We love winter in Disney World. The lights, sounds, and holiday festivities are just so magical, and the weather couldn’t be more perfect. Most of the things we love about wintertime visits to Disney World will still be around this year, and we highly recommend making a visit during this time. That said, there are some things that are going to be missing, and we’re really going to miss some of them. If you’re planning a Disney trip in the next few months, you probably want to know what to expect. Obviously, you should still expect to have an awesome time. However, you should also expect some things to be different. Below are some of the things that will be absent from the wintertime lineup at the Disney parks and which we’re going to miss.
This one has been missing in action since the parks reopened last summer. While we completely understand the reasoning behind its removal—i.e. more space for socially distanced queuing—it doesn’t change the fact that we miss the FastPass+ system. For obvious reasons, having the ability to skip the line sometimes is just magical, and taking this ability away sure does put a damper on things. Fortunately, crowd levels have been on the lower side thanks to reduced capacity. This means that even without FastPass+, you shouldn’t have to queue up for anything for too long.
2. Character Meet-and-Greets
One of the most magical things about Disney World is the ability to meet your favorite characters in real life. Unfortunately, true meet-and-greets are impossible to do safely at the moment. This means no more hugs from Elsa or chats with Snow White. Instead, we’re forced to make do with waving from a distance. This isn’t nearly as fun or exciting, and we sure do miss the more traditional Disney meet-and-greet.
3. Chatting with Santa
In the same vein as the missing character meet-and-greets, we’re also going to miss chatting it up with Santa Claus. After all, visiting the big man himself and letting him know your hopes and dreams for the holiday season is a tradition for many. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to do this while still maintaining social distancing, so we’ll have to make do with seeing Santa as he rides by and save our conversation for next holiday season.
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4. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is another holiday tradition that we will have to miss out on this year. Normally, only a limited number of tickets are sold to this exciting event, meaning short lines for favorite attractions. The party typically also features special character meet-and-greets, a special holiday parade, a party-specific fireworks show, included cookie treats, and more. Unfortunately, the party was called off this year, meaning we can’t enjoy all of these awesome perks and will have to make do with the festivities offered during normal park hours.
5. Candlelight Processional
An Epcot classic, the Candlelight Processional is the perfect holiday event. It features all the music and nostalgia one would expect from a holiday concert and includes a celebrity guest each night. This is yet another thing that has been canceled this holiday season due to the pandemic, and while we understand why, we will still really, really miss this beautiful display for Christmas magic. As a consolation prize, the amazing Voice of Liberty choir will be providing musical entertainment on the outdoor stage, ensuring we do get a bit of holiday cheer while in the America pavilion.
6. Resort Gingerbread Displays
The gingerbread displays at the monorail resorts have always been something we look forward to. The amazing details found in these displays are spectacular, and the size of each one is astonishing. We especially love the life-size gingerbread house found at the Grand Floridian each year. This little house really adds to the holiday cheer of the beautiful lobby, and we have a hard time imagining Christmas at this resort without it. Unfortunately, we’re going to find out what the holidays are like without the gingerbread displays this year. None of the gorgeous creations are being made or displayed this year, something that will sadden many regular Disney-goers.
7. Castle Dream Lights
Magic Kingdom is extra magical during the holidays. The decor, Christmas music, and yummy smells definitely contribute to this, but the Castle Dream Lights are also responsible for a good portion of this magic. These gorgeous lights look like icicles hanging from the tops of the castle and shining with pixie dust. Sadly, the castle won’t be decked out in these amazing lights this year. Instead, a holiday projection show will take place on the castle, something that is sure to be delightful but simply won’t be the same as that magical icy lights display.
8. Christmas Tree Trail
Last but not least, we are really going to miss Disney Springs’ Christmas Tree Trail. Usually, this little pathway is set up for the months of November and December and features a number of Christmas trees, each decorated to represent a different Disney movie or character. We loved strolling along the trail and appreciating the creativity of each tree, but we won’t be able to do that this year. That said, we are sure the decor in Disney Springs will be lovely, giving us reason to visit despite the lack of this beloved trail!