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Christmas is a magical time of year, regardless of where you are. Being at a extraordinary place like Disney World can make the season even more special. Disney World goes all out for Christmas. Throughout the parks and resorts, you will find Christmas trees, wreaths, lights, and other decorations. And, of course, you will hear Christmas music playing everywhere you go. In this article, you will find tips for Christmas at Disney. These tips will help you to get the most out of your trip to Disney World during the Christmas season.
When to Go
The Christmas decorations at Disney World start going up the first week of November. The Christmas parties also start in early November. By Thanksgiving, all of the decorations are up. The Christmas activities at Epcot usually start on Black Friday. The holiday festivities generally last into the first week of January.
Christmas week and the week between Christmas and New Year’s are, by far, the two busiest weeks of the year. It is not uncommon for the parks to close due to capacity on some days during these two weeks. Personally, I have no desire to fight those crowds! I would recommend the week of Thanksgiving. You get to experience all of the Christmas decorations and activities this week without the hoards of people. The crowds are pretty light during the first part of that week. They are still manageable at the end of the week. Additionally, the ticket prices for the November Christmas parties are generally cheaper than they are for the December parties.
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
If you love Christmas, you can’t miss Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party! It is a wonderful way to get in the Christmas spirit. The parties are offered on select nights throughout November and December in the Magic Kingdom. It is a hard-ticketed event, meaning that you must buy a separate ticket to attend. During the party, you can meet some of the rare characters, such as the Seven Dwarfs and Scrooge McDuck, as well as some of your favorite characters in their Christmas outfits. The party also features several dance parties, a special Christmas parade, Holiday Wishes fireworks, and free cookies and hot cocoa. It also snows on Main Street!
Boston and I attended Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party last year and loved it! It was a lot of fun meeting the characters you can’t normally meet. We also enjoyed the Holiday Wishes show. The best part, for us, was the Christmas parade. It features toy soldiers, dancing gingerbread men, and some beloved Disney characters. I highly recommend the Christmas party to anyone who will be in Disney World during the holiday season.
Holidays Around the World
Among other Christmas celebrations around Epcot, you will find Holidays Around the World in World Showcase. In each of the countries, you will find storytellers dressed in traditional garb. They share stories about the holiday traditions in their home countries. In the American Adventure, you will find Santa and Mrs. Claus. The storytellers begin spreading their unique brand of cheer the day after Thanksgiving. This is a great way for kids to learn about different holidays that are celebrated around the world.
Christmas at Hollywood Studios
Prior to 2016, Hollywood Studios’ big holiday display was the Osborne Family’s Spectacle of Dancing Lights. This was a lighting extravaganza like no other. It included millions of lights covering everything in sight choreographed to Christmas music. It was awe-inspiring. We saw it in 2015, and I am so glad I got the chance to experience it. Unfortunately, 2015 was the last year for the Osborne Lights at Disney World. They will be greatly missed by many loyal Disney fans.
Starting this year, the new Christmas show at Hollywood Studios will be Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! This show is similar to the popular Star Wars fireworks show that delighted crowds throughout the summer and fall. Both shows combine fireworks, lasers, projections, and music in a fun and innovative way. Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! is very different from the Osborne Lights, but appears to be a higher energy show, which will appeal to a lot of people. If the show is half as good as the Star Wars show, it will be amazing.
Each of the four parks has a huge Christmas tree at the entrance to the park. Each tree is decorated in a theme consistent with the park. They are all beautiful and impressive. However, I prefer the tree at Animal Kingdom to the others. It is decorated with African masks, wooden animal sculptures, and natural materials. The tree is beautiful and fitting of being in Animal Kingdom, even though it doesn’t have any of the traditional Christmas decorations on it. You should definitely take time to appreciate each of the park trees.
All of the resorts at Disney World put up beautiful trees and other decorations. Each hotel’s Christmas decor complements the theme of the respective resort. At Yacht Club, the Christmas trees are decorated with boats, while at Animal Kingdom Lodge, the ornaments are all animal-inspired. Additionally, many of the deluxe resorts showcase large holiday displays that can’t be missed. For instance, at the Grand Floridian, you will find a life-size gingerbread house in the lobby. At Beach Club, there is a full-size chocolate and gingerbread carousel.
I highly recommend taking time during your Christmas trip to visit several of the resorts to see their displays. You will be glad you did! These displays are worth the effort to see them. They are incredible!
Christmas Card Photos
Many people send Christmas cards each year that include a family photo. There are many opportunities throughout Disney World to get a great family photo worthy of using in your Christmas cards. In addition to all of the typical locations, such as in front of Cinderella Castle, you will find some photo spots set up just for the Christmas season. And, of course, any of the hundreds of Christmas trees across property will make for a wonderful backdrop for your holiday photos.
Where better to visit Santa Claus than at Disney World ?!?! You will find the man in the red suit in several places around Disney World starting the week of Thanksgiving. He is at Epcot’s American Adventure and Disney Springs, to name just a few. You can also see St. Nick in the parade during the Christmas parties at Magic Kingdom.
There are four Christmas gift shops at Disney World that are open year round. You will find them in Disney Springs, the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios. You can find Disney themed Christmas ornaments at either of these locations at any point in the year. However, during the Christmas season, you will find Christmas ornaments in most of the gift shops around the parks and resorts. If you collect special ornaments, this is a great time to pick one up to remember your trip. Also, if you take your ornament to one of the permanent Christmas stores, you can have it personalized.
In addition to all of the wonderfully tasty snacks you will find on a daily basis at Disney World, you can find special holiday favorites during November and December. These can be find throughout the parks and resorts. Available holiday treats range from Christmas themed cupcakes to specialty holiday drinks. This is just another simple way to get you in the Christmas spirit while enjoying the magic of Disney World.
Of course, it is impossible to go to Disney World without spending money. During the Christmas season, it is a good idea to do some Christmas shopping for your loved ones. Definitely take a trip to Disney Springs to do your shopping. There are several unique non-Disney stores there that you can’t find in other places. When we were there last November, I picked up bath soaps for my oldest niece in Basin and fun socks for my other nieces in Little Miss-Matched. You will have lots of options for all of the Disney fans on your list as well!
Trips to Disney World during November and December are wonderful because they allow you to experience the magic of Disney while also enjoying the Christmas season. There are fabulous holiday decorations, fun photo ops, special treats, and beautiful displays that are only available during this time of year. I hope these tips for Christmas at Disney World help you to make the most of your holiday time in Disney! Happy travels and have a magical day!