Holiday Activities & Events
Early November, 2014 - Early January, 2015
(Dates for specific events will vary)
2014 information will be added as it becomes available
2013 Holiday Activities & Events Info
November 8, 2013 - January 5, 2014
There's just so much to do at Walt Disney World during the Holiday season. In Addition to special parades and entertainment, dazzling decorations, holiday treats and themed fireworks in the parks, there's lots to do at the resorts and Downtown Disney too. So let's get started - it's going to take a while to tell you about it all!
Jump to these Holiday Events:
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- It's the Busiest Time of Year
- Magic Kingdom Events
- Epcot Events
- Disney's Hollywood Studios
- Animal Kingdom Events
- Downtown Disney Events
- Holiday Tours
- Holiday Dining
- Holidays at the Resorts
- Holidays at the Swan & Dolphin Hotels
- Religious Services
- Holiday Merchandise & Special Offers
- Exclusive Member-Only Holiday Parties & Events
- Other Holiday Events
Here's a quick Walt Disney World Resort holiday overview
It's the Busiest Time of Year
The week between Christmas and the New Year at Walt Disney World Resort is not for "first-time" vacationers or those who think it's just about the rides or the claustrophobic. That being said, it can be a most wonderful time of the year - if you plan ahead, know what to expect and come mentally prepared for the challenges.
For the past few years, the Magic Kingdom park in particular has had to close its gates due to capacity crowds the week between Christmas and New Year. In addition, the Transportation and Ticket Center Parking lots that service the Magic Kingdom have, on occasion, reached capacity. Guests arriving at the toll plaza of the Magic Kingdom Park on such days are then directed to alternate parking at Epcot where they have the option to park and then use Resort transportation (monorails and/or buses) to return to Magic Kingdom. Parking at all of the monorail and Epcot area resorts is severely restricted beginning a few days prior to Christmas and continuing until after the New Year. High levels of traffic on New Years Eve night typically cause road closures and traffic pattern changes around property after midnight, but in particular around Downtown Disney.
Tips for handling crowds at particular parks or during particular times during the holiday period can be found throughout our holiday guide. Those who would like to avoid the crowds as much as possible can still take in much of what Walt Disney World has to offer during the holidays by visiting any time beginning early December, with some holiday offerings starting as early as the second week of November. You'll find the dates for most holiday attractions noted in our guide below.
Extra Park Hours: The Magic Kingdom will have extended hours many days through December, particularly after the last Mickey Very Merry Christmas Party. Look for Extra Magic Hours every day in the morning for Resort guests from December 22 until the end of the month. The park is usually open later at night the week between Christmas and New Year's Eve with regular closing ranging from 12 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Special Ticketed Event: Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party
November Dates: 8, 11, 14, 15, 17, 21, 22
December: 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 20
Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime Parade: This parade and several other holiday events kick off on nights Mickey's Very Merry Christmas party is held in the Magic Kingdom, exclusively for the enjoyment of partygoers. The general public debut of "Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime Parade" will take place after the last Mickey's Very Merry Christmas party is held. The public performance of Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime Parade will run twice daily from December 21, 2013 through January 4, 2014 at 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.. Watch for toy soldiers, gingerbread boys and dancing reindeer, Disney characters in their holiday attire, and of course, there will be the wonderful aromas of holiday baking as the songs of the season fill the air. Santa makes an appearance at the end of the parade!
Cinderella's Holiday Wish & Castle Dream Lights: Fairy Godmother, Cinderella and friends take to the Cinderella Castle stage daily at dusk for the short Cinderella's Holiday Wish show, in which Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Goofy argue about how the castle should be decorated. When Fairy Godmother waves her wand to settle the dispute, what follows is "Castle Dream Lights", featuring over 200,000 twinkling lights draping the castle to create a shimmering ice palace. Cinderella's Holiday Wish and Castle Dream Lights can be seen in the Magic Kingdom each evening through December 31, 2013 at 6:15 p.m. and is available for all Magic Kingdom guests to enjoy.
Holiday Wishes-Celebrate the Spirit of the Season: During "Holiday Wishes," Cinderella Castle beams brightly as the evening is capped with eye-popping fireworks, over the castle and around the perimeter of the park- all orchestrated to classic holiday tunes. This fireworks show kicks off on nights Mickey's Very Merry Christmas party is held in the Magic Kingdom, exclusively for the enjoyment of partygoers. The general public debut of "Holiday Wishes" takes place beginning December 21, 2013, after the last Mickey's Very Merry Christmas party is held and runs until the end of the year. Note: The version of Holiday Wishes shown to the general public takes place at 10 p.m. each night and does not include the perimeter fireworks.
"Celebrate the Magic" Castle Projection Show: Using music, storytelling and special effects, "Celebrate the Magic" connects Magic Kingdom guests with some of Disney's most magical film moments and memorable characters. For the 2013 Christmas holiday, look for the return of the gingerbread castle segment with the castle adorned in candy canes, ornaments, wrapping paper and many more special holiday effects, as well as a new sequence celebrating Disney's upcoming movie, Frozen. The holiday version shows November 6, 2013 through January 4, 2014.
"Glow with the Show" Ear Hats: These special hats light up and synchronize with entertainment experiences, making members of the audience an integral part of the show. For the 2013 holiday season, “Glow with the Show” Ears will become part of "Wishes" fireworks and the "Celebrate the Magic" nighttime projection show at Cinderella Castle in Magic Kingdom Park. Be sure to wear your Ears for special surprises during performances of “Holiday Wishes: Celebrate the Spirit of the Season”. One pair of ears will work for all Walt Disney World shows for which "Glow with the Show” ears are programmed, such as Fantasmic! and the seasonal Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney's Hollywood Studios. "Glow with the Show” ears can be purchased for $25 each at the following Magic Kingdom locations (batteries may also be replaced free of charge at any location that sells the hats):
- Tip Board Cart
- Glow with the Show Carts (2)
Santa Meet and Greet: A Meet and Greet with Santa occurs daily at Candy Cane Garden next to City Hall between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Santa will also be available during Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Parties.
New! Jungle Cruise: For 2013, this popular Adventureland attraction will receive its first-ever holiday makeover. Beginning November 8th, Jungle Cruise will temporarily transform into “Jingle Cruise” for the holiday season! In a new seasonal storyline Jungle Cruise Skippers have grown homesick for the holidays, so they’ve added holiday cheer to the Jungle Cruise queue and boathouse with decorations that have been mailed to them from home (plus a few they’ve created themselves). The Skippers have also added a slew of new jokes to their tours that are the perfect way to get guests in the holiday spirit. Additionally, Jungle Cruise boats have been renamed with the holidays in mind, and if guests listen carefully, they may hear a holiday-themed radio broadcast playing in the background.
New! New Fantasyland Holiday Decorations: This year, the New Fantasyland area of Magic Kingdom Park is getting dressed up for the holidays for the very first time. Each wreath, holiday tree and strand of garland that has been designed for the area keeps with the theming of the attraction, shop or restaurant it highlights. For example, the tree within Be Our Guest Restaurant sports ornaments inspired by the castle’s enchanted staff and exquisite chandeliers.
Periwinkle Returns to Tinker Bell's Magical Nook: Those who saw Disney Fairies movie "Secret of the Wings", may recall that Tinker Bell finds her sister, Periwinkle, a frost fairy who lives in the mysterious world of the Winter Woods. Magic Kingdom guests can meet and greet with Periwinkle and Tinker Bell together again in 2013 when Periwinkle returns to Tinker Bell's Magical Nook beginning November 5, 2013. The area will be given a new winter wonderland makeover with sparkling snow and ice, and look for Tinker Bell to be dressed in a winter outfit with fur-lined pixie dress and boots.
New! Gingerbread Replica of Philadelphia’s Independence Hall: Those dining at Liberty Tree Tavern in Liberty Square should be on the lookout for this 3-foot-tall gingerbread replica of Philadelphia's famous landmark.
