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Christmas at Disney

Updated on January 18, 2015

Christmas At Disney

Thinking of going to Disney before Christmas? Already booked your trip? Read on for some valuable advise on how to get the most of your trip. See our section on FREE STUFF to do at Disney.

A Special Christmas Gift - If only it was for me!

A Special Christmas Gift - If only it was for me!
A Special Christmas Gift - If only it was for me!

Christmas Events at Disney

What is happening at Disney over the Christmas Holiday?

If you are visiting Disney over the Christmas period the parks can get extremely busy, especially the week between Christmas and New Year.

You should be aware before you book that the main Christmas events start in November and actually finish before Christmas itself.

If you intend to travel to Disney on the 22nd or 23rd of December you are quite likely to miss a lot of the key activities.

If you just want to catch the Christmas Celebrations without being at Disney over Christmas itself, you may be better going during November, just be sure to avoid Thanksgiving....

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party at Disney

Great Disney Extravagance at Mickey's Christmas Party.

The main not to be missed event is Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party.

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party is held at the Magic Kingdom on a number of occasions and is a special event that requires you to buy a separate ticket. Your standard Park admission ticket will not give you access to the party.

Snow in Florida! - Experience Snow whilst at Disney over the Christmas period.

This picture was taken at MGM Studios now renamed Disney Hollywood Studios.

This is 'hard' snow, but makes a great photo opportunity.

If you want to see it snowing in Florida the best place to go is Celebration just off 192 on the way to Kissimmee.

On the run up to the Christmas holiday it 'snows' every evening on the hour most nights of the week. This is in conjunction with many other Christmas activities.

You can meet Santa, get hot chestnuts, and take a ride on a horse drawn carriage amongst many other activities.

Celebration itself is a beautiful residential area where all the houses are decorated with lights, the kids will be amazed. Well worth a visit on one evening of your holiday.

You can also see it 'snow' in Main Street, Magic Kingdom if you attend Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party.


Not Going to be at Disney this Christmas? - Then bring Disney to you!

If you can't make it to Disney this Christmas, you don't have to miss out on the magic of Disney. This will bring a touch of the Disney magic to your home.

Have you been to Disney at Christmas? - First timers or old hats?

Just for fun, vote to indicate if you have been to Disney at Christmas before.

I have spent Christmas with Mickey!

See results

Disney Guide Books - Get the latest, most up to date guide to Disney!

If you want to make the most of your trip to Disney you really must get hold of a good up to date guide book and study it before you go.

Don't borrow your mates copy that is a couple of years out of date, get your own, the cost is small compared to your trip and you will recoup your spend by getting even more enjoyment out of your holiday.

Check these out, they all come recommended.

New Year Celebrations at Disney

What happens after Christmas at Disney.

As you can imagine New Year is huge in Disney.

Take your pick of the parks and get there early or you will not get in.

Remember Magic Kingdom does not allow alcohol so if you want a drink go elsewhere.

Magic Kingdom is probably the most popular and park gates are usually closed by 10:30 in the morning. There are two firework displays in the evening, the first at 7.00pm and then a later one at midnight.

Choose your viewing location carefully as there is always a rush for the bus/ferry/monorail after the fireworks.

If you want to get away quickly, watch from near Main Street Station. Better still take your time and wait for the rush to go.


Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights

Extreme Christmas light display at one of Disney's best parks.

Each year Disney Hollywood Studios is home to the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.

Part of the Hollywood Studios Park is decorated with thousands of Christmas lights that dance to music during the evening. There is also snow falling during the performance.

This is a spectacle that is certainly worth staying in the park until after dark to see if you are visiting Florida in the period before Christmas.

Don't Forget Friends and Family at Home - Give a little Disney Magic with these greetings cards

What better way to celebrate the holiday than to send all your family and friends a little Disney Magic. These Disney greetings cards will bring a smile to the faces of loved ones who may be missing you whilst you spend your vaction at Disney.

Other Christmas Celebrations

What else is happening at Disney over the Christmas period?

There are many other things going on in Disney besides Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party.

As mentioned above Disney's Hollywood Studios usually hosts a fantastic display of Christmas lights which is definitely worth seeing.

Epcot also has a light display and nightly lighting of the Christmas tree celebration.

