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Disney Christmas: Celebrations in Orlando

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Christmas photo courtesy of Disney World Resort.
Photo courtesy of Disney World Resort.

It's peak season for a reason: Disney World has dazzling decorations and special events during the holiday season. Holiday lights go up in November; every park is beautiful but Disney's Hollywood Studios has the most wattage, with the spectacular Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.

Your regular park pass is your ticket to a Disney Christmas: you don't need any special ticket to enjoy the Spectacle of Lights, or the Holidays Around the World at Epcot, or the Candlelight Processional; but you do need to buy special tickets -- and buy early!-- for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, which happens on multiple nights in the Magic Kingdom.

See also: Disney Christmas - Photos

Special Events

Disney's Hollywood Studios: Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights
Millions of sparkling lights shine in falling snow in this theme park, in the Streets of America backlot area.

The history of this display goes back to Little Rock Arkansas in 1986, when businessman Jennings Osborne strung up 1000 red lights for his 6-year-old daughter. The display grew every year, so much so that-- by the time it reached 3 million lights-- the neighbors took legal action!

Luckily the whole thing moved to a permanent home in Orlando. Now thousands of visitors enjoy 5 million lights on trees, carousels, Mickey, Santa, and lots more, plus "Florida snow".

Epcot - Holidays Around the World

At any time of year it's fun to tour the world at Epcot, by visiting the pavilions from 11 different countries ranged around the World Showcase Lagoon, but during December the tour is even better, celebrating Holidays Around the World: storytelling, Pere Noel in France, la Befana in Italy, Kwanzaa and Hanukkah exhibits in The American Adventure Rotunda... *

Epcot: Candelight Processional

The Candlelight Processional is an annual tradition: a retelling of the Christmas story with a celebrity narrator accompanied by a choir and a 50-piece orchestra. Line-up for narrators has included Isabella Rossellini, Whoopi Goldberg, and Edward James Olmos.

The Candlelight Processional is included with Epcot park admission, and takes place several times each evening from late November on. (If you purchase a Candlelight Processional Dinner Package, you'll get reserved seating in the American Gardens Theater for this show.)

Also at Epcot:

  • Lights of Winter, a musical light show nightly at the World Showcase Plaza;
  • Mickey's Tree Lighting Treat: every evening, Mickey and friends light a Christmas Tree in the World Showcase Plaza;
  • IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth --the laser light and fireworks show that ends the night at Epcot year-round-- has a special finale for the holiday season, including classic song "Let There Be Peace On Earth"

- See photos of Christmas at Disney's Hollywood Studios and at Epcot

Magic Kingdom:

  • Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party:
    This party includes a special Parade (see below), snowfall on Main Street, character greetings and character stage shows, cookies and hot cocoa, special Holiday Wishes fireworks, and popular Magic Kingdom® Park attractions. The party happens on multiple nights starting in mid-November; hours are typically from 7 pm to midnight, and only Party guests are in the theme park during that time. Save money by buying tickets in advance, and note that dates sell out early!
  • Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime Parade has holiday themes including a sleigh ride, Fairy Tale Christmastime, toy soldiers, snowflakes, dancing deer, and Santa and Mrs. Claus in a grand finale. This Parade is part of Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party; after the Party dates are finished, in past years the Parade has rolled for everyone in the afternoon (instead of the usual Disney's Dreams Come True Parade) until the end of December. Expect the same this year.
  • tree lighting ceremony, most nights on Main Street
  • "Mickey's Night Before Christmas", in the Galaxy Palace Theater, several times daily
  • Holiday Wishes Fireworks is set to the music of classic holiday songs
  • Castle Dream Lights: every night, a Castle Dream Lights show, with Disney characters, lights up Cinderella's Castle with 200,000 twinkling lights.
- See Christmas photos from the Magic Kingdom

Animal Kingdom:
  • Mickey's Jingle Jungle Parade: the regular parade in Animal Kingdom gets a holiday theme.
For more info:

-Check the Calendar at the official Disney World site for more festivities; or check disneyworld.com/holidays; or Holiday Happenings at AllEarsNet.com, for overview and details.

Also, think ahead to Family New Year's Eve in the Magic Kingdom and other WDW parks.

-Continue to Disney Christmas - Photos

**Always check web sites for updates!

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