Christmas Parade Taping: The taping of the Walt Disney World segment of the annual ABC televised parade typically takes place at Magic Kingdom park the first weekend in December. For 2013, the taping is expected to take place December 6 and 7. Live acts performing on in front of Cinderella Castle are usually filmed on Friday and the parade portion filmed on Saturday, although the order of filming has been known to flip. The production company will be shooting various Parade Elements and Guest Star Performances on Cinderella's Castle Stage and Main Street USA. Park guests with admission are welcome to view the taping segments from select areas and should arrive as early as possible. This is no guarantee, however that you will be admitted to the roped off prime viewing areas, usually reserved for cast members and pre-selected audience. This is an actual television production, so expect songs to be sung multiple times and repeated filming of individual floats; also the park can be quite crowded on Main Street causing difficulty getting to attractions. Many guests dress in Christmas attire for this occasion. To avoid crowds, if you are not interested in watching the filming, take the train at the entrance of the park to Frontierland and navigate the park from there. Expect schedule changes and cancellations to park entertainment, especially those on Main Street USA, during the weekend filming.
Note: The parade can be seen on ABC Christmas morning at 10 a.m.- noon in the Eastern time zone, and 9-11 a.m. in the Central, Mountain, Pacific time zones or join the conversation online with the hashtag #DisneyParade. The show also will air in Canada on CBC Network, and around the globe on the American Forces Network.
If you'll be visiting the Magic Kingdom during the very busy week between Christmas and New Years, here are a few tips to make your visit go smoother. If you're driving, note where you are parked; lots can get jammed-packed during this time of year. If you're staying at a Disney resort, by all means, use Disney transportation to the park. Arrive at the park early; park closures in the early afternoon are highly possible. Use the Walt Disney World Railroad upon entering the park to circumvent the crowds on Main Street USA. Make sure that you've made dining reservations well in advance if you'll be eating a sit-down meal in the park. Even you're planning on just grabbing fast food, eat at off-hours when the crowds are likely to be less. Those staying at Disney resorts may want to plan on returning to their resorts late afternoon for a bite to eat and a nap - then return to the park and enjoy the late hours (into the wee hours of the morning) when crowds are diminished. If you're visiting on NYE follow the advice on our NYE page as it differs slightly. If you are a Walt Disney World guest, make sure to make your FastPass+ selections well in advance so you're assured of enjoying a few of your favorite rides, but don't plan on making your park day all about the rides. It's also a great time of year to enjoy some of the less popular rides like Country Bear Jamboree, Hall of Presidents and Carousel of Progress. Allow plenty of time for restroom visits; there will be lines! Enjoy yourself and take in some of the special entertainment and shows offered this time of year. Be patient and polite, everyone is likely to be a little frazzled by the crowds.
Get into the holiday spirit. Wear that holiday sweater to the park. Guests have even been know to string strollers (and themselves) with battery operated holiday lights. You can even find Mickey ear hats in the park that light up. Lots of fun holiday attire is available in park merchandise shops. And don't forget to download this Disney Parade Bingo game for your family to play while watching the Disney Parks Christmas Parade. You can use pennies as bingo markers!
Take the time to check out all of the beautiful Christmas decorations and live afternoon holiday entertainment on Main Street USA. Town Square offers a wonderful photo op with life-size wooden toy soldiers. Plus, following the taping of the Christmas parade a giant tree is erected in Town Square. The Emporium has fantastic holiday-themed windows and the hub area is filled beautiful poinsettia trees. The popular Main Street U.S.A. quartet, The Dapper Dans, add holiday songs to their repertoire. The Main Street Trolley Show also gets a holiday makeover as performers in green and red attire perform holiday songs and the trolley car is decked out in garland, ornaments and bows.
Stop by the Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe in Liberty Square for all of your tree decorating needs, especially if you must have a Disney theme! Pickup a personalized Christmas ornament to commemorate your trip. Personalized ornaments are available at Ye Old Christmas Shoppe. Plus, during the holiday season, one lucky family will be chosen each day to decorate the Magical Moments Christmas tree at Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe. You can see a video of one family decorating the tree on YouTube.
Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime Parade and Holiday Wishes will begin running in November for the enjoyment of those attending Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, but won't be available for general public viewing until approximately a week before Christmas. The trade off for waiting until after Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Parties to see the special holiday parade and fireworks in the park for free is that you'll be viewing it during one of the busiest times of the year at the Magic Kingdom. In addition, Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime Parade will run as an afternoon parade. The daytime performance of the parade lacks the special lighting and ambiance watching the parade on Main Street U.S.A. at night lends, as snow gently falls from the sky. If at all possible, try to see this parade at least once during Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party where it is a completely different experience.
If you'll be visiting the Magic Kingdom during the approximately two weeks between when Mickey's Very Merry Christmas party ends and NYE, don't overlook special shows such as A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas (Tomorrowland Stage) and Celebrate the Season (Castle Stage). These shows are available to the general public for two weeks only! "Celebrate the Season" takes place on the Castle Stage and is the more popular of the two shows with its classic Disney characters (Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, Chip, Dale), a salute to "The Nutcracker" and singalong format. You'll want to arrive early to get a spot for that one. A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas, a high energy Christmas bash with Buzz Lightyear, Mike Wazowski, Stitch, dancers and singers. Check the times guide for times throughout the afternoon and evening.
There are some great photo vantage points to capture the castle all dressed up in holiday "Dream Lights". PhotoPass photographers are generally available from in front of the Castle, on the Tomorrowland Bridge, and in front of the Rose Garden.
Those wishing to view Holiday Wishes fireworks from outside the parks during MVMCP nights can do so from the observation deck on the 4th floor of the Contemporary Resort, from the beaches (piped in music) of the Polynesian Resort, from the marina dock (piped in music) at the Grand Floridian Resort and from Transportation and Ticket Center along the walkway to Ferry loading area (breathtaking free views with piped in music), as well as restaurants such as California Grill and Narcoossees or, for larger groups, one of the private Magic Kingdom firework cruises.
Be on the lookout for some great treats this holiday season at Main Street Confectionery, Big Top Treats, and other locations throughout the park. Spotted previous years were Santa hat cupcakes, snowman or snowflake caramel apples, reindeer cake pops with pretzel antlers and a souvenir Mickey Santa popcorn bucket for $12.
Holidays Around the World: After Thanksgiving, Santa can be found at the American Adventure pavilion in World Showcase, as well as, holiday storytellers in other countries located around World Showcase. International holiday traditions unfold when storytellers such as Pere Noel in France, La Befana in Italy, and others, share the traditions of the season and spread the message of goodwill in short presentations that take less than 15 minutes. Holidays around the World takes place November 29 - December 30, 2013.
Holiday Passport: For 2013, Disney is offering a holiday edition of its World Showcase Passport. The Holiday Passport features holiday treat and beverage locations, holiday merchandise, and holiday entertainment for each country around World Showcase, as well as any holiday photo ops. There's also a place to collect the tradition country stamps. You can even get ask the Epcot Storytellers to sign each country of your Holiday Passort (or your autograph book), and don't forget to get your photo taken with them. Pickup the booklet at holiday snack & beverages kiosks around World Showcase.
Holidays Mean Longer Park Hours: Beginning November 29, Epcot's World Showcase will remain open until 9:30 p.m. each night!
Holiday Storytellers at World Showcase (throughout the day):
Canada: New to Holidays Around the World this year, the Canadian Holiday Voyageurs group features members of the popular Celtic rock band Off Kilter! The Canadian Holiday Voyageurs will take guests on a musical journey across the Great White North, exploring unique holiday traditions from the various regions of Canada.
United Kingdom: Father Christmas tells tales of Christmas past dating back to 15th century England.
France: Pere Noel awaits your visit as he unfolds magic of Christmas with a letter from a child. Morocco: Taarji, or drummer, reflects on his family’s traditions commemorating the holiday of Ramadan.
Japan: Daruma vendor tells the story of the Daruma doll and the Japanese customs of the NewYear!
American Adventure: Discover the connection of today’s Hanukkah tradition and the story of the brave Maccabees and the lamp that burned miraculously for eight days or, experience the spirit of Kwanzaa, a celebration of family, creativity and community. Plus, don't miss the Voices of Liberty Dickens Carolers - This outstanding a cappella group brings in the holidays with a special repertoire of holiday songs. See Santa info below.
