Walt Disney World Christmas

By James | Last updated May 10, 2024

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Having a magical Walt Disney World Christmas holiday is a bucket list item for every big Disney Fan. All the Christmas holiday entertainment at Walt Disney World is included in the normal ticket admission. This is with the exception of the night time “Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party” at Magic Kingdom. A separate ticket admission is required for this.

There are a couple of main Walt Disney World Christmas events to explore. You have the “Candlelight Processionals” at EPCOT. At Magic Kingdom you have the new illuminated Cinderella’s Castle, fireworks spectacular and the parade at “Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party”.

Our top tip for saving big on Disney ticket prices this Christmas

For the best prices, you will want to compare a few sites. Prices differ even from the official Disney site. You are likely to get a great deal if you shop around. You can also buy your “Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party” ticket at any of these sites.

One thing you will find throughout the Walt Disney World Resort is holiday themed food and drink. Like a Pumpkin Ice Cream Sandwich and of course lots of holiday themed gifts and merchandise. There’s almost too much Disney World Christmas excitement to cover here so strap in!

Disney World Christmas at Magic Kingdom

In the Magic Kingdom, “Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party” usually starts before Thanksgiving. The party will run from early November to just before Christmas in December. Be sure to check the dates depending on the year you are planning for on the official Disney Site.

This special event includes a firework spectacular, two parades, sweet holiday treats (cookies and hot cocoa), character greetings and live holiday stage shows for the whole family.

As soon as the Halloween celebrations are over, Disney decorates the Magic Kingdom for the Christmas holiday season. This officially starts early November and runs until December 31.

All the entertainment is available to day guests without any additional charge. If you wish to go to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party in the evening then this requires a ticket.

Every year the Jungle Cruise ride becomes the festive “Jingle Cruise” though the jokes are just as bad!

Main Street U/S.A. Christmas Decorations

As soon as you approach the entrance to Magic Kingdom you can see the Christmas decorations adorning the Main Street Station with garlands and ribbons.

Once inside in Town Square, there is a giant Christmas tree. This is complete with a model of the Disney train. The flower beds are decorated with Nutcracker toy soldier figures and candy canes.

All the way up Main Street to Cinderella Castle is decked out with wreaths, ribbons and garlands.

You may even witness “snow” falling in Main Street this year.

If you feel Main Street is too busy then there is a back way round on the righthand side by Tony’s Town Square Restaurant to reach the hub by Cinderella Castle.

Instead of some of the usual meet-and-greets, you can often see the characters who normally would be in the parades appear on the Main Street Station upper level. The Dapper Dans also sing from here.

Once you get into the other “lands” you will find less Christmas decorations. They are certainly concentrated around Main Street U.S.A.

Cinderella Castle Nighttime Show

Instead of the twinkling ice castle lights of “Castle Dream Lights”, once the sun sets, there is a revolving projection show onto the castle that cycles to a different animated holiday themed design about every 15 minutes on the quarter hours. This alternates with the 50th Anniversary “Beacon of Magic”.

Four different designs are projected with blues and golds, reds and greens, snowflakes, polka dots and peppermint sticks. Even the lights on the trees and the fountains around the hub change.

The projections cover both the front facing Main Street and the sides so it is visible from a wide angle.

The Castle Dream Lights were last seen in 2019.

Magic Kingdom Festive Food and Drink

Like all parks, Magic Kingdom introduces special festive menu items. For those of you with a sweet tooth, there are several festive treats. These vary by year and in 2021 they included:

  • Christmas Cookie Sundae at Auntie Gravity’s Galactic Goodies in Tomorrowland. Cookie soft serve ice cream topped with hot fudge, whipped cream and holiday sprinkles
  • Christmas Cookie Milkshake also at Auntie Gravity’s Galactic Goodies in Tomorrowland. Cookie milkshake topped with whipped cream and holiday sprinkles
  • Gingerbead Almond Cake Pop at Golden Oak Outpost in Frontierland — gingerbread almond cake pop dipped in white chocolate
  • Ginger Apple Funnel Cake at Sleepy Hollow in Fantasyland. Gingerbread funnel cake topped with apple pie filling, vanilla ice cream, and caramel sauce
  • Mickey Cinnamon Roll at Main Street Bakery, Main Street U.S.A. — Mickey-shaped cinnamon roll with red and green icing drizzle

For those of you who like popcorn there is a collectors Christmas popcorn bucket. There are also plenty of Disney World Christmas ornaments at Ye Old Christmas Shoppe.

