Holidays My Favorites

Disney World Holiday Events Happening In 2018

It’s well known that Walt Disney World goes all out for every special occasion, so you bet this year’s Disney World holiday events are just as magical and festive as they have been in the past years. If you’re heading to the parks during the most wonderful time of the year, then here is a complete list of the holiday celebrations currently happening at Disney World!

Magic Kingdom

A  Frozen Holiday Wish

Every evening from now through Dec. 31 at 6:15 p.m. Elsa, along with help from Anna, Olaf, and Kristoff, transforms, or one might say “freezes,” Cinderella Castle by turning on the beautiful, sparkling holiday lights. FYI: you can still watch this show during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party nights, even if you don’t have a party ticket. You are allowed to hang out around the castle and Main Street, U.S.A. until 7 p.m., when MVMCP officially begins.

Jingle Cruise

You’ll definitely want to take a ride on the Jingle Cruise, aka the Jungle Cruise. During the holidays, the funniest cruise that ever sailed transforms with decorations and festive jokes. The Jingle Cruise runs during both regular park hours and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

Photo of Jingle Cruise at Magic Kingdom Park

‘Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party’

MVMCP is a  special ticketed event (separate theme park admission is also required) that gives you a chance to celebrate the holidays with your favorite attractions, special entertainment, yummy treats, themed-merchandise, joyful characters, and so much more on select nights at Magic Kingdom Park. Here’s everything you need to know!

Dates, Times, & Pricing:
  • November: 8, 9, 12, 13, 15, 16, 25, 27, 29 and 30
  • December: 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20 and 21

-Prices vary depending on the night, but day-of tickets start at $105/adult and $100/child (ages 3-9), plus tax. Tip: You can save $10 if you buy your ticket at least one day in advance, except on Dec. 21, 2018.  Annual Passholders get a $5/ticket discount, plus an additional $10/ticket off, but only if tickets are bought at least one day in advance. Disney Vacation Club members also receive a discount if purchased in advance.

-This event runs from 7 p.m. to 12 a.m. You can get into Magic Kingdom no earlier than 4 p.m. before the party begins.

Entertainment:

Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration – A festive stage show at Cinderella Castle featuring Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goof, Pluto, Peter Pan, Alice, the White Rabbit, Woody, Jessie, Snow White, Dopey, Pinocchio, Jiminy Cricket, and more.

Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade – A holiday parade featuring holiday tunes, beloved characters, gingerbread men, elves, toy soldiers, and more.

Holiday Wishes: Celebrate the Spirit of the Season – Fireworks show over Cinderella Castle hosted by Jiminy Cricket and featuring classic holiday songs, like “Sleigh Ride,” “Jingle Bells,” and “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.”

A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas – Hosted by Haley Comet, join your favorite Tomorrowland friends (Stitch, Mike Wazowski, Buzz Lightyear, etc.) for an “out-of-this-world” Christmas party! You’ll even get to hear some “interstellar takes on popular Christmas tunes”!

The Edge Effect – An a cappella holiday concert at Rockettower Plaza Stage.

Club Tinsel – A fun dance party at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café in Tomorrowland.

Storybook Circus Disney Junior Jingle Jam – At Storybook Circus, a dance party with Disney Junior characters.

Photo of Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime Parade

Character Meet & Greets:

You can take photos and get autographs from a bunch of beloved Disney characters decked out for the holiday party, including, but not limited to, Santa, Jack Skellington as Sandy Claws, and even Scrooge McDuck!

Treats & Dining Packages:

Tony’s Most Merriest Town Square Party – This is a NEW! event this year, which will be held during every single party night beginning at 9:30 p.m. Those attending the experience can “pop in and out at your leisure” and enjoy both savory and sweet treats, in addition to complimentary alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Guests are even offered a special reserved viewing area for Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade at 11 p.m.  Tony’s party lasts longer than MVMCP,  with the special event ending at 12:30 a.m. It costs $99/person plus tax for all guests, and MVMCP admission is required.

Fireworks Holiday Dessert Party with Plaza Garden Viewing – Enjoy desserts at Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant and a reserved viewing in the Plaza Garden of Holiday Wishes fireworks. The special event costs $69/adult (ages 10 and older) and $41/child (ages 3 to 9) plus tax. It takes place during every party, except for Nov. 30. A MVMCP ticket is also required and not included in this package.

Fireworks Holiday Dessert Party at Tomorrowland Terrace – Enjoy desserts and reserved seating at Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant for a view of Holiday Wishes during every party, except for Nov. 30. It costs $84/adults and $50/children (ages 3 to 9) plus tax.  MVMCP admission is required.

*Check out photos and descriptions of all the party treats available this year, including the complimentary sweets and beverages included in the price of your MVMCP ticket. Some of the exclusive party goodies are also currently available during regular park hours when you Mobile Order on the My Disney Experience app.

