Heri ya Krismasi (merry Christmas) and शुभ दीवाली (happy Diwali)! Disney’s Animal Kingdom celebrates not one but two holidays at Christmas! In Africa, you’ll find traditional Christmas celebrations, but in Asia, you’ll find Diwali celebrations, as Christmas is not typically celebrated in Asia. Discovery Island remains natural and celebrates a nature-inspired winter!
The Asian side of the Park celebrates the rich culture of Diwali. From Trafalgar: “Diwali, the festival of lights, marks the time when millions of Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains across the world celebrate the triumph of good over evil with beautiful rituals such as festive lights, fireworks, sweet delicacies, and family gatherings.” During Animal Kingdom’s celebration, you’ll find colorful lanterns and cultural representatives to discuss the traditions of this exciting holiday. I’ll admit, I didn’t know much about it until I spoke with some of the fabulous representatives in the park!
The Africa section of the park sports some of the most unique holiday decor in all of Walt Disney World! To be as authentic as possible, the decorations are made from upcycled materials o e would find in Africa because single-purpose decor is not readily available to much of the continent. You’ll spot wreaths made from Bicycle tires, garlands made from naturally sourced materials, and Christmas music with a uniquely African flair.
Much of the celebration in the Park takes place on Discovery Island. Each night at sunset, the Tree of Life comes alive with winter scenes featuring arctic animals set to a heartwarming musical score. Discovery Island holiday highlights Include:
- Merry Menagerie – Delight in winter wonders as Discovery Island springs to life with artisan-sculpted puppets of arctic animals—like penguins, reindeer, foxes, and polar bears.
- Santa Claus Festive Flotilla – See Santa Claus as he sails down the Discovery River to a jolly, world-beat holiday soundtrack.
- Discovery Island Drummers Festive Flotilla – Feel the beat as a colorful group of percussionists cruise along the Discovery River.
Animal Kingdom definitely is the least active in its celebrations, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to see here. The natural wonders and cultural traditions present here make it a valued part of Disney World’s Christmas festivities! For more Disney Christmas information, check out our Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, and Hollywood Studios guides!