Due to the covid-19 virus, most of the World has shuttered itself, including the Happiest Place on Earth, Disneyland and all sister parks worldwide. It is a hard time for Disney lovers around the world, as not only the parks are closed, but all Disney Vacation Club locals, Cruise Lines, everything. But hope has reared its head in the current opening of Disney Springs, abet with third party participants only, and the announcement of Walt Disney World theme parks will open on July 11th for the Magic and Animal Kingdom parks to be followed by Hollywood Studios and EPCOT on July 15th. Disney is currently planning on fully reopening all of its facilities hopefully by the end of June. But limited at first to crowd size, modified offerings and venues subject to availability and possible closure.
With these modest starts, it buoyed the fact that Mickey’s Not-so-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party tentative dates have been announced. So, in the middle of Summer and a hope for a full fall schedule at Walt Disney World, I have decided to write about the amazing activities and events that await guests this fall for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas…
It’s hard to believe, how fast the Christmas holiday season comes and goes. So why an article on the Holidays after the fact? Well studies show that many begin planning their holiday season immediately after the one just passed and I cannot think of a better time to sing the praises of staying at Walt Disney World for them. Even this early, thousands of families are planning on what to do for the holidays. Do we have a traditional stay-at-home Christmas, or spend them with the relatives, have the family over or travel to the countless venues around the country or abroad that celebrate this magical time of the year. Each and every one will guarantee many memories and good times with family and friends. But for us, the one place that has Christmas and the holidays covered in every way, shape or form is the Walt Disney World Resort.
Let’s start at the beginning of the holiday season. For my wife and I, the season starts right after Labor Day. For us and many others, the beginning starts with Halloween, into Thanksgiving and ending with Christmas and New Years day. And there is no better place to celebrate any or all of these traditional American classics than at Walt Disney World. No matter what your favorite is, Walt Disney World has you covered. From parades, shows, special event nights, fireworks and some of the most beautiful Christmas trees this side of the North Pole, there is something for everyone. Disney World is very special no matter what time of the year it is, and during the Holiday season, it seems to be magnified tenfold.
Halloween at the Magic Kingdom is my favorite. The decorations that adorn Main St. USA and Town Square get you right in the mood. But what makes the Magic Kingdom so special during Halloween is the “Mickey’s Not-So-Scary” Halloween Party. This separate ticketed event is held on specific dates and is always a sell-out! The highlight of the party is “Mickey’s Boo-to-You” Halloween parade. If you have never seen this special parade, it is worth the price of admission in itself! The special Halloween floats and music are just perfect and our favorite float is the Haunted Mansion (What else!), especially the dancing gravediggers who scrape their shovels on the ground, making all those “ghoulish” sparks! In addition, this is a great opportunity to dress up in your favorite costume and go “Trick-or-Treating” at various locations around the Magic Kingdom. In fact, it seems like there are just as many adults as kids in costume.
In addition, there are the Characters in costume and many meet and greet spots for the kids to see their favorite ones dressed up. There is Halloween merchandise for sale, and of course Main St. and Town Square are decorated to the nines with the famous Disney “attention” to detail. And to top the evening off, Disney’s “Not So Spooky Spectacular” Halloween fireworks show which premiered on August 16, 2019, replacing “Happy Hallowishes” is sure to please.
For Thanksgiving, it seems everyone loves to dine here at Walt Disney World. All of the restaurants are open at the World and many have special menus for the Holidays. But common sense will tell you that if you are planning for that special meal at your favorite Disney World restaurant, be sure to book EARLY, EARLY, EARLY! Reservations fill up faster than Rockin’ Roller Coaster so the sooner you call the better.
