Discover holiday magic at Walt Disney World Resort this festive season

by W. Andrew Powell

Holiday magic is calling at Walt Disney World Resort, and it’s the perfect mix of warm sunny days, with festive magic for this special time of year.

Across Walt Disney World there are holiday festivities for big kids, and the little ones, with some of my favourite celebrations, like Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, EPCOT’s International Festival of the Holidays, lots of holiday decorations, and the iconic gingerbread house at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort.

Here are some of my favourite things to keep you merry and bright this holiday season across Walt Disney World.

The gingerbread house at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort

The life-size gingerbread house at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort
The life-size gingerbread house at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort

Across Disney World you’ll find holiday decor all December long at Disney Springs, Main Street U.S.A. at Magic Kingdom, Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and at EPCOT.

One of my favourite annual decorations though is the giant gingerbread house at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort.

The life-sized house is epic, it’s beautiful, and it’s a shop where you can buy treats for your holiday celebrations, including cookies, cake, and lots more. And all of the details on the house are amazing, including the fact that it’s made with over 1,000 pounds of honey, 120 pints of egg whites, 600 lbs of powdered sugar, plus a lot of chocolate, flour, and spices.

Visit the Grand Floridian’s beautiful lobby to see the gingerbread house, and the store is open from 9:30 AM to 9:00 PM.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

Main Street U.S.A. at Magic Kingdom
Main Street U.S.A. at Magic Kingdom

Until December 22, the Magic Kingdom is lit up every night for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, with unique characters, free hot cocoa and cookies, a huge fireworks show, and all of your favourite rides.

On select evenings, from 7:00 PM until midnight, partygoers can enjoy the lights and some of their favourite characters, with the best Christmas music, and Disney’s always-charming holiday atmosphere.

Each night Mickey Mouse and his friends arrive at the Cinderella Castle stage for Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration, Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks light up the sky to seasonal songs, and you can find Santa Claus and all of the princesses during the Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade.

A number of attractions also get into the holiday spirit, so you can glide through Space Mountain to Christmas music and holiday lighting, the Jungle Cruise transforms into the “Jingle Cruise,” and be sure to check out the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor and Mad Tea Party.

And guests will get a 50th Anniversary commemorative print as well as a holiday ornament this year. The event is very popular, so be sure to buy your tickets early, or plan ahead for 2023.

Have dinner and go shopping at Disney Springs

Olaf Hot Cocoa Surprise
Olaf Hot Cocoa Surprise

If you’re looking for some holiday fun and a little shopping, Disney Springs is decked out for the season with Disney trees, a scavenger hunt, and even a few flurries.

Disney Springs Christmas Tree Stroll is on throughout December, so you can see all of the decorated trees, or take part in the scavenger hunt that includes a special surprise for everyone who finds all of the items.

At the Town Center and West Side you’ll also find angelic flurries of snow, and visit the “Holiday Bar” (AKA Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar) for holiday decorations, plus festive drinks and snacks.

For the shoppers, Santa will be at Once Upon a Toy for photos, you’ll find holiday items at the Disney Store, and then visit The Ganachery so you can pick up the Olaf Hot Cocoa Surprise.

EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays

EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays
EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays

EPCOT is my favourite place at Walt Disney World, and that’s because it’s such a delicious place to be.

This holiday season, the EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays is on until December 30, and you’ll enjoy the Candlelight Processional on select nights at the America Gardens Theatre, with celebrity narrators retelling the Christmas story.

The fan-favourite event includes the Voices of Liberty a cappella ensemble, a 50-piece live orchestra with herald trumpets, and glorious massed choirs that feature Disney cast members and Central Florida community groups.

Some of the celebrity narrators you’ll hear this year include Gloria Estefan, Josh Gad, Simu Liu, Daymond John, Mariska Hargitay and Raúl Esparza, to name a few, who join previous narrators Neil Patrick Harris, Whoopi Goldberg, Marie Osmond, and Angela Bassett.

And take a ride on the Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind Holiday Remix to hear new holiday music courtesy of the heroes on the most thrilling ride at the parks. Plus watch out for holiday themed treats and drinks and decorations at the vendors around the lake.

50th Anniversary highlights

Walt Disney World is celebrating its 50th Anniversary all year long, and that includes special merchandise at park stores, desserts and goodies, and until March 31, 2023 Cinderella Castle is specially decorated in “EARidescent.”

And watch out for “EARidescent” clothing designs too.

I made it to Walt Disney World twice this year, and there’s something special around every corner, including the golden statues of legendary characters that can be found in every park.

With the new MagicBand+, you can also explore the Disney Fab 50 Character Collection, and they interact with guests, making the MagicBand+ to light up and vibrate when you’re nearby, and then the character will say something.

Between the holiday decorations, the 50th Anniversary magic, and everything else to see and do at Walt Disney World, it’s a great time to visit the parks.

Read all about everything holiday at Walt Disney World Resort, and for a peek at this year’s Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, watch my video from the opening night party:

Discover more about Walt Disney World Resort.

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