Previous Years at Magic Kingdom

Because of the COVID pandemic in 2020, Disney cancelled Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, the Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, stage shows, character meet-and-greets and the fireworks.

Magic Kingdom Cavalcades

Instead of a fixed time parade, various cavalcades followed the normal parade route from Frontierland to Town Square throughout the day but they stopped running at dusk. The idea was to try and prevent very large crowds gathering together in close proximity. One of the best spots to view the cavalcades was from the hub between Main Street and Cinderella Castle.

In total there were seven different cavalcades so you never had to wait long to see the next:

  • Mickey’s Holiday Cavalcade — Mickey and Minnie Minnie with Pluto, Donald and Daisy Duck, Wendy and Peter Pan, Pinocchio and Geppetto, Mad Hatter and Alice, Winnie the Pooh and Tigger, Mary Poppins and Bert
  • Santa’s Christmas Cavalcade — Santa Claus on his sleigh with a herd of reindeer and his elves
  • Goofy’s Scrumptious Cavalcade — Goofy, Max Goof and Clarabelle Cow with gingerbread men and elves
  • Holiday Trolley — The Dapper Dans
  • Holiday Trolley — Eeyore, Piglet and Rabbit
  • Disney Princess Cavalcade — Disney Princesses
  • Main Street Philharmonic — marching band playing festive tunes complete with toy soldiers

The last cavalcade of the day was Santa. Instead of the usual route, he started at Town Square, went up to and around the hub before returning to Town Square.

As well as the cavalcade characters, there were other characters that could be found throughout the park:

  • Kermit, Miss Piggy, Sam the Eagle, Gonzo and Fozzie from the Muppets appear in Liberty Square
  • Country Bears and Chip ‘n’ Dale appear on the upstairs balcony at the Country Bear Jamboree
  • Santa Stitch and Buzz Lightyear appear at the Rockettower Plaza Stage in Tomorrowland

Read more about Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and the Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks Dessert Party.

Disney World Christmas at EPCOT

Epcot’s Holidays Around the World festivities has been replaced by the “Epcot International Festival of Holidays” and it runs from late November to the end of December but be sure to check the dates for the year you are attending on the official Disney site for any changes.

Each evening at the America Gardens Theatre, there is a “Candlelight Processional”, a musical performance by a mass choir and a 50-piece orchestra retelling the Christmas story with the help of a special celebrity guest narrator. The performance runs three times a night at the American Gardens Theatre.

Epcot International Festival of the Holidays

The Epcot International Festival of the Holidays runs every day from late November until late December.

It typically starts a few days after the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival normally ends.

Originally called “Holidays around the World”, the last festival in the calendar year at Disney’s Epcot has been called the “Epcot International Festival of the Holidays” since 2016.

For 2020 it was known as the “Taste of Epcot International Festival of the Holidays”.

Like all Epcot festivals, basic admission is included with a standard admission ticket. The festival includes food and merchandise (to purchase) and entertainment.

One of the highlights is the festive Candlelight Processional. This is where a celebrity narrators tell the story of Christmas accompanied by a mass choir.

Don’t forget to pick up a Festival Passport at the Epcot Entrance. It will give you details of all the entertainments including times, merchandise and more importantly all the food options and where you can find them.

The theme is still holidays around the world. The festival gives guests a chance to savour how other cultures celebrate the holiday season.

The playlist at Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind gets a Christmas holiday overlay. Holiday themed singles replace the classic hits.

