Walt Disney World Christmas Celebrations
All the seasonal entertainment at Walt Disney World is included in the normal ticket admission with the exception of the night time Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom which is by separate ticket admission.
The Walt Disney World Resort offers everything from the millions of lights at the Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, to the Candlelight Processionals at EPCOT, the new illuminated Cinderella’s Castle, fireworks spectacular and parade at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom and the special seasonal parade at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Note that the second parade at the Magic Kingdom is usually quieter so it is often easier to get a good view if you plan to watch the second parade. Frontierland makes a good vantage point.
You can book a special Candlelight Processional dinner package which includes dinner at one of the Epcot restaurants, plus preferred seating for the nightly choral performance.
In the Magic Kingdom, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party starts before Thanksgiving in 2012 on November 9 and runs on 20 selected nights (one more than last year) until just before Christmas; namely November 9, 12, 15, 16, 25, 27, 29, 30, December 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20 and 21.
This special event includes a firework spectacular, two parades, sweet holiday treats (cookies and hot cocoa), character greetings and two special live holiday stage shows for the whole family.
Main Street U.S.A. is decorated with Christmas trees, coloured lights and garland plus snow and Disney characters perform special productions of “Mickey’s ’Twas the Night Before Christmas” and “Celebrate the Season.”
As in previous years, Cinderella’s Castle is transformed into an ice palace with over 200,000 twinkling white lights in “Cinderella’s Holiday Wish”.
Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade (featuring Santa and Mrs. Claus) runs twice nightly and there is a special fireworks spectacular, “Holiday Wishes: Celebrate the Spirit of the Season”.
This is a separately ticketed event and the park re-opens at 7:00pm and closes at midnight. Many of the popular attractions are open during the party.
Ticket prices start at $58.95 plus tax for adults, $53.95 plus tax for children (3–9) if purchased in advance (selected dates only). On the day prices (if available) start at $64.95 plus tax for adults and $59.95 plus tax for children but tickets sell out fast so it is best to book in advance.
The Candlelight Processional takes place at Epcot in 2012 from November 23 every day until after Christmas on December 30 as part of Disney’s “Holidays Around the World” celebrations.
Each evening at the America Gardens Theatre, there is a musical performance by a mass choir and a 50-piece orchestra retelling the Christmas story with the help of a special celebrity guest narrator.
The performance runs three times a night at the American Gardens Theatre at 5:00 pm, 6:45 pm and 8:15 pm.
Celebrity narrators scheduled for 2012 are Geena Davis (November 23 to 25), Neil Patrick Harris (November 26 to 29), Whoopi Goldberg (November 30 to December 1), Andy Garcia (December 2 to 4), Blair Underwood (December 5 to 7), James Denton (December 8 to 9), Jodi Benson (December 10 to 13), Lea Salonga (December 14 to 16), Alfre Woodard (December 17 to 19), Trace Adkins (December (20 to 22), Gary Sinise (December 23 to 25), Amy Grant (December 26 to 28) and Marlee Matlin / Jack Jason (December 29 to 30). Guests are subject to change.
Celebrations also take place at some of the pavilions in the World Showcase with Holiday Storytellers including Old Saint Nick in the American Adventure showcase, Pierre Noel in France and LaBefana in Italy. Every night at the World Showcase Plaza, you can watch Mickey’s Tree Lighting Treat with Mickey Mouse and friends.
Look out for the Lights of Winter lighted canopy that dances to holiday music over the walkway linking Future World and the World Showcase. Even Illuminations: Reflections of Earth gets a makeover with a special holiday season finale, Lights of Winter.
You can also purchase Candlelight Dinner packages including lunch or dinner and reservations are the evening performance.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
The amazing Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights is held at Disney’s Hollywood Studios each holiday season and runs daily from before Thanksgiving in 2012 on November 9 until January 6 in the New Year. Viewing is included in the normal park admission but check times as they vary each day.
The Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights was originally started with just 1000 red lights back in 1986 in Little Rock Arkansas by Jennings Osborne for his daughter Breezy but by 1993 had become so popular that his neighbours went to the Arkansas Supreme Court to get it closed down.
Disney invited Jennings to Disney-MGM Studios (as it was then called) in 1995 and today it has grown into one of the major annual holiday season events at the Walt Disney World Resort.
Over 5 million holiday lights are used to decorate the entire studio backlot at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and you can walk amongst them and marvel at all the different decorations using special holographic glasses.
Each day on Hollywood Boulevard, there is a “Hollywood Holly-Day Parade” of your favourite Disney characters dressed in their holiday best.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the park is decorated for the holiday season from just after Thanksgiving until early in the New Year.
To mark the holiday season, there is a giant 65 foot tree by the entrance and the afternoon parade is Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade.
The Donald’s Breakfastosaurus character breakfast takes on a seasonal flavour with Deck the Halls with Donald in Animal Kingdom’s DinoLand U.S.A.
You can also enjoy carol singers throughout the day at Camp Minnie-Mickey and the Oasis and visit Santa at Santa Goofy’s Holiday Village.
Downtown Disney takes on a holiday feel with the Festival of the Seasons which runs from before Thanksgiving on November 16 until December 27, 2012.
All the shops and restaurants have special holiday window dressings. Don’t forget to visit Disney’s Days of Christmas shop in particular and of course Santa at Santa’s Chalet. From November 16 to December 24 you can see Santa Claus and from December 25 to 27 it is Santa Goofy.
In Disney’s town of Celebration the Now Snowing event begins after Thanksgiving and continues until New Year’s Eve.
Each night at 6:00 pm, 7:00 pm, 8:00 pm and 9:00 pm snow falls down Market Street for 10 minutes. There are also opportunities to have your photograph taken with Santa, listen to Charles Dickens holiday carollers and ride on the Celebration Express train.
Click here for the dates of all the seasonal celebrations in Florida.