Getting Ready for Christmas at Disney?
Are Visions of a Disney Christmas Dancing in Your Head?
If you find yourself thinking about Christmas early this year, you are not alone! Every Disney Christmas shop or display that I have seen these past two weeks are really busy with people buying ornaments, stockings, plush, calendars, etc. Christmas ornaments are one of the hottest souvenirs for Disney visitors. Many purchase a new ornament each year for their Christmas trees at home. You can get a jump on your holiday decorations before they are gone at: Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe at Liberty Square, Magic Kingdom; die Weihnachtsecke, Germany, Epcot; Celebrity 5 and 10, Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood Studios; Island Mercantile, Animal Kingdom; World of Disney, Downtown Disney and perhaps the best one is Disney’s Days of Christmas, Downtown Disney. There will be smaller displays popping up in other shops, but these are the main ones. You can get Christmas decorations personalized at Disney’s Day of Christmas.
Do you have a Christmas tradition of attending the Candlelight Processional in Epcot each year? Then you may want to reserve your tickets now. This is an extremely popular event, and many families have this as a must do for the Christmas season every year. This special performance includes a celebrity reading the Christmas story, a mass choir singing carols, with a 50-piece orchestra. It is held three times during each day of the event, in the American Gardens Theater in Epcot. 5:00PM, 6:45PM, 8:15PM except on December 8 when show times are 6:45PM and 8:15PM only. Valid park admission is required to get into Epcot. If you want to stand in line to wait for a seat, there is no additional cost, but a lot of time spent standing in line. Many combine a meal at select Epcot restaurants that comes with reserved seating for the performance, and VIP seating for the holiday version of Illuminations. This is referred to as a “Candlelight Dinner Package” and must be purchased ahead of time. Dates are from November 29 to December 30. There is an American Sign Language interpreter translating the Biblical account for hearing impaired guests. Prices depend on which restaurant you choose and whether you choose lunch or dinner.
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Epcot celebrates the season with “Holidays Around the World” which includes Yuletide decorations and live entertainment. Many of the countries have their version of St. Nick to tell stories to guests regarding their particular traditions of the holidays. The majority of the Epcot special holiday events and decorations will begin the Friday after Thanksgiving.
In Hollywood Studios you may enjoy the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights which is a Christmas light event like no other, located on the Streets of America. It will begin early in November. Many visitors like to be in the Streets of America by 6PM to see the area go from dark to lit up with more than 5million lights, and there is holiday music to which some of the lights sync. Grab some hot cocoa at the Writer’s Stop and stake out a space to watch from- well before 6PM. The light-up moment is very packed, so if you don’t like tight crowds, avoid this part. Wait until after 7PM, after the huge crowd has time to dissipate and you can just enjoy the lights and the music as long as you want. If you just can’t stop looking at the many light displays, you can stay until they turn them off at night.
December 6,7 the Disney Christmas parade will be filmed, so if you want to be there, and look like you are really there on Christmas day, show up for the filming!
Don’t forget about Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, tickets are on sale now! This is a wonderful holiday celebration in the Magic Kingdom on select nights from November 8 through December 20th. You will experience unique entertainment, characters in their holiday finery, special snacks, special music, special lighting, holiday themed dance parties, Christmas parade and fireworks, shorter lines to attractions, snow on Main Street, decorations everywhere, special merchandise, and free hot chocolate and cookies! From $62.00 +tax for ages 10 and up; $57.00 + tax for ages 3 to 9, it is not a cheap addition to your itinerary, but it is a unique and festive party. There are numerous ways to get a discount on these tickets. If you are a Disney Vacation Club member, Annual Passholder, US Military Personnel, you can secure a lower price for your tickets. Dates available now for all guests: November 8, 11, 14, 15, 17, 21, 22, December 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 20. The Christmas decorations for the Magic Kingdom will be in place by November 8. Your ticket will state that the party begins at 7PM, but you can enter the park with this ticket as early as 4PM.
If you would like to do a Holiday Sleigh Ride at Fort Wilderness, you can make reservations 180 days out. $64.00+tax, for your group of up to 4 adults, or 2 adults and 3 small children. For a 25 minute ride “in a one-horse open sleigh”, remember, this is still Florida, but this wagon is made to look like a sleigh and has lights and garland decorating it. Rides begin at the main entrance of Crockett’s Tavern at Fort Wilderness and they depart every 30 minutes, available nightly during the month of December. As this is very popular and for such a limited time, it is recommended that you make a reservation for this event.
Animal Kingdom does very little to change for the holidays. During the afternoon parade you will see some attempts at decorating by putting Santa hats on the characters.
The Disney resorts have a wonderful display of lights, Christmas trees, and decorations. Of course the greater displays will be at the Deluxe Resorts: Grand Floridian, Contemporary, Polynesian, Wilderness Lodge and Animal Kingdom Lodge. Each resort has a tree decorated in a style that blends with the theme of the resort. Try to take a tour of these great displays on a day off from the parks. Last year the Grand Floridian’s gingerbread display was a huge house that guests could walk through that was made of actual gingerbread!
Christmas week to New Years: you can expect the parks filled to capacity, higher resort room rates, higher prices for many meals but also festive decorations, special shows, special events, Christmas trees, large Gingerbread houses, Special food, special music, average temperatures of 73 degrees, the Christmas parade and special fireworks that have been featured at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, is now available to be seen with regular park admission.