Holiday Storytellers

All around the World Showcase, you will find native Holiday Storytellers in traditional costumes sharing the traditions of their countries around the holiday time.

Performances are every day and last 15 minutes unless stated otherwise.

A Mischievous Magical Barn Santa

Storyteller Sigrid at Norway Pavilion is visited by a mischievous Barn Santa.

La Befana

La Befana is a kind-hearted witch at the Italy Pavilion. She visits sleeping young children on the Eve of Epiphany to tell them stories.

Santa Claus

Santa Claus can be found at the The Odyssey Pavilion until December 24 when he has another pressing appointment!


Listen to the story of the Daruma doll and Japanese New Year customs at the Japan Pavilion.

Hanukkah Storyteller

Between the Morocco and France Pavilions you can hear the storyteller relate their travels to explore the music and traditions of Hanukkah.

Père Noël

Père Noël can be found at the France Pavilion, where you can rediscover the magic of Christmas as he reads a child’s letter.

Father Christmas

Father Christmas is at the United Kingdom Pavilion sharing the traditions of the United Kingdom.

Canadian Holiday Voyageurs – Canada Pavilion

The Canadian Holiday Voyageurs explore the different holiday customs of Canada at the Canada Pavilion.

Holiday Kitchens

Around sixteen themed holiday kitchens are located around the World Showcase. They offer festive sampler sized portions of food and treats plus a range of drinks (both non-alcoholic and alcoholic). Some of the food dishes are nearer to meal size portions.

Prices are typically around $4 to $8 per dish and $5 to $16 for speciality drinks.

The kitchens are open from noon until around 8:00 p.m. As well as the standalone kitchens you will also find a number of carts selling festive food items and many of the existing eateries have special festive additions to their menus including such delights as Sweet Potato Casserole Funnel Cake at the Funnel Cake kiosk.

Holiday Cookie Stroll

Pick up your Festival Passport and then take part in the Holiday Cookie Stroll.

There are five different stamps to collect when you purchase freshly baked holiday cookies from eight select locations.

Cookie prices are around the $2.50 mark.

Stick the stamps in your passport and then you can redeem them for a complimentary Peppermint Minnie Cookie at the Sweets & Treats Holiday Kitchen in Showcase Plaza. You don’t have to get all five stamps on the same day, just remember to bring your passport back with you if you visit again.

Candlelight Processional

One of the highlights of the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays is the Candlelight Processional which takes place three times each evening at the American Gardens Theatre.

At each performance a celebrity narrator tells the biblical Christmas story accompanied by a 50 piece live orchestra and massed choirs.

Some perennial favourite narrators like Neil Patrick Harris draw a large crowd.

Admission to the concerts is free but by purchasing a Candlelight Processional Dining Package] you get a guaranteed same day reserved seat.

Read more about the Candlelight Processional… and Candlelight Processional Dining Package….

Joyful! A Celebration of the Season

As well as the Candlelight Processional there are plenty of other places to listen to holiday music.

Each day at the World Showcase Stage, you can listen to D’Vine Voices as they perform “Joyful! A Celebration of the Season” holiday melodies including gospel, jazz, R&B and both contemporary and traditional Christmas and holiday songs.

The performances also include African-American Kwanzaa celebrations and take place several times a day.

The Voices of Liberty are performing their 8-part harmony carols and Christmas songs inside the American Pavilion.

The Mexican Mariachi Cobre are also performing “Las Posadas”, a celebration of Mexican holiday customs with dancers and piñatas, at the Mexico Pavilion every day except Friday and Saturday.

In previous years the JAMMitors would rock at the Mill Stage at the Canada Pavilion.

Olaf’s Holiday Tradition Expedition

There is a new scavenger hunt from 2020 called “Olaf’s Holiday Tradition Expedition” which takes place around the World Showcase. This replaces “Chip & Dale’s Christmas Tree Spree” from previous years.

You can purchase a map and set of stickers at several locations including Creations Shop, Port of Entry and World Traveler at the International Gateway.

