These 7 enchanting tips will help you get into the holiday spirit at Walt Disney World
The clock has struck midnight on the final Mickey’s Not So Scary Christmas Party, and just like that the holiday season at Walt Disney World is upon us! Celebrating the season at Disney is nothing short of magical. If you’re wondering how to immerse yourself in the holiday cheer, look no further. Here are our top 7 favorite ways to get into the holiday spirit at the most magical place on Earth.
As you pass through the gates of the Magic Kingdom, you’re greeted by a stunning giant Christmas tree, its branches festooned with shimmering ornaments and twinkling lights. Just past the tree sits a wonderful view of Cinderella Castle in all her glory at the end of a festively decorated Main Street USA. These sights will melt the heart of even the biggest Grinch in your party. No holiday season is complete for me without a trip to Magic Kingdom!
After taking in the sights at Magic Kingdom, hop on over to EPCOT which features a myriad of holiday decor in the World Showcase. Wander from pavilion to pavilion and marvel at how each country honors the season. Mexico blooms with bright poinsettias, Norway boasts rustic decorations and fragrant evergreens, while the American Adventure pavilion hosts a patriotic display complete with a grand gingerbread rendition of the U.S. Capitol. There are so many details packed into the holiday decorations around EPCOT you will likely find you need more than one visit to take them all in!
At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, vintage holiday charm takes center stage. Echo Lake is a retro holiday dream with its oversized ornaments floating on the water, and Gertie the Dinosaur dons a Santa hat for the occasion. Hollywood Boulevard glows under a canopy of stars, and the Hollywood Tower Hotel comes to life at night via Sunshine Seasons Greetings: continuously running, colorful holiday projections. While Magic Kingdom may be my favorite park for holiday decorations, Hollywood Studios is certainly a close second!
Disney’s Animal Kingdom may be the unsung hero of holiday decorations as it brings a wild twist to traditional decor. Discovery Island features artisan-crafted animal luminaries and a whimsical holiday tree, while DinoLand, U.S.A. displays colorful lights and kitschy holiday decorations that bring a smile to even the fiercest dinosaur.
For a touch of tradition, the Candlelight Processional at EPCOT is a must-see. This moving performance includes a celebrity narrator telling the Christmas story, accompanied by a massive choir and live orchestra. It’s a beautiful reminder of the season’s spirit of peace and goodwill. The Candlelight Processional is VERY popular, so you may want to consider booking a dining package which will ensure you get a seat to visit the event while your favorite star is narrating.
On select nights, the Magic Kingdom hosts Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, a separate ticketed event that is worth every penny. Snowflakes gently fall on Main Street, exclusive holiday-themed shows light up the stages, and there’s hot cocoa and cookies for all. Plus, the holiday parade is a dazzling spectacle that’s not to be missed. Christmas and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party truly due go hand in hand, so if you can snag a ticket to the Christmas party I highly recommend you do so!
Walt Disney World’s holiday menus are a culinary adventure. From EPCOT’s International Festival of the Holidays offering seasonal treats from around the globe to the holiday-themed snacks in the parks, there’s no shortage of festive foods to savor. Be sure to try the limited-time holiday offerings available at the EPCOT Holiday Kitchens during the International Festival of the Holidays:
- American Holiday Table (American Adventure Pavilion): Enjoy a savory salute to the season—with traditional dishes reminiscent of grandma’s cooking.
- Bavaria Holiday Kitchen (Germany Pavilion): Willkommen! Help yourself to heartwarming holiday cuisine and German beverages.
- Bubbles & Brine (near Port of Entry): Indulge in succulent seafood that pairs beautifully with Champagne.
- Char & Chop (near Disney Traders): Stop by this butchery-inspired holiday kitchen for gourmet meats.
- Holiday Hearth Desserts (The Odyssey Pavilion): Cozy up with sweet treats, hot cocoa, blissful brews and more.
- Holiday Sweets & Treats (near Port of Entry): Rock around the Christmas tree with cookies, hot cocoa and specialty sips sure to top the “nice” list.
- L’Chaim! Holiday Kitchen (between the Morocco and France Pavilions): Propose a toast to life as you enjoy classic deli noshes with a side of New York flair.
- Las Posadas Holiday Kitchen (Mexico Pavilion): Feliz Navidad! Take your taste buds south of the border to celebrate the season.
- Le Marché de Noël Holiday Kitchen (France Pavilion): Feast on très magnifique fare. Plus, refresh your spirit with specialty cocktails.
- Nochebuena Cucina (near Test Track presented by Chevrolet): Spice up your holiday with delicious dishes packed with bold Latin flavors.
- Shanghai Holiday Kitchen (China Pavilion): Have yourself a merry little meal, with popular Chinese plates and potables.
- Shi Wasu Holiday Kitchen (Japan Pavilion): Please your palate with festive dishes and drinks from the Land of the Rising Sun.
- Swirled Showcase (near Port of Entry): Cool off with whimsical frozen treats and chilled beverages.
- Tangierine Café: Flavors of the Medina (Morocco Pavilion): Embark on a culinary adventure to Morocco—featuring grilled kebabs, hard cider and more.
- Tuscany Holiday Kitchen (Italy Pavilion): Mangiare! Savor a seasonal take on some of the world’s best-loved food and beverages.
- Wine & Wedge (near Disney Traders): Snack on artisanal cheeses and accoutrements—which pair well with wine, port and more.
- Yukon Holiday Kitchen (Canada Pavilion): Jingle your bells with delightful dishes and libations from the Great White North.
Additional Locations: Discover mouthwatering morsels, nibbles and noshes from these year-round food stops—each offering special menu items in addition to the regular menu:
- Funnel Cake (American Adventure Pavilion)
- Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea Company (multiple locations at EPCOT)
- Refreshment Outpost (between the China and Germany Pavilions)
- Refreshment Port (near Canada)
The Jungle Cruise ride at Magic Kingdom gets a merry makeover to become the Jingle Cruise. With holiday puns aplenty and decor strung up by the skippers, this classic ride takes on a whole new level of fun. It’s a delightful way to combine a beloved attraction with holiday flair. The Jungle Cruise is an opening day attraction at Walt Disney World, and the Jingle Cruise overlay provides a festive touch that makes you appreciate this classic attraction all over again!
Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade is hands down my favorite of all the Walt Disney World parades. Typically reserved for the Christmas Party, the parade does show during the day during Christmas week. The parade features an incredibly catchy song (that I find myself humming for weeks after viewing the parade) as well as a lineup of your favorite characters, including Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and Santa Claus himself!
A somewhat lesser-known tip is to tour the Disney resorts during the holidays. Each hotel has its own unique decorations that reflect its theme, from the rustic adornments at Wilderness Lodge to the beachy holiday vibe at the Caribbean Beach Resort. The lobbies are grand, the trees are stunning, and the atmosphere is warm and inviting. The Deluxe resorts are also home to an array of Gingerbread houses that should not be missed!
Walt Disney World during the holiday season is truly something to behold. Embrace these 7 favorite ways to get into the holiday spirit, and you’re sure to have a holiday experience that’s nothing short of enchanting. Remember, the most important part is to be present, enjoy every moment, and let the magic of the season fill your heart!
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