I heard once that you must go to Disney World with the eyes of a child to find it magical, and I believe that is true. A little advance planning to avoid some of the lines and secure dining reservations will help too. But then you need to embrace the sentimental, even corny aspects and not get worked up about crowds and changes in plans. Take a break once in a while to breath and enjoy the quieter spots. This is never more true than at Christmas time.
Disney World is always a fun spot to visit , but during the Christmas season, there are many, many extra special experiences to enjoy. These are some of our favorites:
Beautiful Christmas trees at the Disney hotels Many of the hotel lobbies are spectacularly decorated. We enjoy leaving the parks at lunch time and dining in some of the nicer hotels for a little break from the crowds. Two favorite Christmas trees are in The Animal Kingdom Lodge and the Wilderness Lodge. Lunch in the Wilderness Lodge at the Whispering Canyon Cafe is a family favorite. This is so much fun for anyone, but your younger children will LOVE this place! You will laugh and the food is very good! The Animal Kingdom Lodge has several good restaurants, the opportunity to view the animals, plus this beautiful Christmas tree!
Experience Holiday traditions from around the world at Epcot’s World Pavilion, Each of the pavilions has special holiday exhibits and shows that will teach you something about holiday celebrations around the world. Here, we are outside of the German pavilion. There was a show where we learned a little about German Christmas traditions.
The Osborne Festival of Lights was a family favorite at the Disney Hollywood Studios, but sadly that has been discontinued so that they can build out that park a little more.
It SNOWS on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom! Ok, it isn’t exactly REAL snow, and it is only during special times, but it is pretty fun!
Train Exhibits are always fun! There is a cool train exhibit in the lobby of the Yacht Club Hotel. If you are a train fan, stop on by. There is also a great place for lunch in this hotel, the Captain’s Grill. I recommend the Lobster Roll!
Life Sized Gingerbread house!! No joke, there is a life sized gingerbread house in the Grand Floridian Hotel. Check it out!
The Wilderness Campgrounds guests decorate their camps sites spectacularly. It is very fun to take a walk through here and check out all the holiday lights. There are carriage rides that you can prearrange to tour through the area if you prefer. You can also see a lot of the decorations from the shuttle bus. We like to combine this walk with an evening meal at the Hoop De Doo Review, which is located in the Wilderness Campgrounds, too.
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is great for several reasons. Because they keep numbers very limited for this evening event, lines are MUCH shorter than during the day. At 7pm , only party ticket holders may access the rides, and they allow you to enter the park a couple of hours prior to that. On top of that, there is a super festive atmosphere. Most folks dress up in holiday sweaters or t-shirts, depending upon the weather, as well as other “festive” attire. There are all sorts of complimentary treats offered around the park. When we went it was limited to hot chocolate and cookies, but I hear this year they are expanding the offererings. Crowds are smaller to watch the parades, as well. In addition to all of this, you can enter the park without using your park ticket or park hopper ticket. The ticket to the party is your admission ticket for this day.
The Candlelight Processional is hands-down my favorite thing about Christmas at Disney World. They have different celebrity guests read the nativity story every night, accompanied by choirs and musicians. A schedule is published in advance. We had Trace Atkins and he was spectacular. It is absolutely beautiful and gets me right into the Christmas spirit. This event is held in the outdoor theater by the American Pavilion in Epcot. It is free, but if you would like reserved seats, you can purchase a special dinner and a show tickets that get you a great meal at one of several Epcot restaurants plus seats in a reserved section of the theater. This saves you waiting in line and risking not getting seated. I am so sorry I don’t have a photo of this event. I was so caught up, I didn’t get a picture. If you would like to see and learn more here is a link to Disney website for Candlelight processional .
If you are interested in planning your own wonderful Disney vacation, I am a trained Disney travel agent and I would love to help you get planning your trip, at no extra cost to you! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will get back to you promptly!
Tip: They sell fun light up necklaces at Disney World, which I obviously enjoyed! However, to save a little, you could pre-purchase fun light-up accessories as well as your “festive” attire at home and bring it with you. Prices are most likely going to be less than in the park.