Are you planning to spend the holidays at Disney World this year and would like some pointers on how to make the most of your time there? Or maybe you’d like to know what the best things to do at Disney World are at Christmas. Well, I’ve got you covered.
For many years, Madison and I would alternate the holidays at Disney World. We’d do Halloween one year and Christmas the next so we could enjoy both holidays, as each has advantages. While we never spent the actual “Christmas” day at Disney World, we did spend the days leading up to it there. While I’ve talked about ways to survive summers at Disney, we’ve never really talked much about the cooler seasons.
Christmas at Walt Disney World is as magical as you think it would be, and I recommend visiting it at least once in your lifetime if you have the chance to do so. Disney World goes all out for Christmas. From decorations to special events and shows, there’s plenty to enjoy. I’ll be sharing a few tips on how to make the most of your magical trip to Disney World at Christmas. Let’s get into it.
Tips for Visiting Disney World at Christmas
Be Prepared for the Cold Weather
Although the weather in Florida is milder than other parts of the country, it can still get cold at night. Make sure to pack a light jacket and sweaters in case you feel chilly during your visit. During our first Christmas visit, temperatures dropped to the low 50s and became unbearably cold at night. Luckily, we were able to pop into one of the shops and grab extra sweaters for both of us. But if you come prepared, you won’t need to spend any extra money.
Know When the Special Events are Held
The Christmas season at Disney World usually starts in late November and runs through early January, so plan your trip accordingly. During this time, there are plenty of special events that take place throughout the park, such as Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and the Candlelight Processional. Make sure to research ahead of time what events will be taking place during your visit so you don’t miss out on any of them.
Book Your Reservations Ahead of Time
Disney World is a popular spot during the holidays, so it’s best to make all your reservations ahead of time. If you want to dine with Santa Claus or experience one of the popular holiday-themed rides, be sure to book your reservations ahead of time, as they can fill up quickly this time of year. Make sure to book your Disney World tickets, dining reservations, and special events far in advance if you want to avoid long lines and disappointment.
Take Advantage of Festive Events
At Christmas time, Disney World puts on some amazing festive events that you won’t want to miss out on. From Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom to Epcot’s Holidays Around the World event, there are plenty of things to do for visitors of all ages. It’s also worth checking out Hollywood Studios’ Sunset Seasons Greetings show and their new show, Fantasmic!, as well.
Try to Avoid The Crowds
The weeks preceding and following Christmas and New Year’s are by far the busiest times to visit the parks during the holiday season. Check out the Disney crowd calendar to find out when the best times are to visit each park. Generally, the weeks before and after Christmas tend to be less crowded than the actual holiday week.
Don’t Forget to Dress Up and Have Fun
The best part of visiting Disney World is dressing up and having fun; there’s a reason it’s called the most magical place on earth. It’s the one place where you can dress as your favorite Disney character and not be judged. It’s also where you can wear your favorite Christmas sweater, hat, or even light-up Christmas necklace. And while you can buy them at the many stores at Disney, if you’re hoping to save some money, I recommend purchasing them online.
Now that you have some tips on getting ready for a trip to Disney World at Christmas, here are a few things you can do while there.
Best Things to Do at Disney World at Christmas
Experience Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
The Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a ticketed event held at the Magic Kingdom on select evenings throughout November and December, beginning at 7 p.m. to 12 a.m., and is the highlight of your Disney World Christmas visit. You will, however, still need a park admission ticket for the day. However, there will be shorter lines for most rides and attractions throughout the park, as only partygoers with a special wristband are permitted to enter after 7 p.m.
The party includes a variety of fun holiday events! You’ll also get to enjoy free cookies and hot cocoa available throughout the park, as well as meet-and-greets with your favorite characters in their festive holiday outfits. You can even get your photo taken with Santa. Plus, there are some amazing fireworks shows during this time as well.
- Special Note: While the event is currently sold out, military members will still be offered tickets at the ticketing booth. You will have to present your military ID and will also be offered special pricing.
