12 Things Nobody Tells You About Visiting Walt Disney World Around Christmas

Christmas float

Visiting Walt Disney World during the holiday season is a beautiful experience. The holidays are all about bringing families together, something that Walt Disney envisioned his theme park would do. But there’s a lot more to the holidays at Disney World than some Christmas lights…

12. You can meet special characters: These characters typically only meet at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Similarly to Not-So-Scary Halloween, rare characters will come out for meet and greet opportunities. In the past, the Seven Dwarfs, some Disney princes, and Jack Skellington in his Sandy Claws outfit have made appearances. You can also meet Mickey and friends in adorable holiday attire. Not necessarily limited to the Christmas party is Santa Claus, who visits both Magic Kingdom and some of the Boardwalk resorts.

11. There are special fireworks: Both Magic Kingdom and Epcot have special fireworks for Christmas eve and day. Holiday Wishes at Magic Kingdom can also be seen at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, and IllumiNations at Epcot gets a special finale.

10. Holiday magic isn’t just limited to Magic Kingdom: While Magic Kingdom is the busiest park during the holiday season, there are plenty of ways to celebrate the holidays at the other theme parks. Visit the Holidays Around the World at Epcot’s World Showcase and experience different ways that places around the globe celebrate during the holiday season. Epcot is also home to the Candlelight Processional. No longer appearing after 2015 is the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Hollywood Studios, a beautiful arrangement of dancing Christmas lights in the Streets of America. Each theme park has beautiful and unique Christmas decorations to see and experience, so if you’re scared you’ll miss out if you leave the Magic Kingdom, have no fear!

9. There’s a castle lighting show at Magic Kingdom: You didn’t think Cinderella’s Castle just lit itself up like that, did you? Plenty of Disney magic goes into the dream lights on the castle. In 2014, the castle was illuminated with glowing snow by Elsa’s magic powers as she took over the stage in front of the castle with Anna, Olaf, and Kristoff. In previous years, Mickey and friends asked Cinderella and Prince Charming if they had any wishes for the holidays, and Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother granted Cinderella’s wish of lighting up the castle with snow! This show happens every night so be sure to experience this cute, magical show.

8. The weather can be rather unpredictable: Florida weather in December can be rather unpredictable. Winter is usually still pretty warm, but not as warm as people tend to think! Florida does still get some cold spells every now and then (albeit they are rare), so be sure to check the weather forecast before you go and to pack clothes for any kind of temperature.

6. Some merchandise is exclusive to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party: While there is a large variety of things to purchase during the holiday season, there is exclusive merchandise for people attending Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. For those attending the party, this merchandise usually sells pretty quickly!

5. The Christmas Parade isn’t filmed on Christmas: You might end up on ABC! The Christmas Parade filmed for television isn’t all filmed in one day, but in sections over the course of many days. One day, you might be walking down Main Street and be surprised to see a celebrity singer or just some of the Christmas parade floats.

4. The Candlelight Processional has different celebrity hosts: The Candlelight Processional is a beautiful storytelling of Christmas with a large choir, performed every night at Epcot at the American Gardens Theater. Different nights have different celebrity narrators, Neil Patrick Harris being a frequent host of The Candlelight Processional. Be sure to check before you go to see who might be there!

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3. Some of the best holiday activities aren’t in the parks: One of my favorite things to do during the winter holiday season at Walt Disney World is to check out all of the different resorts. Some resorts will greet you with a free snickerdoodle and a cup of apple cider, the Yacht and Beach Club gets visits from Santa Claus, and you can beat the hustle and bustle of the actual parks by hanging out at Walt Disney World resorts. Some of the most beautiful Christmas trees are located at the resorts – Wilderness Lodge and Animal Kingdom Lodge both have absolutely stunning Christmas trees – and some of the resorts, like the Grand Floridian, have gingerbread house displays. The one at the Grand Floridian is not just a huge gingerbread house, but a place to get hot cocoa! You can also catch a horse-drawn carriage or sleigh ride at Fort Wilderness.

2. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a separately priced ticketed event: The Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom that runs for select nights at 7:00 p.m. is unfortunately not included with park admission. Tickets are around $75 (can vary by date) and allow guests to enter the park at 4:00 p.m.

1. You can see the Christmas parade without going to the Christmas party: If you feel up to bracing the crowds that Magic Kingdom gets on the day of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, then you can view the Christmas Parade seen at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party! Just be aware that the park usually does reach capacity and it is one of the most crowded days to visit Walt Disney World.

If you plan on spending the most wonderful time of the year at the place where dreams come true, then you’re definitely bound to have a magical holiday season!

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About Jessica S.

Jessica is a multimedia journalist and lover of all things Disney, including Marvel and Star Wars. Jessica is an Annual Passholder at Walt Disney World and visits approximately once a month. She loves any excuse to Disney Bound or cosplay at the parks and you can probably find her on The Haunted Mansion.

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