In this post, we provide an overview of Christmas at Walt Disney World. Particularly, this post covers how Disney transforms for Christmas, including the decorations, events, and merchandise you’ll only find during the Christmas season. This post does not cover tips for planning a trip during the Christmas season.
Links throughout give more specific information about Christmas throughout the resort, so if you have questions, click through! Now…let’s see what Christmas at Walt Disney World is like!
Christmas Across Walt Disney World Resort
During the holidays, almost the entirety of Walt Disney World is decorated for Christmas. We cover the parks, hotels, and Disney Springs in more detail below (and even more in the linked posts). But you’ll notice touches throughout your experience. Even Disney’s Magical Express gets in on the fun:
Besides things specific to the individual parks and hotels, there is a line of holiday merchandise available across the entire resort. You’ll find all manner of items—t-shirts, spirit jerseys, hoodies, mugs, dish towels, ornaments, figurines, and so on—throughout the resort. Here’s a big gallery of some of the holiday merchandise:
Christmas at the Walt Disney World Parks
We’ll start with an overview of Christmas at the parks. Links open in new tabs.
Christmas at Magic Kingdom
Magic Kingdom is home to Walt Disney World’ featured Christmas event—Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. This ticketed event is held on select evenings throughout November and December. It features unique entertainment, snacks (including free cookies and beverages), and character greetings.
Magic Kingdom is also decorated heavily for Christmas beginning in early November. In 2018, most decorations went up between November 1 and November 3. Through that same link, you’ll find information on Magic Kingdom’s holiday merchandise, snack, and show offerings.
Finally, Magic Kingdom offers two unique holiday experiences. First, Jungle Cruise is transformed to the holiday-themed “Jingle Cruise.” Second, the nightly show “A Frozen Holiday Wish” is added to the entertainment lineup at the park.
Christmas at Epcot
Epcot doesn’t celebrate Christmas, per se. Rather, it hosts the Epcot international Festival of the Holidays. This festival includes Christmas decorations at most pavilions, as well as special holiday food and entertainment. The highlight of the festival is the Candlelight Processional, a celebrity-narrated Christmas show held in the American Gardens Theatre.
Christmas at Hollywood Studios
Hollywood Studios’s Christmas celebration is “Flurry of Fun.” We’re huge fans of this celebration. It occurs throughout November and December, and is a park-wide celebration. During the day, there are unique food and merchandise offerings, decorations, and character greetings. At night the fun really begins, as Sunset Boulevard is taken over by Sunset Seasons Greetings.
Christmas at Animal Kingdom
Animal Kingdom is the only park without an explicit holiday celebration. There are great decorations throughout the park, though. The UP! bird show also features a Diwali storyline during this period.
Christmas at the Walt Disney World Hotels
All the Walt Disney World hotels get unique decorations, including trees, during the Christmas season. Several hotels also get gingerbread structures of various types. Grand Floridian has the large, walk-in gingerbread house. Beach Club has a gingerbread carrousel. BoardWalk has a gingerbread Boardwalk facade.
Several hotels also have unique holiday merchandise, though honestly we haven’t been able to pin down any consistent pattern for this. Ornaments seem widely prevalent, but we’ve also seen mugs at a few hotels.
Christmas at Disney Springs
Like the rest of Walt Disney World, Disney Springs is heavily decorated for Christmas. Most every establishment has basic decorations, and several have their own themed trees, such as this one over at The Edison.
There are a variety of holiday events that take place, and we’ve gone ahead and grabbed the schedule for you:
If you want one place to shop for all your Disney holiday merchandise, you can’t beat Disney Springs, particularly World of Disney. But the highlight of Christmas at Disney Springs is definitely the Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail, which features 25 Disney-themed trees. You’ll also find the Santa greeting over by the Tree Trail. Click through this gallery for pictures of each of the 25 trees!
What’s your favorite part of Christmas at Walt Disney World?
All Your Other Disney World Planning Questions Answered
Don't be overwhelmed by Disney World planning! Take a second to check out our most important content and you'll not only be an expert, but you'll save big $$$ along the way.
Just starting out? Check out our Walt Disney World planning guide! If you're still picking dates, we've got everything you need to know about Disney crowd calendars. For picking your hotel, check out our Walt Disney World hotels guide.
When it comes time to book, we've got you covered with posts on how to book cheap flights, how to get the best deal on your Disney hotel, and where to find discount Disney World tickets. And of course everyone wants to know whether or not they should get a Disney World dining plan!
Don't forget to master your Disney World FastPass+ strategy a few months in advance. We'll keep you out of long lines so you can maximize the magical time in the parks! We've got park-specific guides as well: Magic Kingdom FastPass, Epcot FastPass, Animal Kingdom FastPass, and Hollywood Studios FastPass.
Know what to ride with our guides to: Magic Kingdom rides, Hollywood Studios rides, Epcot rides, and Animal Kingdom rides! Plus learn about the water parks with our guide to Blizzard Beach and our guide to Typhoon Lagoon!
Finally, before you head out, be sure to check out our to-the-point packing list, 10 essentials you forget to pack for every Disney trip. And if you're interested in saving, there's no better list than our 53 Ways to Save on your Disney trip from start to finish.