Italy: La Befana is Italy's good Christmas witch! She comes down the chimney of the little bambinos (children) and leaves them treats. La Befana remembers the Epiphany and her first Christmas 2,000 years ago!
Showtimes: 11:55 a.m., 12:50 p.m., 1:25 p.m., 2:00 p.m., 2:55 p.m., 3:50 p.m., 4:45 p.m., 5:55 p.m.
Germany: Listen as Helga tells the story of the first Christmas tree and the tale of her first Nutcracker.
China: Watch the agile Monkey King weave his tall tale with twists and turns celebrating Chinese New Year!
Norway: Sigrid, a beautiful farm girl, will give you all details of celebrating Christmas in Norway, and tell you of the mischievous Julenissen, or Christmas Gnome. Be forewarned though, Julenissen has been known to play a little trick or two on the storyteller herself.
Mexico: 3 charming young men from Mexico represent the 3 Kings during the classic Mexican celebration of Posada. Los Tres Reyes Magos will share with you customs and celebrations that begin nine days before Christmas and continue until the beginning of February.
November 29 – December 30, 2013 at 5, 6:45 and 8:15 p.m.
The Candlelight Processional is a breathtaking retelling of the Christmas story in words and music complete with a 50 piece orchestra, choir and celebrity guest narrator. Candlelight Processional Dining Packages with reserved seating may be booked by calling (407) WDW-DINE.
Santa Meet and Greet: Whisper your Christmas wishes in Santa's ear at Santa's Village in the American Adventures pavilion in World Showcase. Santa appears from November 29 – December 24 at 1:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m. Sessions are 70-minute each. Even Mrs. Claus will be there.
IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth: This kaleidoscope of lasers, lights, fireworks and music features a special holiday ending from November 29 - December 25, 2013 at 9:30 p.m. nightly and from December 26 - 30 at 10:00 p.m. nightly. The "Peace on Earth: holiday finale is narrated by Walter Cronkite. Some of the best viewing spots include the area between the 2 gift shops at the entrance of World Showcase, the balcony at the Japan pavilion, on the bridge between France and the United Kingdom, at the front of Italy's pavilion (this area is often occupied by private parties), or from patio seating at Rose & Crown or La Hacienda de San Angel restaurants.
New! "Frozen" Meet and Greet: This November, the enchanting story and characters from Frozen are brought to magical life with a new experience at Epcot park. At the Prinsesse Plass (located just across from Akershus Royal Banquet Hall) in the Norway pavilion, guests can spend time visiting with the enchanting sisters from Frozen – the fearless and optimistic Anna, and Elsa, who has the power to control snow and ice. Meet & greets occur throughout the afternoon from about from 11 a.m to 7:30 p.m. through January 31, 2014.
JOYFUL! A Gospel Celebration of the Season: D'Vine Voices returns to Epcot for the fifth straight year in 2013. This joyful and uplifting choral performance blends Gospel with the sounds of R&B, jazz and urban-inspired music. The inspirational celebration of the season takes place daily on the Fountain of Nations Stage from November 23 through December 30. Appearances are daily at 1:15 p.m., 2:25 p.m., 3:25 p.m. and 4:25 p.m. and last about 30 minutes. See a Video.
Mrs. Claus' Sugar & Spice Bake Shop: Located at Epcot's American Adventure, this holiday kiosk sells Christmas cookies, gingerbread men and peppermint bark, along with hot and cold beverages such as holiday cocoa (hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps topped with whipped cream) and hot apple cider.
New! Gingerbread Village: For 2013, the Land Pavilion showcases gingerbread creations representing icons from Disney parks and resorts around the world, including a gingerbread castle, Epcot’s Spaceship Earth, Disney Cruise Ship, Aulani Resort, Leaning Tower of Pisa, Eiffel Tower, and trains that weave in and out of the entire village \. You can find the display on the upper floor of the pavilion.
Holiday Character Topiaries: These festive red, white and green topiaries feature beloved Disney characters and can be found in several locations in the Future World section of the park.
You can read more about Holidays from Around The World at Epcot on our MFL Blog.
The JAMMitors, a talented group of musicians that play percussion on garbage pails entertain Epcot guests with their holiday show. Look for them in Future World section of the park. At Germany in World Showcase, during the holidays at the Biergarten restaurant, the oompah band plays holiday favorites in addition to beer drinking songs. Also stop by American Adventures Pavilion in World Showcase to hear the a cappella group, Voices of Liberty. The group gets out their holiday songbook this time of year.
Epcot's holiday tree is located at the entrance of World Showcase Plaza. It's ornaments represent the various countries around World Showcase. You can find another large holiday tree at the American Adventure Pavilion in the center of Santa's Village.
If you'll be visiting Epcot during the very busy week between Christmas and New Years, it's a great time to take in some of the less popular attractions like American Adventure, Impressions de France, and Reflections of China where crowds will be more manageable.
If you only have time to visit several holiday storytellers at World Showcase, be sure to stop by Norway, China, Italy and Canada.
New for 2013, the France Pavilion has giant Christmas ornaments, each featuring a diorama of an iconic landmark like the Eiffel Tower or the Arc de Triomphe.
Visit Port of Entry for holiday themed keepsakes or visit Santa's Village near American Adventure for all of your holiday trimmings. Or, stop by kidsHeritage, Inc. at the American Adventure pavilion where you can purchase beautiful custom children's books, including "My Sleigh Ride Around the World" that, like Epcot, teaches kids about the local traditions for celebrating the holidays in different countries. Cost is $39.95 for a personalized version with child's name birth date, photo, travel date and other info. There is also a standard version available for $18.95.
Don't miss the Gluhwein sold at Germany's Sommerfest. Gluhwein is a German holiday drink composed of mulled wine with just a hint of cinnamon, vanilla, and citrus, and it's served hot - a must-do's on chilly Florida December evenings. Other hot holiday drinks, like Werther's hot salted carmamel are offered at the Prost! kiosk at Germany's ChristkindlMarkt (Christmas Market) near the outdoor seating area. And while you're there, stop to browse the nearby Glaskugel kiosk, selling German glass ornaments. In Die Weihnachts Ecke (The Christmas Corner), Germany's year-round Christmas shop, you can find the traditional and popular German pickle ornament. According to tradition, the pickle brings good luck and is the last ornament placed on a tree. On Christmas morning, the first child to find the pickle is given an extra gift from St. Nicholas.
Stop by Fountain View Cafe in Future World for a special holiday treat and Starbucks coffee. And for more great holiday treats, the Promenade counter service in World Showcase serves up a variety of seasonal waffles and holiday beverages this time of year. Other national holiday treats are available at the following World Showcase locations:
• Canada Popcorn Cart - pecan maple bark
• UK Beer Cart - hot applejack cider
• France's Patisserie - Buche de Noel au Chocolat (chocolate Christmas log)
• France's L'Artisan Glaces - gingerbread ice cream
• Germany's Sommerfest - hot spiced wine, holiday fruit cake
• Germany's Christkindlmarkt - Werther's caramel mocha iced coffee or hot salted caramel drink
• China's Joy of Tea - Happy Face Fried Cake
• Japan's Kabuki Cafe - Teriyaki Chicken Karage
• Italy's Buona Festa kiosk - hot chocolate with Caffe Espresso Liqueur & Panettone (fruit cake, boxed and ready for gift giving) • Norway's Kringla Bakeri - traditional rice cream
• Mexico's La Cantina de San Angel - sweet tamales Be sure to look for the DDP snack credit symbol as many holiday treats qualify as snack on the Disney Dining Plan.
Disney's Hollywood Studios
The entire park is decorated and features the biggest Christmas spectacle of them all. From November 8, 2013 until January 5, 2014, park visitors can walk snowy streets and be dazzled by Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights, occurring nightly from dusk until park closing. Colorful wreaths, twirling carousels, flying angels and Santa and his reindeer bedazzle park-goers amid swirling snow flurries. Be sure to look for the Hidden Mickeys! Visit our Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights page for additional info on this dazzling event.
