Why You Should Visit Disney World at Christmas Time

August 20, 2022

Travel, Travel Guides

Christmas is the most magical time of year. So why not spend Christmas time at the most magical place on Earth, Walt Disney World? This past Christmas, I did just that. Disney World is an amazing place to spend the holidays, and there are plenty of reasons why. Here are some of the wonderfully fun things to do at Disney World during Christmas time!

Disclaimer: The events and shows at Disney World during Christmas time are subject to change from year to year. Make sure to check the Disney website or app for times and availability before your vacation.


Main Street usa in magic kingdom with christmas decorations Disney World at Christmas Time

Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom

Disney never does anything halfway, and Christmas decorations are no exception. Christmas decor is put up starting right after Halloween, but the parks are pretty much completely decorated by Thanksgiving. You don’t have to go right at Christmas to enjoy the holiday cheer. In fact, the closer to Christmas you visit, the more crowded it will be.

Every hotel lobby and all 4 parks have a giant Christmas tree at the entrance decorated with ornaments that match the theme of the hotel or park.

Hollywood studios Christmas tree, palm trees, and floating ornaments Disney World at Christmas Time

Hollywood Studios Christmas Tree


hotel resort decorations white Christmas tree at art of animation Disney World at Christmas Time

Christmas tree in the lobby of Art of Animation Resort

Disney's Coronado Springs Resort Christmas Tree

Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort Christmas Tree

Even some of the rides are changed slightly to match the Christmas theme. For example, Jungle Cruise in the Magic Kingdom becomes Jingle Cruise. The ride is pretty much the same but there are a lot of Christmas decorations, and some of the monkeys even wear Santa hats.

toy story land slinky dog dash with jessie and rex holding Christmas lights decorations Disney World at Christmas Time

Toy Story Land in Disney’s Hollywood Studios is decorated for Christmas too!

Christmas Day Parade

You can watch this special parade on TV on Christmas Day, but if you want to see it live, they actually film it a few weeks before Christmas. It’s usually filmed in late November or early December.

Festival of the Holidays

mickey and Minnie Mouse topiary in front of spaceship earth during festival of holidays at Epcot Disney World Christmas time

Every December at Epcot, Disney hosts the Festival of the Holidays. This festival includes holiday traditions from around the world featured in Epcot’s World Showcase. Naturally, all the countries have plenty of Christmas decorations.

American adventure building in Epcot usa with Christmas tree in Disney Worldq

American Adventure

gingerbread house of Washington monument and capitol building for Christmas at Disney World in American adventure

Washington D.C. made of gingerbread inside the American Adventure

Epcot also hosts the Candlelight Processional every evening of December. In this processional, various celebrity guests read the Christmas story of Jesus’ birth. The reading is combined with a choir and orchestra performing Christmas songs. You can purchase a ticket for a seat to watch the show, or if you get there early enough, you can stand behind the seating and listen for free.

My favorite part of the Festival of the Holidays was undoubtedly the food. All of the countries have a special holiday kitchen set up with different holiday treats to try from each country.

My favorite holiday treat was found in the Italian holiday kitchen: Crespelle di Mele (apple fritters) and Collezione Barilla (pasta). Both were delicious, and I would’ve tried more holiday foods if I hadn’t been so stuffed!

crespelle di mele apple fritters and collezione barilla pasta at Tuscany holiday kitchen Italy Epcot Disney World at Christmas time

Crespelle di Mele (top) and Collezione Barilla (bottom)

It’s important to note that the holiday menus change every year, so these foods might not be available. You can check the menus on your My Disney Experience app to see where you would most like to eat!

Jingle Bell Jingle Bam

Disney’s Hollywood Studios hosts a Christmas-themed firework show every night in December and some of November. This holiday spectacular includes building and rooftop projections from Disney Christmas movies, laser effects, fireworks all around you, and even some artificial snow!

Animal Kingdom Merry Menagerie

I can’t forget to mention the holiday fun at Animal Kingdom! There is a fair amount of Christmas decor in this park, but my favorite part is the life-size puppets of animals roaming the park. They call it the Merry Menagerie.

mother and baby penguin holiday puppets in animal kingdom park Disney World Christmas time

The puppets include reindeer, polar bears, penguins, wolves, and foxes, and they are so cute! The puppeteers do a great job of making the animals look lifelike.


A few of the characters at meet and greets have different Christmas outfits or accessories. Really cute for pictures!

two girls meeting belle from beauty and the beast at epcot in enchanted christmas dress disney world at Christmas time

Meeting Belle in her Enchanted Christmas dress

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

On various days in December, the Magic Kingdom closes early for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. This is an event that requires a separate ticket from your park ticket. It’s not cheap, but it’s a lot of fun! Check DisneyWorld.go.com for dates and prices.

There is a special nighttime parade called Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade. You can even see Santa Claus at the end! Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Firework Show over the castle is also not to be missed!

Get some yummy Christmas treats to snack on with your admission. Another advantage of staying for the party is that most of the rides have very low wait times because the crowds have left. And don’t forget the snow that falls on Main Street for the end of your magical evening!

As you can see, Disney World is the perfect place for a Christmas vacation. With so much to see, do, and eat, you’re sure to have a magical holiday season!


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Why You Should Visit Disney World at Christmas Time

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