Throughout the different countries of Epcot you can meet each countries version of Father Christmas.

All the Disney Resort Hotels have huge Christmas trees and various activities throughout the period. Remember you do not have to be staying in a Disney Resort to take part in these activities.

The Disney parks are extremely busy during the Christmas holiday period and there is no guarantee that you will even get into a park.

On Christmas Day most of the parks are full to capacity by mid-morning and the gates are closed to prevent more people entering.

Obviously this also has an effect on the length of queues for the rides and attractions, so be prepared to wait. This is true for much of the Christmas break.

On top this you will need to decide where you want to eat, especially on Christmas day. Most of the popular Disney restaurants will be fully booked. Remember that you can book a table up to 180 days in advance, this is well worth doing.

If you are considering visiting Disney at Christmas it is well worth planning ahead and deciding where and when you want to eat.

The same applies to New Years Eve. It is vital that you decide where you want to be for New Years Eve Evening, and get there early.

If you want to be in one of the parks get there early, ie before 10.00am. After this you may not get in especially at the Magic Kingdom which is the most popular park.

Also remember that if you want an alcoholic drink to celebrate Christmas or New Year, don't go to Magic Kingdom as Alcohol is not allowed.

Outside the Parks

What is there outside the Disney Parks over the Christmas period?

There are many alternatives to spending Christmas Day in Disney Park. Do you really want to have to get up early and then spend most of your Christmas Day queuing?

One year when we visited Disney over the Christmas Period we did not go to a Disney Park on Christmas Day.

Instead we got up and let the children open their presents, there was also a Christmas present left by Mickey on the handle of our Hotel room door.

After a leisurely breakfast we went for a drive up International Drive and spent the morning in Wonderworks.

This was really quiet and the children were able to try all the activities.

This meant that we were able to arrive for our 1.15pm reservation at the Renaissance Resort (next to Seaworld) with plenty of time to spare.

After relaxing with a drink we then enjoyed the superb Christmas Buffet taking as much time as we wanted.

Once full up we then went to Downtown Disney and spent the late afternoon and evening wandering around the marketplace letting the children choose some special Christmas gifts.

All in all a relaxing, enjoyable Christmas Day leaving us fresh and ready for another day in the parks on Boxing Day.

The week following New Year, we have found the parks to be very quiet and superb for spending lots of time in the parks with minimal queues.

Gaylord Palms Resort - Christmas Celebrations - Great non-Disney Christmas display worth seeing.

Gaylord Palms Resort hosts "The Best of Christmas" exhibits as part of their Christmas celebrations.

Generally open from mid November through to early January, these exhibits are worth going to see.

The 4.5 acre atrium in the resort is transformed into a magical Christmas Wonderland, filled with elegant d├ęcor and a huge 50ft plus Christmas Tree.

There are a number of holiday activities, the first of which and probably better known is "ICE".

This is an exhibit of Ice Sculptures ranging from small models up to full rooms.

The Temperature in the exhibit is kept low at 9 degrees F to stop the ice from melting.

Coats are provided to keep you warm but these only come down to your knees so you need to wear something that covers your legs.

It is cheaper to visit this exhibit Monday to Thursday, and it is also quieter on these days.

It will take between an hour and an hour and a half to go around the exhibit, but this does depend on how long you spend on the ice slides.

When you have finished with the ICE exhibition there is then the rest of "Best of Florida".

You can go Ice Skating in the purpose built skating rink. Tickets are required for this.

There is also "Luminescense - A Christmas Fantasy". This is a heartwarming musical tale that is part Rock and Roll, part Holiday tale, and part aerial exhibition.

You can also see "The County Wreath Collection". An exhibition of wreaths decorated to reflect Florida's diverse destinations from coast to coast.

Next you can go on the Hidden Holiday Gnome Hunt featuring the Roaming Gnome, visit Santa and get something to eat at the Gaylord Palms Holiday Dining.

Finally there is the Gaylord Palms model railway display to finish your visit.

You do not have to be a guest at Gaylord Palms Resort to experience these attractions and it is well worth taking the time to visit.

Just remember to keep warm.

Some More Pictures from Gaylord Palms ICE Exhibition. Click on any of the pictures to see more pictures from Gaylord Palms Resort ICE Exhibition.

