By Jocelyn Buhlman
It’s the most magical time of the year, as we put away our goblins and ghoulies from Halloween and start wrapping the streets of Disney Parks with tinsel and snow! Nothing warms our hearts like a little Christmas cheer, and you can stay cozy all winter with the holiday offerings you’ll find at the Disney theme parks. No matter where you’ll be in our wonderful worlds this holiday season, you can have yourself a merry Disney holiday season at one of our theme parks’ very special celebrations.
Disney California Adventure Park gets into the spirit with the brand new Festival of Holidays, which celebrates holiday festivities of diverse cultures with food, music, dance, and craft-making and includes celebrations of Diwali, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas/Navidad, and Three Kings Day. Princess Elena, from the Disney Channel series Elena of Avalor, will make her Disneyland Resort debut as part of the Festival of Holidays, performing music and posing for a special character meet and greet. Also be sure to catch Disney ¡Viva Navidad!, returning as part of the fun at Festival of Holidays.
If you’re looking for some of the park’s classic holiday traditions, never fear! World of Color – Season of Light returns, bringing the warmth and heartfelt spirit of the holidays to this stunning, nighttime water spectacular, with its 1,200 powerful fountains shooting water as high as 200 feet to help tell the story. And jolly old St. Nick arrives at Redwood Creek Challenge Trail for Santa’s Holiday Visit. His joyful elves have transformed the trail into a magical playground of holiday fun and games, including opportunities for guests to join the ranks of Santa’s elves.
Disneyland Park turns into a winter wonderland with Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle, covering the castle in magical snow and icicles for the holiday season. The Believe… in Holiday Magic fireworks keep the snowflakes in the air with a special snowfall finale you’ll always remember! Returning once again to spread Christmas cheer is A Christmas Fantasy parade, a daily procession with floats, music, marching “tin soldiers,” and more. Santa appears in the parade and will also be found welcoming guests in Critter Country. And special for November 18, guests and cast members in Disneyland will celebrate Mickey Mouse’s birthday with a special cavalcade that precedes A Christmas Fantasy Parade. Other holiday classics returning to the park include it’s a small world Holiday, Haunted Mansion Holiday, and Jingle Cruise.
The park itself becomes a jewel of holiday spirit with twinkling lights, festive holiday garland and nearly 1,800 ornaments decorate the soaring Christmas tree in Town Square, Main Street, U.S.A., an ideal place for guests to begin their holiday traditions.
Walt Disney World
Magic Kingdom Park provides Christmas classics such as Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, and the Holiday Wishes fireworks show. New offerings include Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration, a show starring Mickey and friends in front of Cinderella’s Castle, featuring medleys of delightful classic and contemporary holiday songs, and magical holiday projections on Cinderella Castle building to a sensational, snowy finale. Queen Elsa will also be spreading the holiday spirit to Cinderella’s Castle with A Frozen Holiday Wish (Castle Dream Lights), transforming Cinderella Castle into a glimmering, shimmering ice palace for the holidays.
Epcot spreads cheer across the globe with the Holidays Around the World Marketplaces and entertainment, letting guests experience and taste what the holidays are like all over the world. If you’re looking for some classic holiday traditions, be sure to experience Epcot’s Candlelight Processional, which captures the spirit of the season in the retelling of the Christmas story by celebrity narrators, accompanied by a 50-piece orchestra and choir. Additionally, Epcot’s nightly IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth fireworks show adds a special seasonal finale, featuring holiday greetings in native languages from the countries of World Showcase, along with the classic song “Let There Be Peace on Earth” to add a heartwarming finish.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios enters a world of “Lights! Cameras! Holidays!” with their all-new nighttime spectacular, Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!, which sends beloved Disney animated characters on a spirited yuletide adventure to get Santa back to the North Pole in time for Christmas Eve. Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! combines state-of-the-art projections, fireworks, special effects, and Christmas music to create a dazzling, one-of-a-kind holiday experience for guests—ending with a special message from Santa himself. And if you want more than just a message from Santa, be sure to check out the new opportunity to meet Santa Claus at the Once Upon a Time shop starting November 14. The beautiful, vintage setting reflects the bygone days of Santa’s visits to the great department stores across the country.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom greets guests with a dramatic, animal-themed holiday tree at the park entrance, along with a variety of characters in their holiday best, such as Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Baloo, King Louie, and more! If you want holiday cheer that lasts all day, enjoy holiday daytime-into-nighttime experiences, such as Tree of Life transformations, Kilimanjaro Safaris, Kali River Rapids and Expedition Everest.