As you walk around the World Showcase look out for holiday traditions that Olaf has “lost” in the pavilions. Put the corresponding ornament sticker onto your scavenger map. Once you have completed the hunt, take your map to Creations Shop or World Traveler for a festive gift.

Epcot Fireworks

In past years, the fireworks show was interspersed with classic holiday music, holiday greetings in the native language of the countries throughout the World Showcase and ending with a message of peace on earth and goodwill to men.

To get the best view you will need to arrive early at the Showcase Lagoon. Find a spot that is not obstructed by trees or light poles if possible.

Epcot International Festival of the Holidays Merchandise

No festival would be complete without merchandise and the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays is no different!

You will find a range of themed clothing, backpacks, Disney World Christmas plush toys and festive MagicBands.

Annual Passholders may also find complimentary gifts like fridge magnets and the option to buy exclusive passholder gifts.

In previous years, Epcot used to be decorated with the Lights of Winter lighted canopy that danced to holiday music over the walkway linking Future World and the World Showcase.

Past Disney World Christmas Events at Epcot

Chip & Dale’s Christmas Tree Spree Scavenger Hunt

Before the current scavenger hunt with Olaf, there was the Chip & Dale’s Christmas Tree Spree Scavenger Hunt which also took place around the World Showcase.

Disney World Christmas Character Holiday Promenades

In Previous years you might have seen one of several character cavalcades, all dressed in their holiday best:

  • Mickey and Friends World Tour — Mickey and friends
  • Frozen Promenade — Queen Anna and Elsa
  • Princess Promenade — some of your favourite Disney princesses riding in a horse-drawn carriage
  • Santa Claus Promenade — see Santa in his horse-drawn carriage wishing everyone a merry Christmas

All of these have now been withdrawn.

Read more about the Candlelight Processional.

Disney World Christmas at Hollywood Studios

Christmas is celebrated at Disney’s Hollywood Studios every day from early November to the end of December. Please check the dates on the official Disney site for any date changes for your chosen holiday year.

During the day there is a new cavalcade with Santa Claus and the “Sunset Season Greetings” returns with projection effects onto the Hollywood Tower Hotel.

Sunset Seasons Greetings

The “Sunset Seasons Greetings” takes place on Sunset Boulevard every evening.

As snow begins to fall, billboards along the boulevard leading to the Hollywood Tower Hotel come to life with Disney character moments including Mickey and Minnie Mouse reminiscing about their hometown Christmas, characters from Toy Story trying to guess what new toys will arrive on Christmas Day, the Swedish Chefs from The Muppets and finally Olaf pining over his holiday wish. There are also holiday inspired projections onto the front of the Hollywood Tower Hotel.

The “Sunset Seasons Greetings” show now alternates each evening with another projection show, “Beacon of Magic” celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World.

Santa Claus Motorcade

Santa can be seen with his sacks of presents in his candy apple red convertible car in the “Santa Claus Motorcade” down Hollywood Boulevard accompanied by his elves.

You can also visit Santa at the “Once Upon a Time” store on Sunset Boulevard until Christmas Eve and then from Christmas Day he is replaced by Santa Goofy.

Minnie’s Holiday Dine

The Hollywood & Vine restaurant hosts a number of seasonal lunch and dinner time dining experiences throughout the year and from early November it is “Minnie’s Holiday Dine” where you can see both Minnie and Mickey Mouse dressed in holiday attire.

Also look out for Donald and Dais Duck, Santa Goofy and Pluto complete with reindeer antlers.

For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration

The Frozen show “For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration” features a new seasonal finale with Olaf.

Past Disney World Christmas Events at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Shows come and go and Christmas time is no exception.

Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights

The amazing “Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights” used to be held at Disney’s Hollywood Studios each holiday season but it closed for the last time at the end of 2015 to make way for the major expansion for Toy Story Land and Star Wars Land.

History of Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights

The Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights was originally started with just 1,000 red lights back in 1986 in Little Rock, Arkansas by Jennings Osborne for his daughter Breezy but by 1993 so many people were coming to see it that his neighbours went to the Arkansas Supreme Court to get it closed down.

