Christmas at Walt Disney World (2018)

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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There are a variety of holiday events that take place, and we’ve gone ahead and grabbed the schedule for you:

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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?