The holidays are special at Walt Disney World. The decorations are incredible, and you’ll find plenty of unique seasonal events. Here are ten reasons why you’ll want to drop everything, throw a few things into a bag, and book the next plane to Orlando.
Although not mentioned in this Top Ten, Disney’s Animal Kingdom is also celebrating the holidays. There is no parade right now because of the construction, but there are holiday decorations. You can also enjoy the holiday edition of the DinoLand Dance-A-Palooza. Ask a cast member for more information, since it isn’t listed in the Times Guide.
The holiday season weather in Central Florida can vary greatly, but it is better than in most parts of the country! The snow that you’ll see in the Orlando area is fake. Check the forecast right before you leave home, but there’s a good chance that you’ll enjoy comfortable temperatures during the day, and cool (but not cold) nights. After a couple of days in Florida, you’ll see why the snowbirds flock to the state each winter. You might even consider becoming one yourself.
9) The Jingle Cruise
The classic Magic Kingdom ride has been updated for the holidays. You’ll see extra decorations on your journey, and the skippers will entertain you with a different set of bad jokes and puns. The basics of the ride remain the same, but there’s a fun holiday twist on it all.
8) Last Chance to See the Sorcerer Hat
It has been confirmed by Disney that the Sorcerer Hat will be removed from Disney’s Hollywood Studios in early 2015. Fans of the Hat hope that it will turn up elsewhere on Disney property, but nothing has been announced. If you want once last picture with the icon as your backdrop, you’d better head to Walt Disney World immediately.
7) Festival of the Seasons
Even though Downtown Disney is in the middle of the change to Disney Springs, you’ll still want to stop by during the holiday season. Festival of the Seasons features lights, decorations, holiday entertainment, and even Santa Claus. There is also seasonal merchandise and holiday treats. Parking at Downtown Disney has been challenging over the past few months, but now the first parking deck is open, which should make finding a spot a little bit easier.
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6) A Frozen Holiday Wish
There is something special about watching Cinderella Castle light up each evening during the holiday season. This year, it’s characters from the movie Frozen who are in charge of the transformation. Whether you love Frozen or you think it’s being overdone in the parks, you’ll still want to experience this. It’s truly magical.
5) Resort Decorations
Giant gingerbread houses, tastefully done lights and decorations, and huge trees; the Walt Disney World resorts are incredible during the holidays. Even if you’re not staying on property you can still see what’s new for 2014. Take the monorail to the Grand Floridian Resort, the Polynesian Village Resort, and the Contemporary Resort. You’ll see three different takes on holiday decorations, and you won’t have to move your car. Don’t forget to buy some gingerbread! The smell alone will put you into the holiday spirit.
4) Holidays Around the World
Epcot’s World Showcase becomes a little more special during the holiday season. With Holidays around there World, you’ll have a chance to learn about Christmas traditions in the World Showcase countries. Storytellers will entertain you and your family. Take the time as well to enjoy “Joyful! A Gospel Celebration of the Season”. It’s a live show held near the Fountain of Nations. Classic Christmas songs are featured with an R&B and Gospel flair. Holidays Around the World runs through December 30.
3) Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
On select nights, the Magic Kingdom is turned into one big party. There is a special parade and fireworks show, you can meet characters in their holiday outfits, and you can enjoy complimentary cookies and hot cocoa. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a separate ticketed event, so the lines are shorter. There is also event-only merchandise, including a collectable MagicBand. The last date for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is December 19, so make your plans right away.
2) The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights presented by Siemens
There was a rumor last Christmas that it was the final year for The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Fortunately, there was no truth to that rumor. The incredible light show is back once again, and it’s better than ever. You’ll see millions of lights, and every few minutes they are set to dance to the music. There’s fake snow, and a great picture opportunity with Santa Goofy. The Frozen Holiday Premium Package includes reserved seating for the show in the Premier Theater, special viewing of The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights, a dessert party, and more. Even if you don’t buy the package, you’ll still want to experience everything else. The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights is unlike any other Christmas light show anywhere.
1) Candlelight Processional
Something special happens at Epcot each evening until December 30. The Candlelight Processional combines an orchestra, a mass choir, and a celebrity narrator to make a different form of magic. The biblical Christmas story is retold in this classic event. It is held three times each evening. Lines can grow long quickly, so you might want to take advantage of a Candlelight Processional Dining Package. Reserve the package at a participating Epcot restaurant, and you’ll receive a voucher for reserved seating at the America Gardens Theater. Make sure that it’s the Candlelight Processional Dining Package that you book, a regular reservation at a participating restaurant will not give you a voucher.
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