There are so many reasons to visit Walt Disney World during the holiday! One reason that keeps us coming back year after year is the magic that you and your family will discover in the Disney parks and resorts. From beautiful decorations to the most amazing entertainment, it will make even the coldest of hearts melt!
Decorations start going up right after the last MNSSHP (Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party) and are completely finished by the first MVMCP (Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party) on November 8, 2018. What can you expect? If you time your visit right, from the moment you check-in, beautiful Christmas trees and decorations adore the resort lobbies, with activities that we really recommend resort hopping to experience all the wonder and beauty for yourself. From the Deluxe Resorts like The Grand Floridian Resort, with its larger than life size gingerbread house that even has its very own refreshment window for ordering up some of your favorite Christmas treats, to the Moderate and Value resorts with themed decorations specific to that resort. You can spend a few days alone just experiencing all the holiday spirit at each of these resorts. Check out all that each park has to offer during “The Most Wonderful Time of Year”!
Disney’s Magic Kingdom is host to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (MVMCP) and this is one hard ticket event not to be missed! 2018 parties offer select dates between November 8 – December 21. This magical party starts at 7pm (guests are allowed into the park at 4pm for this event.) From the moment of the park opening ceremony, to the start of the party, this park will amaze you in the holiday spirit! You can experience some of your favorite Disney Characters decked out in their Christmas attire, that are only available for meet and greets during special hard ticket events like the Seven Dwarfs, Jack Skeleton, Santa Goofy! You will also find exclusive party only items that you will want to get early, if you would like to add them to your collection. Like MVMCP t-shirts and ornaments exclusive to this years event, because believe me, they go fast! Last year the MVMCP ornaments sold out at the first party and guest were no longer able to get them rest of the season. So remember, pick them up early!
In order to take full advantage of the party, you really need a plan of attack. To start, please see this Christmas Party Map: 2018 Christmas Party Map.
Between the entertainment, special character meet and greets, and wanting to take advantage of the attractions with little wait time, there is a lot to try to squeeze into just 5 hours! This is why we highly recommend eating your dinner by 5 pm, so you can have time to get in a line for your favorite character early (more on this later). Don’t worry about eating dinner early and getting hungry later, we will cover that later too!
Here is the entertainment list for 2018. You can click on the links to see videos complimentary of The DIS.
A Frozen Holiday Wish – Castle Forecourt Stage at 8:15. Queen Elsa will once again use her powers to transform Cinderella’s Castle into a glistening ice palace for the holidays, illuminating the Castle with 200,000 shimmering white lights. It is such a stunning scene one you won’t want to miss!
All of our favorite frozen friends are back this year, joining the festivities with the rest of our beloved gang.
Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration – Castle Forecourt Stage at 7:40, 9:25, 10:30 and 11:55pm.
Club Tinsel – Continuously running dance party at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe. Characters will not sign autographs or pose for pictures, but you can certainly join them on the dance floor for lots of fun. Different characters will rotate in and out throughout the night.
A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas! – Rockettower Plaza Stage at 7:45, 8:35, 9:25, 10:45.
The Edge Effect – Incredible vocal harmonies: Rockettower Plaza Stage at 8:10, 9:00, 10:20, 11:10
Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade – (see parade route on map, starts in Frontierland) at 8:30 and 11:00
Holiday Wishes – A special fireworks show celebrating the holiday season at 10:00.
As you can see, some of the entertainment has overlapping times, or very spaced out times, leaving you questioning what order to plan your activities for the night. While it would be impossible to do all the entertainment along with character meet and greets and riding attractions, you can choose what is most important to you and create a plan. That is where your PPDD Travel Planners step in again. You let us know your ideal wish list of what you would like to accomplish, and we can recommend what order you do those in. Generally speaking, regardless of other plans, we recommend watching the 11:00 parade, as it is much less crowded.
In addition to the special entertainment, here are some of the characters you can meet during the party. I have listed where they generally are located, although that is subject to change. Please note that many of these characters can be met anytime. I would advise to try to meet the characters that are exclusive to the party, meaning they can not be seen during a regular park day. I have colored those red for you so they stand out.
Aladdin with Abu, Jasmine and Genie – Adventureland, Aladdin and Abu meet together and will swap out with Jasmine and Genie!
Ariel with Prince Eric – by Under the Sea ~ Journey of Little Mermaid
Belle – near Gaston’s Tavern
Big Al, Shaker, Wendell and Liverlips – Liberty Square, near Country Bear Jamboree
Captain Jack Sparrow – Adventureland, stage across from Pirates of Caribbean
Donald, Daisy, Scrooge McDuck and Minnie – Storybook Circus
Gaston – near Gaston’s Tavern
Jack Skellington as Sandy Claws – Town Square Theater (very popular, lines sometimes starts as early as 2pm, and he has been known to start his meet and greet around 4:30pm)
Mary Poppins with Penguin and Bert – Liberty Square behind Ye Olde Christmas Shop
Merida – Fairytale Garden
Nick Wilde and Judy Hopps – Tomorrowland
Mickey Mouse – Town Square Theater
Moana – Adventureland, Enchanted Tiki Room (she is VERY popular, so line up by 5pm at the latest)
Peter Pan and Wendy – near Peter Pan’s Flight
Princesses – many of them, along with their princes mostly in Fairytale Hall!
