Walt Disney World is extra magical at Christmastime every year. We are always super excited for all the tried and true Christmas favorites returning to the park, but it’s the new stuff that gets us. From new snacks and the new Festival of Holidays Menus to new experiences, you’ll want to take note of all that is happening this year. Check out the list of what’s new at Walt Disney World for Christmas.
- 1 When Does Christmas Start at Walt Disney World?
- 2 Disney at Christmas Time
- 3 New Holiday Treats
- 4 Animal Kingdom at Christmas
- 5 Hollywood Studios at Christmas
- 6 Magic Kingdom at Christmas
- 7 EPCOT at Christmas
- 8 Disney Springs at Christmas
- 9 Disney Resorts at Christmas
- 10 Seasonal Merchandise at Disney Parks
When Does Christmas Start at Walt Disney World?
This means resort decorations, specialty seasonal snacks, and more! Check out all the plans in each Disney Park, Disney Springs, and Disney Resorts below! Christmas at Walt Disney World happens November 12 – December 30, 2021.
What are the Christmas Hours at Walt Disney World?
Walt Disney World Christmas hours vary across the parks. Here are the published hours for the Holidays at Disney World. For updated times, special events, and changes see the Walt Disney World 5-Day Calendar.
Disney at Christmas Time
As the holiday season fast approaches, there is so much to look forward to! To get you started here are ways to beat the Disney Holiday Crowds so that your vacation can stay magical. Christmas activities begin the second week of November in almost all the parks and resorts. Check out our post on the Best Time to Visit Disney World during the holidays.
New Holiday Treats
New at Walt Disney World for Christmas are Christmas snacks! Complete with our favorite flavors of the season, check out all the New Holiday Snacks at Walt Disney World.
Animal Kingdom at Christmas
You can see life-sized puppets, rooftop luminaries, bird lanterns, and more to give you that wintry feeling at Animal Kingdom for the holidays. Here are all the things that are returning this year and a few new things to add to the mix!
Featuring Disney Characters in their holiday best keep an eye out for Festive Flotillas. These floats will appear throughout the day for festive fun to look forward to.
- Santa Claus Festive Flotilla
- The big man himself will be floating on a Festival Flotilla down Discovery River as part of the Animal Kingdom Celebrations.
- Donald’s Dino-Bash Festive Flotilla
- See Donald Duck, Daisy, and Launchpad from Ducktales happy with holiday cheer while sailing Discovery River.
- Chip & Dale’s Festive Flotilla
- Don’t miss Chip ‘n’ Dale grooving to the holiday music as they float down Discovery River for the festive season.
- Mickey and Friends Festive Flotilla
- Mickey and Friends, in their best safari holiday gear, can be seen from bridges, and alongside Discovery River throughout the day!
- Discovery Island Drummers Festive Flotilla
- Listen for the Island drummers cruising along the river playing fun and festive tunes.
Wintry Tales on the Tree of Life Holiday Edition
This digital show on the Tree of Life showcases woodland animals, a holiday music score, and shimmering magical scenes that honor nature and the spirit of the holidays.
Hollywood Studios at Christmas
Hollywood Studios at Christmas is one of our favorite parks to visit. In addition to everything new you also get that feeling of an old-time holiday! Read more about why we think you must visit Hollywood Studios for the Holidays.
Minnie’s Holiday Dine at Hollywood and Vine
Minnie’s Holiday Dine at Hollywood and Vine Is all about Yuletide Dining and all our favorite Disney characters dressed up for the holidays. You can hang out with Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Daisy in their Christmas attire. And this experience includes Santa Goofy! Read more about Minnie’s Holiday Dine.
You can catch Disney characters driving through the parks for the season with holiday music and fun decorations in tow.
- Santa Claus Motorcade
- If you’re looking for Santa Claus you’ll find him driving in his little red convertible loaded with presents. And of course, an entourage of Elves will be on hand to help!
