I just returned from a few days at Walt Disney World where I was able to check out the New Fantasyland, Test Track, and the addition of Splittsville Luxury Lanes to Downtown Disney. I even stayed at the new Art of Animation Resort, so “new” was kind of a theme. However, there was another theme throughout the entire trip that remains slightly more traditional, namely, the holidays.
Of course, the holidays often get a “new spin” so I guess, technically, new was the word of the day, or in Disney’s case, season. I’m going with that.
Don’t let the 75 degree days fool you, the winter holidays are going strong at Walt Disney World and there is still time left to enjoy it all! In addition to festive decorations, seasonal treats, and the details that make Disney, well, Disney, there is some big holiday hoopla that those in the Christmas spirit are sure to enjoy. In fact, even those that aren’t in the spirit will probably have fun, too (see, Scrooge McDuck).
Here are the major holiday events currently underway at Walt Disney World:
Magic Kingdom 1 of 7Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party runs on select nights through December 21 at the Magic Kingdom and is not included with regular park admission (requires separate ticket). It's what we like to call a special event. We also call it that because it is special. See how that works?
Mickey's Very Merry Christmas has special holiday parades, entertainment, and an amazing firework show full of seasonal fun. Also, snow flurries.
Epcot 2 of 7At Epcot you can hear the story of Christmas as told by a celebrity narrator in the Candlelight Processional, which is held as part of the Holidays Around the World in the America Gardens Theatre. This moving experience runs nightly through December 30.
Hollywood Studios 3 of 7Do you like dancing? Do you like lights? Then the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights is for you. The Streets of America at Disney's Hollywood Studios is a display like none you have ever seen. Seriously, there are millions of lights. Millions. The lights come down on January 6, 2013. I prefer to leave mine up through most of February. The neighbors love it.
Animal Kingdom 4 of 7The Animal Kingdom park has Mickey's Jingle Jungle Parade through January 2, which features Disney friends in a festive blend of savannah and seasonal spirit. It's like a holiday safari!
Downtown Disney 5 of 7
Don’t forget to explore! 6 of 7Of course, those are just the main attractions, you can spend hours (days) at Walt Disney World taking in all of the holiday magic. Each theme park, Downtown Disney, and resort, has its own magnificent tree themed to that location. In addition, Santa is known to visit different areas and photo ops are always available.
Shop, relax, do it all! 7 of 7A personal favorite of mine is the giant gingerbread house in the lobby of the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. It is so big that they made it into a shop, but it is all edible (the outside that is, the inside is full of things slightly less so).
I would be remiss if I were to share holiday doings at Walt Disney World and not mention all of the merry merchandise. There is great seasonal shopping, everywhere, whether you are looking for gifts or decorations, Disney has it all. It's kind of their thing.
Top photo by Whit Honea, subsequent photos by Disney and in order of placement: Matt Stroshane (2), Garth Vaughan, Gene Duncan, Kent Phillips (2), Diana Zalucky
Read more from Whit Honea at his site Honea Express and the popular group blog DadCentric. You can follow Whit on the Twitter or Pinterest (his opinions are his own and do not reflect those of Babble, Disney, or most rational people).