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Top 10 Reasons to Visit Walt Disney World RIGHT NOW, 2016 Holiday Edition

What better place to celebrate the most magical season of the year than at the most magical place on earth? While Disney fans will miss the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights, there is still plenty to see and do for the holidays in 2016. Here are ten reasons why you should squeeze an impromptu trip to Walt Disney World into your holiday plans; if you haven’t already made your reservations.

10. Rivers of Light…Maybe?

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

No opening date has yet been announced for Rivers of Light at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, but rumors are that it will not be long now. If you make a quick trip to Walt Disney World in the next few weeks, you might show up when they’re doing a preview or soft opening. You might even somehow be there for the show’s official debut. It probably won’t happen, but taking a chance is as good an excuse as any for a last minute trip, right?

9. Weather

Florida

Tired of the cold already? There’s a simple solution, head to Central Florida! While there could be cool days and cooler nights, chances are that the temperature is much more comfortable in Florida than where you live. Wouldn’t you like to brag to your friends back home that you went to a water park during the final few weeks of 2016? Check the forecast before you leave home, because you don’t want to pack the wrong items and end up spending half of your trip in the store, buying clothes that fit the weather.

8. Decorations

Everywhere

If your friends tend to compare your attitude to Scrooge around the holidays, you need to go to Walt Disney World immediately. The decorations alone will get you into the holiday spirit. The four parks have themed trees, and you’ll want to see them all. Make sure you go resort hopping. The Deluxe Resorts especially really do it up for Christmas. A visit to Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort should be on everyone’s must-do list during the holiday season. You don’t want to miss the annual gingerbread house, and while you’re there buy a gingerbread shingle. The taste would put a smile on even Scrooge’s face.

7. Sleigh Ride

The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort

You’ve been singing “Oh! What fun it is to ride in a one horse open sleigh” since you were a child, isn’t it about time that you experience it? You can finally do just that, if you take an immediate trip to Walt Disney World. You might not dash through any snow in Florida, but you’ll still cherish every moment. Sleigh rides are perfect for a couple looking for romance, or a family wanting to make memories. The ride lasts approximately 25 minutes. For more information or to make a reservation, call 407-WDW-PLAY (407-939-7529).

6. Holiday Tours

Various Locations

Behind the scenes tours are great all year long, because they will really put you into the middle of the magic. For the holiday season, there are two special versions. Disney’s Yuletide Fantasy costs $99 per person (must be 16 or older) and lasts three hours. You’ll learn what it takes to get Walt Disney World ready for the holidays, and have a chance to see some of the magic up close. Disney’s Holiday D-Lights lasts five hours, and costs $259 per person (must be 12 or older). The tour includes the Jingle Jungle Cruise, the Candlelight Processional, meeting members of the team who made everything possible, and much more. Dinner is included. Wear comfortable shoes for either tour, because there is a lot of walking. Call 407-WDW-TOUR (407-939-8687) for information or reservations.

5. Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights sadly is gone, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios during the holidays. You can meet Santa November 11-December 24, or Santa Goofy December 25-December 31. Minnie’s Seasonal Dining at Hollywood & Vine features Minnie, Mickey, Daisy, Donald, and Goofy dressed up for the holidays. New for 2016 is Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! It’s a fireworks and projections show that takes place at the end of the day. Santa is missing, and it’s up to Wayne and Lanny of Prep & Landing to find him. You’ll see classic characters along the way, while enjoying Christmas music and even “snow”. To make the search for Santa even more exciting, reserve spots for the Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! Holiday Party. You’ll enjoy desserts and beverages, and have a great place to watch the show from. Make your reservation online soon, since the show runs only through the end of the year.

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4. Disney Springs

District-wide

If you haven’t checked out Disney Springs recently, you’ll want to go immediately. There is more shopping and food than ever. It turns out that the town of Disney Springs is also filled with holiday spirit. Starting November 11, you can watch the nightly tree lighting, enjoy carolers, celebrate Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, and much more. Santa will be on hand through December 24, then Santa Goofy takes over until the end of the year. One of the highlights for 2016 is the Christmas Tree Trail. It’s 15 trees decorated to honor Disney characters and movies. Disney Springs also offers holiday merchandise and special treats. Seeing all that Disney Springs has to offer this Christmas season is reason enough to head to Walt Disney World before the end of the year.

3. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

Magic Kingdom

A holiday tradition has returned for 2016. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is held on select nights at the Magic Kingdom. You’ll meet characters dressed up for the holidays, enjoy special shows, watch a Christmas parade and the holiday version of Wishes, and so much more. You can sip on hot cocoa and fill up on cookies, and watch it “snow” on Main Street, U.S.A. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas party is a separate ticketed event, and the last night is December 22. You’d better make plans to attend immediately.

2. Holidays Around the World

Epcot

Plan to spend a day or two at Epcot during your impromptu trip to Walt Disney World. One of the reasons is Holidays Around the World. This favorite is educational, but your kids don’t need to realize that they’re learning something. Storytellers from each of the countries represented in World Showcase will share traditions and stories from across the globe. There are traditional holiday dishes from the countries sold as well. Holidays Around the World runs November 25-December 30. Pick up a Times Guide so that you won’t miss anything.

1. Candlelight Processional

Epcot

Another Walt Disney World classic returns to Epcot on November 27, and runs nightly through December 30. If you have never experienced the Candlelight Processional, drop everything and book your flight immediately. A celebrity narrator tells the Biblical Christmas story, backed by a mass choir and a 50 piece orchestra. The narrators scheduled for 2016 include Steven Curtis Chapman, Neil Patrick Harris, Whoopi Goldberg, Jodi Benson, and Cal Ripken, Jr. The Candlelight Processional runs three times nightly but seats can still be hard to get, so you might want to book a Candlelight Processional Dining Package. You’ll enjoy delicious food from a fantastic restaurant, and then receive a voucher for a reserved seating section. Make sure you book the Candlelight Processional Dining Package, just eating at a participating restaurant will not get you a voucher.

About PaulaK

I grew up in Western Massachusetts. When I was nine my family went to Disneyland and I was hooked. I grew up, attended New England College in Henniker, NH and eventually moved to Virginia. I worked as a disc jockey, married and became a full time mom when our daughter was born. Fast forward several years. In 2010 we moved to Central Florida and my Disney obsession grew. I now work as a freelance writer and spend my spare time in the parks. Under the name Paula Brown I penned the novels Dream Wanderers and The Coffee Cruiser. I also am a co-author of Dining at Walt Disney World: The Definitive Guide. I'm obsessed with Star Wars, so this is a good time to live in Central Florida. I've been a vegetarian for well over a decade, a choice that my daughter eventually made as well. While my husband still hasn't joined us fully he has given up most meats except for seafood. I was relieved to find that vegetarian dining is not difficult at Walt Disney World.