Disney World at Christmas: How the Most Magical Place on Earth Celebrates

Walt Disney World is a truly magical place with a unique mix of storytelling, environment, luxury and downright pampering. A Disney World vacation is amazing anytime of year, but none more so than Christmas time. Disney really goes all-out to celebrate the holidays at their largest resort.

disney world christmas Mickey's Very Magic Christmas Party

Christmas at Walt Disney World Resort begins in most places on November 9th, 2017. Below is a complete rundown of what you can expect. As always, Disney World Christmas events and plans are fluid and I will be adding updates to this post if anything is added or changed.

Disney World Christmas Events and Attractions (2017):

The Most Magical Time of the Year at the Most Magical Place on Earth!

Magic Kingdom at Christmas

Much of Disney’s holiday efforts are focused on the Magic Kingdom. The decorations alone are worth the visit and the park needs to be experienced in both night and day to get the full impact.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party returns to the Magic Kingdom again this year. The party requires an extra ticket, but is well worth the spend. Attendees can expect amazing decorations, a great fireworks show and one of Disney World’s best parades. They also light up the Cinderella Castle like Elsa’s Ice Palace from “Frozen,” which is a great one-of-a-kind photo-op.

I was fortunate to be able to visit Disney World during Christmas 2014 and here is a quick taste of what you can expect from the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party parade:

Another fun Christmas attraction at the Magic Kingdom is the “Jingle Cruise.” Disney overlays a Christmas theme to their Jungle Cruise ride to add a touch of holiday magic to the popular Adventureland attraction. There were some pretty strong rumors about the Jingle Cruise not happening this year, but fear not, Disney has confirmed the Jingle Cruise will set sail once again in 2017.

Finally, visitors to the Magic Kingdom during Mickey’s Christmas Party can enjoy a special holiday-themed show on the Cinderella Castle Forecourt Stage. Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration features Mickey and friends acting and singing Christmas carols in front of the amazing Ice Palace Castle.

More information about Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, and all of the Magic Kingdom Christmas events for 2017, can be found here.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Christmas

Disney’s popular “Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!” holiday nighttime show returns for its sophomore year. It was first introduced last year as a replacement for the uber-popular Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights, which concluded once the Streets of America was removed in favor of the new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge area.  More information on the return of Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! can be found here.

New this year to Hollywood Studios is Sunset Seasons Greetings. This new holiday experience features spectacular projections of Mickey, Minnie and other beloved Disney characters sharing their favorite Christmas stories as a snowy Sunset Boulevard twinkles with stunning holiday decorations. Holiday magic brings billboards to life and transforms the famous Hollywood Tower Hotel into scenes of the season – a giant pile of Christmas gifts, a gingerbread house and a frozen winter wonderland!

Santa Claus is also heading to DHS for meet n greets from November 9th through December 24th!

epcot holliday illuminations fireworks

Image courtesy Disney

Epcot at Christmas

Epcot’s World Showcase is the scene of a number of internationally-themed holiday celebrations. Visitors to Epcot’s International Festival of the Holidays (formerly know as the “Holidays Around the World”) at the World Showcase will enjoy special holiday food and drink offerings, shows and visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus. Each country is themed to showcase how they celebrate the holidays in their native lands. The Epcot International Festival of the Holidays runs from November 19 through December 30, 2017.

Additionally, Epcot plays host to the popular Candlelight Processional, which features a full orchestra, singers and celebrities telling the story of the Christmas Carol. The show is presented three times a night (5:00, 6:45 and 8:15 p.m) in the America Gardens Theater in the World Showcase. More information about this year’s Candlelight Processional, including a full list of celebrity narrators, can be found here.

Finally, Epcot adds a Holiday-themed overlay to their popular Illuminations: Reflections of Earth fireworks show which adds a must-see element to an already amazing show.

Disney Springs at Christmas

Disney Springs has always been a great place to visit (and shop) during the holidays and this year will be the second year Christmas is celebrated there. During the holidays, Disney Springs shops introduce new holiday products and decor. Additionally, Disney’s unofficial fourth theme park is bringing back last year’s popular Christmas Tree Trail and expanding it to a whopping 25 trees! The Christmas Tree Trail includes an abundance of Christmas decorations and elements and a number of Disney-themed Christmas Trees including Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan, Snow White and Dumbo. Also located on the Christmas Tree Trail is Santa’s Chalet, where the jolly old man will be welcoming guests through Christmas Eve.

Your kids will love another Disney Springs Christmas activity: Stitch’s Holiday Gift Hunt. It is a themed scavenger hunt throughout Disney Springs as participants will be on the hunt for Stitch’s hiding spots. Participants that successfully complete the mission will earn a limited-edition button for their efforts.

A special meet and greet will take place at Disney Springs involving a non-Disney character. Visitors this Christmas will be able to meet and have their picture taken with the Coca-Cola Polar Bear this year. This will take place on the second floor of the Coca-Cola Store.

The Christmas Tree Trail and other Disney Springs  Christmas activities offer a wonderful opportunity to grab a hot chocolate and stroll through a Winter Wonderland with loved ones and find that ultimate vacation keepsake or holiday gift.

Disney World Resorts at Christmas

Each Disney resort hotel does their own thing for Christmas, but one display you MUST see is the gigantic gingerbread house at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. The display is located in the main lobby of the resort and is one of the most impressive holiday decorations you will ever see. Your family will love it!

Other Disney World resorts that are worth a special trip to at Christmas include Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Disney’s Beach Club, Disney’s Yacht Club and The Contemporary Resort. These deluxe resorts all do an amazing job at decorating for the holidays and their lobbies are definitely worth a stroll through.

Finally, I cannot write a post about Christmas at Walt Disney World without mentioning Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground where the popular Hoop-de-Doo Musical Revue gets a Christmas overlay and the campers go all-out decorating their RV’s with holiday decorations. The campground is essentially just across Bay Lake from the Magic Kingdom, but it seems like a completely different world when you enter it. Here is a quick video Disney Parks put together to promote Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground last Christmas:

There you have it folks- Everything we know that is going on at Disney World this Christmas. Like I mentioned earlier, if you have the opportunity to make it down to Bay Lake this Christmas, it is well worth the effort. It is amazing. I will be taking my family down in December and will be sure to post new pics, videos, reviews and more, so be sure to stay tuned and subscribe to my updates!


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