Holidays at Walt Disney World
Disney knows how to put on a party better than anyone, and the proof of that is simply visiting a Disney park in late November or anytime in December.
Walt Disney World is no exception to the splendor and with four parks to decorate you would think that each park would be minimally decorated. Not true. When it comes to the Holiday season Disney pulls out all the stops and spares no expense.
At Walt Disney World the Holidays are dubbed Disney’s Magical Holidays. Most of the Holiday decorations will be up by November 10th or shortly thereafter, and remain until a few days after the New Years Eve celebrations.
Decorations, carolers and special treats can be found at the Magic Kingdom during this time, making the magic even more magical. This is a time where the eye candy is as good as the candy you can eat!
The pinnacle of the Holiday Celebrations can be found at the Magic Kingdom during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party which runs various nights through the 31st of December. The Party is scheduled on those nights from 7pm to midnight. Each night of the Christmas Party will have Holiday Wishes fireworks, and Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade. During the party you can have free cookies and hot chocolate to keep you warm and satisfied. And on Main Street you will see a beautiful snow storm. Cinderella Castle will be lit up during the Castle Dream Lights show each night of the party. Tickets for the party are available online at Disneyworld.com or you can call 407-934-7639. The party runs on select nights through the 18th of December.
For those who don’t want to shell out the money for the party (currently $59.00 per ticket) you can still see Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade if you are at the Magic Kingdom over a weekend in early December. The parade will begin daily showings on the 19th of December. Holiday wishes will start daily shows on the 19th too for your enjoyment. Spectromagic will be the nighttime parade during this time with Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade showing during the daytime.
On New Years Eve the Magic Kingdom will have an extended version of the fireworks during the festivities.
At Animal Kingdom you will never see fireworks because of the animals but this doesn’t mean the park has no entertainment over the Holiday season.
Here you will find Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade to entertain and put you into a festive spirit. This parade is not your typical Holiday parade. There is a mixture of familiar music and new music from the jungles of Animal Kingdom. Natural materials and abstract designs blend nicely with the music and the unique decorations to make Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade a must see while at Animal Kingdom.
Epcot really knows how to celebrate the Holiday’s with their Holidays Around the World. This of course is referring to World Showcase where you will see how other cultures celebrate the holidays.
The much anticipated holiday treat for the young and old is the Candlelight Processional. This show is held in World Showcase and extremely popular so be sure to arrive early or do the dinner package. Each showing of this presentation is narrated by a well-know celebrity who will share the Christmas Story with the crowd. Enjoy the incredible site of a very large choir holding a lit candle.
If you would like to do the Candlelight Processional Dinner Package you can make those reservations 90 days in advance. You will be asked which tier you would like to reserve. The tier is completely based on the restaurant of your choice.
Tier 1: Garden Grill (character meal open for dinner only) and Berggren (located in Germany). The Garden Grill is not offered for the 5:00 showing of the Candlelight Processional.
Tier 2: San Angel Inn (located in Mexico), Nine Dragons Restaurant (found in China), the ever popular Rose and Crown (in the UK), and Restaurant Marrakesh (Morocco). These restaurants are available for both the lunch and dinner packages.
Tier 3: Le Cellier Steakhouse (located in Canada), Chefs de France (found in France), Teppan Edo and Tokyo Dining (in Japan), Tutto Italia (Italy), and Coral Reef which is in the Living Seas instead of World Showcase. These restaurants are available for the lunch and dinner packages.
Plan to pay approximately $15.00 per adult more than you would pay for your meal if you were not doing the dinner package. Because of the immense popularity of the Candlelight Processional and the fact that the dinner package guarantees you a seat, the package is worth the money. Also included in the 2009 packages is preferred viewing for Iluminations. Separate admission is also required to attend this beautiful show.
The 2009 Candlelight Processional schedule and narrators (subject to change):
American Gardens Theatre (5:00 p.m., 6:45 p.m., 8:15 p.m.)
11/27–11/29 — Isabella Rossellini — NEW!
11/30–12/02 — John O'Hurley
12/03–12/05 — Steven Curtis Chapman
12/06–12/08 — Anika Noni Rose
12/09–12/11 — Andy Garcia
12/12–12/14 — Vanessa Williams — NEW!
12/15–12/17 — Abigail Breslin
12/18–12/20 — Whoopi Goldberg — NEW!
12/21–12/23 — Brian Dennehy
12/24–12/26 — Edward James Olmos
12/27–12/30 — Angela Bassett & Courtney B. Vance
If you wish to view the Candlelight Procession but don’t want to do the dinner package, be sure to arrive at the American Gardens Theater about one to one and a half hours early.
Hollywood Studios has its own much anticipated spectacle in the form of lights. Lots of lights. The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights comes from Jennings Osborne, not Ozzy Osborne. Jennings Osborne and his family delighted in decorating their house every year for Christmas. Each year their display grew larger until one day they offered to help Disney do an enormous light display of their own. The Osborne Family light show beautiful in all of its blinding magnitude. Every fifteen minutes the lights will flash along with music for a synchronized show that lasts just over three minutes . And sometimes the magic is just right and snow will fall after the show. These Dancing Lights are an absolute must see if you are at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
The Yuletide Fantasy Tour gives you the opportunity to learn how Disney creates holiday magic. Your tour will begin at Epcot and take you into World Showcase. Here you will learn about different traditions celebrated. Once done at Epcot you will board a bus and go to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Here you will visit the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights and learn more about them. For example, did you know it takes 10 weeks to put up the five million lights?
During the tour you will also visit the Grand Floridian Hotel to see the incredible life-sized Gingerbread house. The next stop in the tour is Backstage in the Magic Kingdom. Here you will visit the Holiday Services area, where it is a holiday all year long. Or planning for one at least. Among the other things you will learn here, you may be surprised to find out that Walt Disney World has 25 full-time employees whose sole job is to get ready for the Christmas Holiday season.
The final stop on this tour is at the Magic Kingdom. You will learn about the Cast Member window contest, the Christmas tree and more.
While on the tour you will be wearing head phones so you can hear the tour guide. This will enable you to look around instead of standing close to everyone while the guide is talking. This tour is 3 ½ hours long, and you must be 16 or older to enjoy the Yuletide Fantasy Tour. You do not need park admission to enjoy this tour.+
It is not just the entertainment that make Walt Disney World so magical during the Holiday Season. There is an abundance of decorations throughout the parks. Carolers singing familiar songs and special foods that can be smelled whenever you are near a restaurant or bakery. And don’t forget to check out each parks Christmas Tree. While any Disney park is magical all year long, the magic of the Holidays make any trip more special. Enjoy the beautiful sights and sounds while touring Walt Disney World.