Ilana Robinson | @disneymom2.0
It is officially Holiday season at Walt Disney World! You can spot Christmas trees, wreaths and garland, as well as a giant Menorah in the parks this time of year. Here are our top 5 ways to celebrate the Holidays at Disney World (though if we are being honest, it’s really tough to widdle it down to just 5)! And keep scrolling for tips on where you can meet Santa Claus at Disney!
Try all of the Holiday Snacks!
Never ever pass up the opportunity to snack on festive treats when at the parks. You can now find Holiday treats in all of the parks, and some of the Disney resorts! Some snacks are obviously festive, like a Santa Mickey cookie or cupcake, and others are more subtle - like sampling popular festive cookies throughout the World Showcase on the Epcot Cookie Stroll. Either way, all of the treats are so delicious it’s tough to say no.
Shop the Disney Holiday Merchandise!
Christmas and Hanukkah merchandise is currently being sold at all of the Walt Disney World parks, and some resorts, too. Always check back at shops like the Emporium on Main Street and Creations Shop in Epcot, because new items are added throughout the Holiday season!
Don’t forget if you attend Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom (a special ticketed event), you can shop exclusive merchandise ONLY SOLD AT THE PARTIES.
And while much of the regular Holiday merchandise is also found on Shop Disney’s website, there are sometimes items in the parks or resorts that simply do not make it online, or sell out. Plus, right now (until the end of the month) if you shop in stores at Walt Disney World, and don’t forget to use any discounts you may have (Annual Passholder or DVC).
Attend Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party!
There are still tickets available to attend a Disney Christmas Party this season - yes, this party requires the purchase of a separate ticket, but a party ticket does allow you to enter Magic Kingdom a few hours before the party officially begins! Partygoers can witness a very special Christmas parade featuring Mickey and Minnie on their classic Christmas tree float (don’t forget to spot the train on the bottom of the tree circling it). Other characters in the parade include Goofy, Max, Clarabelle, Olaf, Buzz Lightyear, and many others.
If you do decide to attend the party there are many party exclusive treats, Disney costumed character meet and greets, Holiday stage show, the Christmas fireworks, a dance party, special ride overlays, and other fun experiences throughout Magic Kingdom!
Christmas Tree Stroll at Disney Springs!
The Christmas Tree Stroll at Disney Springs is one of my favorite events on Disney property at Holiday time. You can collect a map upon entering Disney Springs that will show you the location of each of the decorated Christmas trees spread throughout the property. Each tree is decorated with a different theme! It’s a great way to explore all of Disney Springs and see all of the creatively decorated trees - the perfect activity to get you in a festive mood.
Attend Festival of the Holidays!
Epcot’s International Festival of the Holidays is the shortest festival at Epcot, but packs a lot of entertainment, food options, and festive spirit into a short period of time. The festival is currently running through December 30th and features Holiday Storytellers (actors who reenact the story of Christmas or Hanukkah) on stage within each country in the World Showcase.
There are seemingly endless food booths throughout the festival, too, featuring foods native to the country that is represented by each booth. For example, the L’Chaim booth (located between Morocco and France pavilions) offers Potato Latkes, a traditional Hanukkah food, for guests to try. The Japan pavilion has a Sushi Tree (quite literally Sushi in the shape of a Christmas Tree - with a star at the top), available for purchase. And, as mentioned above, there is the cookie stroll - as if I need another reason to eat cookies!
Bonus Activity - Experience all of the Holiday Decor and where you can see Santa
The holiday decor at each of the Disney parks is unique and special to experience:
Magic Kingdom houses the traditional Christmas decor - decked out in red and green, and with an enormous Christmas tree as you enter the park - it’s a sight to behold this time of year. Unfortunately the only place to meet Santa in Magic Kingdom is during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.
Epcot has a tree that nearly touches the sky, with an blue angel placed at the top. Each country has their pavilion decorated in traditional decor for that region. You can meet Santa at the Odyssey Pavilion and take a photo with him on his sleigh!
Animal Kingdom has a tree right before the entrance of the park (you actually do not need to enter the park to visit it), and very special friends that greet you as you enter - the Merry Menagerie - as well as decor that lines the roof of the shops that are all animal themed. Santa can be spotted on his flotilla that periodically passes through the waterways at Animal Kingdom.
Hollywood Studios is decked out in vintage Christmas decor and, to me, is the most interestingly decorated park of all. There are stars along Sunset Boulevard, Echo Lake is full of ornaments, Gertie looks festive in a Santa Hat, and there are statues all around, including reindeer! Santa can be seen in his every own Merry Motorcade. Check the My Disney Experience app for the parade times!
Blizzard Beach is also offering a Santa meet and greet, Beach Santa, when you first enter the water park.
Disney Parks really do go above and beyond at Holiday time. It’s a wonderful time of year to visit the parks and partake in the festive activities. If you haven’t ever visited Walt Disney World during the Holiday season - I highly recommend it!
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