
There are also some shows you MUST WATCH like the Sunset Seasons Greetings.
1. Watch Sunset Greetings on the Hollywood Tower of Terror Hotel
The Sunset Seasons Greetings is a projection show that takes place at the park and features some pretty cool light and laser effects complete with falling snow at Sunset Boulevard.
The event is meant to mesmerize you with all the colorful lights and stories showing snowy Arendelle, the Muppets, a Toy Story toy hotel, and a Dickensian village inspired by “Mickey’s Christmas Carol.”
Recommended: 15 Best Tower of Terror Merchandise Gift Ideas
2. Explore the Hollywood Studios Christmas Decorations
The Echo Lake Holiday Décor is also definitely a sight to behold at Hollywood Studios as it displays larger-than-life ornaments with dinosaur Gertie dressed in holiday cheer.
Plus, there’s a giant Christmas tree centered on Echo Lake that brings everything together to create a breath-taking view of the lake.
You’ll also want to head over to Toy Story Land to see all the fun holiday décor in Andy’s backyard.
Fun Fact: The Christmas tree on Echo Lake is 65 feet tall, with a 25-foot-wide base.
3. Watch “For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration”
This year-round Hollywood Studios attraction will end with a festive finale featuring Olaf this season.
4. Don’t Miss Santa Claus
This year you’ll be able to watch Santa Claus stroll down the Hollywood Boulevard in his candy-apple red convertible for the Merry Motorcade now through December 24, 2023 (final details pending).
5. Party it Up at Jollywood Nights
You don’t want to miss this fun holiday experience at Hollywood Studios. Jollywood Nights is the newest after hours event at Walt Disney World where Tinsel Town shows you how to do Christmas in the most luxurious way!
What to Expect at Jollywood Nights:
- What’s This? TIM BURTON’S THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS Sing-Along
- Special appearances by classic Disney Channel favorites, including Powerline Max, Rescue Rangers Chip ‘n Dale, and Phineas and Ferb
- Check out Mickey and Minnie Mouse in their classic holiday fashions
- Disney Holidays in Hollywood Stage Show
- Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! Nighttime Spectacular
- Twilight Soirée at the Tip Top Club
- Jazzy Holidays at The Hollywood Brown Derby and so much more!
Disney’s Jollywood Nights will take place on select nights November 11th to December 20th of 2023. Tickets for Jollywood Nights start at $159.
6. Eat Your Heart Out with the Holiday Food at Hollywood Studios
Now to my favorite part…the food!
This year Disney is not holding back on all the holiday food that you can try for the season!
Let’s go through a few of the best items you can expect on your trip available from November 11, 2023 through January 1, 2024.
- Holiday Minnie Bundt Cake: Spice cake rolled in cinnamon-sugar with apple pie filling topped with spiced maple buttercream and salted caramel icing
- Red Velvet Whoopie Pie: Red Velvet Cake, candy cane buttercream, and holiday sprinkles
- Holiday Mickey Brownie: Mickey-shaped chocolate brownie with holiday sprinkles
- Candy Cane Milkshake: Chocolate cake doughnut, mint doughnut icing, and candy cane sprinkles
- Frozen Salted Caramel Hot Cocoa topped with mini marshmallows and chocolate sauce (Non-alcoholic beverage)
Rosie’s All-American Café
- Santa Mickey Cupcake: Chocolate cake filled with mocha fudge and topped with red almond buttercream, white chocolate, and dark chocolate Mickey ears
The Trolly Car Café
- Mickey Mouse Gingerbread Cookie
- Red Velvet Whoopie Pie: Red Velvet Cake, candy cane buttercream, and holiday sprinkles
- Hot Chocolate Lunch Box Tart: Chocolate fudge filling, hot chocolate-marshmallow fondant, and mini marshmallows
Outdoor Kiosk Locations
- Mickey Mouse Brownie: Chocolate brownie with holiday sprinkles
- Holiday Popcorn Mix: Caramel corn with white chocolate, red and green M&M’s chocolate candies, and candy cane peppermint pieces presented by Freeform 25 Days of Christmas
Spirited Holiday Adventures
During the holiday season you can enjoy unique cocktails, sippers and popcorn buckets available from November 11, 2023 to January 1, 2024!
One of the best things to drink for the holidays at Disney World is the Gingerbread Martini. Thank me later!
