Your Guide to Christmas at Disney World 2019

by Kayla Peloquin
Christmas at Disney World

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Tips, Tricks and Must Do’s for Experiencing Christmas at Disney World

It’s the most wonderful time at the most magical place on Earth! We love Christmas at Disney World, and it’s way more than just sparkly decorations and a festive Christmas party. If you’re visiting during Christmas at Disney World 2019, here’s your ultimate guide to holiday fun!

This post was originally published on November 5th, 2018 but has been updated November 20th, 2019 to reflect the current holiday offerings for Christmas at Disney World.

Your Guide to Christmas at Disney World 2019

Christmas Decorations at Disney World

No one does Christmas decorations better than Disney World. During the holiday season (usually starting the first weekend in November) holiday decorations go up around all four theme parks and in every Disney World Resort. Each theme park features a giant Christmas tree with ornaments themed to the park aesthetic. You’ll also find holiday garland and wreaths in every park as well as Christmas music playing throughout.

Christmas Party at Disney World Magic Kingdom

First and foremost, the best way to celebrate Christmas at Disney World is at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. This special ticketed event happens on select nights at Magic Kingdom, so be sure to plan in advanced. Including a special parade, holiday fireworks, lots of yummy treats (also included with the price), exclusive characters and short ride wait times, this event is an incredible way to celebrate the holidays. If you love Christmas, this event is definitely a must do! See my tips for making the most of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

Christmas Party at Disney World Magic Kingdom

Christmas at Magic Kingdom During Normal Park Hours

The holiday decor at Magic Kingdom is unsurpassed. Nothing quite says Christmastime like a walk down Main Street. There is also lots to do without purchasing an additional ticket to attend Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, if you’re on a budget.

During a regular park day at Magic Kingdom, be sure to ride Jingle Cruise which has a fun holiday overlay. Also, don’t miss A Frozen Holiday Wish which happens at 6:15pm daily as Elsa lights up Cinderella Castle for the holidays.

After the final Christmas Party on December 22nd, the Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade is shown daily at Magic Kingdom until the end of December. Additionally, the new Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks Show is also expected to be available nightly at 10 p.m. from Dec. 23 through Dec. 29.

Christmas Party at Disney World Magic Kingdom
TIP: For an incredible shot of Cinderella Castle all lit up (with an almost empty Main Street) jump out into the street right before the parade comes begins.

Christmas at Epcot: Holidays Around the World

Magic Kingdom isn’t the only park that’s bursting with holiday cheer. Christmas at Disney World is celebrated in every park. One of my very favorites to visit is Epcot. I was so excited to attend a special media preview to see all the new things coming to the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays 2019.

Epcot hosts the International Festival of the Holidays from November 29 – December 30, 2019. Featuring the joyous holiday traditions of the 11 World Showcase nations, Epcot surrounds you in the wondrous sights, sounds and flavors of the season. Including special food and beverage menu items and holiday traditions from around the world, this festival is a can’t miss.

Christmas at Epcot: Holidays Around the World

We love meeting Santa & Mrs. Claus in America, Pierre Noel in France, and also Belle in her Christmas dress. For the kids, Chip & Dale have a Christmas tree ornament scavenger hunt ($6.99 to purchase the map) and also includes a fun prize for completion. Other must sees include the Candlelight Processional, Cookie Stroll and more!

Living with the Land: Merry & Bright Nights Holiday Ride Overlay- NEW FOR 2019

New for 2019, you can ride Living with the Land: Merry and Bright Nights, a festive holiday twist on the classic Epcot boat ride. The greenhouses have been festively decorated with beautiful Christmas lights and decor in true Disney fashion. Be sure to catch this special seasonal ride overlay after dark during the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays.