Take a Trip Around the World
Nowhere else can you experience Christmas around the world like in Epcot’s World Showcase. Enjoy traditional holiday treats from countries such as China, France, Italy, and Mexico as you explore each area of the park. Don’t forget to check out the Candlelight Processional while you’re there!
The Candlelight Processional is an annual event held at Epcot. This event takes place nightly at the America Pavilion of the World Showcase from November 25 to December 30 each year and features a celebrity narrator sharing the story of Christmas. It’s a beautiful production featuring a choir and orchestra performing religious carols as well as readings by celebrity narrators like Neil Patrick Harris and Josh Gad (aka the voice of Olaf). The event is free to attend but can be crowded, so you may want to arrive early to get good seats.
Check Out the Holiday Decorations and Christmas Trees
One of Disney’s trademarks is making everything look extra special around the holidays, and this includes decorating their parks with festive lights, ornaments, snowmen, reindeer, and more. From the huge Christmas tree in the Magic Kingdom to the life-sized gingerbread house at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, you’re sure to be impressed. There are also plenty of smaller touches like carolers and outdoor decorations throughout the parks and resorts as well. If you’re an Instagram fanatic, it’s a great time to take pictures of your favorite characters dressed up in their Christmas outfits!
- Note – I recommend visiting each park as each Disney park has its own stunning Christmas tree decorated with that parks theme. Photo below is Madison at Animal Kingdom, and you can see it’s tree decorated with The Lion King and an African theme.
Experience a Magical Fireworks Spectacular
One of my favorite parts of visiting Disney World is watching their amazing fireworks shows. At Christmas time, these displays are even more magical, with holiday music playing and snowflakes falling from the sky. Make sure to catch one of these shows when you’re visiting during the holidays, as they’re truly unique! Be sure to get there early so you can get a good spot to watch the show, and don’t forget to bring your camera!
Enjoy Spectacular Shows
Disney World hosts some amazing shows during the holidays, so don’t forget to check them out while you’re visiting. The Christmas parade is a great way to get into the holiday spirit, and you can also catch some special performances from your favorite characters. From dancing elves to Santa Claus himself, there’s plenty of entertainment for everyone to enjoy!
At Hollywood Studios, guests can experience Sunset Seasons Greetings and Fantasmic! These shows are filled with amazing visuals, and they’re a great way to get into the Christmas spirit. You’ll also want to check out Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade at Animal Kingdom for some festive fun.
Meet Santa Claus
Bring your children (or inner child!) to meet Santa at Disney World this Christmas season. This was by far one of Madison’s favorite things to do at Disney during the holidays. Kids can tell him what they want for Christmas and take pictures with him in a variety of settings throughout the park. Each park has its own Santa, and you can find him in his special location. Be sure to check your Disney app to see his times and locations, but remember he goes back to the North Pole on December 25th. Don’t forget to bring your camera so your little ones don’t miss out on their chance to get a picture with Santa!
Go Ice Skating at Disney Springs
If you need an escape from all the Christmas madness, head over to Disney Springs for some ice skating fun! Experience a true winter wonderland as you glide across the ice rink with your family and friends. Ice skating at Disney Springs is a great activity for visitors of all ages, and it’s sure to bring some holiday cheer.
Grab Some Hot Cocoa
There’s nothing like sipping on hot cocoa to get into the Christmas spirit! Be sure to stop by one of the many restaurants or snack shops throughout the park for a cup (or two!) of festive hot chocolate. If you’re feeling adventurous, try out one of the unique flavors they offer, such as peppermint mocha or pumpkin spice!
Enjoy Delectable Holiday Desserts
At Disney World, there are many delectable desserts that are only available during the holidays. From gingerbread houses and snowman cupcakes to holiday cookies, Disney World offers a wide range of Christmas delights that you won’t want to miss out on. With so many options, it’s sure to be a sweet treat for everyone. Be sure to try a few of these sweet treats during your visit!
These are just a few tips for making your trip to Disney World at Christmas extra special. The best things to do at Disney World at Christmas include experiencing the unique decorations, attending one of the special events, and eating some delicious treats. With a little planning and organization, you can have an unforgettable time at Disney World this Christmas!
Happy holidays and safe travels! ✨🎄✨