The Holiday season brings with it a surge of visitors to the Walt Disney World Resort parks. Longer vacations from school and work make it easier to take your family to the “Happiest Place on Earth,” and the resort offers Holiday Package specials to entice those crowds. With Holiday gifts and the spirit of family feasting in mind, many shops and food spots in the parks and resorts stock themed treats and memorabilia.
In addition to this special Holiday rate and new seasonal foods and merchandise, the resort celebrates the season by transforming into a winter wonderland covered in Disney magic. Disney Characters get wintry outfit changes, Cinderella’s castle in Magic Kingdom is lit by Frozen‘s Elsa, and “Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party” is offered as an after-hours event on select nights (at an added price). In addition to the usual Holiday updates to the park, here are some of the new attractions you can expect to enjoy if you visit the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando Florida between now and January:
Toy Story Land Holiday Update
Where: Hollywood Studios
Toy Story Land, which opened in Disney’s Hollywood Studios this past summer, will be celebrating its first Holiday season with a festive makeover. The Disney Parks blog released a first look of the newly-decorated space, which features “oversized cranberry-and-popcorn garland, an oversized Hamm sugar cookie, Green Alien ornaments, cardboard antlers on Rex and an Angel Kitty ornament and more.” They also revealed that several rides have been updated with Holiday music, and fan-favorite characters will be sporting Holiday-themed attire.
Holiday Cookie Stroll & L’Chaim! Holiday Kitchen
The International Festival of the Holidays (November 18 – December 30) features global holiday cuisine throughout the World Showcase portion of Epcot. This year, they have added a new holiday-themed kitchen, L’Chaim!, which features “features traditional Jewish dishes such as Pastrami on Rye, Chicken and Matzo Ball Soup, Egg Cream, and more.”
The “Passport to Holiday Treats & Sweets” encourages you to “collect” (read: eat) various Holiday cookies throughout the World Showcase. Once you purchase five cookies (you get a stamp in your “passport” for each), you are entitled to a “complimentary completer cookie.” Some of the cookies available this year include peppermint sugar cookie, red and green chocolate chip cookie, and a gold chocolate chip cookie.
A full list of all of the Holiday foods offered at Epcot during the season can be found on the Disney Parks blog.
Diwali Celebration With Characters From Up
Where: Animal Kingdom
This year, Animal Kingdom will be celebrating India’s Festival of Lights, Diwali, with the help of favorite characters from the movie Up. Though Diwali is November 8, the holiday will be celebrated as part of the park’s new UP! A Great Bird Adventure show, which features real exotic birds and their handlers.
Tony’s Most Merriest Town Square Party
Where: Magic Kingdom (Town Square)
Accompanying “Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party” this year is an ad-on event that costs $99/per person (this does not include the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party ticket that you also need in order to participate). With that ticket, you are offered sweet and savory treats, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, and special reserved seating for the “Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade.”
The Disney Parks Blog says “you can pop in and out at your leisure and indulge in savory hors d’oeuvres including a selection of artisanal meats and cheeses as well as Tony’s famous meatballs, mini hand-tossed pizzas, boursin-stuffed artichoke and more! And if you’re wanting to satisfy that sweet tooth, then you can snack on pumpkin tartlets, Yule Logs, cannoli, Christmas cookies, and red velvet cupcakes.” The event goes from From 9:30pm-12:30am on select nights; 12:30am is later than Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party runs, so that’s even more time in the park.
Christmas Tree Trail
Where: Disney Springs
Walt Disney World’s hub for shopping, dining, and late-night activity features holiday decor and merchandise along with the rest of the resort (the World of Disney superstore is a great place to do your Holiday shopping). Unique to Disney Springs is their Christmas Tree Trail, which invites you to tour 27 Christmas trees, each uniquely decorated with a Disney theme. Some of this year’s trees are inspired by Alice in Wonderland, Beauty and the Beast, Tangled, Mary Poppins, and Star Wars.
Note that Disney Springs is not a Disney park – you do not need a ticket for admission.
A Cappella Holiday Music
Where: Magic Kingdom (Tomorrowland)
According to Space Coast Daily, the futuristic “land” in Disney’s Magic Kingdom will feature a new a cappella group. They will be serenading guests with Holiday songs “in between performances of ‘A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas.'”
IllumiNations Holiday Finale
It was recently announced that IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth will conclude in Summer 2019, which means that this season will be the last Holiday-themed grand finale for the Epcot fireworks show.