Candlelight Processional

The Candlelight Processional performances tell the story of Christmas with a celebrity narrator, a 50-piece orchestra and a full choir. Catch the show 3 times per night at 5:00 PM, 6:45 PM and 8:15 PM. Here are the celebrity narrators for 2019:

  • Ming-Na Wen November 29 through December 1
  • Neil Patrick Harris December 2 through December 5
  • Whoopi Goldberg December 6 and 7
  • Isabella Rossellini December 8 through 10
  • Chita Rivera December 11 through 12
  • Gary Sinise December 13 through 15
  • Pat Sajak December 16 through 18
  • Warwick Davis December 19 through 21
  • Steven Curtis Chapman December 22 through 24
  • Edward James Olmos December 25 and 26
  • Marlee Matlin December 27 and 28
  • Lisa Ling December 29 and 30

Epcot SCROLLS – NEW FOR 2019

New for 2019, be sure to look for the Epcot SCROLLS that tell the story of each country’s holiday tradition. Find all 13 of them to collect fun new ideas for celebrating your own holidays and also tips for finding unique holiday photo spots in the park.

Epcot Cookie Stroll 2019

First, grab a Festival Passport and then travel through the World Showcase to find 5 official cookie stroll locations. This activity is fun for all ages and can be completed at your leisure throughout the day. Each stop offers a delicious dessert for purchase and a stamp for your Festival Passport. Finally, after collecting all 5 stamps, bring your Passport to the Sweets & Treats Holiday Kitchen to receive a complimentary Santa Mickey Sugar Cookie!

Epcot Cookie Stroll 2019
Photo Courtesy of Walt Disney World

Official Cookie Stroll Locations

  • Bavaria Holiday Kitchen at the Germany Pavilion Linzer Cookie
  • American Holiday Table at the America Pavilion Gingerbread Cookie
  • Yukon Holiday Kitchen at the Canada Pavilion Peppermint Pinwheel Cookie
  • Feast of the Three Kings near the Mexico Pavilion Chocolate Crinkle Cookie
  • L’Chaim Holiday Kitchen between the Morocco and France Pavilions Black-and-White Cookie

Frozen II Merchandise & Anna and Elsa’s NEW Costumes

In celebration of the new Frozen II movie, you can also now meet Elsa and Anna in their new epilogue outfits from the end of the movie. Epcot has also introduced several delicious Frozen inspired treats (like the yummy Bruni cupcake below) and a whole new line of Frozen merchandise just in time for holiday shopping. If you have little ones, be sure to check out all the Frozen fun happening at Epcot.

Christmas at Animal Kingdom NEW FOR 2019

2019 is the first year that Animal Kingdom is decorated for the holidays. The park usually has an iconic large Christmas tree out front, but lacked any decor or merriment inside. This year, there is a beautiful display of holiday cheer throughout the park, with unique Animal Kingdom flair.

Discovery Island

A whimsical winter celebration awaits you at Discovery Island in Animal Kingdom. By day, look for life-size, artisan-sculpted animal puppets including reindeer, foxes, wolves, penguins, birds, and also polar bears. And at night, colorful rooftop luminaries and bird lanterns light up the sky. At the heart of it all, the Tree of Life awakens each night with wintry tales in the form of colorful projections.

Christmas Fun in DinoLand U.S.A.

Get in the holiday spirit with festive decor at Donald’s Dino-Bash! The giant dinosaur skeleton gets a complete makeover with bright lights and a Santa mask. You can also have your photo taken with Donald and some of his favorite pals dressed in their holiday best. Characters include Uncle Scrooge, Daisy, Chip & Dale, Goofy, Pluto and more!

Asia Holiday Fun at Animal Kingdom

In Asia, take in the glowing flowers, lanterns and more in Anandapur. See where residents have decorated the theater district in celebration of Diwali–the festival of lights in India. Such a beautiful sight to walk through the lanterns and also learn more about holiday celebrations in other cultures.

