In my last post, I talked about Christmas-related things you can do in Walt Disney World year-round. For today and Thursday’s post, I’m going to try to cover all the Christmasy things you can do there during the Christmas season. It’s a long list, so that’s why it’s going to be two posts. Also, there’s no way you can do this all in one day. So, pick and choose your favorites. I’m going to start with the more common experiences today, and then highlight some more unusual ones on Thursday.
So, here are six things to do in Walt Disney World if you love Christmas—and you happen to be there in November or December.
1. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
The obvious place to start is Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (MVMCP). This is a separate ticketed event that takes place on select nights in November and December in Magic Kingdom. It is pricey ($60+ for adults), but you do get unique entertainment and the opportunity to be in the park with lighter crowds. I’ve never actually gotten a chance to go, so I can’t speak from experience, but here’s what you get for the price of admission (per Disney’s website), with my comments:
“The enchanted Castle Dream Lights on Cinderella Castle”
As I describe below, you can actually see these any evening this time of year.
“Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade, complete with a special appearance by Santa Claus himself”
I’ve actually seen this parade without being at MVMCP; they run it during regular park hours for about a week before and after Christmas. It is a great parade.
“An exclusive holiday fireworks extravaganza — Holiday Wishes: Celebrate the Spirit of the Season”
Like the parade, it’s not exactly exclusive. I’ve seen these fireworks when I was there a few days before Christmas. It was a pretty spectacular show. Here’s a brief video I took. It’s not great quality, but you get the idea of the holiday flavor. My favorite part is at the end; you can hear my four-year-old niece shrieking, “Erica, take a picture!” (She was very into cameras at the time, and I had told her she could tell me whenever she wanted me to take a picture of something. She was also in a stage of forgetting the “Auntie” before my name.)
“Live entertainment featuring Disney Characters”
I also saw one of these shows (“Mickey’s ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas”) during regular park hours the week before Christmas in 2008. It was a cute show, but it didn’t hold all of the toddlers’ interest. That show has since been replaced.
“Meet and greet opportunities throughout Magic Kingdom theme park with some of your favorite Disney Characters”
This is a good feature of the party, being able to meet characters when crowds are lighter.
“Complimentary cookies and hot cocoa”
“A magical snow fall on Main Street, U.S.A.”
This would be lovely to see.
“Many of the most popular Magic Kingdom attractions”
Another benefit: going on attractions when queues are shorter.
2. Cinderella Castle holiday shows
During the holiday season, Cinderella Castle is covered in icicle-type lights, and there’s a lighting show each evening called “Cinderella’s Holiday Wish.” New this year, there’s also a holiday version of “The Magic, The Memories, and You!” that makes the castle look like it’s made of gingerbread. I’ve seen photos of the effect, and it’s surprisingly realistic. That show can be seen any night that MVMCP is not scheduled.
3. The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights
As I mentioned in my post on snow, this light show runs from early November to early January. In the evenings, every 15 minutes or so, you can enjoy Christmas music with synchronized lights, and a sprinkling of snow at the end.
4. World Showcase Holiday Storytellers
If you’ve been to Epcot during the holiday season, you’ve probably seen the holiday displays in each of the pavilions. There’s usually a scroll nearby describing the winter holidays celebrated in that country. Several times a day, storytellers, such as Pere Noel in France and Los Tres Reyes in Mexico, comes out and talks about their holiday traditions. You can see photos and videos over at AllEars.Net.
5. Candlelight Processional
This show is definitely on my to-do list. If your ideal Christmas focuses more on Jesus in the manger than on Santa Claus, then you’ll appreciate the more religious nature of this show. Celebrity guests read the story of the nativity, and an orchestra and choir perform traditional carols.
6. Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade
During the holiday season, the usual parade at Disney’s Animal Kingdom (Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade) is replaced with Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade. You’ll see Mickey and friends in a combination of jungle and holiday gear. Disney’s website promises, “You’ll go wild as your spirit is lifted with a merry mix of traditional holiday wonderment, colorful creatures and festive music in this joyous celebration.” (Have I mentioned how I get a kick out of how Disney’s website describes things?)
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Usually this is where I tell you how to do everything on the list all in one day, but the timing of these experiences makes that pretty difficult, if not impossible. If you have multiple days, pick one park per day and do all the holiday activities there. If you’ve only got a day or two, you’ll have to choose the experiences that sound most festive to you.
Have you done any of these holiday activities? What was your favorite?