Santa Meet & Greet: Well almost! Santa Goofy joins the fun over at the Osborne Lights, making nightly appearances on the Streets of America after 6 p.m. You'll be able to meet him in Goofy's Winter Wonderland, a special area set up right in Tri-City Square. For 2013, in addition to his usual hours of approximately 6:15 p.m. – 9 p.m. during the Osborne Lights, Santa Goofy is also available to meet and greet during the day from 1:00 p.m. – 5 p.m. with short intermittent breaks throughout.
Comedy Warehouse Holiday Special: This highly popular Comedy Warehouse Holiday Special has taken place at Disney's Hollywood Studios for the past two years, and will return once again in 2013! Dates for 2013 are December 21 through January 5, 2014. The show takes place at Premiere Theater and offers six 20-minute performances per day and each one is different! Showtimes are 12:45 p.m., 1:45 p.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. All showtimes will included as a tier-2 FastPass+ selection. Non-FastPass+ users may use the attractions standby line. The Comedy Warehouse Holiday Special presents the best of improvisational comedy as performers - including alumni from the former Comedy Warehouse on Pleasure Island - hilariously reinvent holiday classics based on suggestions they solicit from the audience, including holiday songs, stories, poems and movie scenarios. The Comedy Warehouse Holiday Special is included in regular Disney's Hollywood Studios park admission. This show is so popular it plays to a capacity house most performances. Arrive early if possible.
'Glow With the Show' at Fantasmic!: For 2013, this new technology was added to Fantasmic! just in time for the show’s 15th anniversary performance, and will be available through the holidays and beyond.
'Taste of Hollywood' To Go Meals: To help handle the holiday dining crowds, special boxed meals that include reserved seating for Fantasmic! will return again this year to Hollywood Studios, from December 26 through January 4, 2014. Cost is $15.99 for Adults and $5.49 for kids meal (ages 3 - 9) and include either 20-oz soft drink or bottled water. Each entree can also be purchased with one quick-service credit on the Disney Dining Plan. All meals are served ready to eat. Meals may be picked up at Min & Bill's Dockside Diner from 11:00 a.m. until 8 p.m. You can choose which Fantasmic! show you want to attend based on availability, with the number of seats based on the number of meals purchased. Seating in the reserved section of the stadium is on a "first come, first served" basis. For reservations up to 24 hours prior, call 407-WDW-DINE; a credit card guarantee is required and need to complete payment upon arrival (24-hour cancellation policy). Those without reservations may check the same day for availability. The following choices are available:
• California and tuna sushi roll with avocado, orange and tomato salad, ginger-marinated tomatoes and cucumbers and a spicy pecan chocolate cluster
• Cold-cut roast beef with creamy horseradish, potato salad, grilled asparagus and chocolate cake
• Shrimp salad with avocado, orange and tomato salad, ginger-marinated tomatoes and cucumbers and mandarin orange cheesecake
• Hot fried chicken with roasted garlic mashed potatoes, sweet corn and carrots and warm apple crisp
• Veggie sandwich with avocado, orange and tomato salad, tabbouleh and chocolate cake
• Kids meal - Turkey and American cheese wrap with apples and carrots with Ranch dip, strawberry yogurt and a seven-layer cookie bar
• Kids meal - Strawberry yogurt, apple wedges, carrot sticks, Goldfish crackers and an organic apple cinnamon and oatmeal bar.
Food Trucks for the Holidays: Several food trucks will be available on the Streets of America from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. from December 24, 2013 through January 4, 2014 to help feed the holiday crowds at Disney's Hollywood Studios. The two trucks, Superstar Catering and World Showplace of Flavors trucks, are the same trucks stationed at Downtown Disney West Side from late afternoon through eving each day. You can see the food truck menus in our menu section.
If you'll be visiting Disney's Hollywood Studios during the very busy week between Christmas and New Years, it's a great time to take in some of the less popular attractions like Indiana Jones, and Lights Motors Action! where crowds will be more manageable.
The seasonal, It's a Wonderful Shop, sells Christmas decorations and is open for the holidays.
Santa Goofy greets guests both during the day beginning at 1:00 p.m. and during the Osborne Lights beginning 6 p.m. Lines can get long quickly. For a shorter wait, try queuing up about fifteen minutes before Santa is scheduled to appear during either time slot.
For those who like to keep holiday songs top of mind, contestants at American Idol Experience can choose from a list of holiday songs recorded by pop stars. The stage also features holiday-themed lighting and singers can don holiday accessories if they wish.
There are a variety of small holiday touches featured throughout Disney's Hollywood Studios. Among them, look for Phineas & Ferb to don Santa hats at their meet & greet, while Muppetvision 3D gets into the holiday spirit with colorful Christmas trees out front decorated with hidden Mickeys.
Starting December 2 through January 5, look for a gingerbread cupcake with cream cheese frosting, red and green sprinkles, a little red bow and “elf cap” to celebrate the winter holidays. The cost of this holiday treat is $5.19. and it's available at ABC Commissary, Pizza Planet, Backlot Express, Studio Catering Co., Starring Rolls Cafe, Rosie’s All-American Café and Fairfax Fare dining locations. Plus, cupcakes are on the Disney Dining Plan! Also, stop by Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner for a festive Red Velvet Peppermint Milkshake for $4.79 or a snack credit on the Disney Dining Plan.
Mickey's Jingle Jungle Parade: Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade gets a holiday makeover after Thanksgiving, when it is magically transformed into "Mickey's Jingle Jungle Parade." This whimsical spectacle is a theatrical showcase of characters, floats and puppetry with a holiday world-beat twist. The savory scent of chocolate floats thru the air as Minnie's candy cane and hot cocoa float roll by. Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade takes place daily at 3:45 p.m. from November 7, 2013 to January 6, 2014. Watch a video.
Camp Minnie-Mickey: Guests can meet Disney characters decked out in their holiday best at Camp Minnie-Mickey, which also features live seasonal entertainment (carolers), holiday photo opportunities and decorative Christmas trees. How many character-themed Christmas trees can you find? Nemo, Winnie the Pooh, Lion King, Minnie, Stitch, Pluto, Chip and Dale, Donald Duck and Country Bears themed trees should be there to name a few, and there are lots more. Look for Chip & Dale, Donald, Baloo, and King Louie to greet guests in their holiday best beginning at 10 a.m. each morning during the holiday season; Pocahontas also greets guests in her usual costume. Times that each character will appear varys. Other characters may appear.
Note: Due to construction in this area for the coming AVATAR attraction/land, 2013 will be the last year for Christmas at Camp Minnie-Mickey.
Adventurer Outpost: Guests can meet Mickey and Minnie in their holiday sweaters at Adventurer Outpost on Discovery Island.
Santa Goofy: Over at Dinoland, Santa Goofy, along with pal Pluto, meet with guests and pose for photos intermittently from 11:00 a.m. through park closing.
Holiday Decorations: Animal Kingdom park will be decked out for the holidays through January 8, 2014.
Be sure to check out the huge Christmas tree at the park's entrance with its amazing animal-themed decorations.
During December, be sure to stop by the Wildlife Tracking Center at Conservation Station and join in the fun. There is usually some type of family-friendly holiday activities going on.
Look for holiday goodies at Kusafiri Bakery. Every year, among other offerings, this quick service spot served up an awesome chocolate mousse filled Yule Log.
Festival of the Seasons: This holiday celebration runs from November 15 through December 30. Enjoy the hustle, bustle and good cheer of the holiday season in the Downtown Disney area. Great shopping, live entertainment and a fantastic photo op with Santa himself make this the perfect one-stop, holiday shopping location. Check out the dazzling displays of holiday trees, lights and the special holiday window dressings that adorn the shops and restaurants. Feast your eyes and ears on the seasonal carolers, musical acts and holiday variety performers throughout the streets. The Downtown Disney area is truly a winter wonderland from Thanksgiving through the end of the year.
Santa at Downtown Disney Marketplace
Santa appears at Santa's Chalet, located between Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop and World of Disney store, daily from November 15 through Christmas Eve. Stop by Santa's Chalet at the Marketplace from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. from November 15 through 28, and from noon to 9:30 p.m. November 29 through December 24. Santa will be on short breaks at 2:15, 4:45 and 7:30 p.m. There is no charge to see Santa in this location and even the parking is free! Use Plus, you can use PhotoPass services ($15 per digital download) or your own camera to capture photos with Santa. You may even be lucky enough to catch a cast member handing out Frozen trading cards as you exit the chalet.Santa Goofy will replace Santa at Santa's Chalet after Dec. 24th. Stop by from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. December 25 to 30.
Note: Word is that Disney will set up a Winter Wonderland area in Downtown Disney West side for 2014 holiday season and Santa's Chalet will move to the new holiday area.
Look for entertainment throughout the holiday season on the Marketplace Dock Stage, featuring DJ Dance parties and school choir caroling groups on select nights. And be sure to checkout the amazing living statues, including the holiday Bronze Angel at Keith’s Park area near Pollo Campero.
Holiday entertainment is usually offered in front of Fulton's Crabhouse. Don't miss the Toy Soldier stilt walkers or holiday story tellers.
Musical groups will perform throughout the holiday season, including live bands and a capella groups.
Disney Truck Shop at Downtown Disney Marketplace has a great mix of festive glow merchandise, such as the light up holiday necklace and the light up reindeer headband, plus 4 holiday phone case designs for either the iPhone 4/4S or iPhone 5/5S (through December 25). The Disney Truck Shop will be open at Downtown Disney West Side from 4:00 to 11:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 12 through Sunday, December 15. Starting Thursday, December 19, the Disney Truck Shop will operate daily from 4:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. through Tuesday, December 31, 2013.
Valet Parking at Downtown Disney for the Holidays
Valet Parking will be offered at Downtown Disney through the holiday season until January 1, 2014. Guests may drop off and pickup their vehicles beneath the porte-cochere in front of Cirque du Soleil (via Entrance 4 at Downtown Disney West Side), daily between 4:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m.. The cost is $15 excluding tip. Tables in Wonderland members will receive complimentary use of the service with a restaurant dining receipt. When picking vehicles, guests can notify the valet service in advance that they will be returning to their cars via text message or phone, in addition to in person at the stand.
Cirque du Soleil will offer additional shows for La Nouba on Monday, December 30, 2013. Performances are at 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. Additionally, two special New Year's Eve shows will be performed on December 31st at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. The NYE shows will feature a special finale and guests will receive an exclusive gift. The building will have a festive decor and specialty drinks will be available for purchase. Tickets can be purchased at disneyworld.com or by calling 407-WDW-SEAT.
Downtown Disney will celebrate Black Friday on November 29, 2013 with lots of great deals at shops and even at restaurants. Deals are usually posted to Downtown Disney's Twitter page.
From December 12 through January 4 2014 (except for December 31), Disney buses will have exclusive inbound access to Entrance 1 at the Marketplace. The entrance will remain open to all exiting traffic, however. Additionally, starting outside Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort to the traffic light at Downtown Disney Entrance 1 , the right westbound lane of Buena Vista Drive will be closed to all vehicles except Disney buses during this period. If you plan on visiting Downtown Disney during the holidays, using Disney transportation remains the recommended method of travel.
Get a free holiday 'Pick a Brick' box with any $75 purchase at the LEGO Store through 12/24 or while supplies last.
Downtown Disney features holiday shopping adventures for every age and budget, including Once Upon a Toy, filled with exclusive playthings from Disney and Hasbro; World of Disney, the world's largest character emporium, plus LEGO Imagination Center and Disney's Days of Christmas holiday shop.
While you're shopping, checkout the large silver and blue "Once Upon a Toy" Christmas tree, the inflated Snow-people photo ops at Downtown Disney Marketplace, the topiary reindeer infront of World of Disney, the cute Mickey head topiary outside of Disney's Days of Christmas store, and see if you can spot Olaf from Frozen near Santa's Chalet.
To top off your Downtown Disney holiday shopping trip, be sure to stop by Ghirardelli for Sea Salt Caramel Hot Cocoa - it just doesn't get any better!
Disney's Holiday D-Lights Tour
Accompanied by a holiday host, visit Epcot theme park for a performance of the inspiring Candlelight Processional, a retelling of the Christmas story brought to life by a 50-piece live orchestra, mass choir and celebrity narrator. Travel to Magic Kingdom theme park to admire the majesty of Cinderella Castle, which appears to be a crystalline ice palace, courtesy of some very special lighting. At Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park, stroll through the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights and be dazzled by the millions of twinkling lights choreographed to the music of the season. Also visit the the Decorating Support building and learn what it takes to transform the entire destination into a winter wonderland and enjoy a light, holiday buffet. Tour costs $209 per person and is limited to guests age 16 and up. Offered select nights in November and December.
Disney's Yuletide Fantasy Tour
Tour behind the scenes at Epcot, the Magic Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios and the Grand Floridian to learn how holiday Magic is created at Disney World. You'll also get to visit the Holiday Services warehouse where holiday decorations are stored. Tour costs $89 per person and is limited to guests age 16 and up. Offered select mornings and afternoons from late November through late December.
To reserve either tour, call (407) WDW-TOUR. For more information on the holiday tours, visit our Disney Backstage Tours & Experiences page.
Holiday Dining Around the "World"
Several Walt Disney World resort and park restaurants will offer special holiday dining from mid-December through early January 2013. Holiday pricing will be in effect during these periods which means higher than normal prices at some restaurants. Reservations should be made well in advance and are available 180 days in advance by calling 407-WDW-DINE or going online. Some meals require advance payment or a credit card guarantee. As it get closer to Christmas, Disney may open additional seasonal venues in the parks. Special holiday treats can be found throughout Walt Disney World resort during the holiday season - from snack carts, to bakeries and confectioneries, to Quick Service and Table Service restaurants and even at resort and park gift shops. More information for special 2013 holiday dining events will be added as it becomes available.
For Christmas Day, there’s everything from Mickey’s Christmas Feast at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort to a prixe fixe at Flying Fish Cafe at Disney’s Boardwalk.
Epcot - Biergarten Restaurant at the Germany Pavilion will plus up the buffet with special holiday dishes, and Le Cellier Steakhouse is offering a special menu.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom - Tusker House Restaurant will have Christmas specials on the buffet.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios - Hollywood & Vine will have Christmas lunch and two dinner seatings with carved turkey breast, cornbread stuffing, root beer glazed butternut squash, spiced pumpkin mousse on the buffet.
Magic Kingdom Park - The Diamond Horseshoe in Frontierland will offer Christmas Day dinner, and Tangaroa Terrace and Tortuga Tavern (info below) will feature a special holiday dinner buffet.
Tortuga Tavern is accepting reservations for dining between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. for a new 'Island Dinner Buffet' holiday meal served from December 21, 2013 through January 4, 2014.
Menu Offerings: Ocean harvest chowder with crackers; Lush garden greens with lite vinaigrette, Black Pearl balsamic dressing and ranch dressing; Gulf grilled vegetable pasta salad; Shipwrecked tomato, mozzarella and basil salad; Sea salted green beans; Caribbean spiced sweet potato wedges; Treasures of mac and cheese; Rosemary-garlic pork steamship; Cannonball meatballs with marinara and parmesan; Banana leaf baked mahi with Gold Coast mango chutney; Barbosa’s braised beef with julienne carrots, celery and pearl onions; Captain Jack’s chicken breast with lemon and parsley; Assorted rolls with butter; Rice crispy bon bons; Mickey brownies; Assorted éclairs; No sugar added lemon cookies; Assorted cup cakes; Fresh fruit salad
Cost: $35.99 Adults, $17.99 Children, plus tax and gratuity
Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground — Mickey’s Backyard Christmas Day Feast at Mickey’s Backyard BBQ show located at the Fort Wilderness Pavilion. Two shows at 5 and 7 p.m. will offer all the holiday classics. (Trail’s End Restaurant is also offering lunch and dinner options.)
Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts – Cape May Café will be serving hand-carved smoked ham with winter pineapple chutney and turkey with stuffing. Captain’s Grille will offer a holiday buffet. Yachtsman Steakhouse will feature a special menu.
Disney’s Contemporary Resort – The Wave … of American Flavors will offer a special menu. And Chef Mickey’s will offer a Christmas Day brunch.
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa – Cítricos will have two seatings at 5 and 7:30 p.m. as well as special Christmas Day seating in the private Chef’s Domain, offering a four-course menu.
Disney’s Boardwalk – Flying Fish Cafe will feature a prixe fixe four-course menu.
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort – Whispering Canyon Café will offer an all-you-care-to-eat holiday dinner with turkey, ham, beef strip loin, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cornbread and cranberry sauce.
Swan and Dolphin Resort:
Guests can enjoy a variety of holiday dining options on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at resort restaurants. For more Swan and Dolphin holiday dining information, visit the Swan and Dolphin web site.
Garden Grove (Swan) - will serve a special holiday character buffet on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day from 5:00 pm - 9:30 pm. For reservations call 407-934-1618.
Christmas Eve Buffet Menu: Carrot soup, French onion soup, Mustard glazed smoked country ham, Seared snapper, Coq Au Vin Chicken, Beef Bourguignon, Wild mushroom ravioli, assorted sides, salads, cakes and pastries. Children's buffet includes chicken nuggets, mini corndogs, mac and cheese, daily vegetables.
Christmas Day Buffet Menu: Soups, prime rib carving station, Pine nut crusted grouper, Grilled chicken breast, Butternut squash ravioli, Smoked pork loin, assorted sides, salads, cakes and pastries. Children's buffet includes chicken nuggets, mini corndogs, mac and cheese, daily vegetables.
Cost: Adults $38.99; Children ages 3-9 $19.99, children under 3 years are complimentary
Todd English's bluezoo (Dolphin) - will be offer it's regular full menu on Christmas Day in addition to a special holiday meal from 5:00 pm - 11:00 pm. For reservations call 407-934-1111.
Holiday Special Menu: Christmas roast (16 oz. roasted CAB ribeye), heirloom root vegetables, farro verde, and red wine glaze
Cost: $60 per person.
Earl of Sandwich - In addition to it's popular Holiday Turkey Sandwich - featuring oven-roasted turkey, hearty stuffing, zest cranberry sauce, seasoned mayonnaise & warm gravy - Earls will also offer a holiday ham sandwich, pumpkin spice cupcakes and peppermint brownies for the holidays. The holiday ham sandwich comes with ham, fresh pineapple rings & a holiday apple glaze.
Raglan Road - Will offer a prix fixe menu on Christmas Day in addition to their regular menu.
Holiday Dinner Menu: Bunratty Mead glazed Turkey with butter whipped potatoes, and apple, sage & sweet onion stuffing; Brussel sprouts; Cranberry & plum chutney, served with a traditional gravy
Cost: $27.95 per person
Wolfgang Puck Grand Cafe - This Downtown Disney West Side restaurant will feature a special holiday menu on Christmas Day in the Dining Room only.
Holiday Dinner Menu: Mushroom Chowder - Yellow Footed Chanterelles, Truffle Oil Drizzle
Bone-In Veal Chop - Mustard Char, Balsamic Glaze and Carrot Puree
Eggnog Creme Brule - Traditional Burnt Sugar
Portobello - This Pleasure Island restaurants will have a holiday 3-course prix fixe offering.
Holiday Dinner Menu: First course - Arugula Salad, caramelized walnuts, gorgonzola, citrus vinaigrette
Entree - New York Strip, gorgonzola whipped potatoes and rosemary sauce
Dessert - Chocolate Mousse, strawberry sauce
Fulton’s Crab House - This Pleasure Island restaurants will offer a Florida Clambake on Christmas!
Holiday Dinner Menu: Orange Blossom pilsner clams, mussels, warm water lobster tail, sausage, corn on the cob, red potatoes, sweet onions
Cost: $49 per person
Walt Disney World's Best Friends Pet Care
Best Friends Pet Care at Walt Disney World Resort will again host a special feast on Christmas Day for family pets boarding over the holiday. The meal featured freshly roasted slices of turkey atop turkey-and-rice dog food, trimmed with green beans and carrots, and a sweet potato biscuit for dessert. Holiday meals for cats will include caviar and shrimp. Pets can also have their photos taken with Mrs. Claus during Christmas week.
During the holidays, many Walt Disney World Resort quick-service restaurants issue dining receipts with a coupon for 20% off merchandise at select shops during hours before 1 p.m. For 2013, this special merchandise discount will be offered for quick service food purchases from November 19, 2013 through January 6, 2014. While coupons have an expiration date, they do not have to be used the same day they are issued. Coupons are not valid on some merchandise, including alcohol, tobacco, Disney ticket media, periodicals, postage stamps, digital & video cameras, personalization, DVDs, CDs, Disney Dollars, and Disney Gift Cards. Merchandise may be purchased with quick service restaurant coupons through January 7, 2014 at the locations listed below:
- Magic Kingdom: Emporium
- Epcot: Mouse Gear
- Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Mickey’s of Hollywood, Keystone Clothiers
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Island Mercantile, Disney Outfitters
- Downtown Disney: World of Disney
Quick service restaurants that offer early-bird shopping coupon:
- Magic Kingdom: Casey's Corner, Comic Ray's Starlight Cafe, Pinocchio Village Haus, Columbia Harbour House, Pecos Bill's Cafe, Tomorrowland Terrace
- Epcot: Electric Umbrella, Sunshine Season's Food Fare, Liberty Inn, Yorkshire County Fish Shop
- Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Starring Rolls, Fairfax Fare, Rosie's Red Hots, Catalina Eddies, Backlot Express, Studio Catering Company, ABC Commissary, Pizza Planet
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Kusifari Bakery, Tamu Tamu Refreshments, Pizzafari, Flame Tree Barbecue, Restaurantosaurus
Walt Disney World Resorts
Each holiday season, like Santa's elves, the Disney chefs work many hours creating larger-than-life displays from edible ingredients all across Walt Disney World Resort. The sweet scent of gingerbread fills the lobby of Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, where a life-sized Victorian gingerbread house is constructed for the holidays. Meanwhile, at Disney's Beach Club Resort, a life-size carousel silently spins in the lobby, featuring ponies made of chocolate and fondant, giant candy cane poles, handcrafted poinsettias and hand-painted portraits of famous Disney characters. Nestled right in the Grand Canyon Concourse of Disney's Contemporary Resort is an amazing 17-foot gingerbread tree decorated with chocolate ornaments and candy canes. To build it Disney use nearly 2,000 shingles and more than 1,000 pounds of honey. This year, a total of 150 semi-trailer truckloads of holiday decorations have been spread all over Walt Disney World Resort property, with holiday trees, lights, wreaths and garland creating some truly amazing holiday sights at the Disney resorts.
Resort Decoration Hightlights & Edible Displays
Most of the gingerbread displays have delicious sweets for sale, and activities like gingerbread decorating. Don't miss these special holiday highlights at the Walt Disney World resorts through January 2, 2014:
70-foot-tall Christmas tree in Disney's Contemporary Resort entrance lobby featuring nearly 35,800 white LED lights, and giant themed Christmas trees in the lobbies of Animal Kingdom Lodge, Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Wilderness Lodge and other Deluxe resorts. Each tree's decorations are themed to its particular resort. Also, don't miss the largest wreath at the WDW Resort, which is 25 feet in diameter with 18' elliptical ears. It is located on the exterior window 4th floor of Disney's Contemporary Resort facing Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort.
The life-size, edible carousel at Disney's Beach Club Resort, featuring ponies made of chocolate and fondant, giant candy cane poles, handcrafted snowflakes and l4 hidden Mickeys. The carousel is surrounded by poinsettias and a miniature replica of the resorts lighthouse made out of gingerbread. Don't forget to look for the Fab Five, Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald and Pluto! Holiday treats will be sold from the Beach Club Marketplace. Look for the gingerbread snowflakes! A limited-edition Gingerbread Pin featuring Ariel and the Carousel will be available to commemorate this display.
A 17-foot gingerbread tree is erected on the 4th floor concourse of Disney's Contemporary Resort. Inspired by the art of Disney legend Mary Blair (who designed the mural in the Contemporary concourse), the tree is made with 136 lbs honey, 211 lbs flour, 101 eggs, 27 lbs spices, 15 lbs sugar syrup, 98 lbs icing, 151 lbs of chocolate, over 2,000 gingerbread shingles and features 15 hidden Mickeys. For sale nearby, look for holiday treats, including a five legged goat krispy treat, a holiday cupcake with a hidden Mickey inside, monorail sugar cookie, gingerbread shingle, gingerbread boy and holiday citrus bread. A limited-edition Gingerbread Pin featuring the tree and the infamous five-legged goat from the Grand Canyon Concourse will be available to commemorate this display.
Celebrating its 15th year, the 16-foot Victorian gingerbread house at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is made from 1,050 pounds of honey, 600 pounds of powdered sugar, 800 pounds of flour, 700 lbs of Chocolate, 140 pints of egg whites and 35 pounds of spices. It even has smoke coming from the chimney! Plus, the gingerbread house actually serves as an operating store from which to purchase holiday goodies from 10am-10pm daily. You'll find gingerbread shingles iced with chocolate, gingerbread cookies, gingerbread ornaments, miniature gingerbread houses and chocolates of all types, shapes and sizes, including Disney characters, peppermint bark, assort truffles and more! You'll also find a selection of gluten-free options from Babycakes. A limited-edition Gingerbread Pin celebrating the 15th anniversary of the Grand Floridian gingerbread house will be available to commemorate this display.
For 2013, a new gingerbread creation will debut at Disney's Boardwalk Inn, featuring Mickey and Minnie. This sweet replica of a Jersey Shore Boardwalk concession stand features 672 gingerbread shingles, 420 marshmallows for marquee lights, 90 pounds of saltwater taffy for the wreaths, and don't forget to look for the 3 hidden Mickey's in the display. Here you can buy Boardwalk-themed gingerbread cookies such as cotton candy, as well as complete gingerbread houses. The limited-edition Gingerbread Pin for this year is also new and will debut on November 29, 2013. The pin features Mickey Mouse dressed like he is working in turn of the century soda shop.
Disney's Yacht Club Resort features an edible train display with a rock candy mountain and village. Look for favorite resort locations within the display such as the Yacht Club Galley, as well as Mickey's Village. See if you can spot Mater and Lightning McQueen. In the past, a limited-edition Gingerbread Pin featuring Ariel and the Resort's Lighthouse has been available to commemorate this display.
In the past, there have also been edible Christmas village displays at Animal Kingdom Lodge outside of Boma on the lower floor and one the second floor of the Polynesian Resort lobby. More info about the return of these edible displays will be posted if and when it becomes available.
Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground Sleigh Rides
Holiday sleigh rides will be available from November 29 - December 30, 2013. A fire-engine red sleigh with garland and holiday lights will take you through parts of the 700-acre backwoods resort and along the shores of Bay Lake. The magic-makers at the resort's Tri-Circle-D Ranch have equipped sleighs with tires for rides around property. Four adults or two adults and three children should be able to ride on each sleigh. You'll depart from outside Crockett’s Tavern at Pioneer Hall and travel through the campground on a 25-minute ride that highlights many of the extravagant decorations put up by campground guests. Rides depart daily, every 30 minutes from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Cost is $64 for one group to ride, and children ages 17 and under must be accompanied by an adult. Must be guaranteed with a credit card at the time of reserving. A 24-hour cancellation policy will apply for a refund. Walkups are welcome, but it’s best not to leave availability to chance. Cash or room charge will be accepted by the driver. Call 407-WDW-PLAY to make reservations.
Character Appearances at Deluxe Resorts
Look for characters, such as Mickey and Minnie, to make appearances at most Deluxe resorts during the week prior to Christmas. Appearances typically occur throughout the day beginning in the afternoon and select times are listed below. Consult your resort front desk for more information and additional times.
Resort Holiday Entertainment & Activities
The Walt Disney World Resorts have a lot of activities and entertainment planned for guests staying at a Disney Resort each holiday season. On Christmas Eve, Santa makes an appearance in most hotel lobbies and on the porch at Crockett’s Tavern at Fort Wilderness.
Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground: If you can find the time, drop by the campground for the afternoon Christmas Golf Cart Parade on December 24 and be sure to checkout the decorated campsites while you are there. Many of the campsites are much more elaborate than one would expect and it's fun to just stroll through the area. Campsite decorations begin going up anytime after Halloween and many of them border on spectacular. All are original! This is definitely a great place for photo ops during the holiday season. From Pioneer Hall near the boat marina, a 1- to 2-mile walk will easily cover many if not all of the campground loops, or for a fee, reserve a horse-drawn sleigh ride to see the sights. Cheaper horse-drawn wagon rides departing from Crockett's Tavern at Pioneer Hall may be available without a reservation.
Grand Floridian: Held in front of the Grand Floridian's Gingerbread House on Monday through Saturday, get expert advice from a Disney pastry chef on decorating your own gingerbread house. And don't forget to check out the yummy treats available for sale at Grand Floridian's Gingerbread House stand, some made from a classic Austrian gingerbread recipe.
Epcot Resorts: Don't miss Christmas story-telling in the lobbies of the Beach and Yacht Clubs Resorts, and Boardwalk Inn, at select times throughout the day.
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge: Each holiday season, with help from the Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Savanna Guides, families and children use colorfully dyed ostrich egg pieces - from eggs laid by the resort's and Disney's Animal Kingdom ostriches - to create holiday ornaments that they can take home.
Gingerbread Pin Signings: Disney will be offering several unique opportunities to meet the Disney chefs behind some of Walt Disney Worlds best holiday gingerbread creation. For 2013, the chefs will be signing Gingerbread Pins at the resorts and dates listed below.November 15
Meet pastry chef Jeff Barnes at Disney’s Contemporary Resort from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Meet executive chef Erich Herbitschek from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.
Meet pastry chef Deran Lanpher at Disney’s Beach Club Resort from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Pastry chef Matt Avery will be meeting with Guests from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. at Disney’s Boardwalk.
Due to the busy holiday season, many Walt Disney World Deluxe resorts will have restrictions for the Guest parking lots. The parking will be restricted to only those staying at the resort, attending a convention event at the resort or with dining, recreation or spa reservations.
Look for the scannable QR codes located near the gingerbread displays at Deluxe resorts. When you scan them onto your smart phone or other portable device, you'll get information and/or videos with about the displays.
There are many holiday photo opportunities in the lobbies of Deluxe Resorts in front of towering Christmas trees and in many cases, Disney PhotoPass photographers are on hand (usually from dinner time onward). You can have as many photos as you like taken and added to your Disney Photopass card or packages. Dress up the family and have one taken for a family keepsake, framed holiday gift, or as your next family Christmas card photo.
During the Christmas holiday some deluxe resorts have served free treats such as snickerdoodles, apple cider, and candy canes, in the lobby area. In the past, free treats were available at both the Wilderness Lodge and Polynesian resorts during Christmas week.
Walt Disney World Florist can deliver a Christmas tree, Surprise Stockings and other holiday goodies directly to your resort room with advance notice. Go online or call 407-827-3505 for more information.
New this season, Disney Fine Art Photography & Video is offering select holiday cards for guests. You’ll be able to bring a little magic home with you for the holidays and share a little bit with the ones you love! Imagine strolling through your resort (or one of the theme parks) with a Disney photographer as they capture your memories. Then share the magic by choosing holiday cards from an exclusive collection of distinctive designs, customized with your family portrait. To get started, call 407-934-4004 to arrange a portrait session. After your photo shoot, you can go online to view your images and choose which Disney art you would like to use for your holiday cards. Visit the Disney Fine Art web site for more details.
You can read more about Christmas at the Epcot resorts on the blog of our travel partner, The Magic For Less Travel.
Holiday Events at the Swan and Dolphin Resorts
Santa has voted the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin his all time favorite resort! Every year beginning at the end of November, Santa and Mrs. Claus take a vacation at the Orlando resort to rest up before "the big night"! Join the Swan and Dolphin for a nightly tree lighting in the lobby, carolers, choir performances, cookie decorating, classic Christmas movies or hang out with Santa and Mrs. Claus at their special Florida tiki hut. At the Swan, check out the life-sized Santa, crafted from 1,200 pounds of chocolate, the chocolate Christmas tree, fireplace, toy train, and 7-foot tall, 400-pound chocolate nutcracker.
On Christmas Eve, guests can hire a full-costumed elf to tuck in their child, after the elf delivers milk, cookies, a plush toy and a storybook to the guest's room. The service costs $55 for one child and $15 for each additional child. Children staying at the resort on Christmas Eve will also have the option to hang a "magical key" on their guest room door to help Santa find his way. Holiday events at the Swan and Dolphin Resorts begin on November 29, 2013 and continue through the entire month of December. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be making appearances on the weekends from November 29 - December 21. For more info, visit the Santa's Favorite Resort page.
The Swan and Dolphin Resort has a nightly light show featuring the palm trees that line the walkway between the two resorts. The tree display features dancing lights in hues of red, green and purple synchronized to holiday music. The show begins at approximately 6 p.m. each evening and continues throughout the night at 10 minute intervals.
You can read more about Christmas at the Swan and Dolphin on the blog of our travel partner, The Magic For Less Travel.
Christmas Day December 25, 2013, Catholic mass and Protestant services will be held at the Contemporary Resort in the Fantasia Ballroom. Catholic Mass is at 8 am and 10:15 am. Protestant service is at 9 am. The Contemporary parking lot, as well as the Polynesian and Grand Floridian lots, are restricted for parking during service hours and attendees are advised to use resort transportation via the resort monorail or Contemporary boat dock or walkway from the Magic Kingdom.
Holiday Merchandise & Special Offers
Every year a great selection of holiday merchandise and special offers are offered throughout Walt Disney World Resort and run the gamut from special holiday makeovers, holiday ear hats, holiday Vinylmations, trading pins, special holiday gift tins and candy treats, and much much more. Notable items will be mentioned here as they are released.
Holiday Makeovers - As the weather turns cooler at Disney Parks, guests can look for special holiday makeovers at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. From a new package that celebrates the upcoming release of Disney’s Frozen with a choice of the Anna or Elsa "looks" to the Holiday Minnie Package, special seasonal offers will be available at the World of Disney Store in Downtown Disney Marketplace or inside Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom Park (separate Theme Park admission is required for the latter) until January 3, 2014. Visit our Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique page for more info.
Gingerbread Pins - These limited edition trading pins are offered annually during the holidays and feature some of Walt Disney World Resort's best gingerbread and edible displays. They are for sale at the resorts represented. The pin for Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa this year commemorates the 15th anniversary of their gingerbread house!
Holiday Gift Cards with Pins - Disney continues the tradition of packaging Disney pins with Disney Gift Cards that began a few years ago. These cards come in four different designs which when combined make one complete scene featuring Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy preparing for the holidays. The Disney Gift Cards can be used for practically all-things Disney and each contains a limited release pin. Cards are offered for $75.00 each. When purchased, you get a gift card worth $75.00 and a complimentary ornament pin. Look for them at the four major theme park merchandise locations as well as World of Disney and Disney's Pin Traders at Downtown Disney Marketplace.
Holiday Gift Cards with Extra Magic - This holiday season there are new Disney Gift Card designs, which, with the help of a smart phone, allow guests to add a little magic to create more holiday fun. The design available at Walt Disney World Resort, features Mickey and Minnie Mouse standing in front of Cinderella Castle decorated in lights for the holidays and can be activated for various amounts. Enjoy the sounds of some joyful music and watch as the sky behind Cinderella Castle fill with fireworks. A transparent sky allows guests with a smart phone to see fireworks appear behind Cinderella Castle. To add "Magic" to your Disney Gift Card: Find the special holiday Disney Gift Card at locations throughout Walt Disney World Resort and scan the QR code or visit AddSomeMagic.com. You may then
1. Play video (make sure volume is turned on)
2. Rotate phone to Landscape
3. And place your Disney Gift Card in upper left hand part of the screen for some extra "magic".
The Disney Gift Card can be used to purchase your favorite Disney merchandise and entertainment to bring the magic of Disney to life. Give them to friends and family and allow them to shop, dine, stay and play at Disney destinations nationwide.
Christmas Ornaments - New for 2013, Disney is offering Disney character-inspired shoe ornaments that include shoes inspired by villains, princesses, and classic characters. Similar to the character ear hat ornaments released last summer, these new shoe ornaments contain some amazing details and artwork. The shoes each measure approximately 3 inches long by 3.5 inches tall. All of them contain a removable ribbon attachment, which is perfect for those interested in displaying them year round.
Guests can also look for new Main Street Electrical Parade ear hat ornaments. This limited edition set will be released August 2013 at Disney Parks. The set has five different ornaments includes some of the most memorable floats that will light up. The set will have an edition size of 600.
Dreaming of a Disney Christmas! In-Room Celebration - Disney Floral & Gifts newest holiday offering creates an environment right in your resort room, much like the one you would feel back home as the family is gathered around the fireplace. After a day of celebrating in the parks, return to your resort room to discover the gentle glow of luminaries, a Toon Town Times Newspaper featuring your family's much anticipated arrival, and presents (plush toys each holding a present waiting to be unwrapped). Plus, whether you’re leaving them out for Santa, or a treat to snack on before bed, this package gives you the works so that the entire family can frost, sprinkle, and share cookies together. After all the festivities when it’s time to tuck the little ones into bed, Minnie has included a special kiss goodnight with treats and even more surprises for little ones. For more information, visit the Disney Floral & Gifts web site.
Exclusive Member-Only Holiday Parties & Events
D23's Holiday Splendor: Exclusively for Gold and Silver Members, D23 jump-starts the joy of the holidays with two days of merriment at Disney's Hollywood Studios and Epcot on either December 5-6 or December 6-7. Cost is $205 per person and tickets go on sale August 29, 2013, 10 a.m. PT. Members may reserve a ticket for themselves and one (1) guest. There are a limited number of tickets available. D23 Members will be required to provide their membership number when reserving tickets. Theme park admission is not included. For more information, visit D23's Holiday Slendor page.
Disney Vacation Club Merry Mixer: This exclusive free annual holiday party for DVC members is held on several dates in November December. Members can stop by Epcot's World Showplace Pavilion (located between the Canada and England pavilions) beginning on Monday, November 25, 2013, with additional parties held on December 2, 9 and 16, 2013. From 3 to 5 p.m. each event day, DVC Members are treated to complimentary refreshments (usually cookies & cocoa), music and dancing, photo ops with Disney characters, exclusive merchandise sales, crafts and kids' activities. Disney Vacation Club ID cards must be shown at the door and Epcot theme park admission is required.
Now Snowing Nightly in Celebration Town Center
Snow will fall at nearby Celebration Town Center beginning November 30 through December 31, 2013. The Snowing Event has been a tradition in the the Disney-created town of for the past eleven years. The event will kick-off with a tree lighting ceremony, live music and an appearance by Santa Claus. The event is open to the public and will feature horse drawn carriage rides, carolers and the Celebration Express Train. An ice rink will also be open to the public. Snow Falls at 6, 7, 8 and 9 PM.
In addition to the everyday fun at Now Snowing Nightly, join the fun at the Orlando Sentinel Celebration of Voices on December 7th , a special Radio Disney Holiday concert with performances by Megan Nicole and Before You Exit! on December 14th and the Countdown to Christmas with National Recording Artists Ryan Cabrera and Lucy Iris on December 21st, and presented by Jarrett Automotive Group.
For more information, visit the Celebrations event page.
New Years Eve
From celebrations in the theme parks to an upscale dining experience and dancing on Disney's BoardWalk, take your pick of how you want to ring in the New Year. See our New Years Eve Events page.
To make arrangements for a holiday vacation at Walt Disney World Resort, guests can call the Disney Reservation Center at 407/W-DISNEY, or consult with The Magic For Less Travel.
Updated November 13, 2013