Disney invited Jennings to Disney-MGM Studios (as it was then called) in 1995 and it grew into one of the major annual holiday season events at the Walt Disney World Resort.

Over 5 million holiday lights were used to decorate the area around the Streets of America at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and you could walk amongst them and marvel at all the different decorations using special holographic glasses.

In 2020 Disney donated 3 million lights to the Give Kids the World charitable organisation that gives holidays to critically ill children and their families for their “Night of a Million Lights” at the Give Kids the World Village in Kissimmee. It is quite likely that a lot of these lights came from the original Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights. Since 1986 Give Kids the World has hosted over 176,000 families from all over the world.

In 2022 the “Night of a Million Lights” presentation moved to the Island H2O Water Park next to Margaritaville in Kissimmee.

Disney World Christmas at Animal Kingdom

As Animal Kingdom is a wildlife park, it does not have parades or fireworks so their Christmas celebrations are different from the rest of the parks. They do still celebrate Christmas in their own way.

At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the park is decorated for the holiday season from early November to December 31.

To mark the holiday season, there is a giant 65 foot tree by the entrance beautifully decorated with animal faces and other ornaments.

The Asia “land” is decorated for Diwali, the festival of light and there are other decorations throughout the park.

At Adventurers Outpost, Mickey and Minnie Mouse wear their holiday outfits for the meet-and-greet.

Disney World Christmas Merry Menagerie

Look out for the beautiful animal and bird lanterns on Discovery Island.

The menagerie features life sized sculpted puppets of animals associated with the winter season including penguins, foxes, polar bears and reindeer accompanied by a live musician.

Animal Kingdom Flotillas

Instead of the motor cavalcades introduced into the other Walt Disney World theme parks, in Animal Kingdom they have holiday flotillas sailing on the Discovery River accompanied by holiday music:

  • Santa Claus Festive Flotilla — featuring Santa Claus
  • Discovery Island Drummers Festive Flotilla — a group of percussionists play holiday tunes

To help stop crowds forming, there are no set times for the flotillas but they pass by frequently. A good place to see them is from the bleachers at the former Rivers of Light.

Tree of Life Awakenings – Holiday Edition

In the evening, once it gets dark, the “Tree of Life Awakenings – Holiday Edition” light projection show is shown on the Tree of Life. Between shows the tree shimmers and sparkles.

There are two different shows each accompanied by holiday music; one story is about how the animals behave the first time they see snow as the season moves from autumn into winter and the other story is about the different light with the passing seasons including the Northern Lights.

Each show lasts about 4 to 5 minutes.

Past Disney World Christmas Events at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

In previous years there used to be an afternoon parade called “Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade” during the holiday season but the last holiday parade was in 2013 and in 2014 the regular daytime “Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade” ended as well due to building work. There do not seem to be any plans to reintroduce it at this time.

Disney Springs Christmas Celebrations

Disney Springs takes on a holiday feel from mid November through to early January.

All the shops and restaurants have special holiday window dressings and there are holiday carolers, stilt performers and holiday music. It feels like you’re in a Disney World Christmas movie.

Don’t forget to visit Disney’s Days of Christmas shop in particular and of course the World of Disney shop is packed with Disney World Christmas gifts.

Disney introduced several new offerings for the holiday season at the updated Disney Springs entertainment and shopping complex. “Holidays at Disney Springs” runs each day from early November through to early January.

Unlike the parks, there is no reservation system for Disney Springs but like the parks it is still running at reduced capacity.

To help with your arrival, digital message boards on Buena Vista Drive show you when the parking garages and surface parking lots are full.

Note that even if you have a reservation at one of the Disney Springs restaurants it does not guarantee you admission to Disney Springs if capacity has been reached so make sure you leave yourselves plenty of time.

Disney Springs can be extremely busy at this time of year, especially at weekends and during the evenings so sticking to weekdays and arriving earlier in the day is a good idea.

