There are so many incredible things to see at Walt Disney World at the holidays! In this episode Shannon breaks down all of the different experiences!
What to Expect
Disney officially says that the holidays start on November 11. However, the first Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas party is on November 8 and Epcot holiday events do not begin until November 25.
Decor won’t be complete by November 11, especially in the resorts. Decorations are typically taken down after New Years but that can take some time to take down into January.
The crowds will be highest between Christmas and New Years. If you are looking for less crowds to experience the decorations, the first two weeks of December are less busy. The weekdays will always be less busy than weekends due to local crowds on the weekends.
The weather could be just about anything from very cold to quite warm! You have less of a chance of rain and the temperatures are likely to be good.
The most popular holiday event is Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. It includes holiday entertainment, “snow”, complimentary treats, meet and greets, and the chance to meet Santa Claus.
There are 24 different opportunities to attend the Christmas party. Tickets are sold separately from your park ticket.
You can meet Santa during normal park hours. There will be special lighting on Cinderella Castle. Jungle Cruise will have a special holiday overlay called Jingle Cruise.
There are special holiday decor on Main Street and the Hub area. There will not be a special tree lighting ceremony this year. In addition, the dream lights will not appear this year.
Festival of the Holidays runs from November 25-December 30. This includes Candlelight Processional, a 40 minute show including full choir, narrator, and orchestra.
Dining packages are available for Candlelight Processional. If you hope to see a popular narrator, a dining package is highly recommended.
Cosmic Rewind also has a holiday overlay. A new holiday song medley will play as you ride. We do not know if this will begin on November 11 or November 25.
Spaceship Earth will also have holiday lighting for Festival of the Holidays. We are very excited about this because the other lighting shows have been excellent.
The holiday scavenger hunt is Olaf’s Holiday Tradition. You can purchase a map for $9.99 at various stores in the park. Once you have located all of the items on the map, you can turn it in for a prize.
The cookie stroll is back this year. You collect 5 stamps with the purchase of 5 cookies on the list. Once you get your 5 stamps you can get your complimentary cookie.
The Gingerbread display is in the American Adventure building as well. There will also be special entertainment including JOYFUL! A Celebration of the Seasons, the JAMMitors, Marchichi Cobra, and Canadian Holiday Voyager storytellers throughout the park.
There are also festival kitchens with holiday snacks and drinks. Santa Claus will also be at Epcot in the Odyssey building.
The World Showcase Storytellers are also around the World Showcase telling stories of the holidays.
Living with the Land has a wonderful holiday overlay called Merry and Bright Nights. They cover Living with the Land with lights and decor for the holidays.
The decor are unique and fun. The Merry Menagerie giant beautiful puppets. The buildings are lit beautifully at night as well.
There will also be holiday flotillas during the holidays. The Tree of Life will also have a holiday theme as well.
This is our favorite because it is fully immersive and doesn’t require a separate ticket. The decor is our favorite.
Minnie’s Holiday Dine is a holiday option at Hollywood and Vine where characters meet dressed in their holiday best. This is the only place you can dine with the characters dressed in holiday costumes.
Holiday Motorcade with Santa is back! This includes festive elves and Santa. Sunset Seasons Greetings are projected on Tower of Terror as well. The whole area will also get “snow”!
The Frozen Sing-Along has a holiday ending with Olaf! Jingle Bell Jingle Bam will sadly not be returning to Hollywood Studios.
The Christmas Tree Stroll is back! You can pick up a map and look at the beautiful Christmas trees decorated in themes.
There is also “snow” every evening through December 30. Jaque Lindsey’s Hanger Bar transforms into Holiday Bar with holiday themed menu and decorations.
Santa is at Disney Springs as well at Once Upon a Toy. There is a virtual queue that you can join in your My Disney Experience App at 9 a.m. or 4 p.m. You must be in Disney Springs to join the virtual queue.
There will be entertainment at the Waterside Stage including a DJ, toy soldiers, and more. There will also be holiday themed food at Disney Springs.
All the resorts are decorated for the holidays but the deluxe resorts are especially well decorated.
The Grand Floridian has a giant life-sized gingerbread house. You can order special treats and the lobby smells like gingerbread! The Contemporary has a large tree in the lobby and hopefully will also have a gingerbread display as well. The Polynesian has a large tree and beautiful garland.
The Beach Club has a life-size spinning gingerbread carousel in the lobby. The Yacht Club has a fun holiday village and train. The Boardwalk has a large tree and garland. Hopefully they will also have a gingerbread Boardwalk as well!
The tours will not be back this year.
We took a poll and asked for suggestions about the best way to take babies and toddlers to meals at Walt Disney World. The favorite things to do for babies and toddlers with dining include places that it is easy to eat and entertaining.
Garden Grill was the most popular by far because it is family style and the character interactions are incredible. Quick service option would also be a good option because it is quick and has mobile order. Raglan Road and Biergarten were also suggested because of the live entertainment.
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