Now we come to Christmas. The biggest Holiday in the country is also the biggest here at Walt Disney World. The crowds are the biggest on the 25th of December, and the shows, special attractions and events begin around November to the first week in the New Year. Let’s start with the Magic Kingdom. There are the spectacular decorations up and Down Main St, The Christmas music is playing in the background and Cinderella’s Castle has the most beautiful Holiday lights you will ever see, but the big event is “Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party”. As with Mickey’s Not-so-Scary-Halloween” party, this is a separated ticked event held on selected dates. We make it a must see for the season! There is “Snow” coming down Main St. For your magical “Holiday” cheer you can enjoy Mickey’s Merriest Celebration- A Christmas Holiday party hosted by Mickey and his pals. A Frozen Holiday Wish-Watch as Queen Elsa Morphs Cinderella Castle in a spectacular lighting ceremony. And perhaps Disney’s most beloved parade, “Once Upon a Christmastime Parade” – This magical Christmas parade has all your favorite characters and don’t forget to wave to Santa as his sled goes by. Special Holiday fireworks, Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks show, A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas-This party is “Out of this World”. Club Tinsel, this Holiday fun dance party takes place at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe in Tomorrowland. Character meets and greets and Holiday treats and specialty eats await all. And you can get all the hot chocolate and cookies you want at select locations! It’s hard to describe the feeling of walking around the Magic Kingdom at the Christmas Party or anytime else during the season, but the Disney Magic makes it very special.
The Magic Kingdom is not the only park that Celebrates Christmas! At the Animal Kingdom Christmas decorations abound, with a beautiful Christmas tree at the gate. In Asia celebrate with the Indian holiday of Diwali, the Festival of Lights. UP! A Great Bird Adventure, and Anandapur theater is festooned with lanterns and glowing flowers. In Africa, Harambe, a new holiday show will blend the traditions of Western and African celebrations. In Pandora, the residents will bring Christmas to this alien world with a display at Pongu Pongu, with items from Earth and Pandora. On Discovery Island, beautiful Christmas decorations abound, lanterns in the shape of birds and life-sized puppets of polar bears, foxes, reindeer and penguins.
In Dinoland, Christmas decorations of Donald and friends give nod to Donald’s Dino-bash and Chip ‘n Dale host the Holiday Hoopla Dance Party at the Truck-O-Saurus. And character meet ‘n greets abound, Mickey and Minnie at Adventurer Outpost, Russell and Dug in Discovery Island, Donald Duck at Dinoland. Other characters can be found through the park also.
At the Disney Hollywood Studios, we still lament the passing of the most beloved presentation of the season, The Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights which retired in 2015. But never to disappoint, Disney now has the Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM holiday fireworks spectacular, centered around the Chinese Theater, with special effects, state of the art projections and a memorable musical score.
Also offered at the Studios is the Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! Dessert Party. Presented nightly in the courtyard of the Chinese Theater, guests enjoy multiple food stations, delicious holiday desserts, beer, wine and specialty drinks for the over 21 crew and non-alcoholic and hot coco for the minors. To book, call 407-WDW-DINE. Another holiday favorite is the Sunset Seasons Greetings projection show. Experience snow, Disney characters and festive lights on Sunset Boulevard. The Hollywood Tower Hotel becomes a breathtaking movie screen, telling all the characters stories.
EPCOT is a fantastic park to visit during Christmas time. You will experience Epcot International Festival of the Holidays. Here you can learn how each country celebrates Christmas; discover the culture, history and heritage as storytellers from each country explain the history of the holidays and how they are celebrated in their homeland.
A guest favorite is the nightly Candlelight Processional, presented from November 29th to December 30th. This recanting of the Christmas story is by a celebrity guest narrator, complete in words and music. A 50-piece orchestra and choir accompany the narrator. You can partake of Candlelight Processional Dining Packages by calling 407-WDW-DINE. Guests will also enjoy the delicious Holiday Kitchens food and beverage kiosks. Aping the food kiosks during the Food and Wine Festival and Flower and Garden Festival, guests can savor the diverse offerings from different countries, and there will be a Cookie Stroll around the World Showcase. Another guest favorite is the Holiday Storytellers around World Showcase. Learn the different traditions and customs each country has for Christmas.
And let’s not forget New Years Eve. However, due to the Covid-19 interference, Disney has not announced reservations at this time for this, Disney’s busiest time of the year. But rest assured, once Disney has the details and plans in hand, you will find that in all four parks and Disney Springs, you will have unlimited choices of fun and magic to make for a memorable upcoming 2021!
As you can see, Walt Disney World offers everything you could want for a memorable Holiday experience. There is something for everyone here during this special time of the year. And while you could go elsewhere, here is the only place where the Disney Magic can be had!