Planning a trip to Disney World at Christmas? In this post, we’re answering the most frequently asked questions regarding all things Disney!
While Walt Disney World at Christmas is truly magical, planning and prepping can be overwhelming, especially if it’s your first visit. In this post, we’re answering some of the most asked holiday questions!
For more details about all that Disney offers during Christmas, check out our Holiday Happenings post!
What’s new for 2023?
Disney Jollywood Nights
Dates: November 11 to December 20, 2023
Step into a shimmering holiday scene with glitz and glamour! This brand-new holiday extravaganza is a separately-ticket event held on select nights in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Enjoy exclusive entertainment, food offerings, specially-curated holiday beverages, and the return of Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! nighttime spectacular. You can find more information and purchase tickets here.
And if you have not visited in a while, you will experience Disney’s newest attractions like TRON Lightcycle Run, Remy Ratatouille Adventure, and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. Guardians is officially my FAVORITE ride at Disney World!
What are Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party dates?
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a ticketed event at Magic Kingdom that takes place during select nights, starting November 9 and ending on December 22, 2023. With admission, guests are treated to a night of Yuletide shows and dance parties, meet and greets with favorite Disney characters donning their best holiday outfits, event-exclusive parades and firework shows, and unlimited cookies and hot chocolate. And, of course, you can still enjoy the rides and shops! Guests can enter the park early at 4:00 PM, and the event kicks off at 7:00 PM.
When does Disney World decorate for Christmas?
The festivities begin November 1st at Magic Kingdom, with the park being fully decorated by the 3rd. The decorations at Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios are usually completed by November 6th. Epcot and the resorts are decorated throughout the month of November.
The Christmas decorations at Magic Kingdom always go up first because of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, which starts on November 9th this year (2023). Cast members transform the park into a winter wonderland overnight! There is an amazing video of the process that you can watch here.
When does Disney take down Christmas decorations?
Typically, Disney takes down Christmas decorations the week following the New Year. Expect all holiday decor to be gone by Walt Disney World Marathon weekend, which will be hosted next year on January 3-7, 2024.
What are the busiest times at Disney World during the holidays?
Bookmark the week of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s.
When is the best time to visit Disney World during the holidays?
In years past, the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas would be considered the slowest time to visit Disney World at Christmas. In particular, the first two weeks of December are especially nice because they’re between two holidays, with families either deciding to go during the week of Thanksgiving or their child’s school winter break.
Does Disney World have a Christmas parade?
Two Disney World Christmas parades come to mind:
- Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, which takes place during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom, is the most guaranteed way to see a Christmas-themed parade. It runs the same days as the party, which are November 9 through December 22, 2023.
- Disney Parks Magical Christmas Day Parade, which is filmed in the parks in mid-November. Check it out on Christmas Day on ABC!
What are the Disney World parade schedules?
Parade times can vary, so double-check on the My Disney Experience app, Times Guide, or ask a Cast Member to confirm. In general and compared to recent years, the parade times are as follows:
- Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade will run twice nightly during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at 8:30 and 11:00 PM.
- The Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade will also be held during the last week of December, including Christmas Day. In years past, the parade would be held at noon and 3:45 PM.
Although not Christmas-themed, the Magic Kingdom has two daily parades:
- Festival of Fantasy parade (performed at noon and 3:00 PM)
- Disney Adventure Friends Cavalcade (performed multiple times a day)
If rain is near, no worries! When the weather proves to be too much for the parade floats, the Rainy Day Character Cavalcade is performed instead.
Are there Disney Christmas shows?
Absolutely! Disney knows how to keep you entertained, and this year brings new stage shows, parades, and fireworks! Though not all are Christmas-themed, you won’t want to miss out!
- NEW for 2023, Luminous: The Symphony of Us starts on December 5, 2023 in Epcot. The World Showcase Lagoon lights up with fireworks, music, and lights to tunes from the Disney songbook, reminding us that we’re all alike.
- Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks show at Magic Kingdom is part of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, running on select nights from November 9 through December 22, 2023.
- EPCOT Forever is a new nighttime spectacular in celebration of Disney’s 100th anniversary celebration.
- Wonderful World of Animation, a projection at Hollywood Studios that takes you on an incredible journey through more than 90 years of Disney and Pixar animation.
- Electrical Water Pageant happens every night on Seven Seas Lagoon. It features twinkling, whimsical sea creatures that float down the lagoon while Disney tunes play.
- Fantasmic is an extravagant outdoor musical fireworks show that is a must-see over in Hollywood Studios!
As for Christmas-themed shows:
- Disney will display nightly projections of all four park icons (Cinderella Castle, Spaceship Earth, the Hollywood Tower Hotel, and the Tree of Life). These seasonal images will rotate between the Beacon of Magic projections.
- At Magic Kingdom, the Dapper Dans switch it up by singing holiday tunes, and The Main Street Trolley Show becomes Christmas-themed! Additionally, if you attend Magic Kingdom’s Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, there will be many entertainment and shows throughout the event.
- When visiting EPCOT, check out the storytellers and Candlelight Processional at the International Festival of the Holidays.
- Animal Kingdom has a beautiful puppet show called Merry Menagerie, which happens twice a day. Also, keep your eye on the Discovery River – you never know who you may see floating on the waterways!
- Last but not least, keep your eye out for cavalcades, which are surprise mini-parades. Many have ended, but I expect to see a few pop up around the parks during the holidays!
Where can I watch fireworks in Disney World at Christmas?
Where can we find Santa Claus?
Ho, ho ho! Santa Claus travels to all four theme parks and Disney Springs during Christmastime at Disney World. You can find him at:
- Inside the gazebo behind Liberty Square’s Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe AND in Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade at Magic Kingdom.
- Joined with Mrs. Claus at EPCOT’s American Adventure pavilion.
- Cruising the streets in a bright red convertible down Hollywood Studios’ aptly named Hollywood Boulevard.
- Floating on a festive boat on Animal Kingdom’s Discovery River, with Yuletide tunes accompanying him.
- Meeting visitors individually at Disney Springs’ Once Upon a Toy store.
If Santa isn’t available, his buddy Santa Goofy will be there to greet guests. Lastly, if you are staying at the Swan and Dolphin, visit Santa as it is his “favorite resort!”
Does it snow during Christmas at Disney World?
YES, it sure does! Disney is known to bring the magic, and who else could make it “snow” in middle Florida? Guests can dance in snow flurries at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, during the Sunset Seasons Greetings projection show at Hollywood Studios, and in the evenings at Disney Springs. If you become snowflake-obsessed and want to spend another day in the Florida “snow,” venture over to the Disney-created community of Celebration and visit their annual event, Now Snowing.
Where can I find gingerbread at Disney World?
You must be talking about Disney’s world-famous gingerbread creations! You can marvel at these masterpieces at four locations:
- The life-size gingerbread house at The Grand Floridian (you can also purchase fun gingerbread items!)
- The working gingerbread carousel at The Beach Club Resort
- Gingerbread village and train within The Yacht Club’s lobby
- EPCOT’s American Adventure Gingerbread Display features iconic American miniatures within the American Adventure Rotunda.
- The Contemporary Resort has a beautiful Cinderella Castle gingerbread display in front of its iconic mosaic.
- Sometimes, The Boardwalk Inn and Wilderness Lodge have gingerbread creations – be on the lookout!