Around here we love all things Disney! But since we no longer live in Florida we definitely can’t go as often as I’d like. My aunt has been a annual pass holder at Walt Disney World in Orlando for many years and generously offered to help me out with writing this post! Below we share some of our must dos, sees and eats at Magic Kingdom and Epcot for Christmas. I always think of Christmas as the most magical time of year. And what could be better than visiting the most magical place on earth during the most magical time of year?
Holiday Must Dos at Magic Kingdom
First, be sure to check out the special “Jingle Cruise,” which is the Jungle Cruise ride all dressed up for Christmas. They also change the jokes around to be holiday themed! I always like to get a fast pass for this ride because the line can be crazy! Even with a fast pass, expect a little bit of a wait.
photo via Sunny Sweet Days, used with permission
Have an early dinner and then check out the “A Frozen Holiday Wish” show at 6:15 on the Cinderella’s castle stage. The show features Anna, Elsa, Kristoff and Olaf and Elsa decorates the castle with snow and ice! If you stay for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas party you can see the show again during the party time. (Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a separate ticketed event- click the link in the photo credit above for more info!)
If you do go to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas party you can also see the Christmas parade! My aunt describes this as an “Awesome parade featuring Mickey and friends, the Princess in their winter wardrobe, “skiers” and off course Santa and his Reindeer!” The parade is available during the Christmas party events only through the 22nd. After that you can see it every day through the new year at noon and 3:30 (11:00 and 3:30 on Christmas Day)!
If you’re feeling extra festive then make some advanced reservations (required!) for the Fireworks Dessert Party! This party is a special seating during the fireworks with delicious desserts, fruit, cheese, ice cream and decorate your own cookie or cupcake! Although it’s offered all year, during Christmas time they offer special Christmas themed desserts!
Holiday Must Dos at Epcot
During the holidays Epcot turns the World Showcase into an international festival of holidays! Pick up a guide book with a map to learn about holidays around the world. The guide book will give information about the holiday storytellers, Holiday kitchen kiosks and special holiday merchandise. You also get stickers to mark off when you visit each country! Be sure to bring a pen so you can check off what you did at each stop!
Holiday Entertainment at Epcot
The holiday storytellers are great for kids! Kids can hear from Santa and learn about various Santa traditions in different countries such as Pere Noel in France. You can also hear about Hanukkah and Kwanzaa at the America pavilion. In Germany, hear about the Nutcracker as well as the story of the first Christmas tree. And so much more! Check when you get there for a full list and times for the story tellers.
As for other entertainment, my aunt’s favorite is the Joyful A Celebration of the Season musical group performances. They are located in front of the fountain located in Future World. Their shows vary but they are always filled with the joy of the season!
Last but not least, is the Candlelight Processional, offered nightly during the holiday season. Hear the Christmas story from a celebrity narrator with wonderful Christmas music throughout! For times and to see who is narrating check Epcot’s website. This is always a really nice show.
Holiday Kitchen Favorites
And now for the reason we adults love Epcot- the food and drinks! Walking around the world showcase during the holidays you can check out the Holiday Kitchens kiosks which feature various holiday foods and drinks from around the world! Check your program to plan out what you’re going to get. The average price is around $7 and they offer both alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks. I also heard there will be a cookie stroll added this year, so I’m excited to try that when we go at the end of December, and will update this post with that info later!
Here are a few favorites, starting with Mexico, because we always go left first when we enter the world showcase (does everyone else do this or just me?)! We aren’t listing things from every country so be sure to check out Epcot’s website to see the full list of offerings!
In Mexico head to the Las Posadas Holiday Kitchen to try a frozen Kahlua Coffee Margarita- pictured above on the left. It tastes more like coffee ice cream or shake and it was so good my aunt had to have another one on her way out of the park!
In Germany stop at the Bavaria Holiday Kitchen for a cup of Gluhwein! Gluhwein is hot mulled wine, which is a staple in German (and Swiss!) Christmas markets! It’s totally delicious! (pictured above, top right)
Next, head to Italy and stop at the Tuscan Holiday Kitchen for Crespelle di Mele: Cinnamon Apple Fritters and a Vanilla Sauce Drizzled with Chocolate Caramel Sauce! My mouth is watering just thinking about it! Pair this with a glass of Corbinello, a sparkling sweet red wine (me and my aunt’s favorite!). (pictured above, bottom right)
Round it off with a stop in Canada’s Yukon Holiday Kitchen for a Maple Buche de Noel. This treat is a Maple Mousse rolled in Gingerbread Chiffon cake Cranberry Sauce and Pecan Crumble. Yum!
Walt Disney World decorates for Christmas right after Thanksgiving. The decorations come down starting January 1st. If you want the Christmas experience but not the large crowds of Christmas day plan your trip after Thanksgiving but before Christmas day.
Christmas Day at Magic Kingdom is crowded! Other parks will vary. They will even close the parks at different parts of the day if they reach a certain amount of people. They very rarely close the parks to everyone and none of the parks will stay closed all day due to people leaving.
Don’t forget to check out the Christmas Tree Trail and other holiday entertainment at Disney Springs! While you’re there you can pop into Ghirardelli Ice Cream & chocolate Shop and grab my aunt’s favorite, a Dark Hot fudge sundae with Rocky Road Ice Cream in a waffle bowl dipped in chocolate!
Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios also have plenty of holiday offerings, so don’t forget to check them out as well!
Happy Holidays! Have you been to Disney during the holidays? If so, what was your favorite part?