How to find Gaylord Palms Resort - Directions to the Christmas Ice Show just off Disney property.

A markerGaylord Palms Resort - Home of ICE -
6000 West Osceola Parkway
get directions

Free Stuff to do whilst at Disney

Christmas at Disney on a budget - still plenty to do.

Sometimes you can't afford to spend money all the time, who can?

Well there are a lot of extra things to do in and around Disney that cost nothing or very little and a lot of people miss out on.

Check these out and let me know what you think. Have you got any ideas to add? Let me know below...

  • First, take nothing - like my daughter in the picture, try going out with nothing to carry, spend, or cost you money. Try going to a park with only you park ticket! You will be surprised at how much clutter you can do without. Carrying no money means you can't spend it! Don't even take your credit card! This works especially well if you are staying in a Disney Resort. Just remember that you will need to keep this kind of visit short as there will come a point where you will need a refreshment of some sort.
  • Disney Christmas Trees -

    All the Disney Resorts have spectacular Christmas Tree Displays. You can use the Disney Transportation to go around all the different resorts to view them.

  • Disney Resort Activities -

    Whilst you are at the different Resorts check out the activities that they have going on for Disney guests. You can join in if you wish.

    The Animal Kingdom Lodge has activities throughout the day for children and a nightly parade of children playing African musical instruments.

    Other resorts have other activities like making Gingerbread houses and so on....

    Whilst at the Animal Kingdom Lodge check out all the animals on the Savanahs. These can be seen from the large windows and balconies along the hallways leading to the rooms.

  • Ride the Monorail -

    You can take the Monorail to the different resorts on the circuit. If you ask a station cast member you can get to ride up front with the driver. You will be awarded a drivers licence if you do this, but remember you have to ask the station cast member first.

  • Go to the beach -

    You don't have to travel to the coast to go to the beach. If you are going to the lake side resorts you can spend some time on any of the beaches by the lakeside or just wander around the splendid resorts.

  • Take a ferry ride -

    You can take a ferry boat to the Magic Kingdom from some of the resorts around the lake. There are ferries running to EPCOT from some of the EPCOT Resorts. Also there is a ferry that runs from the Port Orleans Resorts into Downtown Disney.

    These ferry rides give you a different view of the approach to the parks and also gives you a chance to see some of the local wildlife.

  • Visit Downtown Disney West Side -

    If you are in Downtown Disney you can watch the magic displays in the magic shop near Disney Quest on the West Side.

Whilst at Downtown Disney go to the Lego shop, the children (and often the Dads as well) can build Lego racers to race down a ramp.

If you dare to venture to the Market Place you can get free chocolate samples at the Ghirardelli store. Just beware that you will almost certainly end up buying something either in the chocolate shop or one of the other stores!

At Epcot you can -If you are at Epcot you can go to Innoventions and spend loads of time on the electronic hardware. You can send video postcards by email to your friends at home, free of charge, just remember to take their email addresses with you. You can also do this at Disney Quest in Downtown Disney.Visit all the different versions of Father Christmas at each of the countries in World Showcase. Kids love this!Let the Children visit all the KidCot Stops throughout all the different countries in World Showcase. They will get a mask which they can decorate and collect a charm from each country along with a stamp. The masks are FREE.Don't forget to visit the Coke sponsored Club Cool alongside the central plaza. You can try different Coke products from around the world all for FREE. These are served from self serve soda fountains so you can try as much or as little as you want of each one. Last time I checked there were 8 different varieties to test. Be warned some may not be to your taste!Visit places outside Disney -Go to Celebration where you can see the snow fall every evening.Old Town in Kissimmee has many activities going on including a Hot Rod and Custom Car Cruise. This can take up a whole evening and you don't have to spend a penny!!! Check locally on the current evening for the cruise, it is often held on a Friday evening.Whilst in Kissimmee check out the Harley Davidson Store, you can spend ages looking over the latest bikes, dreaming of the open road.

If you are on a tight budget, you may wish to take a look at Mom's Miserly Guide To Orlando On $25 A Day! full of tips and ideas on how to have that great vacation you have been dreaming about, without is costing a fortune.

Disney Christmas DVD's - Great Christmas Stories told in the Disney way.

Disney has many great Christmas movies, these are some of the best. What better gift to give at Christmas, great to watch after a great Christmas dinner.

