I know, I know! It's not even Halloween yet (and I LOVE Halloween at Disney World!), but Disney has announced some exciting special offerings for the Christmas season that I wanted to share with you.
Some of our favorites are returning. The resorts will all be decorated, including the huge gingerbread house at The Grand Floridian, the chocolate carousel at The Beach Club, giant themed Christmas trees at Wilderness Lodge (photo at left). and Animal Kingdom Lodge AND in each park make everything look and smell like holiday time!!
Once again, guests can enjoy the biggest holiday event of them all: Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party!! This hard ticket event takes place on select evenings at Magic Kingdom and features a wonderful parade, fireworks, characters to meet , snow falling on Main Street plus cookies and hot cocoa.
In the past, EPCOT has hosted Holidays Around the World. My family loves this celebration which highlights holiday traditions of each different country and culture. (See the lion dancer from China celebrating Chinese New Year!) This year, that theme has been expanded and will now be knows as EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays. It runs November 19-December 30, 2017. Of course, not everyone celebrates Christmas. I want to reassure guests that the themes are inclusive. The American pavilion alternates Christmas, Hanukah and Kwanza celebrations. And, there are celebrations from other cultures as well, so you shouldn't feel excluded.
Candlelight Processional (with dining packages) will continue with three shows each evening from late November to late December. In addition, the Peace on Earth ending to IllumiNations will return. New features include:
Chip & Dale's Christmas Tree Spree
Picking up on the popular scavenger hunts that Epcot guests have enjoyed in recent years, this new adventure invites guests to search out special ornaments as they tour the World Showcase. You can pick up a map (available from many of the shops in Epcot for $6.99) and then look for the ornaments that are placed around World Showcase. Add the provided stickers to your map. After complete you can take your map to Disney Traders to exchange it for a special holiday-themed surprise!
Expanded Holiday Kitchens
What's a festival at EPCOT without food? Last year, there were 7 holidays kitchens set up. This year, there will be 15! More than double!!
Sunset Season Greetings at Hollywood Studios
Projections of Mickey, Minnie and other beloved Disney characters sharing their favorite Christmas stories will light up Sunset Boulevard. Snow and twinkling lights complete the holiday scene. Holiday magic brings billboards to life and transforms the famous Hollywood Tower Hotel into scenes of the season – a giant pile of Christmas gifts, a gingerbread house and a frozen winter wonderland! A frosty summer-loving snowman might even make an appearance to share his holiday wish! This fantastic and heartwarming experience runs continuously throughout the night.
Frozen Sing-Along now with Olaf
Just for the holidays the show will include all-new songs from Disney’s new animated short "Olaf’s Frozen Adventure." Holiday fun continues at the Hyperion Theater as Anna, Elsa and Kristoff welcome Olaf to this popular sing-along celebration.
Stitch's Holiday Gift Hunt
The mischievous experiment 626 is at it again with an expanded scavenger hunt featuring four new stops, including a special stop at the more-magical-than-ever Disney Springs’ Christmas Tree Trail. A great activity for families older kids, it’s your chance to work together, decipher clues, and discover all the spots where Stitch is hiding. Complete the mission and receive a limited-edition button.
Expanded Tree Trail
The Tree Trail debuted last year to mixed reviews. This year, from mid-November through the beginning of January, there will be an expanded number of trees and Disney promises 25 (instead of 15 trees) each themed after a beloved character or story.
Visit Santa's Chalet
In 2017, Santa Claus is accepting Christmas wish lists and welcoming guests to his chalet newly located by the Christmas Tree Trail. From December 25-December 31, Santa Goofy will take over after Old Saint Nick heads back to the North Pole.
Mary Graham is a Vacation Specialist for Coasters & Castles Travel. Her family spent Christmas 2016 at Walt Disney World and she has loads of tips to share in planning your holiday trip (or any other time of year trip!). She has visited Walt Disney World more than 20 times: as an adult -only and as a mom of toddlers to teens. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.