Disney Springs Entertainment

There is a holiday themed DJ dance party with games and other activities at the AdventHealth Marketplace Stage.

Each evening, one lucky family gets to light the Marketplace Christmas tree by the Once Upon a Toy fountain play area.

Do not be surprised to encounter Toy Soldier Stilt-walkers and Snowflake Skaters at well as carolers during the evenings along the promenade.

If you are interested in Hanukkah then head to the Waterview Park at The Landing.

Also look out for intermittent unseasonal “snow” in the Town Center area each evening.

Disney World Christmas Meet and Greet with Santa

You can meet Santa Claus and his helpers from mid-November until December 24. From Christmas Day, December 25 until December 30, Santa Goofy takes over because Santa Claus is otherwise busy!

Disney has adopted a virtual queuing system using the MyDisneyExperience app. Previous years, to use the virtual queue you had to be at Disney Springs and the queue opened at 9:00 a.m. and again at 4:00 p.m.

It is expected they will use the same method again this year.

This allows you to “check-in” to secure your place and then come back at your allotted time slot.

Santa is available from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. each day.

Breakfast with Santa at Maria and Enzo’s Ristorante

“Breakfast with Santa at Maria and Enzo’s Ristorante” in the grand dining room.

Here you can enjoy a gourmet family-style breakfast feast with a classic Italian theme, holiday activities for the whole family, a photo souvenir, take-home treats for kids and for adults (aged 21+) a complimentary Prosecco mimosa.

After the breakfast there is the opportunity to meet with Santa for a chat and a personal keepsake photo.

The experience lasts around 90 minutes and prices start at $50 per adult and $30 per child aged 3 to 10, all plus tax and gratuities. There is no charge for children 2 and under.

There are two categories of booking, Gold and the slightly more expensive Platinum which determine seating location and order of visits to Santa. Platinum bookings are seated with a lake view and see Santa first.

Disney Springs Christmas Tree Stroll

The “Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail”, the new “Disney Springs Christmas Tree Stroll” takes on a slightly different guise. Instead of a walk-through trail it has been redesigned as a stroll through the four neighbourhoods of Disney Springs.

The old trail was located near the old Marketplace bus loop and ran from outside Once Upon a Toy in the Marketplace to Disney’s Days of Christmas store.

In some ways the new format is actually better for several reasons. The old trail always looked like a bit of a last minute idea as the actual location was not very well themed (it was basically a bus park) whereas the trees now sit more comfortably in their new locations with more space around them. They are mostly in the West Side, Landing and Town Center sections.

Like before each Christmas trees has its own distinctive theme inspired by some of Disney’s best loved (and hated!) characters, attractions and stories. In previous years there were up to 25 trees but in 2020 there are only 12 trees. Look out for the lantern on each tree holding a ornament you can buy at Disney’s Days of Christmas shop.

To make sure you do not miss any of them, pick up a Disney Springs Christmas Tree Stroll map that shows the location of each tree. Maps can be picked up from the Disney Springs Welcome Center, Disney’s PhotoPass Studio, or some retail outlets.

Disney Springs Stitch’s Holiday Gift Hunt

In conjunction with the Christmas tree stroll, Disney Springs is also offering a free “Holiday Scavenger Hunt”. On the map you will find 12 stickers. By looking at each tree you can work out which sticker goes where on the map. When you have all 12 stickers in place you can pick up a complimentary Disney Springs Christmas Tree Stroll reward button from one of the three redemption locations displayed on the map.

Don’t forget to look on the back of the map for special offers from various gift outlets and restaurants.