Limited-Time Novelties Available Throughout the Resort
- Mickey Mouse Toy Soldier Bucket (New) Launching at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party on November 9th at popcorn carts throughout Magic Kingdom Park
- Donald Duck Christmas Tree Sipper (New) Launching at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at select locations in Magic Kingdom Park starting November 9th
- Select locations at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, EPCOT, Magic Kingdom Park, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios starting November 11th
- Gold Musical Rotating Tin (New) Starting November 11th at the popcorn carts throughout Magic Kingdom Park, EPCOT, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney Springs
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4 Things to Do at Animal Kingdom for Christmas
Disney’s Animal Kingdom will also be lit up in Christmas decorations all through the park this holiday season.
Don’t forget to snap a photo in front of the towering Christmas tree that is covered with hidden animals and other unique ornaments in front of the park gates.
Fun Fact: 148 animal-inspired luminaries cast a warm and festive glow throughout Discovery Island as 10 artisan-sculpted puppets resembling winter animals roam and interact with guests throughout the land.
1. Enjoy the Magic of The Tree of Life Awakenings
During the holiday season, there will be even more magic inspired by nature as the holiday edition of Tree of Life Awakenings also takes place most nights.
As the evening progresses, you get to see magic of nature combine effortlessly with holiday tunes each evening on the Tree of Life.
2. Say Hi to Mickey and His Pals!
You’ll get a chance to see Mickey Mouse and his favorite Disney friends sail across the Discovery River in high holiday energy as they dance along to your favorite Christmas tunes.
Hipster Power Tip: Don’t forget to check out the other holiday Flotilla from Donald’s Dino Bash, Chip & Dale, and the Discovery Island Drummers.
3. See the Merry Menagerie of Winter Animals Up Close
During the day in Discovery Island, you’ll enjoy life-sized animal puppets in their wintery majesty and at night you’ll see the rooftops illuminate for the holiday in this area of the park.
The Cast Members will serenade you as they show the playful puppets of reindeer, foxes, polar bears, penguins and more!
4. Create Your Own Thanksgiving and Christmas Food Festival at Animal Kingdom
Check out all of the holiday food that you can enjoy this year at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
- Mickey Holiday Mousse Dome: Amaretto-chocolate mousse, cherry-cranberry coulis, orange-chocolate cake, white chocolate glaçage, and chocolate Mickey ears
Pizzafari and Restaurantosaurus
- Merry Menagerie Cupcake: Gingerbread cupcake with cream cheese filling and frosting (Available December 1 through 29; mobile order available)
- Peppermint Cream Cheese Mousse: Peppermint-cream cheese mousse, peppermint sauce, peppermint candy pieces, and chocolate cookie crumbs (Available December 22 through 31; mobile order)
7 Things to Do in Disney Springs for Christmas
The streets of Disney Springs come alive with carolers, Christmas décor, a holiday dance party and holiday performers.
There are also lots of dining and shopping locations for you to get lost in during the holidays at Disney Springs.
But, the best part about enjoying the season in Disney Springs is the Christmas Tree Trail.
1. Do the Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail Stroll Scavenger Hunt
My favorite holiday experience by far is doing the Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail Stroll.
All you have to do is pick up your Christmas Tree Stroll map from select locations, then you find the spot that has a tree marked on the map.
Once you get to that area, you’ll see what the Christmas tree theme is and add the matching sticker to it.
This year you’ll be able to find the Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail Stroll map at the following locations:
- City Works Eatery & Pour House
- Planet Hollywood
- Crystal Arts by Arribas Brothers
- Joffrey’s Coffee and Tea Company
- The LEGO Store
Once you have found all of the Disney Springs Christmas trees, you’ll return to one of the map pickup locations and redeem your free holiday pin.
2. Enjoy the Snow!
A fun Yuletide addition offered this year is the magical snowfall that will be happening! And yes, you heard that right…snowfall, in Orlando, FL!
So, if you want to experience a white Christmas in Florida for free, then be sure to stick around Disney Springs until the evening to enjoy the “snow.”
3. Meet Santa Claus
One entertainment offering you can expect during Christmas at Disney Springs that’s been a crowd favorite from years past is the opportunity to meet Santa Claus!
This is fun way of experiencing Disney Springs on your solo trip or trip with family and friends.
4. Don’t Miss the Holiday Performers
On your evening visit to Disney Springs, be sure to check out at the holiday entertainers who will be in their full toy soldier costumes towering as stilt walkers!
5. Go Christmas Shopping at Disney Springs
Don’t forget to grab your own holiday deals, especially on Black Friday, at one of the many Disney Springs stores.
You can find incredible gift ideas from many of the top shops here.