Magic Shots & Merchandise:

Yes, there are even special PhotoPass opportunities, like posing with a Tinker Bell lantern, and merchandise created exclusively for the event. Be sure to see what’s available for both before you head to the party!

*Download MVMCP‘s 2018 event guide here.

Epcot

International Festival of the Holidays

Unlike MVMCP, Epcot’s International Festival of the Holidays is not a special ticketed event. You can visit the event, which runs from now through Dec. 30, anytime during operational hours. Some events do cost extra, like holiday dining packages.

Photo of Holidays Around the World at Epcot

An International Yuletide Extravaganza:

This is the perfect way to learn about other holiday traditions around the world. Between seasonal food and beverages, live musical productions, costumed-performers, and so much more, the World Showcase transforms into a global holiday celebration.

Holiday Kitchens:

Visit the 12 Holiday Kitchens across Epcot, where you can purchase seasonal-themed food and beverages. The Kitchens are open daily from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m., and Epcot admission is required. This year, there is even a brand new Holiday Kitchen: The L’Chaim! Holiday Kitchen, which features traditional Jewish dishes such as Pastrami on Rye, Chicken and Matzo Ball Soup, Egg Cream, and more. Click here to read all of the menus in their entirety.

The Holiday Cookie Stroll:

This year, there is a Holiday Cookie Stroll, where you purchase cookies at any of the official cookie stroll locations and collect cookie stamps along the way. After you buy five cookies and collect the appropriate stamps for your Passport, you will then receive a complimentary “completer” cookie and a cold glass of milk at Holiday Sweets & Treats! You don’t have to finish the stroll all at once, but you can do it at your leisure. Just remember to bring back your Passport every time you visit Epcot to complete the stroll at any time.

Candlelight Processional:

At the Candlelight Processional, the biblical story of Christmas is told by celebrity narrators, along with a 50-piece orchestra and massed choir. This year’s celebrity narrators include:

  • Chita Rivera – Nov. 22 to 23,
  • Helen Hunt – Nov. 24 to 25
  • Alfonso Ribeiro – Nov. 26 to 27
  • Robby Benson – Nov. 28 to 30
  • John Stamos – Dec. 1 to 2
  • Neil Patrick Harris – Dec. 3 to 6
  • Whoopi Goldberg – Dec. 7 to 9
  • Bart Millard – Dec. 10 to 12
  • Blair Underwood – Dec. 13 to 14
  • Gary Sinise – Dec. 15 to 17
  • Pat Sajak – Dec. 18 to 20
  • Auli’i Cravalho – Dec. 21 to 23
  • Edward James Olmos – Dec. 24 to 25
  • Jodi Benson – Dec. 26 to 27
  • Cal Ripken Jr. – Dec. 28 to 30

Performances run from Nov. 22 through Dec. 30 at the following times: 5 p.m., 6:45 p.m., 8:15 p.m. at the America Gardens Theatre.

Candlelight Processional Dining Packages:

You can even purchase (Epcot admission is also required), a Candlelight Processional Dining Package, which are only offered on dates when the Candlelight Processional is held. Here are the participating restaurants:

Click here for prices (tax and gratuity not included) for breakfast (only select restaurants), lunch, and dinner. To make reservations, you can call (407) WDW-DINE or (407) 939-3463.

Photo of Neil Patrick Harris at the Candlelight Processional at Epcot

JOYFUL! A Celebration of the Season:

There are daily performances at the Future World Fountain Stage, where the Joyful! vocal ensemble sing Gospel, R&B, and holiday songs celebrating both Christmas and Kwanzaa.

Chip & Dale’s Christmas Tree Spree:

This fun holiday scavenger hunt has you helping Chip & Dale collect Christmas tree ornaments. All you have to do is purchase a map ($6.99 plus tax; available while supplies last) and stickers from select merchandise locations, including Pin Central, Disney Traders, and World Traveler at International Gateway.

After you have your map and stickers, head around the World Showcase and look for the beloved chipmunks as they gather ornaments from holiday decorations in each pavilion. Upon finding them, add the corresponding ornament sticker to your map. Once completed, take your map to Disney Traders or World Traveler and turn it in for a “festive surprise, courtesy of Chip & Dale!”

‘IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth’ — Holiday Finale:

IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth will run through the end of summer 2019 and then will be done for good to make way for a new nighttime fireworks spectacular. Well, this holiday season at Epcot, IllumiNations has  “an extra-festive holiday finale,” so you better experience before it’s too late.

Annual Passholder Offerings:

During Epcot’s International Festival of the Holidays, Annual Passholders will receive the following special offerings:

  • On your first visit, receive a complimentary Passholder holiday Goofy magnet. Visit Mouse Gear or Port of Entry to get your magnet (one per Passholder)!
  • Get an exclusive Annual Passholder Festival of the Holidays Chip & Dale ornament, T-shirt, and other merchandise for purchase, while supplies last.
  • APs get a 20 percent discount off festival merchandise, in addition to an all-new Cookie Jar (to fill up during the Holiday Cookie Stroll) and Chip & Dale’s Christmas Tree Spree Scavenger Hunt.

