There is still time to experience not only the amazing new decorations at Disney’s Animal Kingdom during this 2019 holiday season, but the very merry festivities across Walt Disney World’s theme parks, resorts and Disney Springs. Through several events that we have been invited to by Disney, we have been able to experience some of the things new and exciting this year around the parks and resorts.
This year marks the debut of all-new seasonal offerings throughout Disney’s Animal Kingdom and a spectacular new holiday-themed fireworks show at Magic Kingdom Park. It all adds up the most fun this side of the North Pole, with special live entertainment, characters in festive garb, seasonal décor, holiday treats, specialty eats, miles of garlands and decorations, and a shimmering castle to lift holiday spirits. While Santa and his elves are busy preparing for the holidays, savvy guests are already planning their holiday vacations at Walt Disney World. To help with all that planning, here is a look at holiday happenings across the resort: Disney’s Animal Kingdom Joins in the Holiday Fun for the First Time. Disney’s Animal Kingdom introduced the biggest holiday season in its two-decade history, with festive new entertainment and holiday décor in every land. Daytime and nighttime, guests experience the majesty of nature and holiday magic:
• In the heart of the park, on Discovery Island, guests find themselves immersed in a magical scene. By day, stylized, life-sized animal puppets mingle with villagers who make the island their home. As day becomes night, rooftop luminaries in animal shapes and bird lanterns throughout Discovery Island bring a warm glow to the village.
• As the sun sets, the Tree of Life awakens with a series of wintry tales emerging from within, backed by a familiar and heartwarming holiday musical score. Between awakening moments, the Tree of Life shimmers and sparkle throughout the night, alive with the magic of nature and the spirit of the holidays.
• Dinoland, U.S.A. rocks out with the DJ-led “Holiday Hoopla Dance Party with Chip ‘n Dale” and plenty of interactive fun and games. Throughout the land, characters gathered for “Donald’s Dino-Bash!” get in the holiday spirit with colorful costumes. • Diwali, the Holiday Festival of Lights in India, has inspired the residents of Anandapur in Asia. Glowing flowers, lanterns and more illuminate the main square leading to the waterfront stage, home to authentic and colorful cultural performances.
• The village of Harambe in Africa welcomes guests with a unique holiday presentation, fusing Western traditions with the colors and texture of authentic African celebrations; colorful costuming and new music flavors each performance.
• Tusker House diners get their merry on as Safari Donald Duck and his pals spread holiday cheer.
• Guests find out-of-this-world Christmastime fun at Pandora – The World of Avatar. Expats living and working on the moon of Pandora roll out seasonal fun with a display at Pongu Pongu of kitschy holiday décor, pairing vintage pieces from Earth with items handcrafted from materials indigenous to Pandora.
• A Christmas tree towers over the park entrance. Decorated with traditional ornaments and hidden animals, the tree is a prelude to the holiday magic that awaits inside the park.
Magic Kingdom Park to Unveil New Holiday Fireworks Show: We had such a great time the past two times we have been to Mickeys’ Very Merry Christmas Party this season! The skies above Magic Kingdom Park sparkle to life this holiday season as visions of fireworks dance in the air during an all-new nighttime show – Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks. Hosted by Minnie Mouse, the holiday extravaganza invites guests to come together in a celebration of heartfelt moments and the magic of Christmas. The show is presented during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, which takes place select dates through Dec. 22, and nightly Dec. 23-29. This holiday season also sees Magic Kingdom transformed into an enchanting wonderland with dazzling decorations, holiday treats, a shimmering ice castle and more. Returning holiday favorites include:
• With glittery Cinderella Castle as its centerpiece, Magic Kingdom shines its brightest during the holidays. Guests are swept into a magical scene of seasonal music, characters in their festive finery and fireworks bursting above. During A Frozen Holiday Wish stage show, Queen Elsa magically transforms Cinderella Castle with glistening ice.
• Holiday Fireworks Dessert Parties are a sweet way to enjoy the new holiday fireworks. Offered nightly, each festive party includes seasonal treats and dazzling views of the new fireworks spectacular. Dessert parties are not included with theme park admission. For schedules, pricing information and reservations, guests can visit DisneyWorld.com or call (407) WDW-DINE.
• Each of the 23 nights of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party feature performances of Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas and Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration stage show. Guests also experience select rides and attractions (including the “Jingle Cruise”), savor complimentary treats, discover event-exclusive merchandise and delight to a magical “snowfall” on Main Street, U.S.A. With all the fun and festivities of the parties, we will be exhausted!!
• Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party dates: Dec. 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 20, 22. For more information and ticketing, guests can or visit Disneyworld.com or visit our official travel agent partner at Fairytale Journeys Travel at www.fairytalejourneystravel.com.
