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When Does Disney World Decorate for Christmas?

Disney at christmas time

If you are planning a trip to Walt Disney World this winter, you might be wondering when would be a good time to catch the Christmas decorations. Disney goes all-out for the holidays, and it’s one of our favorite times to visit all of the theme parks and resorts. Today we’re going to share our complete guide to Christmas at Walt Disney World so that you can make the most of your upcoming holiday trip to Orlando.

When Does Disney World Decorate for Christmas?

Disney starts putting up their decorations well in advance of the Christmas season. After the first week of November, when the Halloween decorations have all been removed, you can expect the parks and resorts to slowly transition over to their Christmas decorations. Each park has a slightly different schedule as far as decorating, and they usually put up a few of the decorations at a time. As a general rule, the Magic Kingdom is usually the first one to receive the majority of its decorations ahead of the Christmas parties, which start early in November. EPCOT is usually the last one, as it doesn’t start its Christmas programming until the very end of November.

The night after the final Halloween party, you can expect the Magic Kingdom to transform almost overnight. Their team works hard overnight to put the holiday decorations up, so this is an amazing time to visit if you enjoy both of these seasons. The first week or two of November is a really great time to visit, but the official date the company often gives for the holiday offerings is around November 12th. We hope this year that many of the previous favorite decorations and events which have been missing over the last years will return. The holidays truly are a magical time to visit the parks, and we are sure that 2022 will see one of the most spectacular celebrations to date.

What Disney Resorts Decorate for Christmas?

Each of the resorts has some form of holiday decorations, but the number of decorations and what is on offer will depend on the resort you are staying at. As a rule, the Value and Moderate resorts have fewer decorations than the Deluxe resorts, which usually have the most impressive Christmas trees for the season. These are a few of the highlights of the decorations and the top resorts we recommend visiting when you are here during November or December.

  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort – No trip to Walt Disney World is complete without seeing this resort’s Christmas decorations, which include a full-size gingerbread house. You’ll love sitting in the lobby with a drink or snack and appreciating the effort that went into transforming this resort for the season.
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – This resort has one of the most impressive Christmas trees, which makes for a beautiful backdrop for family photos in the huge lobby. Look out for the subtle themed touches to the tree, which really make it stand out from some of the more traditional displays.
  • Disney’s Contemporary Resort – This resort puts on another impressive display and is well worth stopping by during or after your day in the Magic Kingdom. Expect to see another gingerbread display here, where you can purchase some lovely gifts for you and your family.
  • Disney’s Wilderness Lodge – This is one of the homeliest resorts for the winter months, and we love the huge Christmas tree in the lobby. It would be the perfect spot to warm up on a cooler day before dinner at one of the resort’s restaurants.
  • Disney’s Boardwalk Inn – Don’t miss the gingerbread carousel in the resort’s lobby, which is one of the more unique additions for the Christmas season.

When Does Disney Take Down the Christmas Decorations?

If you can’t squeeze in a visit in November or December, you might be questioning whether you’ll have the chance to see the decorations if you are traveling to Orlando in January. Just as the parks put the decorations up ahead of the holiday festivities, they also leave them up a few days after. Usually, you’ll find they start to be pulled down around January 5th, and by the Marathon Weekend, they’ll be completely gone. Keep in mind that a lot of the popular events, especially those in Epcot, finish ahead of this month. For that reason, if you are desperate to see the holiday festivities in full swing, we recommend traveling in November or December.

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Disney World Christmas Events at the Parks

Now that you’ve learned a little about when the decorations are put up, let’s take a trip to the theme parks. Even if you’ve visited the parks hundreds of times before, they are so different at this time of the year. You’ll find a lot more entertainment and events going on, all of which make for an even more memorable trip here.

Magic Kingdom at Christmas time

The Magic Kingdom is the most spectacular of the parks when it comes to the Christmas decorations. Between the Christmas tree, the castle lights, and Main Street, U.S.A.’s decorations, you’ll find no shortage of great photo opportunities. It’s also home to the after-hours party for the Christmas season, which is a great way to celebrate with your friends and family members.

Will There Be A Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party In 2022?

Disney recently announced the return of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party for 2022, so a big question coming from the Disney community is whether Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party will return this year as well. Unfortunately, Disney has yet to confirm what the after-hours party will be in the Magic Kingdom for Christmas this year. We can only hope that we’ll finally see this party return, as it’s a highlight of the season for both locals and visitors to the parks.

What Can You Do At The Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party?

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is an evening event in the Magic Kingdom. Ticket holders are able to enter from 4 pm, and then the party usually ends around midnight. During this time, the park is operating as usual, with all of the most popular rides and attractions open. Of course, there are plenty of other offerings as well, such as the Christmas parade, fireworks, cookies, and non-alcoholic drinks for you to enjoy. Highlights of the event include Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks and Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade. They usually put on a show in front of the castle as well, which is something that kids and adults alike will love watching together.

Is Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Worth It?

When it comes to discussing whether the Christmas party in the Magic Kingdom is worth paying for, it’s all about what you and your family are looking for from your vacation. In general, we would say that yes, this party is well worth attending. This is particularly true if you are visiting the parks earlier in the holiday season. Later in December, they usually show the parade for everyone, so there’s a little less value from attending the party. However, if you can’t be in the parks around Christmas and New Year’s Eve, it’s a fun way to get in the holiday spirit before returning home.

We generally recommend that you skip a park day on the night of the party so that you are ready to go and enjoy yourself when the party starts and stay until the very end. Your ticket will allow you into the park from 4 pm so that there’s plenty of time to do a few rides before the main party events start. Make sure you pace yourself so that you can see everything without getting too exhausted by the end of the party. We don’t usually recommend this party to families with very young children, as it can be a bit too late for them. However, teenagers and older kids will love being in the park late at night, skipping to the front of the line for many of their favorite attractions.

