If you’re planning Christmas at Walt Disney World, there’s a few things you should know about the most wonderful time of year at the most magical place on Earth. Never mind about the Disney crowds, the high expectations and the Florida cold. What about all the other stuff that you can only do at Disney this time of year? If you’re like us and needed to experience Disney during the holidays at least once, we get it. So what can you expect if you’re visiting Walt Disney World during Christmas?
Let’s be Honest about Christmas at Disney World
If you’re thinking Christmas at Walt Disney World is going to be all magic and miracles over the holidays at Walt Disney World, lets set a few things straight. There are crowds. Read about our strategies for dealing with Disney Holiday crowds, you’ll need them for that 60 minute wait for the bus. Being prepared can help you stay realistic with your expectations. We’ll be honest, we were caught off guard with just how much “crowd” would be showing up during the holidays. If you’re looking for all the Disney Christmas tips you’ll need to get through the holidays, check out our Christmas at Walt Disney World Tips post. Things like sketchy wi-fi, stroller parking, family drama and how to manage transportation are all in the post and it’s Must-Read if you are travelling during the season.
Your Walt Disney World Christmas List
Do you need to know what rides, restaurants, and shows are best during the holidays? Check out our Disney Holiday Checklist. To get you started, Christmas arrives at Walt Disney World Nov 6 and goes until Dec 30, 2020. Be sure to read up on Everything that’s New at Disney World for Christmas 2020. Let’s get ready to plan your holidays!
Disney Springs Christmas Trees
Disney Springs brings back the Christmas Tree eye candy this year, but not in “Christmas Tree Trail!” form. For 2020, all the trees will be scattered throughout Disney springs as part of the new Disney Springs Christmas Tree Stroll Scavenger Hunt Game. Grab this game and coupon book at the Welcome center and make a day of it! One of the nice things about Disney during the holidays is the shopping at Disney Springs, so it’s definitely worth the time! The whole place is decorated to the nines, has festive treats and trees that showcase some of our favorite Disney films!
Disney Resort Holiday Crawl
Decorations begin showing up at Disney Resorts during the third week of November. Nothing beats browsing the many Disney resorts with trees and decorations. You will not see anything like this anywhere else. With themed trees, larger than life decorations, and experiences that add to the magic, we would not go back to Disney during the holidays without building in time to visit the Disney Resorts. Check out our favorite strategy for seeing the Disney Resort Decorations at Walt Disney World and our favorite resorts that should be on your Disney must-do list.
Holiday Decorations at Walt Disney World
This year the holiday decorations in the Disney Parks are up from November 6- December 30, 2020. and sometimes if you’re lucky you can even still see a few through January 6, 2021. One of our favorite parks last year for Christmas decorations was Hollywood Studios. With fears of people staying away due to all the construction, they dressed up the park to the nines in a very kitschy 1950’s style. We absolutely loved it! Check out our whole post on Hollywood Studios at Christmas.
Disney Treats at All Four Parks
Holiday Snacks at Walt Disney World parks are starting to show up! Check out our New Holiday Snacks at Walt Disney World post for a full list of all the new gingerbread, peppermint, caramel, chocolate and more seasonal flavors you can find this year. If you’re visiting Walt Disney World for Christmas be sure to grab some of these special treats.
Minnie’s Holiday Dine at Hollywood and Vine
The Hollywood and Vine restaurant is the resident character breakfast buffet restaurant at Hollywood Studios, which may not thrill most people. BUT, its also the only place you get the fab five in costume for the holidays. Much like Akershus in Norway, Epcot the sub par menu can sometimes be worth it just to get all the characters in one place! The food was pretty good here, but the character interactions were the best! You won’t get the budget friendly meal like at Crystal Palace but it’s definitely worth the experience. Definitely worth a look if you’re looking for a family friendly restaurant in Hollywood Studios during the holidays.
Sunset Seasons Greetings at Hollywood Studios
One of our favorite parts of Christmas at Walt Disney World are the Holidays at Hollywood Studios. Projected on The Tower of Terror this digital show is wonderful. All tied into little stories being digitally shown on the billboards that line Sunset Boulevard, the Sunset Season show runs every 15 minutes on a loop all night long. Add in the fake falling snow and it’s a pretty magical Christmas experience. It’s also a major bonus that this experience doesn’t cost anything extra like Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (which has been cancelled for 2020).
Jingle Bell Jingle Bam at Hollywood Studios
” Enjoy a holiday spectacular when this jolly fireworks display returns in 2020.”
Another amazing digital show at Hollywood Studios Jingle Bell Jingle BAM! follows Prep and Landing on their mission to save Santa! It’s an earlier show at 830pm, so perfect for the families with kiddies that want to see something special before heading home.
International Festival of Holidays at Epcot
Much like all the festivals at Epcot the International Festival of Holidays includes 16 outdoor food kitchens featuring holiday food from around the world. We love this event simply because there are so many seasonal foods to try from so many countries. Plus you also get the bonus of storytellers in each World Showcase country that tells a holiday tale local to the culture. La Befana in Italy is one of our favorites!
Disney’s Festival of Holidays 2020 runs November 27, 2020 – December 30, 2020.
Be sure to check out the Disney Festival of Holidays Menus that include tons of seasonal foods across the World Showcase. As part of the festivities you can also tackle the Holiday Cookie Stroll by visiting 5 booths and getting a free cookie! Check out What’s New at Walt Disney World for Christmas for more info!
Disney Christmas Things Cancelled for 2020
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party CANCELLED 2020
But, if you were attending this party this year, this is our take on this hard ticketed event. While attending this party is a great way to ring in the season, at over 100 bucks a ticket, know that you can get snow, lights and seasonal treats at all the parks without dropping all your extra dimes. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom is a hard ticket event, which basically means you need an extra party ticket to get in, in addition to your regular day park ticket. While we are always up for the parties, this one is not something we do annual, but recommend you experience at least once. You can check out our tips for this party, but know the big one is that the holiday magic comes when you see the Parade from the front of Main Street, with the Castle in the background. Any other parade viewing location is sub-par. As far as the party itself is concerned, we like the Halloween one better and it’s cheaper. But if you need to see what the fuss is all about, check out our Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Parade Photo Tour.
The Candlelight Processional at Epcot is CANCELLED for 2020
The Candlelight Processional at EPCOT has been cancelled for 2020. Normally this event takes place at America Gardens, in the American Adventure Pavilion. When we originally heard about this event we weren’t really clamoring at the bit to save a seat. The Processional comprises of a celebrity narrator reading the Christmas story from the bible, a choir, music and even trumpeters all with a backdrop of gorgeous lights and display. Now, we know how long it takes to read this story and truthfully we were wavering on committing the time. But Oh My Gosh, this event is so worth the time!
We had the honor of hearing Warwick Davis tell this story and he did such a magnificent job! If we lived in Florida I think our family would use this event to kick off the season each year, because it holds that kind of powerful magic. It’s moving, beautiful, majestic and you just want everyone you know to see it, because its indescribable. Definitely build this one into your holiday plans if you can. And if you want a seat in the theater, plan to go to the latest show so you have a less of a line to wait in. Check out everything you need to know about Epcot’s Candlelight Processional during Christmas.