Jock Lindsey’s Holiday Bar

The popular lakeside hangout, Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar is transformed into “Jock Lindsey’s Holiday Bar” for the holiday season with several festive additions to the menu and cocktail list including:

  • Light Deviled Eggs — six coloured egg halves decorated with shrimp and tobiko caviar
  • Grandma’s Favorite Sliders — two sliders made from venison served on soft toasted buns with cranberry bacon jam, tomato and watercress
  • Milk and Cookies by the Fireside — six cookies (chocolate peppermint gingerbread men, butter pecan signature cookies and spiced sugar Christmas tree cookies) served with an alcoholic Puerto Rican Malibu rum cocktail
  • Jock’s Holiday Nog — Rum Chata, Frangelico and Tito’s Handmade Vodka
  • Berry, Merry Margarita — Patron Silver Tequila, Cointreau, red cranberry juice and lemon juice.
  • Mistletoe Mule — Tito’s Handmade Vodka, lime juice and passionfruit, topped with ginger beer

Many of the other Disney Springs restaurants have festive dishes on the menu including special Thanksgiving offerings like an Italian version of a turkey dinner at either Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante or Enzo’s Hideaway, a traditional prix-fixe Thanksgiving dinner at The Edison and a pan-Asian Thanksgiving meal at Morimoto Asia. Reservations are recommended.

Disney’s PhotoPass Studio

During the holiday season you can get a special holiday photo package at Disney’s PhotoPass Studio in the Marketplace. The “Memory Maker One Day” package gives you a studio photo package with special green screen backdrops featuring Santa Claus plus other Disney themed festive backgrounds and you can download all the photos taken at the studio and at Disney Springs on the day of your visit. There are also special deals on prints.

Disney Springs Christmas Shopping

Many of the stores at Disney Springs are specially decorated for the holiday season and offer exclusive seasonal gifts. There is a vast range at the main World of Disney store and Disney’s Days of Christmas shop offers personalised ornaments.

At the Coca-Cola Store you can get a festive photo taken with the eight foot tall polar bear, on the second floor.

Previous Years at Disney Springs

Over the years a number of events have come and gone, some of which were caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The rest of this page is for historical interest only.

Disney World Christmas Tree Trail

Previous Christmas Tree Trail themes have included:

  • 101 Dalmatians
  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Disney Shops & Restaurants
  • Lilo & Stitch
  • Moana
  • Pluto
  • The Jungle Book
  • The Muppets
  • Toy Story

Starbright Holidays – An Intel Collaboration

In 2016 Disney introduced a first-of-its-kind drone light and music show over the lagoon at the West Side of Disney Springs between the shopping complex and Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort.

Following technical rehearsals the new show ran from November 20, 2016 to January 8, 2017 with two performances per night at 7:00 and 8:30 p.m.

The “Starbright Holidays – An Intel Collaboration” featured a fleet of 300 miniature battery operated Intel Shooting Star drones, each with four coloured LED lights. The lightweight drones were choreographed and synchronised to a festive sound track in a five minute performance that included a rotating green christmas tree and a white dove of peace.

Under a recent ruling, the US Federal Aviation Authority had permitted Disney to fly drones up to a height of 400 feet over their property.

Unfortunately the show was a one-off and was never repeated in subsequent years.

Santa’s Winter Watercade

Because of social distancing restrictions during the pandemic, Disney shut Santa’s Chalet that used to be by the old Christmas Tree Trail where you could meet Santa Claus and his helpers.

Instead you could look out for Santa and Mrs. Claus on their “Santa’s Winter Watercade” wishing everyone a merry Christmas whilst sailing around the lagoon on a festively decorated pontoon boat.

Disney World Christmas Celebration Town

In Celebration, the town that Disney built, the “Now Snowing” event was renamed as “Celebration’s Winter Wonderland”. It begins around Thanksgiving and continues until December 31, New Year’s Eve.

Each night at around 5:30 p.m. (5:00 p.m. on the first night), there is a tree lighting ceremony. After that at 6:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m., 8:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. “snow” falls down on Market Street for around 10 minutes.

There are also opportunities to have your photograph taken with Santa, listen to Charles Dickens holiday carolers and ride on the Celebration Express train or one of several horse-drawn coaches, sleighs and wagons on Front Street (by the lake).

The snowfall is on Market Street and also on Market Street is an ice skating rink which is open from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. each night.

There is no charge for admission and parking is free.

Click here for the dates of all the seasonal celebrations in Florida.