The holiday season is a magical time of year to visit Walt Disney World. There is almost an endless supply of Disney World Christmas decorations and activities to explore. Disney World resorts and parks have specially themed Christmas decorations, and even Disney Springs is decorated for Christmas at Disney World.
This article includes important general Disney World Christmas tips, where to find the best Disney World Christmas decorations, and our favorite Disney World Christmas activities.
When Does Disney World Decorate For Christmas?
Disney World Christmas decorations generally begin appearing a few days after Halloween. Magic Kingdom decorations tend to be up the soonest as the park gets ready for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. The Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail, resort decorations, and other parks are usually decorated for Christmas by the second week of November.
Disney World Christmas decorations often stay up for a few days after Christmas into the New Year. One year we arrived to a beautifully decorated Disney’s Yacht Club resort on January 3, but everything had disappeared before we woke the next morning.
When Is The Best Time To Visit Disney World For Christmas?
The best time to visit Disney World for Christmas is from a few days after Thanksgiving until about a week before Christmas. During early December you can enjoy all the Disney World Christmas decorations and activities without the high Christmas vacation crowds.
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, Disney World Christmas decorations, and the Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail are usually available starting in early to mid-November. However, some special events such as Epcot’s Candlelight Processional start on or just after Thanksgiving. If you go before Thanksgiving you may miss out on some Christmas activities, but many of the Disney World Christmas decorations and some activities are available.
Where Can I Find Disney World Christmas Decorations?
The short answer is Disney World Christmas decorations are everywhere. There are Christmas trees, wreaths, flowers, and other decorations at Disney World resorts, theme parks, and Disney Springs. Disney World cast members put up an astonishing 1500 Christmas trees around the property.
Where Are The Best Free Disney World Christmas Decorations?
Disney World theme parks are the only places that require a fee to enter and see the decorations. Visiting Disney World resorts and Disney Springs to see Disney World Christmas decorations is free.
Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail
Disney Springs’ largest Christmas decoration display is the Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail. The Christmas Tree Trail has dozens of specially Disney-themed Christmas trees and a place to meet Santa Claus, too.
Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail is a great, and free, way to admire Disney World Christmas decorations. Wander through the dozens of special Disney-themed Christmas trees with Christmas music and occasional “snow” flurries to renew your Christmas spirit on a rest day or when grabbing dinner nearby.
Grand Floridian Resort Christmas Decorations
Disney’s Grand Floridian has the most impressive gingerbread house on Disney World Property. The immense 16-foot (5-m) tall Grand Floridian gingerbread house is an incredibly popular Disney World Christmas decoration.
The minute you enter the lobby of Grand Floridian you can smell the amazing gingerbread house. The smell permeates the air throughout the multilevel open lobby.
The Grand Floridian gingerbread house features stained glass windows and beautiful details on each side of the immense house. One of the most unique things about the Grand Floridian gingerbread house is the treat shop selling pieces of gingerbread inside the house. Cast members work inside the house ringing up guests for special treats including shingles just like the ones on the house.
As if the huge Grand Floridian gingerbread house isn’t enough, the lobby also boasts a beautifully decorated 40-foot (12-m) Christmas tree. These two impressive displays, plus easy access via the monorail, is why Disney’s Grand Floridian is one of the best places to see Disney World Christmas decorations.
Disney’s Contemporary Resort Christmas Decorations
The main Christmas decoration at Contemporary Resort is a large gingerbread creation. It’s not a gingerbread house, but more of a gingerbread facade. Cinderella, Prince Charming, and Fairy Godmother are in front of the large gingerbread castle front. We always enjoy looking for the hidden Mickeys and other hidden figures. Find out what hidden items are on the house by looking at the large ingredient board.
While you are admiring the Contemporary gingerbread creation, stop by the stand next door. Here we bought the most amazing gingerbread boy baked fresh that morning. Our gingerbread boy was so fresh he actually started to bend if you didn’t hold him flat.
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Christmas Decorations
Wilderness Lodge always gets a stunning Christmas tree, but starting in 2019 it added an all gingerbread cabin. The rustic gingerbread cabin is a great addition to the Wilderness Lodge lobby decorations.
Beach Club Resort Christmas Decorations
Disney’s Beach Club Resort lobby has a working gingerbread and chocolate carousel. The horses are made of chocolate and most of the rest of the carousel is gingerbread. The carousel continuously rotates so you can admire this ingenious gingerbread creation from all sides.
Each of the gingerbread creations at Disney World resort hotels has an informational display. This display shows exactly what ingredients went into making the house, carousel, or other item.
The quantities needed to bake these creations is unbelievable. Can you imagine needing 96 pounds of flour or 36 pounds of honey to do your baking?
Yacht Club Resort Christmas Decorations
The nautical themed Christmas decorations at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort are a fun twist. Boat ornaments, lots of blue hued lights, and traditional ornaments in blues and gold make the lobby Christmas tree unique to the Yacht Club theme. Just off to the side of the lobby is a Christmas village display with model trains running through the town.
Visiting Yacht and Beach Club to see the Christmas decorations is easy. These sister resorts are just a short walk from Epcot’s International Gateway and Disney Skyliner stop.
Magic Kingdom Christmas Decorations And Activities
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a festive seasonal event at Magic Kingdom. We enjoy the lower crowds, special parade, ride overlays, and Christmas themed fireworks. Find out more about this special ticketed event in my full review.
