2022 Guide to Christmas at Disney World (37 Things to Do at Disney for the Holidays)

Are you ready to experience Christmas at Disney World?

Another Yuletide season is here and I couldn’t be more excited because it’s a time when our inner child comes to live in anticipation of all the new holiday experiences at Walt Disney World.

It’s a season when we share good tidings with friends and family, 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.

Epcot Festival of the Holidays 15 Park Entrance with Topiary Thumper from Bambi Holiday Decor. Christmas at Disney World

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The Joy of Christmas at Disney World

Chances are, at this Christmas just like the rest, families like yours will be looking to a visit fun destination where you all can make magical, new holiday memories and have the experience of a lifetime.

Disney Gingerbread House Carousel with Peter Pan horse and Captain Hook cake boat in front at Beach Club Resort.
Disney Gingerbread House Carousel with Peter Pan horse and Captain Hook cake boat in front at Beach Club Resort.

There is no better place to write a new holiday story, let your inner child out, experience all the magic you can in one location 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 because there is always something new to experience and see.

But, 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.

ORDER NOW to secure your Orlando theme park ticket reservation in the parks! GET MY TICKETS.

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.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a great event to put on your Disney itinerary!
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a great event to put on your Disney itinerary!

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.

Shimmering Cinderella Castle with Christmas Lights at the Magic Kingdom Lake Buena Vista Florida

There are so many other things to see and do during this season at the resort such as:

You’ll also get to meet the famous Disney characters like Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Goofy in all their holiday gear.

Mickey Mouse on Main Street USA for Christmas at Disney Magic Kingdom
Photo Courtesy of the Disney Co.

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 12th 2021 until early January 2022 with some dates depending on the event such at The Epcot International Festival of the holidays which starts on November 26, 2021 and ends December 30, 2021.

Lady and the Tramp Gold Statue with Christmas Tree in the Background at the Magic Kingdom
Lady and the Tramp Gold Statue for the Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary Celebration

You’ll be happy to visit Walt Disney World for the holidays this year as they’ll be combing the Yuletide festivities with “The World’s Most Magical Celebration” which is honoring the resort’s 50th anniversary.

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!

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.

Shimmering Cinderella Castle with Christmas Lights at the Magic Kingdom

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 2021

Orlando is one of the best places in the world to be at during the holidays especially at Christmas.

Christmas at Disney World with the Dapper Dans in red and white peppermint outfits
Dapper Dans during Christmas at the Magic Kingdom

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.

Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse on Main Street USA with Christmas Outfits at the Magic Kingdom Walt Disney World
Photo Courtesy of Disney Co.

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.

Magic Kingdom Christmas Tree with Cinderella Castle in Background

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

When walking into the gates of the Magic Kingdom you’re greeted with oversized Christmas trees covered in the most traditional holiday ornaments that makes you automatically get in the spirit of the season.

Christmas shopping at Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom

Not to mention all of the detail Christmas decorations down Main Street U.S.A. that makes you feel as if you’ve been transported into a fun little American holiday town at the turn of the 20th century.

Candy Cane Mickey Mouse Christmas Cocoa Disney World Christmas Merchandise and Gift Ideas

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.

Disney Christmas decorations in Magic Kingdom with Cinderella Castle in the Background

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 as a part of the 50th Anniversary Celebration.

Cinderella Castle for 50th Anniversary Celebration with the Magic Kingdom Band Performing on the Stage

3. Party it Up during “Disney Very Merriest After Hours”

“Disney Very Merriest After Hours” 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 21, 2021.

Christmas Cookie Milkshake (Available Daily at Auntie Gravity’s Galactic Goodies) – Cookie butter milkshake topped with whipped cream and aMickey marshmallow straw
Disney Very Merriest After Hours is replacing Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party this Year. Christmas Cookie Milkshake (Available Daily at Auntie Gravity’s Galactic Goodies) – Cookie butter milkshake topped with whipped cream and a Mickey marshmallow straw

There’s also the new nighttime show called “Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks” which will take you through some of the most heartfelt holiday stories on select nights until the end of December.

