Spending the Holiday Season in the Disney World Parks
As you might have already guessed the DW Dads really love the Christmas Season. Although Disney gives you a taste of the holiday season all year long, starting in early November, Disney World starts to celebrate the holidays as only Disney does. So if you are looking to book your trip anytime from early November through early January, you can enjoy some of the festivities. Although there are so many ways to spend the holidays in Disney World, below are a few of our favorite suggestions.
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
- Location: Magic Kingdom (special event)
- Dates: Select Nights – Early November–Late December
- Times: 7:00 PM-Midnight (entry starting at 4:00 PM)
- Cost: Tickets $62-71–ages 10+; $57-66-ages 3-9
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a special ticketed Christmas themed event. This event includes Special Character Meet & Greets including Santa, Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade, Holiday Wishes Fireworks Display, Special Holiday themed stage shows, snowfall on Main Street and all the hot chocolate, cider and cookies you care to enjoy. The event festivities begin at 7PM, but the ticket grants you admission starting at 4PM on the day of the party. Since there are so many special attractions, setting a plan for the night is important.
Tip: Special Meet & Greets are one of the major attractions at these private parties. All Seven Dwarfs only appear together during this event in Frontierland so the line can become VERY long. If you want to meet these guys, we suggest you line up before the party starts about 6pm, this way you won’t miss other scheduled events.
Holidays Around the World Candlelight Procession
- Location: Epcot – America Gardens Theatre
- Dates: Every Night – Late November–Late December
- Times: 5:00 PM, 6:45 PM & 8:15 PM
- Cost: FREE with park admission – First come first seated
The Candlelight procession is held three times every night starting in late November at the America Gardens Threatre in Epcot. A large ensemble choir joins a celebrity narrator to tell the story of Christmas with words and music in a very special way. Some of the celebrity narrators for 2013 are: Whoopi Goldberg, Sigourney Weaver, Ashley Judd, Trace Adkins & Blair Underwood.
Tip: To guarantee seating at the Candlelight Procession, reserve a Candlelight Dining Package available starting in July at many table service restaurants in Epcot. This reservation not only provides you one three course meal or buffet, it also guarantees you a seat for the Candlelight Procession, and reserved viewing for IllumiNations.
The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights
- Location: Disney’s Hollywood Studios – Streets of America
- Dates: Most Nights – Early November to Early January
- Times: Dusk until about 1 hour after close
- Cost: Free with park admission
Close your eyes and imagine Clark Griswold’s house in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Now imagine that Clark’s whole neighborhood joined in and decorated their homes. If you can picture that in your head, you are just scratching the surface of the display that is put together on the Streets of America in Disney’s Hollywood Studios every year. This tradition began in 1995 in Disney World after a real life Griswold family from Arkansas – the Osbornes – were no longer permitted to display their light display by court order. Each year since then, Disney has proudly displayed this collection at Hollywood Studios. The lights are turned on as dusk and are displayed on most nights when there is not a special event at the park until an hour or so after closing. Although aptly named as a “Spectacle of Dancing Lights,” words truly do not do this display justice.
Tip: On your way over to the Streets of America, stop and grab some treats (Mickey Ice Cream Bar or PB&J Milkshake from 50s Prime Time) and casually walk through the display just before park closing. The lights stay on for about an hour after the park is closed, so you can enjoy a couple more attractions before ending your night with the show.
Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade Animal Kingdom
- Location: Animal Kingdom
- Dates: Every Afternoon – Early November – Early January
- Times: 3:45PM
- Cost: Free with park admission
This popular music-filled street celebration is a variation on Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle parade and is full of holiday spirit. The daily parade has festive music and Mickey and all his friends get you into the holiday spirit as they parade through the park.
Tip: There are stone “benches” that are between Pizzafari and the restrooms on the same side as the restaurant. These natural seats are right on the parade line and nicely elevated to give you a good view of the parade. They are close by the bathrooms and typically there is an ice cream cart nearby. Since the parade line runs right by you, your party can sit at these benches while enjoying an ice cream or beverage and wait for the parade without fear that someone will stand in front of you.
- Vintage Holidays at Walt Disney World Resort (magicaldaddy.com)