6. Try ALL the Holiday Food at Disney Springs
As you may or may not already know, with every season at Disney comes limited time food, drink, and apparel offerings.
Let’s go through what you can expect on your Orlando foodie tour.
Best Holiday Food and Drinks at Disney Springs:
- Olaf Waffle Sundae: Bubble waffle filled with vanilla soft-serve, peppermint sauce, candy snowflakes, a chocolate edible image, and chocolate sticks at Marketplace Snacks
- Hot Chocolate Grail Flight: Featuring spiked, spiced caramel hot chocolate, cookies & cream white chocolate hot chocolate and peppermint hot chocolate AND “Naughty or Nice” Deviled Eggs: Deviled eggs with sweet or spicy honey-baked ham at Jock Lindsey’s Holiday Bar
- Kris Kringle Cookie: White chocolate coffee bean cookie with coconut, caramel, and vanilla bean notes topped with coarse sugar crystals and magic glitter at Gideons Bakehouse
- Christmas Tree Sundae: Pistachio soft-serve in a waffle cone bowl with whipped cream, sprinkles, and candy Christmas lights at Swirls on the Water
- Candied Yam Cannoli: Sweet cream of yams and ricotta topped with pecans at Vivoli il Gelato
- Mickey Chocolate-covered Gingerbread Cookies: Spiced gingerbread cookies enrobed in milk chocolate and dark 65% chocolate served at The Ganachery
- Spiced Cranberry Paloma: Lunazul Reposado Tequila, cranberry juice, grapefruit juice, lime juice, and spiced simple syrup at Dockside Margaritas
- Mickey Winter Hat Dome Cake: Layers of vanilla chiffon, chai tea mousse, cranberry-cherry pâte de fruit, almond crunch, and brown butter ganache at Amorette’s Patisserie
- Caramel Apple Pie Shake: Vanilla Gelato blended with dark caramel sauce, Granny Smith apple syrup, cinnamon syrup, and graham cracker crumbs topped with whipped cream, caramel, and graham cracker crumbs at D-Luxe Burger
- Holiday Cookie Shake: Hand-spun vanilla soft-serve, blended with sugar cookies and caramel drizzle topped with marshmallow whipped cream, mini chocolate candy pieces, holiday sprinkles, and a cookie at Chicken Guy!
7. Do a Themed Dining Experience
You can dine with Santa in a few locations at Disney Springs at places such as:
- Breakfast with Santa in Disney Springs at Maria and Enzo’s: November 24 and 26; December 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17, 22–24
- T-Rex Cafe Breakfast with Santa on December 9th and 10th
4 Things to do at the Disney World Resort Hotels for Christmas
It doesn’t quite feel like the holidays until you make a trip to the Disney resorts at Christmas!
Even if it’s just sitting cozily next to a fireplace with family or feeling the spirit of Christmas while walking around the Walt Disney World on-site hotels.
Although I love both activities, I think you’d probably guess that the latter has become my new holiday tradition.
A few years ago, I discovered this cool new way of enjoying a free visit for Christmas at Disney World.
1. Resort Hop and Check out the Christmas Décor at Disney World
This is my must-do holiday tradition at Walt Disney World and it’s FREE!
The Resort Hotels are decorated to the nines and classic holiday tunes in the background making the feeling of Christmas come all over you.
2. Enjoy the Delicious Holiday Treats
Many of the resorts will offer classic Christmas dishes both sweet and savory with items such as gingerbread treats to a full-out Christmas Feast at places like the Whispering Canyon Café!
3. Take in the Ginormous Christmas Trees
The famous Disney Christmas trees tower the lobbies of many of the Resort Hotels. You must get up-close to them and check out all of the decorating details that you probably wouldn’t notice when passing.
Don’t forget to get your photo in front of them too!
4. Have a Disney Gingerbread House Tour
Nothing says Christmastime like the smells of gingerbread filling the hotel lobby. That’s what you’ll see on your own gingerbread house tour across select Disney resorts.
They are majestic and awe-inspiring AND is something YOU MUST DO on your own Disney Christmas vacation.
What to Know Before You Visit Disney During Christmas
When is the best time to visit Disney World in December?
The best time to visit Disney World in the holidays depends on your preference really.
For instance, if you enjoy large crowds then it is best to visit the week of Christmas as the holiday hype is at its peak with the number of days until Christmas begin to dwindle.
December Days to Avoid at Disney World:
- Last two weeks of December
- Christmas Eve and Christmas
- New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day
How crowded is Disney World on Christmas Day?