The Hollywood Holiday Tower at Hollywood Studios
This Flurry of Fun at Hollywood Studios includes three elements of the holidays right on Sunset Boulevard. Sunset Seasons Greetings is a digital show on the Tower of Terror featuring festive holiday projections like the building of a gingerbread house, or tumbling Christmas gifts. Featuring snowy Arendelle, a Muppets gingerbread masterpiece, a Toy Story toy hotel, and a Dickensian village inspired by “Mickey’s Christmas Carol.”
You can also grab some cocoa and watch the street side billboards showcase new holiday stories. From classic holiday Mickey cartoons to the Muppets these gigantic billboard televisions will transport you to the good old days. And we couldn’t call it a flurry without a little bit of snow. Snow falls nightly on Sunset Boulevard to set the holiday mood. This is one of our favorite FREE experiences at Walt Disney World for the holidays. Shows on the Tower of Terror usually begin around 6 pm and loop throughout the evening.
The Toy Story Land Christmas Overlay
The overlay features holiday tunes streaming on Alien Swirling Saucers, jingle bell sounds on Slinky Dog Dash, and Woody, Buzz, and Jesse in some spruced-up holiday wear. Plus a 10 foot tall Hamm sugar cookie. Be on the lookout! Toy Story Land will also get decorated with popcorn strung around the place in classic Christmas fashion.
Magic Kingdom at Christmas
Disney’s Very Merriest After Hours | November 8- December 21
Christmas at Walt Disney World just got a whole lot merrier! A brand new Disney After Hours Event is on the way this holiday season! Disney’s Very Merriest After Hours will open with select dates starting November 8 and run through December 21, 2021. And will require an additional ticket. Check out all the details about this new Disney Christmas After Hours event!
Cinderella Castle Christmas Projection Show
The castle will NOT have Dreamlights this year, instead, show a kaleidoscope of colors that will make the perfect backdrop for your holiday photos at Magic Kingdom. These start at nightfall and have several scenes to watch.
Main Street Philharmonic and Toy Soldier March
Check out the Magic Kingdom Toy Soldiers as they join the Main Street Philharmonic marching through the park! Perfect to help you get in the holiday spirit.
Disney Christmas Character Cavalcades
Magic Kingdom welcomes our favorite Disney characters in their holiday best on float cavalcades in 2021. Be sure to catch a glimpse of your favorite characters throughout the day in the parks!
- Santa’s Christmas Cavalcade
- Keep an eye out for Santa Claus and his reindeer as part of the Once Upon a Christmastime merriment!
- A Royal Christmas Processional
- Get ready for the Princess float! Gliding along on a beautiful crystal castle float our favorite Disney Princesses are dressed for the season.
- Mickey’s Holiday Cavalcade
- Check out Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse on top of a Christmas Tree float as they sail through the park with friends for the holidays.
- Goofy’s Scrumptious Cavalcade
- Goofy and friends wave and have fun along to the music as this cavalcade rolls through the park from Frontierland to Main Street USA.
Check out the Dapper Dans barbershop quartet cruising down Main Street, U.S.A. on a horse-drawn trolley, singing all your favorite holiday tunes.
Jingle Cruise on the Jungle Cruise
One of our favorite rides, Jungle Cruise, gets a holiday overlay at Walt Disney World every year. With decorations scattered throughout this exotic cruise, you’ll also get a slew of new holiday stories. Jingle Cruise Skippers journeying home for the holidays share tales of holiday mayhem and family drama. Complete with a holiday lineup of pun-filled jokes.
EPCOT at Christmas
During Christmas, World Showcase gets dressed up for the holidays with the Festival of Holidays! From amazing new foods to try to fun merchandise and holiday performances galore, here’s everything happening at Epcot for the holidays.
Festival of Holidays | November 26- December 30, 2021
Holiday kitchens return to the World Showcase promenade. So you can look forward to all our favorite festival dishes, like Slow-roasted Turkey with Stuffing at the American Holiday Table.
Festival of Holidays Cookie Stroll
Visit all 5 official Cookie Stroll locations, collect a stamp in your passport at each, and head to the Sweets & Treats Holiday Kitchen to receive a FREE Santa Mickey Sugar Cookie. You can also grab an adorable Holiday Chip and Dale Cookie Jar for the Festival of Holidays to collect your cookies as you go.