Do you need more information? Is there something you would like to add? This is your chance to let me know. Leave you feedback, questions, comments, and tips here for all to read. If you liked this lens you can help others to find it by giving it a star rating by using the stars at the top of the page. Thanks for reading.

Let me know what you think. - What is your Disney Christmas experience?

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    • Glenda Motsavage profile image

      Glenda Motsavage 4 years ago from The Sunshine State

      Love the Disney Parks ANY time of year...but especially at Christmas! One of my most valuable commodities is my Florida Resident Annual Pass - use it quite often! Thanks for sharing & Merry Christmas!

    • wadsworth lm profile image

      wadsworth lm 5 years ago

      Loved the lens! Thanks for sharing.

    • BuildABetterMouse profile image

      Steve and Annette 6 years ago

      Another great free thing to do at Disney World is the Campfire Sing-Along with Chip & Dale at Disney's Fort Wilderness Campground. For more information, see: http://www.buildabettermousetrip.com/activity-camp...

    • Cath1125 profile image

      Cath1125 6 years ago

      Nice lense, off to Disney on 21st December, can't wait. I will lenseroll it onto my Christmas in Orlando lense. Merry Christmas

    • profile image

      TheDisneyVacation 6 years ago

      This is an excellent and comprehensive lens!

      Disney is one of your best bet for family fun and celebration for any season and reason.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 7 years ago from Central Florida

      You have some great tips. We go every Christmas season to see the dancing lights at Disney Hollywood. I'll lensroll this to my Snow in Orlando lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      I haven't spend Christmas in Disney yet. But this is a fantastic suggestion.

    • MatCauthon profile image

      MatCauthon 8 years ago

      One of this days I'm going to Disney. *****

    • LucyVet profile image

      LucyVet 8 years ago

      I've never been to Disney, but this was great information for if I do go!

    • WhitU4ever profile image

      WhitU4ever 8 years ago

      Lived in L.A. near Disneyland for a while and my children and I grew up watching Disney movies. I would have to say we always watch them at Christmas time... the Muppets Christmas Carol is one of our favorites.

    • dahlia369 profile image

      dahlia369 8 years ago

      Hmmmm... you know so much about Disney world - are you a resident or something? ;)

      Great resource, thank you!

    • dahlia369 profile image

      dahlia369 8 years ago

      Hmmmm... you know so much about Disney world - are you a resident or something? ;)

      Great resource, thank you!

    • profile image

      ChristiannaGarrett-Martin 8 years ago

      A great and colourful lens. Well done!

      Christianna

    • The Homeopath profile image

      The Homeopath 8 years ago

      Some day...

    • profile image

      dandepp 8 years ago

      I haven't been over to Florida in years but this lens has inspired me to get over there asap! Great work - disney is so much fun!

    • ArtByLinda profile image

      Linda Hoxie 8 years ago from Idaho

      We did Thanksgiving at Disneyland one year, it was fun. We thought we would beat the crowds, but I think everyone else had the same idea! Great lens, I love Christmas and I love disney...great combination here! Linda

    • aquariann profile image

      aquariann 8 years ago

      Every time I view this lens, I want to visit Disney at Christmas that much more. Wonderful photos of Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party Parade!

    • oneskms profile image

      oneskms 8 years ago

      I was lucky enough to visit disney as a child. Now as a father we were lucky enough to take our 3 kids last year. After reading this lens my goal is to get my kids there to celebrate xmas before they are too old. Disney is christmas wonderland !

      Congratulations on a great lens 5* and favourite

    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      If only, if only ..... anyhow, I will keep dreaming about it. Top marks for an excellent and exciting lens

    • Haveagood1 profile image

      Haveagood1 8 years ago

      Wish our California Disneyland had the ice slide nearby like the Florida Disneyland! Great tips!

    • MarcoG profile image

      Marc 8 years ago from Edinburgh

      I just got back from a 'Halloween' Disney trip - it was brilliant. I imagine Christmas at Disney would be even better. I always associate the two, especially after watching 'Mickey's Christmas Carol' every year when I was little. Brilliant lens, you are a veritable Mickey Expert :) 5*

    • profile image

      saraht43 8 years ago

      Disney would be an awesome place to go for a Christmas vacation. Good job, 5 *.