Beloved Epcot Candlelight Processional Begins Nov. 29 as Highlight of Holiday Festival Joyous Yuletide traditions from across the globe are at the heart of the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays. From Nov. 29, 2019, through Dec. 30, 2019, merry-makers are immersed in a vast world of holiday decorations and entertainment, themed merchandise, festive cuisine and costumed storytellers in many of the 11 World Showcase nations.
• Epcot’s grandest holiday tradition – the Candlelight Processional – features the retelling of the Christmas story by a celebrity narrator backed by a 50-piece orchestra and massed choir. Performances run three times nightly during the festival. Narrators for this year include Whoopi Goldberg, Pat Sajak, Steven Curtis Chapman and Edward James Olmos. It was so exciting to be practically sitting in the front row as we were able to hear the amazing voices and narration from non other than Neil Patrick Harris. Dining packages include guaranteed seating for the holiday event and can be booked by calling (407) WDW-DINE.
• Special Holiday Kitchens sprinkled throughout World Showcase serve up tasty treats inspired by treasured holiday recipes from across the globe. • World Showcase pavilions come alive with the sights and sounds of special entertainment celebrating each country’s holiday heritage.
• Chip & Dale are gathering ornaments for their Christmas tree and guests can join in the fun! To be part of Chip & Dale’s Christmas Tree Spree Scavenger Hunt, guests purchase a map and stickers from select merchandise outlets and scout World Showcase locations looking for the famous chipmunks and their ornaments. Completed maps are returned for a special festive surprise, courtesy of the chipmunk duo.
• Following its Oct. 1, 2019, premiere, holiday guests are among the first to view “Epcot Forever,” a new nighttime spectacular bursting above World Showcase Lagoon.
• Epcot guests can quite literally do their holiday shopping around the world. The World Showcase pavilions are filled with favorite fragrances, jewelry, toys, stocking stuffers and more.
• Santa and Mrs. Claus greet guests at The American Adventure pavilion.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios Glitters with Special Holiday Entertainment Holiday adventures begin at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, as new attractions and lands turn this theme park into one big holiday gift. Add seasonal shows, enchanting “snowfalls,” décor and more, and it’s easy to see how holidays here become extraordinary:
• Park guests are mesmerized by the Sunset Seasons Greetings show projected onto the Hollywood Tower Hotel. Boasting amazing laser effects and “snow,” the experience also includes stories, songs and cheer courtesy of favorite Disney friends.
• The nighttime spectacular “Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!” treats holiday-goers to iconic music, fireworks, special effects and state-of-the-art projections to create a one-of-a-kind holiday experience at the iconic Chinese Theatre. To add a sweet touch, guests are able to make reservations for the Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! Holiday Dessert Party. This event is not included with theme park admission, and pricing and reservation information will be available later this year.
• Holiday touches and festive décor throughout the park include seasonal fun inside Toy Story Land, as well as joyous greetings from Santa or Santa Goofy.
• As a curtain-closer, Olaf delivers a special holiday finale in For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along. While guests are merry-making through the park, they will want to stop at the new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge where they can live their own Star Wars adventures and find the perfect holiday gift from a galaxy far, far away.
Disney Springs Delivers Season’s Greetings Perfect for this special time of year, the Disney Springs retail, dining and entertainment district is where guests can make a holiday list and check it twice as they breeze among dozens of trendy brand-name stores and a large and varied collection of Disney merchandise. They can also indulge the holiday hungries at great dining spots that also serve up seasonal cheer. Live entertainment includes the spectacle of toy soldier stilt walkers, carolers and Living Statues in holiday attire. Holiday decorations set the colorful stage for Disney Springs festivities, which run through Jan. 5, 2020:
• Guests strolling the Christmas Tree Trail are treated to custom-decorated holiday trees, each dedicated to a popular Disney theme featuring favorite Disney characters. • At Santa’s Chalet, a jolly Santa Claus welcomes guests. From Dec. 25 to 31, Santa Goofy takes over after Ol’ Saint Nick returns to the North Pole.
• Guests are invited to join in Stitch’s Holiday Gift Hunt and discover where the mischievous Experiment 626 is hiding. Disney Resorts Deck the Halls Resort hotels across Walt Disney World are decked for the holidays. Seasonal décor and massive Christmas trees usher in the festive spirit:
• A life-size holiday gingerbread house at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is the place to pick up Christmas treats, including (of course!) tasty gingerbread. Disney’s Beach Club Resort boasts a life-size, edible carousel as a holiday tradition, while a holiday village with a miniature train takes center stage at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort.
• A special dining experience always ties a big red ribbon around the holidays. Holiday menus that celebrate the season will be found at restaurants throughout Disney resort hotels. For holiday dining information and reservations, guests can call (407) WDWDINE.