Christmas at Walt Disney World toy soldiers on main street usa disney
Christmas at Walt Disney World

Disney Very Merriest After Hours Tickets and Dates:

As you can see, the event can be cheaper depending on the date you attend:

  • November 9, 11, 16, 18 – $169 per adult and child
  • November 8, 12, 14, 19 – $189 per adult and child
  • November 28, 30 – $209 per adult and child
  • November 21, 23 – $229 per adult and child
  • December 2, 5, 9, 12, 14, 16 – $209 per adult and child
  • December 3, 10, 17 – $229 per adult and child
  • December 19, 21 – $249 per adult and child

Hipster Power Tip: Wait until after December 21st 2021 to catch the Christmas Parade and Holiday Fireworks without having to be a part of the “Disney Very Merriest After Hours” 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.

Ye Olde Christmas Shop in the Magic Kingdom Santa Sleigh at the entrance

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.

Ye Olde Christmas Shop in the Magic Kingdom Fireplace

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, 2021.

Santa and Reindeers during Disney Christmas Parade Magic Kingdom
Photo Courtesy of Disney Co.

6. Ride Jingle Cruise

This classic Disney attraction gets a holiday overlay with all the sarcastic jokes you can handle!

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.

NikkyJ in front of sparkling Cinderella Castle at Christmas

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!

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party Sweet Treats Christmas at Disney A Frothy Mickey Mouse Milkshake.

Auntie Gravity’s Galactic Goodies

  • Christmas Cookie Sundae – Christmas Cookie soft-serve topped with whipped cream, hot fudge, and holiday sprinkles (available Nov. 8-Dec. 31)
  • Christmas Cookie Milkshake – Christmas cookie milkshake topped with whipped cream and holiday sprinkles (available Nov. 8-Dec. 31)
Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party Sweet Treats Christmas at Disney Christmas Cookie Sundae (Available Daily at Auntie Gravity’s Galactic Goodies) – Cookie butter soft-serve topped with whipped cream, chocolate sauce, sprinkles, and a white chocolate piece
Christmas Cookie Sundae (Available Daily at Auntie Gravity’s Galactic Goodies) – Cookie butter soft-serve topped with whipped cream, chocolate sauce, sprinkles, and a white chocolate piece

Golden Oak Outpost

  • Gingerbread Almond Cake Pop – Gingerbread almond cake pop dipped in white chocolate (available Nov. 8-Dec. 31)

Main Street Bakery

  • Mickey Cinnamon Roll – Mickey-shaped cinnamon roll drizzled with red and green icing (available Nov. 8-Dec. 31)

Sleepy Hollow

  • Ginger Apple Funnel Cake – Gingerbread funnel cake topped with apple pie filling, vanilla ice cream, and caramel sauce (available Nov. 8-Dec. 31)

14 Pro Tips for Disney Very Merriest After Hours Event

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.

Ye Olde Christmas Shop in the Magic Kingdom 101 Dalmatian Christmas Ornament
Ye Olde Christmas Shop
  1. Buy your tickets ahead of time as this event is know to sell out
  2. Go during the weekday to avoid the crowd and to pay lower amount on your admission ticket
  3. 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
  4. 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)
  5. Don’t miss the nightly lighting of Cinderella Castle
  6. Ride Jingle Cruise before the party start (between 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.) to avoid the crowds
  7. Don’t miss all the stage shows in Tomorrowland and on the main center stage
  8. Taste your way through the sweet Christmas treats exclusive during the holidays
  9. Watch the second parade which less crowded than the first
  10. Take advantage of the Magic Shots which add a little bit of holiday flare to your photos
  11. Pace yourself and try not to be unhappy if you’re not able to see everything
  12. Watch the spectacular fireworks show
  13. Make more than one round on the treat stops where you can get your free milk and cookies
  14. Check the weather before you go because during this time it may be a chilly night or a muggy, warm night in Florida

Get Your Disney Very Merriest Tickets here!