Read Also: Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Tips For 2022

EPCOT At Christmas Time

Heading over to EPCOT, this park offers you the chance to learn more about the holiday season in various countries around the world. If you’ve always wanted to spend time abroad during Christmas, this is your chance to taste some holiday treats and learn more about what life is like overseas at this time of the year.

EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays

EPCOT comes to life in a whole new way during the holiday season. From the end of November until the end of December, you’ll find that there are Holiday Kitchens around each of the countries. You’ll be tempted by holiday food and drink from around the world, as well as entertainment that takes you to far-flung destinations to learn about their holiday traditions. The Cookie Stroll is a fun way to taste a few different treats during your trip, and the Holiday Kitchens are a good way to enjoy lunch or dinner during the peak holiday season without requiring a reservation. You can have an inexpensive meal here while enjoying a variety of dishes that you may never have the opportunity to try otherwise. It will help to maximize your ride time as well, which is something that’s particularly needed during this busy time of year in the theme parks.

EPCOT Candlelight Processional

Apart from the party in the Magic Kingdom, if you were going to do one thing during a holiday trip to Walt Disney World, we would recommend seeing the EPCOT Candlelight Processional. This event takes place throughout the month of December and is extremely popular with locals and visitors. Every few days, the narrator changes, and there are some amazing celebrity narrators who guide you through the story each night. There are three performances each evening, and we highly recommend getting here as early as possible to avoid disappointment.

The show involves a cast member choir and a 50-piece orchestra, and it’s like nothing else that Disney puts on throughout the year. You’ll enjoy a vibrant retelling of the Christmas story in a show that runs for about 45 minutes. We recommend looking into the Candlelight Processional Dining Package if you want a guaranteed seat at the show. This includes either lunch or dinner at one of a few different restaurants, but make sure you book in advance as this also sells out well ahead of the month of December.

Read Also: What is the Candlelight Processional at Epcot?

Disney’s Hollywood Studios At Christmas Time

While Disney’s Hollywood Studios doesn’t have quite as much to offer nowadays when compared to the other parks during the holidays, it’s still a fun place to spend the evening, soaking in the holiday atmosphere. You’ll find that this park offers some great drinks and snacks for the season, which can be enjoyed throughout the time leading up to Christmas. Make sure you take the time to stroll around the whole of the park, as there are many subtle touches that help to get this park ready for the holidays. Don’t miss the light show on the Hollywood Tower Hotel, which happens after dark each night and is one of our favorite holiday additions to this park.

Minnie’s Seasonal Dining at Hollywood & Vine

For families looking for something special to do to celebrate the holidays, check out Minnie’s Seasonal Dining at Hollywood & Vine. This family-friendly restaurant in Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a great spot for younger children, who will enjoy seeing the characters in their holiday outfits. This special dining offering lasts from early November until early January, and reservations are required to avoid missing out on this great opportunity. Especially with the return to normality with character meet and greets, there’s no better time than this holiday season to book your family in for this dining opportunity.

Echo Lake Holiday Decor

One of the prettiest areas to take holiday photos of you and your family is around Echo Lake. This is where they usually place one of the park’s Christmas trees, and you’ll find that Dinosaur Gertie is dressed up for the season as well. Grab a drink from one of the nearby stands and relax in this area to get in the holiday mood. It’s the perfect spot to sit and reminisce on another great day in Walt Disney World without having to battle too many crowds.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom At Christmas Time

While you might not think of Disney’s Animal Kingdom as the most festive of parks, it’s a great spot to enjoy some of the holiday festivities without some of the crowds that the Magic Kingdom and EPCOT attract during this time of the year. The Merry Menagerie puppets are one of the best additions to this park, and you’ll find winter-themed puppets with characters such as penguins, polar bears, and reindeer. The Christmas tree at the entrance to the park is stunning here, and you’ll see that each of the lands is decorated in a unique manner that’s reminiscent of the part of the world it represents.

Disney Springs At Christmas Time

For anyone who doesn’t have park tickets for every day of their vacation, there’s still plenty to see and do at Disney Springs. You’ll be impressed by the decorations here, as well as the additions to the food and drink menus that many of the restaurants here offer during the holiday season. It’s also the perfect place to do your holiday shopping and bring home some unique gifts for your family members and friends for Christmas. If you don’t want to break the bank on your trip, consider taking a day off the parks and spending it here and touring the resorts instead. You’ll still enjoy all of the holiday festivities without having to have a park ticket for every day of your trip.

Christmas Tree Trail at Disney Springs

A free attraction that’s added to Disney Springs at this time of the year is the Christmas Tree Trail. This trail offers you a series of Disney-themed trees to explore, which make the ideal backdrop for your vacation photos. At certain times of the day, there is snow and other entertainment, and you can also meet Santa Claus in Disney Springs throughout the holiday season. You’ll find special snacks and drinks on offer as well, so it’s the perfect inexpensive day out for your whole family.

Disney offers so much for visitors during the holiday season, which is why it’s one of our favorite times of the year to travel to Orlando. If you are thinking about coming here during December, make sure you book as far in advance as you can. This is one of the busiest times of the year in the parks, especially as we head towards Christmas and New Year’s Eve. The sooner you get booked in at the resorts and restaurants, the more enjoyable your trip will be. Whatever you choose to do, we know you’ll have an amazing time during your holiday trip, thanks to all of the events and decorations that Disney puts up for this time of the year.

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Bayley Clark

An elementary teacher taking every opportunity to go to Florida and explore Disney, Universal, and Orlando. Happy to share the secrets and guides to help make your next trip magical.

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