Christmas at Disney World

disney-world-christmasSpending Christmas at Disney World is one of the most magical experiences that you can spend with your family and loved ones. The parks and resort are filled with Christmas spirit and decorations everywhere. There are spectacular fireworks and lights shows that can only be seen during this time of year and the Disney characters are dressed in their winter clothes and garments.

Magic Kingdom

The Magic Kingdom theme park is the pinnacle of the Walt Disney World resort and this is the case during the Christmas Season as well. During the the week of Christmas and New Years Eve, there are several holiday shows and parades to view including Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade that has gingerbread men, toy soldiers, reindeer, and Santa Claus in addition to the classical Disney Characters. In the Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration stage show in front of Cinderella Castle, Mickey Mouse and his friends sing and dance to many popular Christmas songs. At Night, Cinderella Castle comes alive with Christmas Lights as the Fairy Godmother helps to light the castle in a twilight ceremony called Cinderella’s Holiday Wish. Also at night is the Holiday Wishes – Celebrate the Spirit of the Season show that features fireworks set to holiday music behind Cinderella Castle. Santa Claus is available for visits at the start of Main Street USA. Beginning in November and leading up to Christmas, Disney World hosts a separate Christmas event at night that includes the parades and fireworks seen during the week of Christmas and New Years Eve called Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas that features shorter lines at the theme park’s top rides.


Epcot begins celebrating Christmas the day after Thanksgiving that is highlighted by a nightly Christmas Candlelight Processional at the America Gardens Theatre that features the Walt Disney Orchestra, a celebrity narrator, and visiting choirs that combine their singing and story telling of the miracle birth of Jesus. The performance dates back to a sister-show held by Walt Disney at his original park of Disneyland in California and seats can be hard to come by. The best way to guarantee a seat is to purchase a dinner package that guarantees a seat to the performance as well as a reserved spot for the Illuminations Fireworks show that features a special holiday grand finale. Additionally, Epcot demonstrates how each Country at World Showcase celebrates Christmas with their version of Santa Claus. At the American Pavilion, listen to Christmas Caroling by the Voices of Liberty and visit with both Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus together, the only location at Disney World where you can visit with them together.

Hollywood Studios
The nightly Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! is the main attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios during the Christmas Season that features the elves of Prep and Landing for a nighttime spectacular featuring fireworks, lasers, high definition projections and snow, at times all at the same time. Hollywood Studios previously had a very popular dancing light display called The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights that ended it’s run in 2015 that featured millions of dancing LED Christmas Lights synchronize to holiday music that was included with park admission. The lights were originally started by the Osborne Family in Arkansas as a single home’s annual display. When the display grew larger than the neighborhood could handle the lights were moved to Disney World beginning in 1995.

Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney)

New for 2016, Disney features it’s first ever drone show called Starbright Holidays – An Intel Collaboration that features many colorful drones performing a short show above the lake surrounding the entertainment district that is free to view. In addition, holiday shopping is in full gear at the Downtown Disney Marketplace where you can find many toys and items exclusive to the Disney Parks resort at stores like Once Upon a ToyWorld of Disney Store, and the Lego Imagination Area. At the Disney’s Days of Christmas store that is open year-round, you can select from hundreds of unique Christmas Disney ornaments and stockings.

Animal Kingdom

For Christmas, Animal Kingdom features animal-themed Christmas Trees and other holiday decorations. Animal Kingdom previously had a Christmas daytime parade that ended it’s run in 2013.

Walt Disney Resort and Gingerbread Houses

In addition to the theme parks, all of the hotels on property are decked out with Christmas Trees and holiday decorations. Massive gingerbread houses and chocolate creations are on display throughout the resort with the most popular gingerbread house located within the atrium of the Grand Floridian that is free to the public to view. Other displays can be found in the common areas of the Contemporary Resort, the Boardwalk, and the Beach Club.

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Christmas Articles from Orlando Local Guide

  • Christmas Lights Displays in Orlando Neighborhoods and Homes
  • ICE! at the Gaylord Palms 2018 featuring ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas
  • Santa Claus Arrival at the Mall at Millenia for Christmas on November 4th, 2016
  • Best Christmas Events in Downtown Orlando and Lake Eola in 2015 including New Years
  • Free Santa Photo and Crafts at Bass Pro Shops in Orlando This Christmas in 2015
  • Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade at the Magic Kingdom in 2015
  • 2015 Epcot Candlelight Christmas Show at Disney World Featuring the Walt Disney Orchestra, Voices of Liberty, Choirs, and Celebrity Narrators
  • 2015 Orlando Magic Home Games Around Christmas and New Years featuring Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat
  • Christmas Eve Services at First Presbyterian Church of Orlando 2015 in Downtown Orlando
  • Winter Park Outdoor Ice Skating during the Holidays in Central Park 2015
  • Waterford Lakes Santa’s Winter Wonderland Village Carnival 2015
  • Orlando Ballet Presents The Nutcracker 2015 at the Dr. Phillips Center during the Christmas Season in December
  • Light Up UCF 2015 Christmas Event at the University of Central Florida Features Ice Skating, Light Show, Outdoor Movies, and a Ferris Wheel
  • Gingerbread Christmas Tree at Contemporary Resort at Disney World
  • 2015 Baldwin Park Winter Spark Christmas Parade at Night on December 12th
  • Free Nutcracker Performance by the Russian Ballet of Orlando at Lake Eola on December 19th, 2015
  • The Singing Christmas Trees 2015 at First Baptist Church of Orlando is the Best Christmas Event in Orlando
  • 2015 Holiday at Heritage Square Christmas Event at the Orange County History Center on December 12th
  • Holiday Lights Orlando 2015 Featuring the Gift Christmas Festival and Show
  • Trans-Siberian Orchestra 2015 Christmas Concert in Downtown Orlando
  • 2015 Handel’s Messiah Free Christmas Concert at the Bob Carr on November 29th
  • Home for the Holidays Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra Christmas Concert 2015 in Downtown Orlando
  • Holiday Heroes Orange County Toy Drive 2014 Collects 4,655 Toys
  • 2014 Light Up Viera Christmas Event and Parade
  • Santa Claus Events around Orlando in 2015
  • Attending the Disney World Christmas Day Parade Taping with 2014 Dates
  • Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom Celebrates the Holidays with Characters, Parades, and Fireworks in 2015
  • Voices of Liberty Christmas Caroling at Epcot in Disney World
  • Winter Park Christmas Tree Lighting in Central Park 2014 with Holiday Movies
  • A Guide to Spending the Christmas Holidays at the Gaylord Palms Resort in 2015
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