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 human achievements.

Epcot Festival of the Holidays 3 France Pavilion with Green Red and White Peppermint Light Pole
Epcot Festival of the Holidays France Pavilion

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!

Epcot International Festival of the Holidays 27 Entrance Holiday Decor Pluto Topiary

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 26th to December 30th of 2021.

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!

Epcot Candlelight Processional 1 Chandra Wilson of Greys Anatomy
Epcot Candlelight Processional 2015 Chandra Wilson of Grey’s Anatomy

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 96 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 26th to December 30th of 2021 at the American Garden Theatre in Epcot.

Epcot Candlelight Processional
Here’s who is scheduled to appear at the Epcot Candlelight Processional:
  • 11/26 – 11/28: Auli’i Cravalho
  • 11/29 – 12/1: Chita Rivera
  • 12/2 – 12/4: Jodi Benson
  • 12/5 – 12/7: Alton Fitzgerald White
  • 12/8 – 12/10: Bart Millard
  • 12/11 – 12/13: Lisa Ling
  • 12/14 – 12/16: Andy Garcia
  • 12/17 – 12/19: Ana Gasteyer
  • 12/20 – 12/22: Courtney B. Vance
  • 12/23 – 12/25: Steven Curtis Chapman
  • 12/26 – 12/28: Blair Underwood
  • 12/29 – 12/30: Pat Sajak

Ready to plan your theme park trip? Watch the best vacation planning tips on YouTube. Get started here!

2. Say Hi to Santa!

Santa Claus will make a visit to EPCOT to say hello to all of you, so be sure to add this to your EPCOT itinerary. Hurry and see him by December 24, 2021 because he will have to prepare for his busy evening.

Epcot International Festival of the Holidays Santa Claus Story Teller in UK Pavilion
Epcot International Festival of the Holidays Santa Claus Story Teller in UK Pavilion

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!

Epcot Festival of the Holidays 10 Norway Pavilion Holiday Topiary

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, 2021. 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!

Large Disney Christmas Tree at Epcot Festival of the Holidays

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.

Epcot Festival of the Holidays with Pere Noel in France giving story.
Christmas at Epcot

These incredible performers share oral holiday and Christmas traditions from their countries with songs and stories.

2021 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 (Watch the Chinese New Year Lion Dance celebrating the Lunar New Year)
  • Germany (Listen folk music inspired by the holidays)
  • Italy (Learn how Italy celebrates the Eve of the Epiphany through the tale of La Befana)
  • The American Adventure (Meet jolly ole St. Nick AKA Santa Claus)
  • Japan (Learn about the Daruma doll and Japanese culture for the New Year)
  • Morocco (Listen to festive band play their own holiday music)
  • 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.

Chocolate Chip Cookies for Christmas at Disney World

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:
  • 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

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.

Epcot Living with the Land Christmas Decorations

Your boat will sparkle and gleam with cheer as you see a Florida snowman smiling when you pass him on your festive adventure!

Epcot Living with the Land Christmas Decor with Red Holiday Stockings

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.

Epcot Festival of the Holidays 4 Japan Pavilion New Years Soup
Epcot Festival of the Holidays Japan Pavilion New Years Soup

This is by far the BEST part of the EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays.

2021 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)
  • Chestnuts & Good Cheer Holiday Kitchen – Near Port of Entry – NEW! (Cinnamon-glazed nuts and holiday beverages)
  • The Donut Box – Near Test Track Presented by Chevrolet (Seasonally-themed donuts)
  • Holiday Hearth Desserts – Near Port of Entry (Christmas desserts and hot cocoa)
  • Holiday Sweets & Treats – Near Port of Entry (Holiday desserts and tantalizing drinks)
  • L’Chaim! Holiday Kitchen – Between Morocco and France Pavilions(Classic deli goodies)
  • Le Marché de Noël Holiday Kitchen – France Pavilion (Delicious wine and specialty cocktails)
  • Mele Kalikimaka – Near Port of Entry (Traditional holiday food from the islands of Hawai‘i)
  • Las Posadas Holiday Kitchen – Mexico Pavilion (Enjoy delicious Mexican yuletide treats)
  • 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)
  • 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 Pumpkin Pie 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 Coconut-Pineapple Cake with DOLE Whip)
  • Refreshment Port – Showcase Plaza
(The winner is the holiday poutine for you to pair with Coquito Soft-serve topped with Spiced Rum)

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.

