Let the Holiday Planning Begin

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By Erica Colmenares

t’s June and it’s hot. So what better time to look ahead to a cold-weather vacation at Disney World? Disney has released information on events and hours for November and December, and we’ve compiled them here for your planning pleasure.

We’ll start with the event nearest and dearest to our hearts, MouseFest. TheMouseForLess.com has been participating in MouseFest since its inception. This year, the MouseFest Cruise embarks on December 7, and the MouseFest land events start on December 11.

The Theme Parks
The Magic Kingdom (and Cinderella Castle) will put on a holiday face starting in November. Disney is repeating the spectacular Castle Dream Lights, over 200,000 tiny white lights which transform the castle into an even more beautiful sight. The Dream Lights will re-debut on November 10, the night of the first 2008 Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Parties will be held: November 10-11, 14, 16, 20-21, 30; and December 2, 4-5, 7, 9, 11-12, 14, 16, 18-19. For complete details and ticketing information, visit our MVMCP page. Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, usually only shown during MVMCP, will be performed during normal park hours starting on December 25-31, at 12:30 and 3:30 p.m.

At Epcot, Holidays Around the World begins on November 28. Epcot does it up right, with the Lights of Winter, the nightly tree-lighting ceremony with Mickey, themed holiday storytellers around the World Showcase, the holiday version of IllumiNations, and the Candlelight Processional. Specific details on the Candlelight Processional for 2008 are not yet available, but for more information on this beautiful show, visit our Candlelight Processional page.

At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the Osborne Lights are an annual tradition. This display with its millions of lights was originally designed by Arkansas businessman and philanthropist Jennings Osborne, as a gift to his daughter. Now it’s taken over the Streets of America. The Osborne Lights will be turned on November 28, and stay on every evening through January 4, 2009. If you haven’t seen this fabulous display of dancing holiday lights, you’re in for a treat. For photos, click here. Rumor has it that the Harlem Gospel Choir will not return for the 2008 holidays.

Animal Kingdom switches over to the Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade early, starting November 10. You’ll also be able to visit a transformed Camp Mickey-Mickey over the holidays, in Santa Goofy’s Holiday Village.

Downtown Disney gets in on the act, with the Festival of the Seasons. It’s Downtown Disney, plussed. There are carolers, holiday variety performers, light displays, and a photo op with Santa, from November 28 through January 4, 2009.

New Year’s Eve
It’s hard to imagine a better place to ring in the New Year than Walt Disney World. The hard part would be picking just one of the entertainment options. The Magic Kingdom has the Fantasy in the Sky fireworks scheduled at 11:50 p.m. (also showing on December 30), along with the SpectroMagic parade three times during the evening. IllumiNations will be performed twice on December 31 at Epcot, at 7:30 and 11:40 p.m.

At Downtown Disney, you can catch special showings of Cirque du Soleil’s La Nouba. Their New Year’s Eve celebration includes a champagne toast, a souvenir program, and a special finale just shown on New Year’s Eve. Showtimes are at 6:00 and 9:00 p.m. At Pleasure Island, it’s a street party, complete with live music, a pirate party, dancing, gourmet food, a champagne toast, and fireworks. There’s also a party over at the BoardWalk, at Atlantic Dance Hall.

Whether you go to Walt Disney World for Thanksgiving, an early December meet-up with friends, the winter holidays, or for New Year’s Eve, there’s plenty to do. Happy planning!

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