Disney vacation planning during the Christmas season is magical indeed! I know, Disney is magical any time of year but Disney during the holidays pulls out all the stops. If you love Christmas, then you will love Disney at Christmas. The decorations alone are worth a visit, even a short one, during that season. When our children were young we have even spent Christmas at Disneyland as an entire family. It is truly memorable. That said, when you are doing your Disney vacation planning remember the busiest week of the year is between Christmas and New Year’s so if you hate crowds that would be the week to avoid. But, the Christmas holidays begin in November in Walt Disney World ® so there is plenty of time to enjoy the season and still not get too swamped with crowds. If you must visit when the kids are out of school, I suggest the week before Christmas. Typically the crowds are significantly less than the week after.
The Magic Kingdom and the Very Merry Christmas Party
Like the Not-So-Scary Halloween party, this is a special ticketed event. And, also like the Halloween party, it is a great event to experience because the attractions are more available because there are fewer crowds in the park. At the Christmas party, however, there are unique character interactions and specially designed parades and firework. The party typically features Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, “Holiday Wishes,” and “A Frozen Holiday Wish”. In the past, the parade and fireworks are shown nightly after the last party which is December 22ndthis year.
A Frozen Holiday Wish Occurs nightly at 6:30 pm on the Castle stage. Watch all your favorite Frozen characters put on an awe-inspiring display.
Epcot is also a magical place during the holidays with every country in the World Showcase displaying amazing decorations and wonderful traditional foods from around the globe. Additional there will be special food and drink kiosks featured all around the World Showcase adding to the festivities.
American Adventure – American diversity is on display at the American Pavillion with Santa and Mrs. Claus, the highlights of Hanukkah traditions and the spirit of Kwanzaa. The Voices of Liberty Dickens Carolers—an outstanding a cappella group, sings a special repertoire of classic songs.
Canada – The Canadian Holiday Voyageurs take viewers on a musical tour through the customs of the Great White North.
China – Feast your eyes on the colorful Chinese Lion Dance, which brings good fortune and happiness to all during major celebrations like the Lunar New Year and Lantern Festival.
France – Discover the magic of Père Noël and the joy of the season through a Christmas letter from a child.
Germany – Listen as Helga tells the story of the first Christmas tree and the tale of her first Nutcracker.
Italy – Meet the kind-hearted witch La Befana who arrives on the eve of the Epiphany to grant gifts to good children.
Japan – Hear the fascinating story of the Daruma doll and the Japanese customs of the New Year.
Mexico – ¡Feliz Navidad! Join mariachis and dancers as they bring color and excitement to the music, dances, and traditions of a holiday fiesta.
Morocco – Come! Take a journey through the seasons of holidays in Morocco, where celebrations are “the spice of life.”
Norway – Spend time with Sigrid and learn about Julenissen, the Christmas Gnome.
United Kingdom – Delve into the vivid stories of Father Christmas, dating back to 15th-century England.
When you doing your Disney vacation planning at Christmas time, remember to include The Candlelight Processional. It is one of the most anticipated holiday offerings that many Walt Disney World Resort guests look forward to and return for again and again each year. The show takes place at the America Gardens Theatre at Epcot and features a celebrity narrator retelling the traditional Christmas story, as well as live music from a 50-piece orchestra and mass choir. The Candlelight Processional performances are nightly starting at 5 and the tree lighting is at 6. As the night goes on the Processional will get busier. Since this is a local holiday highlight, it may be wise to enjoy this event during the week, since weekends will be busier. The celebrity narrators for the Christmas story are announced usually in the late summer.
Illuminations will have a special seasonal conclusion typically from just after Thanksgiving through December 30th. The show will feature holiday greetings in native languages from the countries of World Showcase, along with the beloved sounds of the classic song “Let There be Peace on Earth”.
Include the Disney Resorts in Your Disney Vacation Planning
Since the festivities extend to all the resorts, make sure your Disney vacation planning includes time to visit the resorts to enjoy more fun and festive attractions. Fort Wilderness, Sleigh Rides For up to 4 adults (Or 2 adults and 3 small children) take a horse drawn carriage ride ($79) We have had mixed reviews on it. It is really neat for the kids but not sure it is worth the extra time and money to trek over for it. However, the way the campers decorate their sites is pretty neat.
Fort Wilderness, Disney’s campground offers Sleigh Rides For up to 4 adults (Or 2 adults and 3 small children). It is fun for the kids and if you plan a visit to Whoopy-do Review, you may want to include this as well.
Yacht/Beach Club Lobby boasts a life-sized Edible Holiday Carousel and the construction includes 96 Lbs of bread, 100 pints of eggs, 50 Lbs of chocolate, 100 Lbs of icing. There is also a Holiday Village with Train.
The Beach Club Lobby offer live gingerbread decorating and a visit from Chip and Dale and even Mickey himself.
The Grand Floridian Resort features a Giant Gingerbread House in the main lobby, complete with a working store inside.
The Contemporary Resort has a holiday display on the fourth floor featuring a Christmas tree that is 17 feet fall and 6 feet wide. Chef Mickey will pass out gingerbread cookies.
The Boardwalk Inn has a Holiday Gazebo in the lobby made completely of gingerbread and chocolate with lots of hidden Mickeys.
The Boardwalk Bakery also offers mini gingerbread houses and shingles for sale.
These are just a few of the highlights available at the resorts and offer an alternative to crowds a the park. Take a short break in your plans and see a few of the festive sights.
Holidays at Disney Springs
As Disney Springs has grown and changed, the new attractions for Christmas 2017 should be exciting. In past years guests have enjoyed Santa and his helpers at their charming cottage across from Ghiradelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop. Guests will be able to pick up a pager upon check-in to secure their place in a virtual queue line. Santa begins visiting the area around November 11th through December 24th. Other Christmas attractions are:
- Santa Goofy available to meet from December 25 – 30th.
- Nightly tree lighting ceremony at the Once Upon a Toy fountain play area.
- Sightings of Toy Solider stilt walkers, and Snowflake performers, as well as, a Kwanza Celebration, Hanukkah medleys, and specialty foods abound.
- Hanukkah songs and stories at Waterview Park in the Landing, with evening performances from December 24th through January 1st, 2017.
Keep in mind this article about Magical Holiday happenings is based on years past. Undoubtedly there will be additions and subtractions or alterations from years past. But whatever is planned will be amazing and ensuring that you create well-laid vacation plans will help you get the most of your time in the park.
If you need help with Disney vacation planning, contact me and I can help. My services are free, but I can help you make sure that you create the vacation that meets all needs. The benefits of planning make all the difference.