Walt Disney World is magical all 12 months of the year, but if anything, the Florida resort gets even more magical (how is that even possible?) during Christmas season! And even as I write these words, crews throughout the Florida property are bringing out the decorations, rehearsing for the parades, and otherwise gearing up for the most magical time of the year!
Christmas is the perfect time of year for a Walt Disney World vacation! Here’s what travelers who head to the Most Magical Place on Earth during Christmas season can expect.
So decorated are the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, and the Walt Disney World resort hotels during Christmas season that the decorations are kept in a warehouse backstage. And once Halloween is over, crews work around the clock – particularly at night, when all the guests have gone home – to make the World shine extra bright this time of year.
The decorations aren’t limited to just the parks, either. Each resort hotel, even the “Value” resorts, has a themed Christmas tree front and center in the main lobby. The tree at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, for example, is decorated with ornaments befitting a luxury resort, replete with hand-blown glass ornaments.
And while you’re at the Grand Floridian, check out the gingerbread house, which is an attraction unto itself.
Special Parades, Special Fireworks, Special Events
At the Magic Kingdom, the world-famous Jungle Cruise is transformed into Jingle Cruise, with a Christmas “overlay,” as it’s called in the theme park industry, taking over the attraction. Elsewhere in the Magic Kingdom, every evening at 6:15 pm and again at 7:30 pm, Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, and Olaf hit the stage in front of Cinderella Castle for “A Frozen Holiday Wish Show,” according to The Mouse For Less. And of course, Santa is out & about for photo opportunities.
Over at Epcot, Holidays Around the World celebrates how the rest of the world celebrates Christmas or other winter holidays (since not all of the nations represented at World Showcase are Christian nations). And if you’re really lucky, you may score a ticket to the famed Candlelight Processional.
“Showing nightly to park guests from November 25-December 30, 2016 at 5:00p.m., 6:45p.m. and 8:15 p.m. The Candlelight Processional is a breathtaking retelling of the Christmas story in words and music complete with a 50 piece orchestra, choir and celebrity guest narrator.”
At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, a new nightly fireworks and lights show, Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM Nighttime Spectacular, has guests watching as a search & rescue mission tries to track down a missing Santa Claus.
And at Disney’s Animal Kingdom – well, there’s really not much going on there beyond the cool decorations and Goofy in his Santa outfit posting for photos.
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
This is what’s known as a “hard-ticket event,” which means that you have to pay extra for it. For $86 + tax per adult, $81 + tax per child, MVMCP ticket holders get the Magic Kingdom to themselves for a private party, complete with a special Christmas parade, a special Christmas fireworks show, and access to all of the Magic Kingdom’s major attractions with smaller wait times.
“The Magic Kingdom will be transformed into a winter wonderland for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Snow will magically fall on Main Street, Mickey and friends will be garbed in seasonal apparel, and Cinderella Castle will once again shimmer in ice with the indescribable Castle Dream Lights. You won’t want to miss the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party’s special fireworks show Holiday Wishes – Celebrate the Spirit of the Season which is set to your favorite traditional holiday music. The special, enchanting holiday parade, Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade, will take place twice an evening during the party. Guests may also attend live Disney character stage shows at select locations throughout the Magic Kingdom, ride park attractions under the stars, and enjoy free hot cocoa and cookies.”
Better Weather (Probably)
If you’ve ever made the mistake of going to Walt Disney World in the summer, you know that Orlando can most charitably be described as “warm.” Guests who have been there during that time may have another word for it, but it can’t be printed in this article.
The good news is that central Florida has something that can kind-of be described as “winter,” and in November and December, it may be hot (think, mid 80’s), but it probably won’t be broiling. Or, it could be downright cold: cold fronts have been known to plunge into Florida, dropping temperatures into the upper 40’s. It’s happened before!
Regardless, if you’re from the Midwest like me, a December day in the upper 40’s is downright balmy.
Smaller Crowds (Except When They’re Bigger)
If you’re planning a Christmas getaway to Walt Disney World, do yourself and your family a favor and don’t come during the week of Thanksgiving or the week of Christmas Day. Those two weeks are the busiest time of the year, according to The Mouse For Less. Instead, try to aim for a slower time of year, like the first three weeks of November or the first three weeks of December. All of the magic of Christmas is still there, but you won’t have to fight off the crowds for your piece of it.
If you’re interested in heading down to Walt Disney World for a Christmas getaway, call your travel agent or head on over to Disneyworld.com.
[Featured Image by Mark Ashman/ Disney via Getty Images]