Hollywood Studios Christmas Tree in Front Entrance

There are also some shows that you definitely should catch 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.

Hollywood Tower of Terror Ride Entrance at Hollywood Studios
Hollywood Tower of Terror Ride Entrance at Hollywood Studios

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.”

You’ll also see the hotel transforms into the Beacon of Magic in honor of the 50th Anniversary Celebration in between its holiday décor!

The holiday show will also alternate with the tower’s nightly transformation into a Beacon of Magic.

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.

Christmas in Toy Story Land with Woody in Santa Scarf

Plus, there’s a giant Christmas tree centered on Echo Lake that brings everything together to create a breath-taking view of the lake.

Hollywood Studios Christmas tree and decorations with pink poodle dog like large ornaments

You’ll also want to head over to Toy Story Land to see all the fun holiday décor in Andy’s backyard.

Christmas in Hollywood Studios with Gertie in Santa Hat

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.

Front Entrance of Frozen Ride at Hollywood Studios

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, 2021.

Santa Claus at Disney World Hollywood Studios

5. Have a Christmas Meal with Minnie Mouse and Santa!

You don’t want to miss this fun holiday experience at Hollywood Studios. Minnie Mouse is hosting a Yuletide dining experience for you at Hollywood & Vine where you can meet her, Santa, so many more!

Disney Buffet Restaurant Hollywood and Vine

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 items you can expect on your trip.

ABC Commissary Hollywood Studios Christmas Dessert
Christmas Seasonal Option

ABC Commissary

  • Sugar Cookie Snowman – A tasty snowman made of white chocolate sugar cookie mousse, whipped lemon curd, and a holiday sugar cookie (available Nov. 8-Jan. 3)

ABC Commissary and Catalina Eddie’s

  • Santa’s Belt Cookie – White chocolate-covered chocolate shortbread cookie (available Nov. 8-Jan. 3)

Backlot Express and Trolley Car Café

  • Red Velvet Whoopie Pie – Moist red velvet cake filled with classic cream cheese filling and festive sprinkles (available Nov. 8-Jan. 3)

The Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge and Tune-In Lounge

  • Holiday Bliss – Vanilla vodka, sour apple liqueur, caramel beverage syrup, and vanilla ice-cream mix (available Nov. 8-Jan. 3)

ABC Commissary, Backlot Express, Rosie’s All-American Café, and PizzeRizzo

  • Frozen Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate – Salted caramel beverage syrup and frozen hot chocolate mix topped with marshmallows and chocolate syrup (available Nov. 8-Jan. 3)
  • Frozen Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate with Black Cherry Bourbon – Salted caramel beverage syrup, frozen hot chocolate mix, marshmallows, chocolate syrup, and black cherry bourbon (available Nov. 8-Jan. 3)

Oasis Canteen, Animation Arch Bar, and Sunshine Day Bar

  • Christmas on the Beach – Coconut rum, blue curaçao, cranberry juice, and pineapple juice served with a souvenir glow cube (available Nov. 8-Jan. 3)

Outdoor Carts

  • Holiday Brownie – Chocolate Mickey brownie with holiday sprinkles (available Nov. 8-Jan. 3)

PizzeRizzo

  • Butterscotch Caramel Cannoli – Holiday cannoli filled with caramel cheesecake, butterscotch chips, and chocolate flakes (available Nov. 8-Jan. 3)

Rosie’s All-American Café and Trolley Car Café

  • Reindeer Mousse – Spiced caramel cheesecake over peanut butter mousse atop a salty pretzel shortbread cookie (available Nov. 8-Jan. 3)

Woody’s Lunch Box

  • Holiday Lunch Box Tart – Apple pie filled tart frosted with cinnamon icing, sugar snowflake, and holiday sprinkles (available Nov. 8-Jan. 3)

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.

