Source: Theme Park Insider.
By Jeff Siegal: Welcome to TPI’s guide to the Walt Disney World Resort holiday season of 2015. This is your guide to all the things that’s available to you, your family, and friends at the Walt Disney World Resort during the month of December. TPI’s guide includes information on special events, parks, hotels, Disney Springs, tours, and our FREE crowd calendar.
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (“Very Merry”)
This is Walt Disney World’s special ticketed holiday event (prices range from $69-$79). It takes place at the Magic Kingdom from 7pm to 12am on select nights. It DOES NOT require a Magic Kingdom ticket to attend — you can be in the park with a Very Merry ticket after 4pm. If you have a Magic Kingdom ticket, YOU MUST buy the Very Merry ticket to remain in the park after 7pm on nights where they have Very Merry.
Again on Very Merry Dates:
- Magic Kingdom Ticket = Stay in park until 7pm
- Very Merry Ticket = Allowed in Magic Kingdom at 4pm until 12am
- Magic Kingdom + Very Merry Ticket = Allowed all day in Magic Kingdom
So what is Very Merry all about? They have various live shows, a special Christmas parade, the Frozen Holiday Wish lighting of Cinderella’s castle, Holiday Wishes firework display, and all the hot cocoa, apple slices, and cookies you can eat and drink, which is included with the ticket. However, the best perk of Very Merry is that it is a limited-ticket event, meaning the park is not nearly as crowded. The wait times are almost cut in half once regular ticket holders are out of the park around 8pm, making the wait times 20 minutes or less. Later in the night, around 10:30 pm you might not even see a line, even on sold-out nights. Tip: If you want to ride a ride earlier without a wait, go during the first parade. Also buy your limited merchandise early before they sell out.
Tickets can be purchased the day of the event, but tickets tend to sell out quickly. We recommend you buy tickets in advance. December 18, the last Very Merry, is already sold out. The only available dates are: December 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 11, 13, 15, 17. Discounts are available for Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club members.
Magic Kingdom: The park is decorated the same as when Very Merry runs. All the lights, wreathes and garland are up. Just about all the treats are available to purchase. The Jungle Cruise is still decorated and renamed Jingle Cruise. The Christmas parade and Holiday fireworks are also shown during the week of Christmas. Even the castle will be decorated in those amazing icicle lights throughout the month. If you have a Magic Kingdom ticket and don’t want to spend the extra $70-80, just go to the park at night, it’s just as nice. Those who stay at the Disney resorts can be there during their extra Magic Hours which extends the hours of operation on certain days, just like other parks. Check out their Christmas store located near the entrance to Liberty Square.
Epcot: Experience Holidays Around the World. Try foods and listen to stories from all the pavilions. The American pavilion has Mr. and Mrs. Claus, carolers, snacks, along with stories of Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. Canada has a musical group, China has their Lion Dance, France has Pere Noel, Germany has stories of the first Christmas tree and Nutcracker, Italy’s La Befana, Japan has the story of the Daruma doll and New Year’s traditions, Norway’s Christmas gnome story, Mexican Feliz Navidad dancers, and the UK has Father Christmas stories. The main stage by the fountains feature a Gospel celebration of the season. The Illuminations fireworks is modified to feature a Peace on Earth message. Ask for a schedule to see when all these great performers are taking the stage. The highlight of Epcot is their Candlelight Processional which is retelling of the Christmas story by a celebrity narrator accompanied by a 50 piece orchestra and mass choir. Guests this year include Neil Patrick Harris, Whoopi Goldberg, and Amy Grant (check out Disney’s website for celebrity schedules). This is a VERY popular event. Tip: Show up early or grab Candlelight Processional dining reservations to ensure you can see your favorite narrator. Check out their Christmas store located in the Germany pavilion.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Outside the park is a large Christmas tree. Inside is decorated with lights and garland. Frozen, although available all year, has a show which you can reserve Fastpasses. Do not miss the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. It’s a spectacular show of lights synchronized to music, playing for its final season. Disney also offers a dessert party called Very Merry & Bright Dessert Party, for an additional amount ($39 for children, $69 for adults). Check out themeparkinsider.com/flume/201511/4837 for more information. Check out their Christmas store located near Mamma Melrose Restaurant.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Other than a large Christmas tree themed to Animal Kingdom and some garland, there isn’t much to this place in regards to holiday theming. There is a Santa Mickey and Minnie meet and greet, but we suggest visiting this place to either see all the wonderful animals or get away from the even more crowded other parks.
A great way to spend an afternoon is to visit all the hotels. Some hotels are more decorated than others, so we recommend visiting the loop of hotels that are in front of Magic Kingdom. This includes The Grand Floridian, Polynesian, Wilderness Lodge, and Contemporary. All these hotels can be accessed through bus or monorail. The Grand Floridian is probably the nicest of them all as it has that classic Christmas feel. The hotel features a large Christmas tree in its lobby and a gigantic gingerbread house where snacks are sold. Chestnuts are usually roasting at night in front of the main entrance.
The Polynesian is not nearly as decorated as the Grand Floridian, but it has many smaller trees, garland, and small Christmas displays, all themed to the Polynesian lifestyle. If you want to shorten the tour, skip this one.
The Wilderness Lodge is another great hotel for Christmas decorations. The hotel features a large Christmas tree in its lobby adorned with Native American-inspired ornaments. Garland and smaller trees are around the hotel too. If you want to go all out, take a 25-minute sleigh ride for $79 a person. Be sure to get cozy in front of one of their many fireplaces located on each floor of the hotel.
The last stop is the Contemporary. Outside is a towering Christmas tree. The hotel also features a 17-foot-tall Frozen themed gingerbread house. Lights and other decorations are all around the lobby. Christmas day service is also available for Catholics and Protestants. Take a good picture of the not so hidden, hidden-Mickey hanging in the windows.
Already toured the string of Magic Kingdom hotels? Well, check out the Yacht and Beach Clubs, along with the Port Orleans Riverside resort. All the resorts are decorated in some form or fashion and often have holiday-themed food and drink.
If you are staying at a Disney hotel, you can have your room decorated for Christmas including a Christmas tree and more. Prices vary.
If you’re looking for a more economically friendly way to get into the Holiday spirit (and my second favorite to Magic Kingdom), visit Disney Springs. Parking is free. Throughout the park are tons of garland, wreathes and tons more lights. The area boasts three unique Christmas trees, Holiday entertainment, and Santa. This year’s addition includes picture spots where people can pose in life-sized Holiday cards. It truly is a fun place to be during the holidays. Be sure to check out Disney’s biggest Christmas store, Disney’s Days of Christmas, located on the east side. Did anyone else notice the parking garage themed to Christmas too? With red (spot filled) and green (spot empty)….
Disney’s Holiday D-Lights ($259): This tour lasts for roughly five hours and brings you to Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios to view all of their lights. It also includes a holiday-themed buffet. It also features a very limited edition pin.
Disney’s Yuletide Fantasy ($99): This tour lasts three hours and tours you through Magic Kingdom’s and Epcot’s lights. Get to know how the decorating is done through cast members and visit some of the countries in Epcot to listen to their Holiday traditions.
For more information, including dates which these tours are available, and booking call: 1-407-939-8687.
What will you be doing at Walt Disney World this holiday season?
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