    • jimmielanley profile image

      Jimmie Lanley 8 years ago from Memphis, TN, USA

      Wow. Christmas and Disney? Sounds like joy overload! Wonderful idea!

    • Janet2221 profile image

      Janet2221 8 years ago

      Very well written lens. Blessed by a Squid Angel. :)

    • profile image

      BeccaFletcher 8 years ago

      Wish I could go this Christmas!!

    • profile image

      MsMorrison 8 years ago

      Just in time for Christmas! Great lens! How about Disney Hongkong? I hope you have info for that too! Thanks for sharing this!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      What a great lens for a truly magical Disney Christmas...wish I could go! 5* and my faves too.

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 8 years ago from Southampton, UK

      Nice lens, haven't been to Disney over Christmas, but it looks great. 5***** for a very nice lens.

    • MarcoG profile image

      Marc 8 years ago from Edinburgh

      Nice lens - I would love to hear at Christmas :)

    • LucyVet profile image

      LucyVet 8 years ago

      Great info, I've never been there, but for kids to go at Christmas sounds great!

    • Mihaela Vrban profile image

      Mihaela Vrban 8 years ago from Croatia

      Wow! Wish it was Christmas already! :)

    • aquariann profile image

      aquariann 8 years ago

      I've been to Disney several times, but never at Christmas. Your lens makes it look even more magical! Great information, too.

    • ArtByLinda profile image

      Linda Hoxie 8 years ago from Idaho

      I love Disneyland, only been to the original though! This is a great lens! Linda

    • sanukmak profile image

      sanukmak 8 years ago

      This lens is a must read if Disney World is on your calendar this Christmas.

    • profile image

      CubicleJoe 8 years ago

      Very nice. I grew up like many other kids absolutely loving Disney. And Xmas is the most beautiful time there.

    • profile image

      saraht43 8 years ago

      Wow, really great Disney info. I've been to Disney in California many, many moons ago.

    • MarcoG profile image

      Marc 8 years ago from Edinburgh

      Brilliant lens - I'm off there for Halloween - Would LOVE to go at Christmas :)

    • Paula Atwell profile image

      Paula Atwell 8 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      Great idea for a lens and great lens. I have been to Disney at Christmas, but not for a long time.

    • Haveagood1 profile image

      Haveagood1 8 years ago

      I live close to the original Disneyland and was wondering where the Gaylord Palms Resort was - then I found out this is for the Florida Disney!

      Nice Lens, though, with great info. Stars for you!

    • The Homeopath profile image

      The Homeopath 8 years ago

      This is an awesome lens - you've got it packed with great info. We're waiting to go back to Disney until our youngest is a bit older so she'll appreciate it more. That, and needing to save up the money. LOL

    • profile image

      sbucciarel 8 years ago

      Great lense. The Firestorm Forum is great for promoting your lenses and blogs. There's a very active Squidoo community there. firestormforum.com Hope you check it out. I also have a lense about it at http://www.squidoo.com/firestorm

    • profile image

      Joan4 8 years ago

      Great lens! Loved the free list. I once spent an entire day alone while daughter worked at Disney, exploring all the hotels and types of transportation. Cost was zero and I had a wonderful day! We love all things Disney! Great lens!

    • LisaDH profile image

      LisaDH 8 years ago

      We used to go to Disneyland every year before Christmas to see the holiday decorations. My son also prefers the Haunted Mansion when it's decorated with the Nightmare Before Christmas theme. 5*

    • fotos4web lm profile image

      fotos4web lm 9 years ago

      Really interesting lens !

      Keith

      href="http://www.bestvintagemickey.com">www.bestvintagemickey.com

    • profile image

      SPB 9 years ago

      We have gotten into the habit of spending every Christmas in Florida and at least a couple of days at Disney. It can't come quick enough this year. 5 stars because you have given me lots of new ideas for this year. :)

    • beeobrien lm profile image

      beeobrien lm 9 years ago

      This looks like SO much fun. Thanks for collecting all this information.

    • estherjane13 lm profile image

      estherjane13 lm 9 years ago

      Great lens. I'll bear this in mind for if I have kids!

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      Nice Lens ! thanks for joining my group Travelmania. Five stars and a lensroll from me.