The holiday season at Walt Disney World Resort starts today, and we’re unwrapping more details about the magical experiences happening across our theme parks and Disney Springs, including special pop-up appearances by Santa Claus. Read on for all the festive fun!
Magic Kingdom Park
Your favorite characters don their holiday best and celebrate the season in a series of special cavalcades, complete with Christmastime floats and music. From Mickey and friends trimming a tree to Goofy and his pals whipping up a bakeshop full of scrumptious treats, character cavalcades bring holiday spirit to the streets of Magic Kingdom throughout the day. And keep your eyes open for Santa when he glides down the parade route in his sleigh.
Main Street, U.S.A. is the spot to catch the Holiday Trolley, bringing festive harmonies from the Dapper Dans barbershop quartet, and you may just see some Toy Soldiers joining the Main Street Philharmonic when they march through Magic Kingdom playing their merry melodies.
At night, holiday magic brings a festive look to Cinderella Castle with special projection effects, producing a kaleidoscope of designs including festive stripes and dots, a whimsical Christmas sweater look, a jeweled winter castle and a regal overlay of red, green and gold ornamentation. It’s sure to provide the perfect colorful backdrop for your holiday photos.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park
Holiday fun returns to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, bringing unique seasonal décor and a flurry of festive flotillas with favorite Disney characters sailing down the Discovery River to a jolly holiday soundtrack.
“Donald’s Dino Bash Festive Flotilla” takes its seasonal celebration to the water, with character friends waving to everyone as they pass, and Chip ‘n’ Dale jingle through the jungle, bringing their own style of holiday flair to the river. The Discovery Island Drummers cruise along, too, entertaining guests on the shore with an energetic holiday beat. And when Santa Claus makes the trek to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, he’ll spread the joyous spirit of the season to all he sees along the way.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Guests visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios get their own visit from Santa when he brings glitz and glamour to a motorcade down Hollywood Boulevard, led by an entourage of elves and riding in his red convertible packed with presents. And just in time for the holiday season, “For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration” adds a festive finale, featuring everyone’s favorite snowman, Olaf, and celebratory songs of the season.
After dark, the iconic Hollywood Tower Hotel on Sunset Boulevard will twinkle with projection effects as it becomes the Hollywood Holiday Tower Hotel, magically transforming into a Muppets gingerbread masterpiece, a Toy Story toy hotel, a snowy corner of Arendelle and a Dickensian village inspired by “Mickey’s Christmas Carol.”
The holidays arrive at Disney Springs on Nov. 7, when the area will transform into a winter wonderland, full of sparkling lights, enchanting décor and holiday surprises. Disney Springs is the place to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list – including yourself! And here, you’ll want to take a break and savor the comforting flavors of the season.
As you wander, you can enjoy the Disney Springs Christmas Tree Stroll presented by AdventHealth, with elaborately decorated, Disney-themed trees appearing throughout the shopping, dining and entertainment district. There will also be music-playing DJs during the day, and in the evening, stilt-walking toy soldiers, skating snowflakes and a magical snowfall will add a touch of wonder for holiday shoppers at surprise locations.
Santa and Mrs. Claus are also making the trip to Disney Springs this year, where later in November you’ll be able to catch them soaking up their last bit of Florida sunshine before their big night. Look for them cruising Lake Buena Vista and sharing Christmas wishes from a pair of colorfully decorated pontoon boats.
Disney Parks Holiday Merchandise
You can bring the Disney Parks magic of the season home with you with new holiday-themed merchandise available throughout Walt Disney World Resort, as well as the Downtown Disney District and Buena Vista Street at Disneyland Resort in California (starting Nov. 19) and online at shopDisney.com. From apparel to accessories to homeware and more, these very merry collections feature the latest ear headbands, spirit jerseys for adults and children, plush, mini-backpacks by Loungefly, cloth face coverings and more. Highlights include:
- The first Disney Parks holiday snow blower
- Matching holiday onesies for the whole family
- Fuzzy clogs by Crocs
- A new holiday collection from BaubleBar
- And much more!
This is just a sampling of all the festive fun you will enjoy at Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort this year. And there’s more to come! EPCOT gets into the spirit a little later in the month, when the Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays presented by AdventHealth kicks off Nov. 27 with live entertainment, Holiday Kitchens, the Holiday Cookie Stroll and more.
Gray is a lifelong Disney fan! From Disney+ to the parks, he loves it all. His favorite Disney movie is Beauty and the Beast, and his favorite attraction is The Haunted Mansion.