Promenades featuring our favorite EPCOT characters in holiday outfits will peruse the park throughout the day during the season.
- Santa Claus Promenade Santa Claus himself, and maybe Mrs. Claus too, will be circling World Showcase.
- Mickey and Friends Holiday World Tour Be sure to catch Mickey Mouse and friends traveling the World Showcase through the Festival of Holidays for Christmas.
- Frozen Holiday Promenade Sisters Anna and Elsa are traveling from country to country throughout the World Showcase!
- Princess Promenade features our favorite Disney Royalty in their best holiday dresses taking a cruise around World Showcase at EPCOT during the season!
JOYFUL! A Celebration of the Season | World Showplace
A celebration of music to bring the songs of Christmas and Kwanzaa to Disney includes Gospel, R&B and holiday songs performed by the ‘Joyful!’ vocal ensemble.
Voices of Liberty – Voices of the Season | American Gardens Theatre
A cappella holiday music sets the tone for the season at the America pavilion. Dressed as Dicken’s Carolers this is a great way to get into the classic feeling of Christmas.
Las Posadas with Mariachi Cobre | American Gardens Theatre
Grab a seat at American Gardens theater to watch the colorful dancers and the band, Las Posadas, celebrating Mexican Christmas traditions to kick off the season.
JAMMitors | Canada Pavilion
Hang out to see the percussion players with a whole new set of holiday tunes perfect for the Mill Stage in Canada!
Disney Springs at Christmas
Christmas at Disney Springs runs the second week in November through the first week in January. And has loads of holiday happenings you don’t need to step foot in the parks to experience.
- Santa’s Winter Watercade features Santa and Mrs. Claus sailing around Disney Springs, taking a break from the busy holiday season. You can catch the watercade throughout the day, so keep an eye out!
- Elaborately Decorated Christmas Trees will be placed throughout Disney Springs.
- Magical Snowfall at Town Center, West Side, and The Landing.
- Jock Lindsay’s Holiday Bar is new this year, as the restaurant transforms with a new holiday-themed overlay and limited-time menu with seasonal favorites.
- Christmas Tree Stroll Holiday Scavenger Hunt allows guests to go on a quest across Disney Springs in this new holiday family tradition. Chances are the Christmas trees across Disney Springs will be included in the fun!
Disney Resorts at Christmas
Be sure to check out all the happenings at Disney Resorts at Christmas this year. Disney Resort decorations arrive usually the week of Thanksgiving. While the holiday crowds at Disney are lowest in early November if you’re hoping to see Disney Resort Decorations, you may not see them until the 3rd week in November.
Trees and Decorations at Disney Resorts
One of our favorite things about Disney Resorts at Christmas is the Christmas decorations. And you can bet that even while other things may be canceled, every Disney Resort will still be decorated and have a tree of some kind. This we know for sure.
Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground
If you’re looking for something off the beaten path then Fort Wilderness Resort and Campgrounds is for you! Head to this resort for a drive to check out Christmas lights at the campsites, cabins, and RV sites. Just rent a golf cart, get cocoa and enjoy the lights! This is by far one of our favorite ways to get in some Christmas decoration time while at Disney.
Gingerbread Houses at Select Disney Resorts
The Gingerbread House Tradition at Walt Disney World is an important, and festive one! Check out which resorts around Walt Disney World host a special Gingerbread Display and be sure to add them to your Disney Christmas Resort Crawl!
- Where to Find Gingerbread Displays at Walt Disney World
- Celebrating 20 years of Gingerbread at Beach Club
Seasonal Merchandise at Disney Parks
Just like every year before we can count on seasonal merchandise in the parks, so be sure to stop by a gift shop to see everything new!
What’s New at Walt Disney World for Christmas?
So there you have it! Everything happening at Walt Disney World for Christmas this year. So far! Let us know your favorites for the holidays at Disney! And be sure to check out all the Free Things at Disney During the Holidays!