8 Very Merry Things About Christmas at Walt Disney World

Presumably the most wonderful thing about a trip to Walt Disney World is the fact that you can tailor-make your vacation to fit your family’s idea of the perfect getaway. But another pretty wonderful thing about Disney World is that it is open 365 days a year—yes, even on holidays. So you can choose when you want to go. If you’re an annual passholder, you can go to the parks anytime of the year—each season if you like.



Many Disney fans make Disney World their yearly summer vacation destination. Yes, it’s hot. Yes, it’s crowded. But then again, it’s Disney World. Some, however, choose to take the December Disney trip and experience all the joy, decorations and holiday spirit that’s alive in the parks during the Christmas season. Here are eight merry reasons you might want to make Disney your December destination as well.

8. Sunset Season’s Greetings – Hollywood Studios

This fun, all-new celebration takes place at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and features some really great special effects. Have you ever seen snow fall in Central Florida? Well, you will during this celebration! Billboards on Sunset Boulevard move into motion, and even the Hollywood Tower Hotel gets a transformation. Mickey, Minnie, Olaf, the Swedish Chef from the Muppets and all the gang from Toy Story are part of this event that begins November 9 and runs through December 31.

7. Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! – Hollywood Studios

In this fun nighttime show, the elves from Disney’s Prep and Landing are searching for good ol’ Saint Nick. Rooftops of buildings come alive in this nighttime spectacular, and scenes from many Disney films are projected onto the Chinese Theater. Those films include Mickey’s Christmas Carol, Beauty and the Beast, Pluto’s Christmas Tree and The Nightmare Before Christmas. There’s lots of festive holiday music, snow and fireworks, followed by a finale you’ll have to see to believe! The 14-minute-long show begins November 9.

6. Holiday Resort Hopping

Any season is great for resort hopping, even if you aren’t staying on Disney property. But at Christmastime, it’s just a little more special! Inside the lobby at the Grand Floridian stands a 16-feet tall gingerbread house. The Wilderness Lodge boasts a 60-feet-tall Christmas tree that takes 18 hours to assemble! At the Beach Club, you’ll see gorgeous decorations and a large edible carousel. At the Contemporary Resort, you’ll find a holiday village made of gingerbread and chocolate near the Monorail platform. And these are just a few of the resorts!

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5. Christmas Shopping – Disney Style

The Christmas shops at Walt Disney World are open all year long. But they are even more exciting during December when it’s so close to Christmas, that you can buy ornaments and other gifts and not worry about packing them away for months once you get back home and forgetting you have them. Visit Disney’s Days of Christmas at Disney Springs Marketplace and Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe at Liberty Square inside Magic Kingdom for Disney ornaments, gifts and more.

4. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (MVMCP) runs through December 22. It’s an annual event and requires a ticket purchased in addition to park admission. During this event, which begins at 7:00 p.m. and ends at midnight on selected dates, only Guests with tickets to MVMCP are permitted inside Magic Kingdom. Guests can enjoy cookies and hot cocoa, see icicles on Cinderella Castle and be there for a spectacular holiday parade featuring Mickey and all his pals, elves, gingerbread men, wooden soldiers and even Santa Claus. The event sells out, so purchase your tickets in advance if you plan to attend.

3. Dessert Parties

As it is during the rest of the year, Disney World hosts some spectacular dessert parties, and the ones during December are holiday-themed. The Fireworks Holiday Dessert Party takes place at Tomorrowland Terrace in Tomorrowland at Magic Kingdom. It takes place during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party on select nights between November 9 and December 22. Enjoy views of Cinderella Castle, cider, lemonade, hot cocoa, coffee and tea, as well as desserts created by Disney’s pastry chefs, such as chocolate-dipped strawberries, chocolate mousse and ice cream.

The Jingle Ball, Jingle BAM! Holiday Dessert Party takes place at Hollywood Studios. Enjoy holiday snacks, desserts and specialty beverages. You can even mingle with a special VIP Disney character! Then you’ll have the privilege of a reserved viewing area for both nighttime spectaculars shown at Hollywood Studios—Disney’s Movie Magic and Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!, where you’ll enjoy music, fireworks and special effects.

Dessert parties require reservations and advanced ticket purchases, which can be made by calling (407) WDW-DINE.

2. EPCOT’s International Festival of the Holidays

EPCOT offers a wonderful celebration of holidays around the world during the Christmas season. There is a special ending to the Illuminations nighttime spectacular. You can also enjoy the Candlelight Processional, which takes place outdoor at the American Gardens Theater at the America pavilion on the World Showcase. There is a retelling of the birth of Christ by celebrity narrators, and a choir and 50-piece orchestra accompany the retelling. You can also enjoy desserts from different countries during the International Festival of the Holidays. Other special holiday entertainment is offered as well. Admission is included with park ticket. This event runs from November 19 until December 30.

1. Disney Springs

Even Disney Springs gets into the spirit of the season during this festive time of year. From mid-November until early January, there are decorations and lots to see and do, including some really merry activities. The Christmas Tree Trail this year will feature 25 Christmas trees, each themed with a Disney character or story. You can also meet Santa at Santa’s Chalet, near the Christmas Tree Trail through December 24. From December 25 until December 31, Santa Goofy takes Santa’s place, since he’ll be headed back to the North Pole for a long winter’s nap! And for all the Stitch fans out there, you can enjoy Stitch’s Holiday Gift Hunt at Disney Springs. You and your family can decipher clues, find Stitch’s hiding places and complete missions. After that, you can receive a limited edition button for all your hard work!

Disney World is the most fun you can have on a family vacation, regardless of the season, but if you haven’t been at Christmastime, you’ve got to try it at least once!

About Rebekah Tyndall Burkett

Rebekah grew up in Forney, Texas and lives just outside of Dallas. She’s been a Disney superfan since childhood, experiencing the magic at Walt Disney World for the first time at the age of 11. Journeys to Neverland are at least a yearly occurrence for her, her husband and her four children (the Fab Four). When they go to the parks, they stay in Florida for three weeks at a time. Rebekah loves exploring the history of the parks, the genius behind the Magic in the person of Walt Disney, and she is intrigued by all things Disney World and Disney Imagineering. When in the parks, Rebekah and her husband Scott make the most of their time by enjoying every minute with their Fab Four, by delving deeper into Walt’s vision for the parks and into the history behind the Walt Disney World Resort, and by photographing the many different types of architecture at Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and on the World Showcase at EPCOT. When she’s not in the parks, Rebekah is excitedly setting travel dates and planning her family’s next adventure to their happy place deep within the Sunshine State. On breaks from planning her next trip, Rebekah is a writer, journalist and children’s author, penning children’s books about kids with special needs that she affectionately calls “believement-achievement” stories. Her hobbies include creative writing, paper crafting and interviewing Imagineers. She is also an advocate for Autism Awareness and for children with developmental disabilities of all kinds.