If Christmas is your favorite time of year, then you should consider a Disney World Winter trip. The trees, music, and decorations are so beautiful. The holiday magic makes both your vacation and the Christmas season extra special.
The most magical place on earth doesn’t skimp— even a little bit when it comes to sharing holiday cheer. Disney is also the best at including their guests at celebrations.
Let’s take a moment to explore all of the special events and activities of the winter season at Disney World!
Disney World Winter Activities
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is held on select nights in November and December. You do have to have tickets to this event as it is not included in park admission. The park closes early for other guests, usually around 6 pm. Party guests are allowed to start entering the park at 4 pm, and DVC members can enter at 2 pm. Party guests can enjoy a few rides before the evening’s festivities start.
During Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas party there is a special parade with gingerbread men, reindeer, your favorite Disney characters dressed in their holiday best, and of course Santa! The parade runs twice each night during the party. Make sure that you don’t miss the exclusive fireworks show at the end of the night!
There are lots seasonal shows to can catch around the park, a dance party with your favorite Disney characters. Special treat locations are set up around the park as well! When you arrive for the party guests receive a wristband and a map with the special events.
International Festival of the Holidays
At Epcot, the International Festival of the Holidays is a special celebration of holiday traditions from around the world. There are decorations, foods, stories, and music that display how different countries and cultures celebrate Christmas. There is no additional charge for the International Festival of the Holidays. The concerts are also a free, fun activity for families.
Make sure that you stop in at some of Epcot’s holiday kitchens for some tasty treats. There are also special holiday storytellers at Epcot that tell traditional holiday stories from their countries of origin. Cookie fans in your group will want to check out the holiday cookie stroll. Grab a festival passport and find the cookies on the map!
EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays Dates
November 26th-December 30th
The candlelight processional is a holiday celebration and re-telling of the Christmas story by a celebrity narrator at Epcot. The processional is held three times each evening from the night after Thanksgiving through December 30th. The processional includes a huge choir and a 50 piece live orchestra in the American Gardens Theater.
Jingle Bell Jingle Bam
Jingle Bell Jingle Bam is a seasonal laser, music, and fireworks show celebrating the holiday season. The show is put on at Disney’s Hollywood Studios nightly from the beginning of November through the end of December. The show features a variety of snippets from some Disney favorite holiday films. It’s a silly and fun activity for families that you won’t want to miss.
Sunset Season’s Greetings
On Sunset Boulevard, watch as the Tower of Terror is transformed into a celebration of the season. Beginning in November and running through the beginning of January, each evening there are holiday-themed projections, lasers, music. There’s even snow projected on the Tower of Terror. A great show for kids of all ages, and it plays every 15 minutes or so until closing.
Tree of Life Awakenings
For more Disney World Winter vacation fun, make sure that you include a visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Across the bridge in Discovery Island are festive handmade decorations and life-sized animal puppets with musicians who follow behind them. Guests are encouraged to interact with these puppets during their visit.
About 30 minutes after sunset, and until the park closes the Tree of Life has “awakenings”. The awakenings are winter inspired stories accompanied by holiday-themed music. You may also catch a few of the life-sized animal puppets participating in the show.
In Animal Kingdom visit DinoLand U.S.A. and see what Donald Duck and his friends are up to. They have decorated this area of the park with their favorite decorations! In the evenings there is a Holiday Hoopla Dance Party by the Truck-o-saurus that you will not want to miss.
While you are there keep your eyes peeled for Chip and Dale your favorite Disney chipmunks. They should be hard to miss since they have dinosaur costumes on with Christmas outfits on top of that!
In addition to the special performances and festivals, be sure to check out the many festive ride overlays. Not every ride gets a holiday make-over, but many do. From decorations to holiday-inspired music changes, Disney makes sure that everyone is getting into the holiday spirit.
International Festival of the Arts
After Christmas, Epcot is also home to the International Festival of the Arts. The festival is a celebration of creative food, performing arts, and visual arts. The festival starts in mid-January and runs through mid-February.
There are musical performances, exhibitions, and demonstrations by artists, and workshops and seminars for guests to attend. Festival attendance is included in the cost of park admission. Some events do come with additional fees, and may require reservations.
If you are planning a Disney World Winter trip, plan to resort hop. Even if that’s not normally something you include on your itinerary, it’s a great free activity. The resorts are all beautifully decorated for the holidays season with trees, decorations, giant gingerbread houses, special activities, and more.
This is a great time of year to just walk around and take everything in. Make sure that you take plenty of photos too, you might just come up with next year’s Christmas card!
If you’re planning a Disney vacation during a different time of year, make sure to check out these posts to make planning easier: