Early November 2016 – Early January 2017 (Dates for specific events will vary)
2016 Holiday Activities & Events Info
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 Disney Springs too. So let’s get started – it’s going to take a while to tell you about it all!
It’s the Busiest Time of Year Magic Kingdom Events Epcot Events Disney’s Hollywood Studios Events Disney’s Animal Kingdom Events Disney Springs Events Holiday Tours Holiday Dining Holidays at the Resorts 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 Years at Walt Disney World Resort is not for “first-time” vacationers, those who think it’s just about the rides or those who do not like crowds. 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, Magic Kingdom park in particular has had to close its gates due to capacity crowds the week between Christmas and New Years. 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.
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.
Walt Disney World Theme Parks and Disney Springs
The four theme parks and Disney Springs are the place to deck the halls! Walt Disney World Resort does that and plenty more this holiday season – the parks turn up the yuletide magic with shows, thrilling spectaculars, beloved characters, yummy and festive holiday treats, and theme parks and resort hotels all aglitter with holly, jolly decorations.
Disney’s Holiday D-Lights Tour
Accompanied by a holiday host the Holiday D-Lights Tour has a little of everything. 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. 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.
Disney’s Yuletide Fantasy Tour
Disney’s Yuletide Fantasy Tour takes guests 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.
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 2016. 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. 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.
Check here for a full list of restaurants offering Christmas Day dinner.
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. 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.
Holidays at the Walt Disney World Resort Hotels
The holiday experiences at the Walt Disney World Resort Hotels are a huge part of the holiday fun. They include gingerbread displays, train exhibits, treat shops, sleigh rides, and more.
Christmas Day religious services are generally offered at the Contemporary Resort in the Fantasia Ballroom. 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.
Guests can celebrate the holiday with a spectacular In-Room Celebration at your Disney Resort hotel! Guests should be sure to set up the holiday surprise of a lifetime in the comfort of your room with an over-the-top, personalized welcome prepared by the world’s most famous mouse couple with the “Dreaming of a Disney Holiday” gift option which comes complete with personalized gifts from Mickey and Minnie! This extra-special surprise is only available from October 28, 2016 to January 9, 2017. Plus, consider adding even more cheer to your room with the separate purchase of a beautifully designed Christmas tree or personalized stockings. To learn more about this and other In-Room Celebrations, please visit Disney Floral and Gifts online or call (407) WDW-GIFT or (407) 939-4438.
Exclusive Member-Only Holiday Parties & Events
Disney Vacation Club members are invited to the exclusive Merry Member Mixer. This even takes place at the World Showcase Pavilion at Epcot on November 25 and December 2, 9, 16, and 23. Members and up to six guests enjoy character meet-and-greets, children’s crafts, a DJ dance party, complimentary treats, and limited-edition merchandise. No RSVP or reservations are required, but a valid member I.D. must be shown to enter.
Other Holiday Events
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.