You be able to see the magic of nature during the holidays at Animal Kingdom starting in Discovery Island, continuing in Pandora, and heading all the way over to Dinoland U.S.A.

Animal Kingdom Christmas Tree in the Front Entrance

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.

Animal Kingdom Tree of Life

As the evening progresses, you get to see magic of nature combine effortlessly with holiday tunes each evening on the Tree of Life. It also transforms into another Beacon of Magic for the 50th Anniversary Celebration.

2. Say Hi to Santa and His Disney Friends!

You’ll get a chance to see Santa and his favorite Disney friends sail across the Discovery River in high holiday energy as they dance along to your favorite Christmas tunes.

Animal Kingdom Character Cavalcade on water

Hipster Power Tip: Don’t forget to check out the other holiday cavalcades 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.

Christmas at Animal Kingdom with Animal Puppets
Photo Courtesy of Disney Co.

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

Best Food at Animal Kingdom

Restaurantosaurus

  • Open-Faced Thanksgiving Turkey Sandwich – Grilled multigrain bread with roasted garlic mayonnaise, cornbread stuffing waffle, sliced smoked turkey breast, herb gravy, cranberry sauce, and a fried sage leaf (available Nov. 25)

Satu’li Canteen

  • Thanksgiving Bowl – Cornbread stuffing, sliced roasted turkey, cranberry boba pearls, gravy, and slaw (available Nov. 25)
  • Pumpkin Cheesecake Mousse – Pumpkin cheesecake, chocolate “dirt,” and cranberry boba pearls (available Nov. 25-28)
  • Peppermint Cream Cheese Mousse – Peppermint cream cheese mousse, peppermint sauce, peppermint candy pieces, and chocolate “dirt” (available Dec. 1-30)

Tiffins Restaurant

  • Thanksgiving Plate – Turkey roulade, fine-herbs whipped potatoes, maple-glazed carrots, sweet potato pave, wild mushrooms, green bean casserole, cornbread dressing, cranberry gel, and turkey gravy (available Nov. 25)
  • Roasted Squash Soup – Ginger-pear chutney, pickled jalapeño, chai-spiced and candied pistachios (available Nov. 25)
  • Apple Pie Cheesecake – Whipped caramel cheesecake, apple pie compote, white chocolate streusel, and cranberry sauce (available Nov. 25)
  • Horchata Mousse Snow Globe – Golden coffee crémeux, gingerbread sable cookie, coriander chantilly, elderflower meringue, bourbon caramel, and candied pecans (available Dec. 25)
  • Pork T-Bone – Apple-brined pork, sweet potato variations, boniato mash, and ginger-pear butter (available Dec. 25)

Tusker House Restaurant

  • Thanksgiving Dinner – Spit-roasted turkey, turkey gravy, mashed red potatoes, and focaccia bread dressing along with seasonal vegetables, pork loin, flank steak, and an assortment of desserts (available Nov. 25)

7 Things to Do in Disney Springs for Christmas

Are you ready to celebrate Christmas at Disney Springs? If so, you can delight yourself in the shopping, dining, and holiday entertainment available for you this year! Not to mentioned the delectable seasonal treats and the fun Christmas tree scavenger hunt.

Cinderella Christmas Tree Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail
Cinderella Christmas Tree

The streets of Disney Springs come alive with carolers, Christmas décor, a holiday dance party and holiday performers.

The Disney Tree Trail Captures the Spirit of Christmas at Disney Springs
The Disney Tree Trail Captures the Spirit of Christmas at Disney Springs Photo Cred: Disney Co.

