Something exciting and extremely rare is happening at Disney’s Hollywood Studios this week at the Walt Disney World Resort in Central Florida, but guests who are looking forward to the experience only have until New Year’s Eve to visit, as the new experience is only available through December 31.
The holidays are a busy time at Disney Parks–especially at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, and at the Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Florida. A magical transformation takes place overnight between October 31 and November 1 each year as the parks go to sleep on Halloween night dressed in their fall best–and wake up dressed for the Christmas season the next morning.
But there’s much more to experiencing the holidays at Disney Parks than just the extravagant and festive decorations that adorn each of the theme parks. EPCOT hosts the annual International Festival of the Holidays, during which guests can sample traditional holiday foods from around the world, enjoy festive music, and take in the Candlelight Processional event, which features a massive choir and a reading of the story of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem by a celebrity narrator.
Magic Kingdom has every hall decked with boughs of holly, Christmas wreaths, ribbons, shiny ornaments, and more. Disney’s Animal Kingdom features multiple Christmas trees adorned with animal print ribbons and garland, as well as animal-themed ornaments that serve to get guests in the spirit of the season–all while keeping with the theme of the park.
And Disney’s Hollywood Studios doesn’t disappoint with the Jollywood Nights events and an exciting meet-and-greet with none other than Santa Claus himself.
Each year leading up to Christmas, Santa visits with guests inside the It’s a Wonderful Shop boutique at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. But, as duty calls him away on Christmas Eve, he is replaced–usually by Santa Goofy.
This year, however, Jolly Old St. Nick was relieved by an ultra-rare Disney character–one that in recent years could only be seen at Disney theme parks, including Shanghai Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea.
This week, guests visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios have been treated to the rare opportunity of meeting Duffy the Disney Bear, and he’s better than ever, dressed in his Santa suit!
— DisneyCharacterGuide (@wdwmickeyhunter) December 26, 2023
The exciting holiday meet-and-greet with Santa Duffy will be available to guests at Disney’s Hollywood Studios through New Year’s Eve, and there’s even a virtual queue that guests can join. It is not available in the My Disney Experience app, however, and guests who want to join the queue will need to join the queue in person.
Santa Duffy is meeting at It’s a Wonderful Shop at Hollywood Studios through Dec. 31.
There is a virtual queue that you can join in person outside the meet and greet spot NOT in the My Disney Experience app. pic.twitter.com/2J2oX5o4Z0
— Allyson | Magic-Ally Main Treats (@magicallymainst) December 26, 2023
Years ago, guests could meet Duffy the Disney Bear at EPCOT, but since his departure, he has not been seen in the U.S. Disney parks. Though his engagement at Disney’s Hollywood Studios this week will be short, it’s an experience not to be missed by guests visiting the park.
And it even has us wondering if Disney is gearing up to announce the return of Duffy to the Walt Disney World Resort. But only time will tell!