Asia Holiday Fun at Animal Kingdom

Pandora – The World of Avatar

The expats living and working on Pandora have brought a little Christmastime excitement to their alien home! At Pongu Pongu, discover a display of spirited decor that combines pieces from Earth with items handcrafted from Pandora. There’s even a special interactive show with a Pandora robot. Christmas at Disney Pandora – The World of Avatar

Cheerful Character Encounters at Animal Kingdom

There are lots of fun photo ops for the holidays at Animal Kingdom. Pose for festive holiday photos with some beloved Disney Characters including:

  • Mickey and Minnie Mouse at Adventurers Outpost
  • Russell and Dug at Discovery Island
  • Donald Duck and pals at Donald’s Dino-Bash
Christmas at Animal Kingdom Meeting Minnie and Mickey

Christmas at Hollywood Studios

Hollywood Studios is one of my favorite parks during Christmas time! First, be sure to see the holiday decor in Toy Story Land and festive wardrobe accents for Buzz, Woody and Jessie.

Then, cruise down Sunset Blvd to see all the Christmas fun. The street is aglow with colorful lights and a projection show on Tower of Terror. There is also lots of colorful lights and Florida snowfall (snoap) to add to the merriment. You can also meet Santa Claus on Sunset Blvd.

Christmas at Hollywood Studios
Santa at Hollywood Studios

The featured Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! show happens nightly and includes fireworks, projections on the Chinese Theater and really neat lighting effects. This is one of our favorite holiday shows at Walt Disney World! There is also a different ending to the Frozen Sing Along which includes an entire holiday song by Olaf, and Elsa making an ice Christmas Tree.

Christmas at Hollywood Studios
Christmas at Hollywood Studios

Christmas at Disney Springs

Planning a trip to Disney this holiday season? Christmas at Disney Springs has never been better. Don’t miss the free holiday fun offered at Disney Springs!

Christmas Tree Trail Disney Springs

Holiday music playing, Florida snow (snoap) falling and whimsical Christmas trees makes this a fun (and free) way to celebrate this holiday season. There are dozens of Christmas trees along the walkway, themed with Disney movie decorations. There are also dance parties, shopping promotions and more.

These whimsical Disney themed Christmas trees are each carefully decorated and displayed at Disney Springs throughout the holiday season. The ornaments are also available for purchase in the Christmas shop and are all unique in a way only Disney can design.

Meet Santa Claus at Disney Springs

While you can meet Santa at three of the four theme parks, Disney Springs offers a meet and greet opportunity without the cost of park admission. That’s right, you can meet Santa Claus at Disney Springs for FREE and the best part is you don’t even have to waste time standing in line.

Upon arrival, you will first check in at the front kiosk to enter a virtual queue. They will then ask for your name and phone number and send you a welcome text. Next, you’re free to walk through the Christmas Tree Trail, shop around or even go eat while waiting. Wait times can vary from 60-200+ minutes based on the day and time. Weekends are typically much busier!

Finally, they’ll send you a text when it’s time to return and you will wait in a short line to then meet the big guy himself. If you have Disney Memory Maker or PhotoPass, you can download all of the photos for free through the app or take photos on your own device for free.

Meet Santa at Disney Springs

Holiday Magic at PhotoPass Center

Speaking of photos, there are lots of fun photo ops at Disney Springs too. If you’re an Annual Passholder or are visiting the parks and have Memory Maker, stop in the PhotoPass photo studio. They have special holiday themed backdrops and can even take a family portrait for your holiday cards. Photos are free to download if you have Memory Maker or PhotoPass.

PhotoPass Spot Disney Springs

Christmas at Walt Disney World Resorts

Holiday decor is at it’s most beautiful on display at Walt Disney World Resorts. November 21st is also National Gingerbread Day and Disney celebrates like no other. With huge gingerbread houses on display, these stunning works of art are a must see. This is the 21st anniversary of the life-size gingerbread house at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.

They also have daily demos to learn how to decorate a house yourself. You can find even more gingerbread displays at Disney’s Contemporary Resort and Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts.

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Tips, Tricks and Must Do’s for Experiencing Christmas at Disney World

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