10 Things You Must Do At Disney World During Christmas

Disney World at Christmas is an extra magical place!  When you mix in all the magic of Disney and combine it with the extra magic of the Christmas Season, you can’t help but have something truly special!

Maybe it’s the decorations?  Or the music?  Or the characters in holiday attire? Or the added Joy on people’s faces?  …but you love the experience of Disney World at Christmas!

Trust me, this is a narrowed down list because there is so much to do at Disney World for Christmas, but in this list you’ll see my 10 favorite things to do at Disney during Christmas.

Grand Floridian At Christmas

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa has become the epitome of Christmas!  The decor is classy, beautiful and rich in Victorian elegance.  Whether it’s the Grand Piano in the lobby or the orchestra on the second floor, the sounds of Christmas are alive.

As soon as you enter the lobby, you’ll be blown away by not on the sights and sounds, but also by the smell of Christmas that comes from the 16 foot Gingerbread house.

While I do mention a “resort crawl” as a part of this list, Christmas at Disney’s Grand Floridian is a must and deserves top mention!  It’s free to visit Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and you’re welcome to visit even if you’re not staying at this resort (or any Disney Resort).

It’s a quick monorail or boat ride from The Magic Kingdom.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

Much like mentioning Disney’s Grand Floridian, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party makes the list because of it’s over-the-top treatment of Christmas!  This is a big time must do if you’re visiting Disney at Christmas.

Throw on you Christmas PJ’s, grab some hot chocolate, cookies and take in the magic of Christmas And Disney.  With special Christmas-themed parades, special Christmas-themed entertainment, holiday food, special fireworks and even SNOW this party will not disappoint.

You’ll find thinner crowds in the Magic Kingdom during this special event but even though the crowds will be less, I encourage you to use this as a time to take advantage of the special Christmas events and attractions at Disney instead of waiting in line to ride rides.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a special ticketed event that takes place at The Magic Kingdom many nights during November and December.  Is it worth the cost?  I say if  you want to have an incredible Christmas and Disney experience, it most definitely is!

Candlelight Processional At Epcot

This is my favorite Christmas event period.  Not just for Christmas at Disney, but for all of Christmas!

True confession here – When I lived in Nashville, one Christmas a friend and I flew to Disney World in time to watch the Candlelight Processional on Friday evening, attended again on Saturday evening and then flew home on Sunday.  It’s seriously THAT awesome!

The Candlelight Processional is the reading of the Christmas Story by a guest narrator (my favorite has been James Earl Jones), accompanied by a symphony, a 200 person choir (made up of Disney cast members and choirs from around the country) and the Voices of Liberty.

It’s simply beautiful!

The Candlelight Processional is in The American Pavilion at Epcot and is included with your park ticket to Epcot.  That said, I would suggest purchasing a dinner package for the best seating possible.  This way you get a great meal, better seats and one amazing Christmas experience!

Earlier this Christmas I visited the Italian Pavilion, dined at Via Napoli (mentioned in The Best Pizza At Disney World) and then attended The Candlelight Processional.  Talk about a holly jolly good Christmas time!

Holidays Around The World At Epcot

Epcot’s World Showcase is full of Christmas cheer!  You can enjoy Christmas stories and culture in each of the country pavilion and experience Christmas on a grand scale.

Christmas is my favorite time of the year at Epcot because of the way you’re able to dive into each of the countries and experience the way they celebrate and experience Christmas.  The stories, from their native people, truly bring the holidays to life in a whole new way.

As Epcot has become more and more known for its culinary delights, you can find special marketplaces sharing special holiday treats only available during Christmas.  Epcot never disappoints with their food… so get ready for your tastebuds to jingle!

The Candlelight Processional is part of the Holidays Around The World celebration, so you can see the extreme that Disney goes to in order to create special Christmas memories.

Stroll Through Fort Wilderness Campground

You either love camping or you don’t, but there is no denying that those who love to camp are a special group of people!

One of my favorite things to do each Christmas is to take a stroll through Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground to see the sites and golf carts decorated for Christmas.  You see, each year during the holidays campers take it upon themselves to decorate their camp site, RV’s and golf carts for Christmas.

You’ll see tons of Disney inspired Christmas decorations, beautiful trees, blow up decor and lights galore!   The Osborne Family of Lights may no longer be available, but there are many sites who appear to want to become the next Osborne sensation.

There are horse drawn sleigh rides available too!  Doesn’t it get more Christmassy than this???

In order to view the Christmas decorations, you must take a boat to the campground or park in the parking lot (as no cars are allowed within the resort.)  My suggestion is to take a boat and begin a walk to the bus depot, allowing you to see lots of sites along the way.  It’s about a mile walk – and so worth it!

A Special Note – The Hoop De Doo Revue dinner show has a special Christmas edition of the show that’s very much worth seeing too!  It’s another one of my favorite things to do during Christmas at Disney (can you tell I love Christmas at Disney??)

 

 

Winter Summerland Miniature Golf

Not once have I ever seen this place show up on a list of things you must do at Disney during Christmas, but I’m telling you, this place is full of Christmas cheer!  If it’s Christmas themed fun you’re looking for, this place will provide the cheer!

