Guide to Holiday Happenings at Walt Disney World
Read on for everything you need to know about celebrating the holidays at Walt Disney World!
Walt Disney World has made the winter holidays a long period of celebration in its Parks and Resorts and in Disney Springs, with each guest area finding a special way to decorate and celebrate!
Holiday decor in Animal Kingdom’s AfricaWe’re going to cover a lot of ground here, so use the clickable links below to navigate to the Parks, Resorts, or Disney Springs. And if you’re getting ready to ring in the holidays at Walt Disney World, take a scroll with us from top to bottom!
Disney World’s iconic Park celebrates with seasonal decorations, special events, and a few attraction overlays!
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a hard-ticket event, which means you need to purchase a separate ticket to attend. The Party is pure magic at the Magic Kingdom and features a nighttime holiday parade, a flurry of snow on Main Street, USA, and seasonal entertainment.
Highlights of the event include:
- Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade
- Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks
- A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas Show
- Meet and greet opportunities with Disney Characters
- Character Dance Parties
- Complimentary cookies and hot cocoa
- Many of the most popular Magic Kingdom attractions
- Holiday attraction overlays
The popular holiday party returns in 2023 and will take place on 25 different nights from November 9th-December 22nd. To visit, you’ll have to purchase a ticket, and it’ll cost between $159-$199 per adult ticket, depending on the date that you visit.
For 2023, Disney is introducing a NEW show called Frozen Holiday Surprise. It will feature Elsa, Anna, Olaf, Sven, and Kristoff in front of Cinderella Castle as the castle is illuminated in a “whole new way.” There will be performances of this show both during the daytime and during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. There was a similar show that was offered back before the pandemic when Cinderella Castle had the Dream Lights, called A Frozen Holiday Wish.
Here’s the full list of dates:
- November: 9, 10, 13, 14, 16, 17, 19, 21, 22, 26, 28, 30
- December: 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 10, 12, 14, 15, 17, 19, 21, 22
Tickets will go on sale to the general public on July 6th, 2023, but guests at select Disney World hotels can begin purchasing tickets on June 29th, 2023.
Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade celebrates the many festive moods of the holiday season. In addition to themed floats topped with familiar characters, guests will see marching soldiers, dancing snowflakes, and reindeer.
Disney added Pixar friends to the parade, making it all the more festive. The parade features original music and classic and current holiday tunes.
Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade shows twice per night (9:45PM and 12:05AM).
Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks
Catch one showing of Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks at 11:15PM. This show features beloved music, seasonal projections on Cinderella Castle, and merry explosions over the Park!
Mickey & Minnie’s Very Merry Memories
This stage show will feature Mickey, Minnie, and their pals on the Cinderella Castle Forecourt Stage.
They’ll celebrate the season with odes to previous holiday shows, including Mickey’s Most Merriest and Mickey’s ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.
Mickey & Minnie’s Very Merry Memories showtimes are 9:25PM, 10:35PM, 11:45PM, and 12:50AM.
Explore all the merriment of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (including info about Minnie’s fireworks spectacular!) here!
The Skippers have grown homesick for the holidays, so they’ve again added holiday cheer to the Jungle Cruise queue and boathouse with decorations that have been mailed to them from home (plus a few they’ve created themselves).
The Skippers have also added a slew of new jokes to their tours that are the perfect way to get guests in the holiday spirit. Additionally, Jungle Cruise boats have been renamed with the holidays in mind, and if guests listen carefully, they may hear a holiday-themed radio broadcast playing in the background.
Jingle Cruise typically runs from early-November through early-January.
Also be on the lookout for holiday projections on some of your favorite rides.
EPCOT rings in the season in the eleven international pavilions of World Showcase during the International Festival of the Holidays. This event begins November 24 and will continue through December 30, 2023.
In addition to themed holiday decor in every country’s pavilion, guests who stroll World Showcase for the Festival of the Holidays will find celebratory eats at Holiday Kitchens, view storytellers from around the world , and enjoy entertainment that puts jolly spirit in the season.– including the melodious tones of Voices of Liberty.
The Candlelight Processional is one of the Festival of the Holidays’ most beloved traditions. This is the retelling of the story of Christmas featuring celebrity narrators, a mass choir, and 50-piece live orchestra. Candlelight Processional is performed multiple times per night at America Gardens Theatre in the American Adventure Pavilion.
To ensure a seat for this joyous favorite, Candlelight Processional Dining Packages are typically available with meals at select EPCOT restaurants, a special spot for fireworks viewing, and guaranteed seating for the heartfelt Candlelight Processional.
Chip and Dale’s Christmas Tree Spree
Chip and Dale are collecting ornaments for their Christmas tree — and they need your help! To get started, guests purchase a map and stickers from select merchandise locations, including Pin Central, Disney Traders and World Traveler at International Gateway (pricing typically $7.99 plus tax).
As you travel around World Showcase, be on the lookout for drawings or paintings of Chip and Dale gathering ornaments from holiday decorations in each World Showcase pavilion. Once you spot them, add the corresponding ornament sticker to your map. Then, take your completed map to Disney Traders and exchange it for a festive surprise, courtesy of Chip and Dale!
