Don’t Miss These Magical Experience in Walt Disney World During December

epcot cookie stroll
Credit: Disney Tips

Walt Disney World is celebrating the holiday season with magic around every corner.  If you are visiting Walt Disney World this December, here are some things that you won’t want to miss.

Check out these experiences, and then make sure you add them to your Walt Disney World vacation plans.

Credit: Disney

EPCOT’s International Festival of the Holidays

EPCOT is ready for the holiday season with Festival of the Holidays.  This annual event brings in the holiday season with many fun and joyful experiences.

Holiday Kitchens are a fantastic way to experience EPCOT throughout the month of December.  Guests can find these outdoor kitchens throughout EPCOT with special drinks and food items themed to different countries or holiday flavors.

Credit: Tricia Kennedy

Candlelight Processional is one of the top experiences for Guests during the holiday season, and we are thrilled that it is back this year.

Located at the America Gardens Theatre, Candlelight Processional is a beautiful retelling of the traditional Christmas story.

Guests are treated to a wonderful evening of music as a celebrity narrates.  The music is created by a mass choir and an orchestra.

Don’t miss out on Olaf’s Holiday Tradition Expedition, a fun scavenger hunt for adults and kids around the World Showcase.

Guests can work together to find Olaf and the holiday traditions he has misplaced throughout the various countries.

The game board costs $9.99 and can be turned in when completed for a surprise.

Another experience in EPCOT that Guests will want to check out during the holiday season is the Holiday Cookie Stroll.

Guests can purchase five different cookies throughout the World Showcase, and when they have tried all five, they can receive an additional one for free.

Kids and adults will love these sweet treats that they get to experience.

The EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays is a wonderful way to experience the holiday season while visiting Walt Disney World.

Credit: Disney

See Santa

Throughout Walt Disney World, there are a variety of ways that you can see Santa.

At Disney’s Springs, Guests can join the virtual queue to have a one-on-one meeting with Santa this year.  He is also now meeting Guests in Magic Kingdom.

In Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Guests can see Santa as he participates in the cavalcade or rides on a flotilla.

For a truly magical experience, Guests should visit the different World Showcase Storytellers.

These Storytellers bring the different traditions from around the world to EPCOT with stories that last from around 5 minutes to 15 minutes.

If you want to catch these outstanding stories, make sure you check your My Disney Experience app for times.

Living With The Land (Credit: Disney)

Experience a Holiday Overlay

There are some rides in Walt Disney World that get a holiday overlay during this season.

In Magic Kingdom, the highly popular Jingle Cruise takes over the Jungle Cruise in Adventureland.

This ride continues with the dad jokes but adds in some holiday humor along the way.

Over in EPCOT, the slow moving boat ride, Living with the Land, receives a holiday touch. The quiet ride for all ages gets brighter with additional holiday lights throughout as well as the addition of some holiday cheer like snowmen and festive Mickey ears.

We love these holiday touches, and you will as well.

Credit: Paula K

Disney Very Merriest After Hours

A great experience to consider when visiting Walt Disney World in December is Disney Very Merriest After Hours event in Magic Kingdom.

This separate ticketed event allows Guests to enjoy additional time on select nights in the Magic Kingdom with an extra touch of holiday magic.

The beloved Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade is back for this Disney After Hours event, as well as the new stage show Mickey & Minnie’s Very Merry Memories. Another highlight is the incredible fireworks spectacular Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks.

Guests at this event will also be able to see some of their favorite characters throughout the Park in their holiday outfits.

We are thrilled that this is an option this December as it is a great way to find some holiday cheer.

Visit the Resorts

It isn’t just the four Theme Parks that get involved in the holiday season, but the Disney Resorts do as well.

At Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, Guests can see the famous Gingerbread House, which this year is themed to celebrate the 50th Anniversary.

Over at Disney’s Beach Club, the Gingerbread Carousel this year features ‘The Little Mermaid’.  You can see Scuttle, Flounder, Sebastian, and more from this movie featured on this beautiful carousel.

Other amazing Resorts to visit during December are Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.  Both of these Resorts are gorgeous all year long, but during the holiday season, the beauty is taken to a whole new level.

Credit: PaulaK

Merry Menagerie in Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Over at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, those visiting in December will want to stop by to meet the Merry Menagerie.

These are giant holiday puppets that are beautiful and oh so adorable.

There are polar bears, penguins, reindeer, and so many more that come to life during the day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

The ability of the Cast Members to bring these puppets to life is fantastic and truly brings the holiday magic to the Park.

Icons Get a Holiday Makeover

When visiting any of the four Theme Parks in Walt Disney World this month, take time to check out the Park icons at night.

Each of the four icons get a holiday overlay that transforms them for the holiday season.

Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood Studios gets a new holiday look with impressive projections, and so does Cinderella Castle.

EPCOT’s Spaceship Earth gets a whole new holiday light show as part of the Beacons of Magic that transforms it at one part into a candy cane.

The Tree of Life gets a snowy makeover that includes winter animals.

Take some time to slow down and enjoy these holiday transformations at each of the four Parks.

December is a magical time to visit Walt Disney World as the holiday celebrations are in full swing. We hope that you are able to experience some of the holiday festivities at Walt Disney World this month!

About Jennifer Retzlaff

My name is Jennifer Retzlaff and I became a lifelong Disney fan during my first trip to Walt Disney World in 6th grade. From that moment, Disney became a big part of my life. I live in Iowa with my husband and two kids who are growing up too quickly for my liking. I started introducing my love for Disney early to my family with a Disney honeymoon and then trips when our youngest of 18 months. Since then, our family has been to Walt Disney World over five times and we continue to plan and dream for the next trip. I love the magic that Disney brings to people through the theme parks, cruises, adventures and movies they create. As a teacher, I try to bring that magic into my classroom to help kids believe that “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It.” I recently reached a dream of mine as I joined Magic Vacation Planner as a personal travel advisor. With this team, I can now help others plan magical vacations. As a passionate writer, I also have my own blog at magicalvacationsbyjen which is also where you can follow me on instagram for trip reviews along with tips and tricks for your next magical vacation.