It’s miniature golf and it’s Christmas / Winter themed.  Adjacent to Blizzard Beach Water Park, Winter Summerland is themed for the Christmas lover in all of us!

As the story goes, this is the off season retreat for Santa and his elves and with two 18 hole adventures.  I truly believe this is a hidden gem that completely blew me away the first time I visited it.

If you are visiting Disney World and do not have a car, it’s just a short Uber or Lyft ride or you can catch the bus to Blizzard Beach (if the busses are running to Blizzard Beach)  Here’s a Lyft code that will save you $50 in rides for new Lyft accounts (current promotion).

The Jingle Cruise

If you like cheesy humor, you don’t want to miss The Jingle Cruise.  This is a special edition of the infamous Jungle Cruise that takes you on a boat ride through the amazon – full of Elephants, Giraffes and African head hunters.

In typical Jungle Cruise fashion, the jokes are corny and the puns are a plenty!  The decorations are plentiful and you’ll see many gifts floating on the Nile.  If nothing else, you’ll get a good chuckle and a few Christmas jokes for your joke arsenal.

Each boat is transformed and given a new Christmassy name – the detail Disney puts into The Jingle Cruise will amaze you!

If you visit The Magic Kingdom during Christmas, this is a must!

Jingle Bell Jingle Bam!

This is a new holiday show for Hollywood Studios for 2016 and I must say, it is impressive!

This show uses state-of-the-art projections on the Chinese Theater, special effects, fireworks, fabulous music that only Disney can dream up and they top it all off with a snow shower at the end.  You will be mesmerized as you soak up all of the Christmas festivities going on all around you.

This show is high energy, high excitement and highly entertaining and highly all-things Christmas!

Starbright Holidays 

Disney always raises the bar and exceeds expectations with everything they do.  This show is simply a technological marvel!

Starbright Holidays (or as I typically call it, The Drone Christmas Show at Disney Springs), uses 300 drones flying above the water, synced with music and narration, to create images and lights high in the sky.

It’s AMAZING!!  The technology, the creativity, the wonder….

It’s a short show, maybe 10 minutes or so…but one that gives you reason to head to Disney Springs at night just to watch this show!  It’s packed with Christmas Cheer, lights, music and will cause you to smile.

Here’s a short Facebook Live video I shot of the drone Christmas show right after it started:

A Disney Resort Christmas Crawl

Okay, so this is not an official event or crawl, but if you want some true Christmas magic, take the time to visit the various resorts.  Take the time to dine there, and soak up the Christmas magic.

I’ve already mentioned making The Grand Floridian part of your Christmas experience and taking in the sights (sites) and sounds of Fort Wilderness Campground, but here are a few more resorts I’d highly suggest:

Beach Club

There are tons of decorations, festive music and a rotating ginger bread carousel!)  A visit to Beaches n Cream is always a must!

Yacht Club

The Beach Club may have a ginger bread carousel, but the Yacht Club has an edible train!  Seriously?

Boardwalk Inn

Not only is there boardwalk entertainment, lights, music and the yummy smell of candy, the miniature version of Atlantic City is sure to impress!

Wilderness Lodge

The tree is HUGE!!!  It has to be at least 60 feet tall and full of decorations from the wilderness!  The lobby is beautifully decorated and complete with an oversized fireplace and the smell of cedar.  You’ll want to hang out in this lobby for hours and soak it all in.

Animal Kingdom Lodge

This lobby is absolutely stunning!  Similar to the lobby of The Wilderness Lodge, you’ll find yourself swept away in total Christmas Merriment by the theming, music, decor and cheer of The Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Did I leave your favorite resort out?  I’d love to hear what your favorite resort is at Christmas!

Christmas Near Walt Disney World

Celebration, Florida

Celebration is a small community of 10,000 residents just off the Disney Property and boy does this community know how to do Christmas!  In December, you’ll find an ice skating rink on Market Street, lights galore, snow throughout the evening, sleigh rides, pictures with Santa and as much Christmas music as you can stand.

You’ll feel like you have entered the scene of some Hallmark Christmas movie when you enter Celebration.  It’s festive, it’s fun, it’s almost surreal – and yes, I personally believe it’s worth leaving Disney for a couple of hours one night to experience!

If you are visiting Disney World and do not have a car, it’s just a short Uber or Lyft ride over to Celebration. Here’s a Lyft code that will save you $50 in rides for new Lyft accounts (current promotion).  Parking is free in Celebration, so if you have a car, come on over!

ICE! At Gaylord Palms

Gaylord Palms is a beautiful resort just off of the Disney property and they go a bit crazy decorating for Christmas too.  Matter of fact, they pretty much freeze up the place…well, they create these huge ice sculptures that will blow your mind!

It’s amazing the talent the ice sculptors have being able to carve giant sculptures that are not only beautiful, but also strong enough to sit on, slide on and take selfies with!

If you are visiting Disney World and do not have a car, it’s just a short Uber or Lyft ride to Gaylord.  Matter of fact, if you’re staying at Disney, it may be cheaper to get a Lyft over because of the parking fee.  Here’s a Lyft code that will save you $50 in rides for new Lyft accounts (current promotion).

 

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