Tokyo Disney Resort
Tokyo Disneyland will be creating a Christmas fantasy with holiday trees and holiday photo locations all throughout the themed lands, including a special photo location in Fantasyland where the finished photo will look like a pop-up storybook! The celebration continues with the Disney Christmas Stories Parade, which is themed to seven stories of Disney Christmas, including Frozen, Mickey and friends, and Toy Story. Classic holiday attractions such as Haunted Mansion Holiday Nightmare and the Country Bear Theater Jingle Bell Jamboree will be returning to keep the holiday spirit strong all season long.
Tokyo DisneySea celebrates not only the holidays, but the 15th anniversary of the park with a nighttime entertainment fantasy on the waters of Mediterranean Harbor called Colors of Christmas: Nighttime Wishes. Once the show is over, enjoy Colors of Christmas: Afterglow, where the Christmas tree and the floating illuminations in Mediterranean Harbor will sparkle and change colors in time to holiday music, allowing Guests to continue to enjoy the atmosphere. If you want A Perfect Christmas, try viewing the show by the same name, starring Mickey and Friends in a celebration of the joys of Christmas. The park’s festive décor includes a 15-meter-tall Christmas tree, Fiesta de la Luz lights along the Lost River Delta, and more!
Disneyland Park is decked in its festive best, including a giant Christmas tree that is lit in a caroling sing-along by Mickey and friends! If you want more holiday happiness from Mickey, Minnie, and the gang, be sure to catch Disney’s Christmas Parade on Main Street, U.S.A., with yuletide performers and two new festive floats. And the Disney Dreams! Of Christmas nighttime spectacular returns, now with your favorite characters from Frozen. Still have that Frozen fever? Sisters Elsa and Anna celebrate the holidays with a special Frozen Sing-Along and A Royal Welcome of a carriage ride down the streets of Disneyland! Have you been naughty or nice this year? If you’ve been extra good, make sure to visit with Father Christmas in Fantasyland.
Walt Disney Studios Park is the home of a very merry meet ‘n’ greet with Santa and Disney Characters, featuring Thumper, Miss Bunny, and Santa himself! And to make your holidays extra special, stop by after November 20 to meet Moana, the newest heroine to star in a Disney Animated film!
Hong Kong Disneyland Resort
Hong Kong Disneyland is enchanting guests with A Sparkling Christmas, starting with Santa Goofy. You can send special holiday letters to your loved ones at the Santa Goofy Holiday Mailbox in the Christmas Post Office on Main Street, U.S.A. and receive a special Santa Goofy commemorative postmark on each letter you send. Enjoy the special seasonal entertainment, Holiday Wish Moments, on Main Street, U.S.A. with Minnie, Donald, Pluto, and Chip ‘n’ Dale. In the evening, join them all in a special show, A Magical Twilight Snowfall, for a holiday wish. If you want even more festivity, every night you can watch the 18-meter Christmas tree turn aglow for the season with the A Holiday Wish-Come-True Tree Lighting Ceremony. If you need even more Christmas cheer this holiday season, be sure to sample the more-than-50 Christmas treats available in the park and 100-plus options for Christmas-themed gifts!
Shanghai Disney Resort
Shanghai Disneyland celebrates its first-ever Christmas, decking out the park in dazzling decor, with a special overlay for Mickey Avenue, where Mickey and friends greet park guests in festive holiday attire. The highlight of the holiday celebration is the 20-meter-tall Christmas tree, which is lit in a special ceremony every evening while the Enchanted Storybook Castle gleams in the background. If you want to share the seasonal spirit with others, there are 30 limited-release merchandise items, including Mickey and Minnie plushes dressed in their holiday best, along with special Christmas ornaments, holiday clothing, and more available to purchase. Special holiday food will be offered at the Royal Banquet Hall to complete your experience with authentic holiday feasts.