Christmas Day at Disney World is the busiest day at the resort especially at the Magic Kingdom.
For parents, this can be a bit tricky. Taking your child(ren) to Disney World sounds like the best gift ever!
The only issue is every other mom and dad has the same exact idea.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t take your kids to Disney for Christmas season or any other holiday for that matter; it just means you’ll need to be prepared for a lot of company.
Read how to beat the crowds at Walt Disney World here!
When does Disney World decorate for Christmas?
Decorations at Disney first start with Christmas merchandise placed in parks like Epcot and Hollywood Studios, then the décor moves on from the stores to the outdoor areas of the parks.
The Magic Kingdom Christmas decorations start right after Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party while the resort hotels, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom can start later in the second week of November.
Epcot Christmas decorations usually don’t start until the last week of the Food and Wine Festival.
Ready to make your trip out to Walt Disney World Resort, then get your no obligation, FREE Quote by filling out the form with The Park Prodigy by Clicking HERE!
How do you plan your days at Disney World?
One thing you need to know that while being at Walt Disney World during the holidays can be fun, all the activities you might likely want to fit in your schedule can be a bit overwhelming.
So, you need to plan each day carefully to prepare you for the activities as they come.
Read how to maximize a short vacation at Walt Disney World here!
If you are staying on Disney World property, then it is best that you get an early start and take advantage of Disney extra magic hours.
This will help you avoid the unending queues that form during the holidays and get you on your way to enjoying your day.
Hipster Power Tip: Use the Disney Genie+ system to make sure that you’re able to experience your top attraction even on a busy Christmas day.
How to do Christmas at Disney on a budget?
You’ll also want to buy your Disney tickets early and online from a reputable source that offers discounts tickets such as The Park Prodigy.
Price for tickets are constantly on the rise, but buying a ticket way before the holiday season can help you save a little bit of money.
Once you’re at the parks, try to stick to your budget as best as you can.
Hipster Power Tip: Use an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner to help you set a budget, stick to it, and still experience all your must-do Disney events without breaking the bank.
What should I wear to Disney World in December?
The weather in Orlando can vary around this time of year, so I always recommend checking the weather forecast for the period you will be there and pack appropriately.
Not only should you check the weather before your trip in December, you’ll want to get one last look at the forecast the night before as the weather does change frequent in Florida.
Read the full Walt Disney World Packing List here.
Where to Stay at Disney World during Christmastime?
The Walt Disney World Resort hotels offer so many picturesque photo opportunities for the season.
Disney onsite hotels are already exquisite, but the holiday detail added by Cast Members puts a magical finish to the décor.
If it’s in your budget, I recommend that you stay on Walt Disney World property to fully immerse yourself in the Yuletide adventure.
By staying on-site, you’ll get access to free transportation to parks, enjoy Extra Magic Hours, and have your in-park purchases delivered to your hotel room.
My Top Five Walt Disney World Resort Hotels for the Holidays
- Disney Wilderness Lodge and Resort
- Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
- Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Boardwalk Inn & Resort
- Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort (budget-friendly and my favorite)
Fun Fact: Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is home to a 45-foot-tall tree featuring authentic African décor and reproductions of traditional African masks.
My Final Thoughts on Celebrating Christmas at Disney World
Visiting Disney World during the Christmas season is something every family or solo traveler should experience.
There’s nothing like the holiday season at Walt Disney World.
Even if it’s just sitting cozily next to a fireplace with family or feeling the spirit of Christmas while walking around the Walt Disney World onsite hotels.
So, start planning today for you chance to visit Disney during the holidays. After all, it’s the Most Magical Place on Earth!
For schedules, pricing information and reservations, you can visit DisneyWorld.com or call (407) WDW-DINE.
What’s your favorite thing to do for Christmas at Disney World? Let us know in the comments section below.
Until next time, Happy Holidays Hipsters!
If you enjoyed this article, then you’ll love these:
- Holidays Around the World at Epcot: FULL GUIDE
- 25 Best Disney Christmas Quotes
- How to Celebrate Christmas at Universal Orlando Resort
- Christmas Town at Busch Gardens: COMPLETE GUIDE
- SeaWorld Christmas Celebration: HOW TO CONQUER IT LIKE A PRO!
- Epcot Candlelight Processional: FULL GUIDE
About the Author
Traveling alone to the parks has changed my life and I want to show how you can create your own solo theme park memories.
Connect with me on Instagram!
(Original Article Date: November 12, 2014/Updated November 11, 2023)