Christmas at Disney World has dazzling decorations, holiday lights and events. Yes, the theme parks are crowded; but Magic Kingdom stays open as late as midnight, with special parades and fireworks, and many people consider "Disney Christmas"the best time to visit Disney World
. And (almost) all festivities below are included with regular park admission.
Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park is the venue for one of the most dazzling Disney Christmas special displays. Millions of sparkling shine in falling snow, on trees, carousels, Mickey, Santa; choreographed "dancing" lights swirl to classic holiday music. The Osborne lights can be seen from mid-November to early January.
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.
Even better is to tour the world during the holiday season, when each pavilion showcases its Christmas customs. Festivities include choirs, fireworks, glittering lights, and a nightly Tree-Lighting with Mickey. Also holiday storytelling and celebrations from around the world.
Also included with regular theme park admission, this annual tradition in the Epcot theme park is a a retelling of the Christmas story, with a celebrity narrator accompanied by a choir and a 50-piece orchestra.
The Candlelight Processional takes place several times nightly in the America Gardens Theater in the World Showcase.
4. More at the Epcot Theme Park
Also at Epcot:
- 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"
- Mickey's Tree Lighting Treat: every evening, Mickey and friends light a Christmas Tree in the World Showcase Plaza
- Lights of Winter: a musical light show happens nightly at the World Showcase Plaza
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 attractions. (These special ticketed party events are a great way to ride the most popular rides without big crowds.)
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, the Parade continues, for everyone, in the afternoon.
A "night-time spectacular", Wishes is fireworks and more, in the sky over Cinderella's Castle in the Magic Kingdom. Jiminy Cricket, Pinocchio, Cinderella, Ariel, Peter Pan and other Disney characters appear amid pyrotechnic effects. The fireworks are orchestrated to holiday tunes.
Disney Christmas: Castle Dream Lights
Over 200,000 lights give an extra twinkle to the iconic Cinderella's Castle.
Disney Christmas Tree on Main Street, in the Magic Kingdom
Guests in the Magic Kingdom will find lots more Disney Christmas magic. For example: tree lighting ceremony, most nights on Main Street, and "Mickey's Night Before Christmas", in the Galaxy Palace Theater, several times daily.
10. Animal Kingdom: Mickey's Jingle Jungle Parade
Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade -- which runs year-round -- turns into Mickey's Jingle Jungle Parade, for the Disney Christmas weeks.
See dates for these special celebrations for the current year, and more.
Giant gingerbread house, at Grand Floridian Resort.
Continue to photos of Christmas at Disney World, including special displays at some of the on-property themed resorts.
*Photos courtesy of Walt Disney World Resort.