Olaf’s Holiday Tradition Expedition Scavenger Hunt
Join Olaf’s hunt for holiday traditions as you complete a scavenger hunt around World Showcase! You’ll purchase a map and stickers at Creations Shop, Port of Entry, and World Traveler at International Gateway ($9.99 plus tax). As you visit the World Showcase pavilions, search for the traditions hidden in each. When you’ve completed your map, return it to one of the shops mentioned above to collect your prize!
Festival of the Holidays Cookie Stroll
Enjoy a quintet of cookies by completing the Cookie Stroll during the Festival of the Holidays!
And just when you think you’ve had enough sugar, you can pick up your “completer cookie” at Holiday Sweets & Treats!
Joyful: A Celebration of the Season
Enjoy the melodic stylings of Joyful as they celebrate the season in song! Showtimes, daily, at 1:15, 2:20, 3:25, and 4:30PM.
Living with the Land Lights and Decor
EPCOT’s Nighttime Fireworks Show
EPCOT FOREVER is expected to be wowing crowds for the holiday season. The show may include a holiday “tag” as the Park’s previous permanent show, Illuminations, did in the past.
Flurry of Fun celebrates the season from mid-November through early January (typically), with festive entertainment and exciting holiday touches around the park. Quirky decor — much of it harkening back to bygone eras — dots the Park.
- Jingle Bell! Jingle BAM! nighttime spectacular typically returns in mid-November.
- Sunset Seasons Greetings brings impressive projection effects and “snow” to the boulevard leading toward Tower of Terror. Guests watch spectacular projections of beloved Disney Characters – Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Olaf and others – sharing their favorite seasonal stories as holiday magic transforms the famous Hollywood Tower Hotel into scenes of the season.
- Santa will headline a holiday motorcade through the Park throughout the holiday season.
In 2023, Disney released news of a brand new yuletide party of the season! Jollywood Nights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios hosts nearly a dozen nights of yuletide cheer in November and December.
From 8:30PM to 12:30AM during select nights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios park, this annual ticket event will bring Christmas joy to guests of all ages with festive decorations, towering Christmas trees, and wintry wonderful entertainment.
Tip: Though the event starts at 8:30PM, guests with hard tickets for the event are invited to enter Hollywood Studios starting at 4PM. Try making Genie+ selections for that three-hour block before the party begins!
Jollywood Nights Overview:
The limited-capacity event will include a DJ spinning holiday tunes, while Kermit and Miss Piggy host a LIVE holiday special at Theater of the Stars. There will be a festive sing-along at Hyperion Theater and Commissary Lane will have a “lively Latin Street Fair.” The Hollywood Brown Derby will have a jazz lounge and there will be an “other-worldly soiree” at the Tower Hotel Courtyard.
2023 Tickets & Dates
Tickets will go on sale for Disney World hotel guests, as well as guests at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotels and Shades of Green on June 29th. Tickets will go on sale to the rest of the public on July 6th. Tickets will range in price from $159 to $179 per person, depending on the date. Tickets can be purchased from the Disney World website on those dates.
- November 11th, 2023 — $159 per person
- November 18th, 2023 — $159 per person
- November 20th, 2023 — $179 per person)
- November 27th, 2023 —$159 per person
- November 29th, 2023 —$159 per person
- December 4th, 2023 — $169 per person
- December 6th, 2023 — $169 per person
- December 16th, 2023 — $169 per person
- December 18th, 2023 — $169 per person
- December 20th, 2023 — $169 per person
Animal Kingdom breathed new life into its holiday season, with new decor, a brand new holiday-themed Tree of Life Awakenings show, and more — including magical polar animal puppets.
Four character flotillas will also bring a magical touch to the waters of Disovery River. Watch for Chip ‘n’ Dale, Santa, drummers, and more !
All of these magical touches are expected to return this holiday season.
Learn more about Animal Kingdom’s holiday offerings here.
The Christmas Tree Trail is an arboreal festive tradition in Disney Springs. The trail is a winter wonderland complete with a gentle snowfall, toy soldiers, singers, fabulous themed trees, and plenty of photo opportunities.
Click here to see what Disney Springs has to offer for holiday magic!
Disney Resort hotels dress up for the holidays, too, offering an ideal home-away-from-home feeling during the season. Check each Resort for holiday dining offerings, themed decor, and special entertainment.
One thing you can expect perennially at the Resorts is a few impressive gingerbread displays worth seeing even if you aren’t staying in the dedicated Resorts.
The most iconic display is the life-size Grand Floridian Gingerbread House, where guests can see the creations of the Resort’s pastry chefs and get a taste of the holidays at the Gingerbread House’s bake shop! This display will be available for viewing November 10 through January 1.
Another display not to be missed is the massive gingerbread castle at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. The recreation of Cinderella Castle in gingerbread is fronted by Cinderella, Prince Charming, and everyone’s favorite Fairy Godmother.
At the Beach Club, guests discover a themed carousel made of edible materials like gingerbread and modeling chocolate. This is one of the most innovative gingerbread displays, and the theme changes year to year. You can enjoy it from November 10 through January 2!
BoardWalk typically has a display of small gingerbread houses. Each resort has its own unique way of decorating and celebrating the holiday tailored to its own theming and story. Be sure to make time to check them out during your visit, even if you’re not staying there.
The American Adventure pavilion at EPCOT typically offers gingerbread recreations of American monuments and buildings. The display will be available for viewing in the pavilion from November 24 through December 30.