A Frozen Holiday Wish Castle Lighting
Cinderella’s Castle is always impressive, but Christmas brings it to a whole new level. A Frozen Holiday Wish is a nightly show, or twice nightly on Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas party nights, when an incredible castle lighting show takes place. This castle stage show features several Frozen characters and culminates with Elsa using her ice powers to turn Cinderella’s Castle into a glittering ice palace.
You do not need a Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party ticket to see A Frozen Holiday Wish. If you are at Magic Kingdom on a party night you can watch the castle lighting show and then exit the park.
Main Street U.S.A.
Right as you enter Main Street a 60-foot (18-m) Christmas tree adorned with 6000 lights and 1800 ornaments begins the magic of a Disney Christmas.
Inside each display window and all along Main Street U.S.A. there are wreaths, bows, and many other festive Magic Kingdom Christmas decorations. I think the traditional Americana Christmas decor of Main Street at Magic Kingdom is one of the best things about visiting Disney World during the Christmas season.
Celebrate Christmas With A Jingle Cruise
The Jungle Cruise gets a snazzy Christmas makeover to become the Jingle Cruise. The jokes don’t get any fancier for Christmas, but they do get some seasonal flair to go with the decorations.
Hollywood Studios Christmas Decorations And Activities
Sunset Seasons Greetings
Hollywood Studios Sunset Seasons Greetings is a great addition to fill part of the void left by Osborne Spectacle of Lights. The exterior Tower of Terror facade is turned into a winter wonderland. Starting at dusk, Sunset Seasons Greetings runs continuously throughout the night.
There are two billboards along Sunset Boulevard that show a short video clip which introduces the projection. There are four different projection sequences shown on a loop. For example, the Swedish Chef makes a gingerbread house in a short video on the billboard and then the tower becomes a gingerbread house. The four themes are Muppets, Frozen, Mickey’s Christmas Carol, and Toy Story.
At the end of each tower projection show, lasers cut across the sky highlighting the “snow” falling on the street below. We love that this show runs on a continuous loop after dark. This allows you to easily fit Sunset Seasons Greetings into your plans. Also because the show is a continuous loop, crowds ebb and flow which means it is relatively easy to find a good viewing spot, too.
Minnie’s Holiday Dine at Hollywood and Vine
Minnie and friends are dressed in their finest Christmas outfits during this seasonal character dinner at Hollywood Studios. Minnie, Mickey, Donald, and Daisy stop by your table to spread Christmas cheer.
Santa Goofy has his very own special meeting area which turned out to be a great idea during our recent dinner. Goofy greeted a guest so enthusiastically that he knocked down a Christmas wreath, and Mickey had to come help him fix it.
Jingle Bell Jingle BAM!
This Christmas fireworks show at Hollywood Studios tells the story of Lenny and Wayne, two prep and landing elves, trying to find Santa who’s gone missing. The way the show ties the story to the projections is a little all over the place, but overall the projections, music, and fireworks are good.
Hollywood Boulevard Christmas Decorations
There are amazing decorations all around Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The decorations begin as soon as you enter onto Hollywood Boulevard. Garland and wreaths are strung across the street and sparkly stars adorn the light posts.
Echo Lake Christmas Decorations
Echo Lake area has my favorite Hollywood Studios decorations. The retro decor and Christmas playlist like my own made it feel like home. The large Christmas tree is impressive in the daytime, but is even better at night when the twinkling lights glow above the lake full of floating ornaments.
Toy Story Land Christmas Decorations
Toy Story Land has several adorable Christmas decorations. Christmas ornaments hang from the large sign, and Woody has a cute scarf. Each of the characters in Toy Story Land has a seasonal flair to their costumes, too. I think the funniest character change is Buzz wearing a Santa hat.
There is a large Hamm sugar cookie and if you look around the back a green army man is supporting it. Speaking of green army men, they all have red, white, and green camo scarves for the Christmas season. Popcorn and cranberry garland hang above Woody’s lunchbox and even Rex puts on reindeer ears above Slinky Dog Dash.
Epcot Christmas Activities
The Epcot Christmas activities start later than the other parks or Disney Springs. Most years Epcot holiday offerings begin around Thanksgiving and continue through December 30th.
Epcot Candlelight Processional
A celebrity narrator retells the Christmas nativity story with help from an impressive choir and 50-piece orchestra. Epcot’s Candlelight Processional is one of the most beautiful and touching Christmas activities at Disney World.
Epcot International Festival of the Holidays
Learn more about how each of the countries in Epcot’s World Showcase celebrate the holiday season during the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays. Costumed storytellers bring tales to life around the showcase and a variety of holiday treats are available in each country. Find out more about Epcot’s Festival of the Holidays from Have Diapers Will Travel.
Animal Kingdom Christmas Activities
Not to be left out, Animal Kingdom has several Christmas offerings including new holiday decor, seasonal Discovery Island entertainment, and new winter themed Tree of Life awakenings.
Final Thoughts On Disney World Christmas Decorations, Tips, And Activities
Visiting Disney World during the Christmas season is a wonderful time to experience a variety of holiday activities. There are so many options at each of the parks, Disney Springs, and the resorts it is impossible to do it all.
Disney World Christmas decorations are stunning with over the top details that seem to be everywhere you look. We love seeing the diversity in each resort and theme park holiday decor.
The perfect time to enjoy all of the Disney World Christmas activities and decorations is early December. Visiting after Thanksgiving, but before school Christmas breaks, provides the best mix of available activities plus lower crowds.
Are you planning a Disney World Christmas season trip? Find out why Get Away Today is our preferred travel partner.
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