There’s no place like home for the holidays, or is there? Visit Walt Disney World during a holiday week and you might be changing your tune! With vibrant decorations around every corner, special parades, new merchandise, and themed snacks, Walt Disney World truly turns up the magic for every holiday, from New Year’s Day to Christmas. While any date on the calendar is a great time to celebrate with Mickey Mouse and his pals, check out the festive happenings that should definitely be a part of your holiday plans!
1. New Year’s Celebrations
Welcome in the New Year in Epcot’s World Showcase with a special viewing of the Illuminations fireworks spectacular and DJ dance parties in several of the country’s pavilions. Both the Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios have celebratory fireworks, as well as energetic dance parties. Celebrating New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day at one of the Walt Disney World parks is a very popular idea, so it’s a good idea to get there early in the morning!
2. Valentine’s Day
Celebrate romance with the cutest couples in the Magic Kingdom! Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Donald and Daisy Duck, and the royal princesses and princes are the perfect hosts on this day of love. Many of the Walt Disney World restaurants will offer prix fixe menus on Valentine’s Day, and themed treats and snacks will be available throughout the parks as well. Not surprisingly, many guests choose this day to propose marriage in front of Cinderella Castle.
Did you know the Easter Bunny and Mrs. Bunny make a special stop at the Magic Kingdom? Hop on over to the Town Square courtyard to visit and get photographs with the famous bunny pair. A challenging Easter Egg hunt takes place in Epcot, and the Flower and Garden Festival is in full bloom during this time as well, showcasing gorgeous topiaries and special food and beverage kiosks in the World Showcase area. If you’re looking forward to celebrating with a special meal, many of the restaurants in Walt Disney World offer delicious Easter brunch buffets. Keep in mind that the weeks leading up to Easter are some of the busiest weeks of the year as schools are off for Spring Break, so make sure to get to the parks extra early in the day.
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4. Independence Day
One of the most all-American ways I know to celebrate Independence Day is viewing the specially-themed fireworks show in the Magic Kingdom. Stroll over to Liberty Square to catch a showing of “The Muppets Present-Great Moments in American History” and make time for the Hall of Presidents attraction. Both experiences are available every day, but it’s definitely fun to do on this holiday. Over in the American Adventure pavilion in Epcot’s World Showcase, guests can listen to the phenomenal Voices of Liberty, an a capella ensemble that will hold special performances in the America Gardens Theatre. While you’re in the American Adventure area, you might see Mickey Mouse and his pals in their best patriotic costumes. Don’t forget to catch the nighttime Illuminations spectacular featuring a holiday-themed finale.
As summer winds to an end, the Magic Kingdom gears up for the excitement of the Halloween season. Festive orange wreaths appear up and down Main Street USA, and plump pumpkinspop up everywhere you look. The highlight of this season is the Mickey’s-Not-So-Scary-Halloween Party, a special ticketed event on select nights in the Magic Kingdom. The party schedule typically begins in late August or early September and usually ends on November 1. Party goers don costumes and get treated to a fantastic evening parade, treat-or-treating stations throughout the park, lively dance parties, and a thrilling firework show. The Haunted Mansion has a few extra surprises for party guests too. Fun Halloween merchandise and delicious treats can be found in all four parks.
Once the Halloween extravaganza ends, Walt Disney World magically transforms the parks for the winter holiday season. The crowds start to increase as Thanksgiving week begins, so it’s definitely a wise idea to take advantage of Fastpasses and advance dining reservations. Several of the park restaurants and resort restaurants will offer a special Thanksgiving meal on the actual holiday.
The Christmas season in Walt Disney World means beautiful decorations and majestic Christmas trees everywhere, along with festive music that puts a holiday bounce in guests’ steps as they walk through the parks. Plan to attend Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party in the Magic Kingdom during select weeks in November and December. This party requires a separate ticket, but It’s well worth it, in my opinion. Guests are treated to the “Once Upon a Christmastime” parade, free cookie stations throughout the park, special character appearances, a holiday fireworks show, and best of all, snow gently falling on Main Street. Epcot celebrates the season with live music performances, holiday storytellers in each of the World Showcase pavilions, the popular Candlelight Processional, and holiday food and beverage kiosks along the World Showcase promenade. Guests visiting Hollywood Studios can catch the Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM spectacular. All four parks offer holiday treats and a wide range of both Hanukah and Christmas merchandise. Don’t forget to visit the resorts to keep the Christmas magic going! Many of the deluxe resorts treat guests to fantastic holiday displays.