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.

Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail Stroll Map Locations

This year you’ll be able to find the Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail Stroll map at the following locations:

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!

Snow in Disney Springs with Toy Story Christmas Tree

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.

Disney Holidays with Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus

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.

Disney Christmas Jersey in stop in Disney Springs Walt Disney World

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.

Wine Bar George and The Basket Disney Springs Christmas Decor

Amorette’s Patisserie

  • White Chocolate Peppermint Éclair with White Chocolate and Peppermint Mousse (available Nov. 5- Dec. 30)
  • Santa Mickey Dome Cake (available Nov. 5-Dec. 30)
  • Holiday Mickey Mousse Mini Dome Cake (available Nov. 5- Dec. 30)
  • Holiday Parfait – Bourbon white chocolate mousse, cranberry cherry panna cotta, maple chocolate ganache, and chocolate chiffon cake (available Nov. 5- Dec. 30)
  • NYE Petite Cake (available Dec. 31)

AristoCrêpes

  • Cherry Jubilee Bubble Waffle – Bubble waffle filled with scoops of vanilla ice cream, cherries jubilee fillings, and whipped cream (available Nov. 5- Dec. 30)
  • Santa Hot Crêpe – Sweet crêpe filled with eggnog custard topped with chocolate sauce and whipped cream (available Nov. 26- Dec. 30)

D-Luxe Burger

  • Holiday Turkey Burger – Turkey patty, butternut squash risotto cake, bacon-cranberry jam, lettuce, and tomato (available Nov. 5-Dec. 1)
  • “Oh Deer” Cookie Shake – Hazelnut liqueur, vanilla gelato, cinnamon beverage syrup, whipped cream, cinnamon, and sugar dusting with ginger deer garnish (available Nov. 5- Dec. 30)

Dockside Margaritas

  • Snowman on the Beach Margarita – Silver tequila, key lime juice, crème de coconut, sweet and sour, graham cracker rim, chocolate pearls, and carrot sugar piece (available Nov. 5- Dec. 30)

The Daily Poutine

  • Gobbler Poutine – Turkey, brown gravy, cranberry chutney, and cheese curds (available Nov. 5- Dec. 30)

The Ganachery

  • Olaf Hot Cocoa Surprise (available Nov.12- Dec. 30)
  • Santa Mickey Piñata (available Nov. 5- Dec. 30)
  • Gingerbread Ganache Square (available Nov. 5- Dec. 30)
  • Peppermint Bark (available Nov. 5- Dec. 30)
  • Chocolate Christmas Cottage (available Dec. 22- Dec. 30)

Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar

  • Venison Slider – Sliders with venison sausage patties, arugula, tomato, and cranberry aïoli on house made buns (available Nov. 5- Dec. 30)
  • Fried Brussel Sprouts – Fried Brussel sprouts with bacon vinaigrette (available Nov. 5- Dec. 30)
  • Holiday Lights Deviled Eggs – Colored deviled eggs with tobiko, and shrimp (available Nov. 5- Dec. 30)
  • Ham and Brie Flatbread – Shaved ham and brie cheese, pomegranate seeds, granny smith apples, apple vinaigrette, and watercress (available Nov. 5- Dec. 30)
  • Cookies and Milk – Assorted Christmas cookies and coquito (available Nov. 5- Dec. 30)
  • Lump of Coal Dessert – Cookies and cream ganache “coal” (available Nov. 5- Dec. 30)
  • Elf Elixir –Tequila, crème de menthe, and half & half with cookie crumb and holly leaf sugar garnishes (available Nov. 5- Dec. 30)
  • Claus Mo – Traditional cosmopolitan with a shimmery twist garnished with red and white sugar and a candy cane (available Nov. 5- Dec. 30)
  • Yule Mule – Gin, ginger beer, cranberry juice, and rosemary simple syrup with a holly leaf sugar garnish (available Nov. 5- Dec. 30)
Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar Holiday Christmas Decor in Disney Springs

