Halloween isn't quite here yet, but at Walt Disney World, they've been celebrating ghosts and goblins since September. And now, if you're heading to WDW for November and December, it's time to get ready for some serious holiday spirit.
The Christmas season is a very big deal at Walt Disney World Resort, with every theme park and resort hotel getting in on the action (some more than others). The star of the show, as always, is Magic Kingdom Park, where the entire castle is draped in twinkling lights, Main Street U.S.A. receives some old-fashioned greenery and plastic candles that will take you straight back to a hometown downtown drag, and on select nights throughout the two-month season, a specially ticketed event, Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, takes over the entire park with Christmas events, music, and entertainment.
But the other parks get in on the action this time. Despite little (no?) Halloween decorations at Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios, or Disney's Animal Kingdom, all the theme parks are invited to the Christmas celebration. Here's a run-down of what you'll find at each theme park:
Magic Kingdom Park
- Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. A specially ticketed event running on select nights from November to January from 7 PM to Midnight. Guests will enjoy holiday entertainment including Dream Lights on Cinderella Castle, Mickey's Once Upon A Christmas Parade, Holiday Wishes fireworks, Celebrate the Season live show, Totally Tomorrowland Christmas live show, and complimentary cocoa and cookies around the park. Character meet and greets, popular Magic Kingdom attractions, and even snow on Main Street U.S.A. round out the event. Offered select nights from November 8th to December 20th. Website.
- Candlelight Processional - More than 50 choir singers and a celebrity narrator recount the traditional Christmas story through moving songs and words. Candlelight Processional is a Disney tradition started by Walt Disney himself, and it's still an incredibly popular event. Running twice nightly at the America Gardens Theatre at Epcot, from November 29th to December 30th, Candlelight Processional is free with your theme park admission, but to avoid waiting in hours-long waits for seating, dining packages are available that include reserved seating. Website.
- Holidays Around the World - World Showcase is lit up with winter celebrations from around the globe, with storytelling and performances. See the Monkey King and learn about the Chinese New Year, discover the Italian witch La Befana, and meet Santa and Mrs. Clause at the American Adventure. Included with your theme park admission. Website.
Disney's Hollywood Studios
- The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights - If you haven't seen this light show in person yet, go this year - the rumor mill has it going away in favor of a theme park expansion. Disney lights up the Streets of America sets with millions of Christmas lights - and then sets them dancing to holiday music in a thrilling display. Scattered throughout the lights you'll find toy soldiers, Santa and his sleigh, and plenty of Hidden Mickeys. Included with your theme park admission. Website.
Disney's Animal Kingdom
- Mickey's Jingle Jungle Parade - The unique hand-made look of Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade gets a holiday makeover during the Christmas season. Holiday touches and songs lend a festive seasonal feeling to a parade that is already one of most energetic and high-spirited parades at Walt Disney World. It will run daily from November 9th to January 2nd.
Around the Parks and Resorts:
Christmas trees, unique decorations, even full-size chocolate carousels and a gingerbread house that is an actual gingerbread store: these are all popular additions to the Walt Disney World Resort at the holidays. You'll find the gingerbread house in the soaring lobby of Disney's Grand Floridian Resort - don't forget to buy a roof shingle or a gingerbread man to nibble out as you get back on the monorail to head over to the Magic Kingdom. The chocolate carousel at Disney's Beach Club Resort is another annual tradition.
For many people, the holiday season is when the magic of Walt Disney World truly comes into its own. If you're visiting Walt Disney World this November and December, you'll find holiday surprises and touches at every turn.