The holiday season is quite the event at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. There are massive decorated trees, delightful shows, twinkling lights and scrumptious holiday treats. Whether you’re visiting a park or a resort, here are five ways to celebrate the holidays in and around Walt Disney World.
Decorations adorn everything at “The Most Magical Place On Earth,” so don’t miss Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade with Disney characters atop seasonal floats or the magnificent Holiday Wishes fireworks show set to seasonal tunes. At dusk, catch the “Frozen Holiday Wish” show that sees Elsa from Frozen transform Cinderella’s Castle into an ice palace with 200,000 white lights.
Explore how 11 countries celebrate the holidays in Epcot’s World Showcase pavilions. Scope out storytellers to learn about Julenissen the Christmas gnome in Norway or the Nutcracker in Germany, then celebrate the Lunar New Year in China before sampling a Yule log cake in France. End the night watching the Candlelight Processional where a celebrity narrator reads “The Christmas Story” backed by a choir and 50-piece orchestra.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
This cinema-themed park’s holiday draw is the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. The Streets of America section (a recreation of NYC and San Francisco alleys) is decorated with five million twinkling lights that flash in time with holiday music. Grab a cup of gingerbread hot chocolate and look for fun Disney touches in the storefront facades (like Baby Sinclair from the 1990s TV show Dinosaurs) while “snow” drifts down.
Disney World Resorts
Take a self-guided tour of Disney’s resorts to scope out impressive holiday decor like a 16-foot-high Victorian gingerbread house (there’s a shop inside that serves chocolate-peppermint bark and other goodies) at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and the life-sized spinning gingerbread carousel at Disney’s Beach Club Resort. Then, ride a one-horse open sleigh (US$79 per ride) through the cypress woods at the Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground to see a stunning variety of decorations (reservations strongly recommended).
Head 10 minutes southeast from Walt Disney World to Celebration, the Disney-planned community of about 9,000 residents. Take a half-hour guided tour (US$25) to see the Christmas lights adorning the Victorian, Coastal and French-style houses then skate a few laps around the outdoor ice rink. The charming downtown also offers free nightly entertainment like Charles Dickens Carolers, hourly “snow” falls and a giant Christmas tree.