Outdoor Carts and Kiosks

  • Mistletoe – Coconut rum, melon liqueur, blue curaçao, orange juice, pineapple juice, and Sprite (available Nov. 5- Dec. 30)
  • Fireside Cider – Cinnamon whiskey, vanilla vodka, white cranberry juice, grenadine, and Ginger Ale (available Nov. 5- Dec. 30)
  • Merry Margarita – Tequila, ginger liqueur, cinnamon beverage syrup, white cranberry juice, sweet and sour, and grenadine (available Nov. 5- Dec. 30)

7. Do a Themed Dining Experience

You can dine with Santa in a few locations at Disney Springs at places such as:

Meet and have breakfast with Santa at T-Rex Cafe in Disney Springs

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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.

Large Christmas Tree in Disney Wilderness Lodge

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.

Disney Grand Floridian Resort and Spa Gingerbread House Entrance

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!

Disney Gingerbread Treats and Cookies during Christmas

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.

Port Orleans Riverside Christmas Tree in the Lobby
Port Orleans Riverside

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.

Boardwalk Inn Gingerbread House Display
Boardwalk Inn Gingerbread House Display

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

To wrap up the guide, I will be answering some of the most Frequently Asked Questions about a Disney World vacation during Christmastime.  

Epcot Festival of the Holidays 11 Norway Pavilion Holiday Story Near Christmas Stage
Epcot Festival of the Holidays Norway Pavilion

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.

If you would prefer low crowds but still want to enjoy the sights of the season, then I recommend visiting Disney World the first two weeks of December as this is the least crowded time of the month.

Gertie Dinosaur for Christmas at Hollywood Studios

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:

  • 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!

Christmas Tree in Main Street USA Magic Kingdom

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.

You can read how to beat the crowds at Walt Disney World here!

When does Disney World decorate for Christmas?

As previously highlighted, Christmas decorations are put up in early November, usually at the end of the first week.

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.

Disney Boardwalk Inn Christmas Tree with Gingerbread Shop Menu
Disney Boardwalk Inn Christmas Tree

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.

Christmas at Disney Parks with Disney Cast Member Holding Balloons in Magic Kingdom
Christmas at Disney Parks

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.

Grand Floridian Gingerbread House with Majestic Christmas Tree and Piano in the Lobby

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?

In order to successfully have a budget-friendly Disney vacation, you’ll want to list out everything you need for your trip such as lodging, tickets, food, and souvenirs.

Shimmering Cinderella Castle with Christmas Lights at the Magic Kingdom Florida

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.

Christmas at Ft. Wilderness Lodge
Christmas at Ft. Wilderness Lodge

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.

To be on the prepared side, you can pack a variety of clothing items from sweatshirts and pants, shorts and t-shirts, to a light jacket and gloves.

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.

Relaxing by the fireplace at Disney's Wilderness Lodge during Christmas at Disney World.
Relaxing by the fireplace at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

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.

Disney Grand Floridian Gingerbread House Display with Santa on the Porch and Christmas Tree in the Background

My Top Five Walt Disney World Resort Hotels for the Holidays

  1. Disney Wilderness Lodge and Resort
  2. Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  3. Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge
  4. Boardwalk Inn & Resort
  5. Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort (budget-friendly)

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.

Final Thoughts on Christmas at Disney

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.

Disney Gingerbread House Carousel with Peter Pan horse and Captain Hook cake boat in front at Beach Club Resort.
Disney Gingerbread House Carousel with Peter Pan horse and Captain Hook cake boat in front at Beach Club Resort.

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.

How to conquer Christmas at Disney World
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What’s your favorite thing to do for Christmas at Disney World? Let us know in the comments section below.

If you enjoyed this article, then you’ll love these:

Read the Disney Vacation Planning Guide for your next dream trip!

Until next time, Happy Holidays Hipsters!

NikkyJ

(Original Article Date: November 12, 2014/Updated November 14, 2021)

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