Disney World Christmas Guide

Disney World Christmas Hollywood StudiosDisney World ups its magic meter quite a bit for the holidays (Minnie Mouse even throws on her favorite Christmas dress), so December is one of the best times to visit. If you’ve got kids, you’ve got a great excuse to rent an Orlando vacation home, but even if you don’t, feel free to tap into your inner child this winter.

Here are Disney World’s holiday highlights...

Party with Mickey at the Magic Kingdom

On select nights, from November 10th through December 19th, celebrate the holidays with Mickey at his Very Merry Christmas Party. For the month-long bash, Cinderella’s Castle will be covered with 200,000 twinkling lights and Disney characters will be dressed up for the season and signing autographs around the park. If you happen to miss the character you adore the most, see him or her in Mickey’s Once Upon a Time Christmas Parade. The dazzling fireworks display, hosted by Jiminy Cricket and featuring a rousing score, as well as Mickey’s “Twas the Night Before Christmas” are other must-see attractions. If Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is over upon your visit, expect plenty of holiday cheer in the form of extra magic hours and an extra special SpectroMagic Parade on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Note that Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party requires a separate admission ticket.

Light Up with Joy at Hollywood Studios

Hollywood Studios (formerly known as MGM Studios), has the most holiday spirit in all of Disney World because it morphs into a full-out Winter Wonderland November 28th through January 4th. After dusk, The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights delights guests every 10 minutes with a symphony of synchronized flashing lights. The fantastically illuminating tradition has gradually become a staple of the holidays at Disney World. Finally, don’t miss out on regular events like the Block Party Bash, where you can meet your favorite Disney Pixar characters, and Fantasmic! – the heart-stirring, dramatic face-off between Mickey Mouse and notorious Disney villains.

Disney World Vacation Epcot

Discover Holidays Around the World at Epcot

Every day in December, get to know different sides of Santa Clause by visiting storytellers in France, Italy, and American Adventure. While in American Adventure, buy a knick-knack or two in Santa’s Village! As the sun sets, walk to the American Gardens Theatre for the moving Candlelight Processional, where a celebrity narrator, backed by a massive orchestra and choir, will retell the story of Christmas. Narrators on the docket this year include Neil Patrick Harris, Virginia Madsen, Steven Curtis Chapman, and Angela Basset. After some reflection, jazz things up a bit with the thrilling IllumiNations: Reflections on Earth, which combines laser lights, fireworks, water fountains, and other pyrotechnics for a truly astonishing show. 

Get Festive with Goofy at Animal Kingdom

Animals love the holidays, too, so Animal Kingdom is just as festive as the rest of the park this time of year! November 28th through January 4th, join Goofy and friends in the gleeful Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade. Also, keep an eye (and ear) out for carolers and your most beloved Disney characters – they’re known to roam the kingdom! If you’re set on taking a snapshot with Goofy, Santa Goofy’s Wild Wonderland is the place to be.

Christmas Shop at Downtown Disney

November 28th through December 24th, share your wish list with Santa and fulfill some of those wishes on your own as you hunt down collectables, souvenirs, ornaments, high-tech toys, and a variety of other merchandise in shops like Once Upon a Toy, LEGO Imagination Center, and World of Disney. But if you don’t have any last-minute gift shopping to do or money to splurge with, a walk through Downtown Disney, with its beautifully decorated windows and buildings, is still worth it.

Book a Disney Vacation Rental

Suddenly, Christmas in Disney World doesn’t seem so overwhelming. But it’s clear it can get pricey. Make sure to save as much money as possible on accommodations so that you can enjoy all that Christmas in Disney World has to offer. Fortunately, plenty of spacious and affordable Disney vacation rentals are located in and around the park; no longer must you settle for overpriced resort hotels!

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Photos by Brian Wilson and Donna62.