By Zach Johnson
Christmas has come early! This week, Walt Disney World Resort merrily announced it will celebrate the 2019 holiday season with festivities across its theme parks, resorts, and Disney Springs. This year marks the debut of all-new seasonal offerings throughout Disney’s Animal Kingdom park, plus a stunning, holiday-themed fireworks show at Magic Kingdom park. Your presents is requested, so here’s a sneak peek at the holiday happenings across the resort:
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
It’s time to spruce things up! Hosting the biggest holiday season in its two-decade history, Disney’s Animal Kingdom will offer new entertainment and holiday décor in every land:
- A Christmas tree will tower over the park entrance. Adorned with hidden animals and traditional ornaments, it will hint at more of the holiday magic awaiting inside the park.
- On Discovery Island, you will find yourself immersed in a magical scene. By day, stylized, life-sized animal puppets will mingle with villagers who call the island home. By night, rooftop luminaries (shaped like animals!) and bird lanterns will illuminate the village.
- As the sun sets, the Tree of Life will awaken 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 will shimmer and sparkle throughout the night.
- Dinoland, U.S.A. will rock out with the DJ-led “Holiday Hoopla Dance Party with Chip ‘n Dale” and plenty of interactive fun and games. Throughout the land, various characters gathered for “Donald’s Dino-Bash!” will get in the holiday spirit with colorful costumes.
- Diwali, the Holiday Festival of Lights in India, has inspired the residents of Anandapur. Glowing flowers and lanterns will light the main square leading to the waterfront stage.
- The village of Harambe in Africa will welcome you with a unique holiday presentation, mixing Western traditions with the colors and textures of authentic African celebrations.
- Safari Donald Duck and his pals will spread holiday cheer at Tusker House restaurant.
- Pandora – The World of Avatar will feature kitschy, out-of-this-world holiday décor. Ex-pats living and working on the moon of Pandora will create a display at Pongu Pongu, pairing vintage pieces from Earth with handcrafted items made from native materials.
The skies above Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort will sparkle this holiday season thanks to a brand-new nighttime show: Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks!
Hosted by Minnie Mouse, the holiday extravaganza invites you to join in a celebration of heartfelt moments and the magic of Christmas. It will include a medley of beloved holiday songs like “Deck the Halls,” “Joy to the World,” “Up on the House Top,” and “We Wish You A Merry Christmas.” The show will be presented during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, taking place select dates between November 8–December 22 and nightly from December 23–29.
Here is the schedule for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party:
- November: 8, 11, 12, 14, 15, 17, 19, 21, 22, 24
- December: 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 20, 22
Magic Kingdom will again transform into a winter wonderland. Returning favorites include:
- Queen Elsa will magically cover Cinderella Castle with glistening ice during the A Frozen Holiday Wish stage show, featuring her sister, Anna, and her friends, Kristoff and Olaf.
- Holiday Fireworks Dessert Parties are a sweet way to enjoy the new holiday fireworks. Offered nightly, each festive party will include seasonal treats and dazzling views of the new fireworks spectacular. Dessert parties are not included with theme park admission.
- Each of the 23 nights of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party will feature performances of Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas, and Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration stage show. You will also get to experience select rides and attractions (including the Jingle Cruise), savor complimentary treats, discover event-exclusive merchandise, and delight in a magical “snowfall” on Main Street, U.S.A.
Joyous traditions from across the globe are at the heart of the returning Epcot International Festival of the Holidays. From November 29 through December 30, yule be immersed in a vast world of holiday decorations and entertainment, themed merchandise, festive cuisine, and costumed storytellers throughout many of the 11 World Showcase nations.
- Epcot’s grandest tradition, the Candlelight Processional, will feature the retelling of the Christmas story by a celebrity narrator, backed by a 50-piece orchestra and massed choir. This year’s lineup of celebrity narrators includes Disney Legend Whoopi Goldberg (December 6–7), Pat Sajak (December 16–18), Steven Curtis Chapman (December 22–24), and Edward James Olmos (December 25–26). Additional narrators will be announced in the coming months. Held in the America Gardens Theatre, the Candlelight Processional will be performed three times per night (at 5 p.m., 6:45 p.m., and 8:15 p.m.). Dining packages include guaranteed seating for the event and can be booked starting July 3.
- Holiday Kitchens sprinkled throughout World Showcase will serve up tasty treats inspired by holiday recipes from across the globe. The World Showcase pavilions will also offer holiday-themed entertainment honoring each country’s respective heritage.
- Chip ‘n’ Dale will be gathering ornaments for their Christmas tree—and you can join in the fun! To participate in Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Christmas Tree Spree Scavenger Hunt, you will need to purchase a map and stickers from select merchandise outlets, then scout World Showcase locations looking for the two chipmunks and their ornaments. Completed maps will be returned for a special festive surprise, courtesy of the cheery chipmunks.
- With its premiere slated for October 1, holiday guests will be among the first to view Epcot Forever, a new nighttime spectacular bursting above World Showcase Lagoon.
- The World Showcase pavilions will carry fragrances, jewelry, toys, and stocking stuffers.
- Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus will greet guests at The American Adventure pavilion.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
New attractions and lands turn this park into one big holiday gift. Here’s what you’ll unwrap:
- You’ll be 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—all thanks to some of your favorite Disney characters.
- The nighttime spectacular Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! will incorporate music, fireworks, special effects, and state-of-the-art projections to create a one-of-a-kind holiday experience at the Chinese Theatre. You can also make reservations for the Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! Holiday Dessert Party. However, the special event is not included with theme park admission. Pricing and reservation information will be shared later this year.
- Ho, ho, ho! Holiday touches and festive décor will permeate Toy Story Land, where either Santa Claus or Santa Goofy will share joyous greetings with guests of all ages.
- Olaf will perform a holiday finale in For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along.
- Set your coordinates for the newest land in the park, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, and live your own Star Wars Find the perfect holiday gift from a galaxy far, far away.
The dining and entertainment district is where you can make a holiday list and check it twice while exploring dozens of trendy brand-name stores and a large and varied collection of Disney merchandise. Dining spots will serve up seasonal cheer, while live entertainment will include a spectacle of toy soldier stilt walkers, carolers, and Living Statues in holiday attire. Holiday decorations set the stage for the festivities, which will run from November 8–January 5, 2020.
Here’s what else you can expect at Disney Springs:
- Guests strolling the Christmas Tree Trail will be treated to custom-decorated holiday trees, each dedicated to a popular Disney theme featuring favorite Disney characters.
- Want to take an elfie? At Santa’s Chalet, a jolly Santa Claus will welcome guests. From December 25–31, Santa Goofy will take over as Ol’ Saint Nick returns to the North Pole.
- Join Stitch’s Holiday Gift Hunt and discover where the rascally Experiment 626 is hiding.
Resort hotels will be decked out for the holidays, ushering 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 will boast 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.
- Holiday menus that celebrate the season will be found at restaurants in each of the resort hotels. For holiday dining information and reservations, call (407) WDW-DINE.
This is just an early look at the holiday magic coming to Walt Disney World theme parks, resort hotels, and Disney Springs this year. Keep checking D23 for updates on future experiences.