Happy Christmas in July everyone! Even though it is the middle of summer we can't help but think about planning an upcoming Walt Disney World trip this November. We absolutely love Christmas (almost as much as we love Disney!), so to combine our favorite time of year and our favorite place is simply magical! Read on for our top six reasons to visit the Walt Disney World resort during this holly jolly time (early November-New Year's). Confession: We may or may not have been listening to Christmas music while compiling this list...
1. Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party
On select nights you can purchase tickets to attend an after hours event called Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. This is a highlight for us and really kicks off our holiday spirit. Imagine strolling down Main Street while snow falls and holiday music plays, and experiencing shorter lines at favorite attractions. You can also enjoy various photo opps and special character meet and greets (Jack Skellington is amazing!). There are multiple snack spots around the park to indulge in free treats such as cookies, snow cones, and hot chocolate. Make sure to get a spot to see the special holiday parade and then end the night with a special holiday themed fireworks display over a beautiful "frozen" Cinderella Castle.
TIP: Even though the party doesn't officially start until 7pm you can get into the park starting at 4pm. We recommend taking advantage of the bonus time!
2. Holidays Around the World at EPCOT
We absolutely love taking a stroll around the world on any given day. During the holidays at Epcot you get the added bonus of traditionally decorated countries, holiday garden displays, and specialty shows/activities. This time of year also feels like a mini Food & Wine festival with special kiosks selling holiday inspired drinks and snacks. Some memorable offerings included a small plate from the Mexican Pavilion stand and Firenog at the American Pavilion, which was egg nog with a splash of Fireball. We love grabbing a Holiday Passport guide at the front of the park which lists all of the holiday activities in each country. We make a game of making sure to do at least one item at each country to fill our passport with holiday stickers.
TIP: We make less dining reservations for this park day so that we have more room to sample the limited edition holiday snacks instead.
3. The Candlelight Processional at EPCOT
Each evening at the stage near the American Adventure pavilion a celebrity narrator tells the biblical tale of a savior born to a virgin in Bethlehem. Joined by a talented chorus and orchestra the show is a beautiful display of traditional Christmas songs. Narrators include celebrities such as Neil Patrick Harris and Jodi Benson. We were lucky enough to see Whoopi Goldberg the last time we went. There are a couple showings per night and depending on when you go it can be quite a line to get seats.
TIP: We recommend making a Candlelight Processional Dining Package reservation. You get to enjoy a meal of your choice at a participating restaurant and receive a ticket for a guaranteed seat for the show. It saves so much time to not wait in the standby line and doesn't cost much more than the price of the meal.
4. Holiday Activities at Disney Springs
We always love spending some time at Disney Springs. During this season we even sneak in a bit of holiday shopping that is way more enjoyable than the crowded malls at home. There is plenty of holiday merchandise and food to explore. We also found that there were special activities to enjoy such as live music and performers (such as dancing nutcrackers on stilts!). There is also a Christmas Tree trail featuring a parade of trees decorated in the theme of different movies and characters.
TIP: If you are staying at a Disney Resort and plan to do a lot of shopping make sure to take advantage of the free delivery of purchases back to your hotel room.
5. Holiday Illuminations: Reflections of Earth
Illuminations: Reflection of Earth is Andrew's favorite nighttime display. We were thrilled to find out that during the holiday season the show is extended to include an additional 5-7 minutes. The show has seasonal music and highlighted what the holidays mean to each country in World Showcase. Season's greetings were wished in different languages. Holiday Illuminations was very well done and full of holiday spirit.
TIP: Remember this time of year can be colder at night. We recommend packing a layer for night and grabbing a warm drink before finding a spot to enjoy the show!
6. Disney Resort Decorations
Disney loves details and goes all out for the holidays. This is true even for all of the resort grounds as well. We like to enjoy spending time checking out some of the trees and displays themed to each hotel. While each resort is decorated nicely, the Grand Floridian was by far the most impressive and not to be missed. Besides the huge victorian Christmas Tree, there is a ginger bread house in the lobby that doubles as a little coffee shop.
TIP: On our last trip we planned a Monorail Bar Crawl and also utilized that time to tour the holiday decorations at the three hotels along the route. It made for a really fun night!