Reindeer and Polar Bears – Cosmic Ray’s
Santa Clause – Town Square
Santa Goofy – next to Barnstormer
Seven Dwarfs – close to Mine Train (very popular, line up early for them too)
Tiana and Naveen – Liberty Square
Tigger and Friends – next to Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
Tinker Bell – Town Square Theater
Vampirina & Timon – Storybook Circus
*Meet and Greet opportunities with party exclusive character, you need to get in line prior to 7pm for these! The most popular ones that form the longest lines tend to be Jack Skellington as Sandy Clause, Moana and the Seven Dwarfs. If you want to meet either of these, you must get in line early. These lines have in the past started forming sometimes around 4pm! We recommend picking your top favorite out of these 3, and getting in line for that one early.
Remember I said to eat dinner early and not fret about getting hungry later? Well, that’s because you can stop for your complimentary cookies and hot cocoa! You can find the locations serving with the candy cane symbol on the party map. There are also plenty of options available for purchase in addition to the complimentary items as well.
With all the things mentioned that are available at the parties, one of my favorites is walking down Main Street USA as it is “snowing”! Nothing quite like sipping my hot cocoa and admiring the beautifully lit Cinderella’s Castle, while it is “snowing”!
If you are unable to attend MVMCP, no worries! The park is beautifully decorated, and this is something that you can enjoy even without the MVMCP ticket purchase:
Epcot is a must see in late November, with Celebrations around the World. Each year Epcot celebrates the holidays with such exciting activities from Gospel singing to celebrity guests that are sure to bring excitement and amaze to your family this holiday season.
Offerings at Epcot include:
Candlelight Processional – Hear the story of Christmas told by a celebrity narrator, along side a 50 piece orchestra and several choirs! You can even book a “Candlelight Processional Dining Package” to guarantee that you get a seat at one of these spectacular shows. The 2018 dates, along with the narrators are:
- Chita Rivera – November 22 to 23, 2018
- NEW! Helen Hunt – November 24 to 25, 2018
- NEW! Alfonso Ribeiro – November 26 to 27, 2018
- Robby Benson – November 28 to 30, 2018
- John Stamos – December 1 to 2, 2018
- Neil Patrick Harris – December 3 to 6, 2018
- Whoopi Goldberg – December 7 to 9, 2018
- NEW! Bart Millard – December 10 to 12, 2018
- Blair Underwood – December 13 to 14, 2018
- Gary Sinise – December 15 to 17, 2018
- Pat Sajak – December 18 to 20, 2018
- NEW! Auli’i Cravalho – December 21 to 23, 2018
- Edward James Olmos – December 24 to 25, 2018
- Jodi Benson – December 26 to 27, 2018
- Cal Ripken Jr. – December 28 to 30, 2018
Holiday Story tellers– in each country throughout the world showcase your will experience international storytellers (that country’s version of their own Santa Clause.) you and your family will love hearing the tales along with new learning experiences.
Illuminations: Reflections of the Earth: A beautiful firework show that uses Disney Pyrotechnics in an unbelievable ‘Peace on Earth Celebration’.
Santa and Mrs. Clause Meet and Greet: Santa’s Village in the American Adventure Pavilion in World Showcase is offered November 29 – December 24 at select times throughout the day.
Holiday Tastes from Around the World: “Treat” yourself to special holiday treats from around the world throughout World Showcase.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights WAS a tradition that we enjoyed every year. Unfortunately, 2015 was the last year for them. Watch a short clip of how awesome it was!
For 2018, you can celebrate the holidays at Hollywood Studios with Jing Bell, Jingle BAM! Holiday Party.
Minnie’s Holiday Dine at Hollywood and Vine: Offered for dinner only, dine with Minnie, Mickey, Donald, Daisy and Santa Goofy!
While Animal Kingdom doesn’t currently offer any parades, just as the other parks, it is still beautifully decorated.
Meet Mickey and Minnie in their holiday sweaters at Adventurer Outpost.
Santa Meet and Greet: meet with Santa and pose for a pic!
Special holiday decorations throughout Disney Springs, just like at the parks. Be sure to check out the Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail!
There will be a nightly tree lighting ceremony in front of the Once Upon a Toy play area.
Just a few pictures, to show how much effort goes into the holiday season every year at Disney World!
The holiday season is spectacular at Walt Disney World, with so many exciting thing to see and do. Many new things are added into these festivities each year. It is the new additions, along with our old tried and true favorites that keep us coming back year after year, making Christmas at the Walt Disney World Parks a tradition to many of our families that will forever be in our hearts!
If you would like help planning your visit for this holiday season, contact one of our PPDD Travel Planners today. We can help you plan your entire vacation, including a full itinerary, and we do not charge anything to our clients!