Hollywood Studios

Flurry of Fun

Flurry of Fun is not a special ticketed event, meaning all you need is park admission to enjoy the festive holiday celebrations, including the lighting of the Christmas tree on Echo Lake. The event runs from now through Jan. 6, 2019 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Photo of Sunset Seasons Greetings at Hollywood Studios

Sunset Seasons Greetings:

You don’t want to miss Sunset Seasons Greetings, a colorful projection show on Tower of Terror featuring holiday stories and songs, featuring some of your favorite characters, including Mickey and Minnie, the toys from Toy Story, the Swedish Chef from The Muppets, and Olaf from Frozen. New laser effects were also added this year!

Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!:

Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! happens nightly at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre with fun projections and exciting events. Hosted by Wayne and Lanny from ABC’s Prep & Landing, they are on the hunt for a missing Santa Claus.  Furthermore, you’ll become immersed in the holiday music and scenes from Mickey’s Christmas Carol, Beauty and the Beast, Pluto’s Christmas Tree, Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, and more.

Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! Holiday Dessert Party:

You can even partake in the Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! Holiday Dessert Party featuring seasonal treats, wine, beer, and specialty alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. The event includes a reserved viewing area for two different projection shows on Grauman’s: Disney Movie Magic and Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! A separate ticket for admission to Hollywood Studios is required. Below are the prices, and you can also make reservations online or by calling: (407) WDW-DINE or (407) 939-3463.

Prices (tax and gratuity included):

  • Nov. 6 to Dec. 22: $79 per adult; $45 per child ages 3 to 9
  • Dec. 23 to Jan. 1, 2019: $89 per adult; $49 per child ages 3 to 9
  • Jan. 2, 2019 to Jan. 6, 2019: $79 per adult; $45 per child ages 3 to 9
Echo Lake & Holiday Décor:

There are all kinds of holiday decorations around Hollywood Studios, including the Echo Lake area. You’ll definitely want to make time to see them, especially Dinosaur Gertie dressed up for the holiday season!

Toy Story Land Holiday-Style:

In Toy Story Land, Buzz, Woody, and Jessie can be seen wearing their holiday best. Plus, the land is decorated for the holidays, in addition to Alien Swirling Saucers having two holiday tracks and themed lighting and sleigh bells ringing on Slinky Dog Dash.

Photo of Woody, Jessie, and Buzz in Toy Story Land for the Holidays

Minnie’s Holiday Dine:

If you’re looking for festive Character Dining, you might want to try Minnie’s Holiday Dine at Hollywood & Vine from now until Jan. 6, 2019, where you can meet Minnie and her beloved friends. It costs $52/adult and $31/child, plus tax and gratuity. Some Dining Plans are also accepted.

Meet Santa Claus & Santa Goofy:

You can meet Santa Claus from now through Dec. 24 at the Once Upon a Time storeon Sunset Boulevard inside the Carthay Circle building. From Dec. 25 to Dec. 31, you can then take photos with Santa Goofy!

Disney Junior Dance Party!:

Starting Dec. 22, the new Disney Junior Dance Party! debuts. DJ Deejay and host Finn Fiesta will give kids the chance to sing, dance, and play with their favorite Disney Junior pals, like Vampirina, Doc McStuffins, and Timon from The Lion Guard. Yes, Mickey Mouse  from Mickey and the Roadster Racers will also make an appearance!

Meet Vampirina:

Don’t forget you can meet Vampirina from Disney Junior’s Vampirina at the Animation Courtyard!

Animal Kingdom

UP! A Great Bird Adventure: Diwali

Now until Jan. 1, 2019, UP! A Great Bird Adventure will transform by telling the story of Diwali, India’s annual Festival of Lights. In addition to watching Russell and Dug from Pixar’s Up learn about exotic birds across the world, guests will listen as a Wilderness Explorer tells the story of Diwali.

Disney Springs

Christmas Tree Trail

At Disney Springs, you can walk through the famous Christmas Tree Trail. The trail is open every day from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. through Jan. 6, 2019. There are 27 Disney-themed trees that make the perfect photo opportunities. Here are this year’s tree themes:

  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Cinderella
  • Disney Springs
  • Disney Villains
  • Dumbo
  • Fantasia
  • Frozen
  • The Haunted Mansion
  • The Jungle Book
  • The Little Mermaid
  • Mary Poppins
  • Mickey & Minnie Mouse
  • The Muppets
  • Mulan
  • 101 Dalmatians
  • Peter Pan
  • Pinocchio
  • Pluto
  • The Princess and the Frog
  • Robin Hood
  • Sleeping Beauty
  • Snow White
  • Star Wars
  • Tangled
  • Toy Story
  • Walt Disney World Theme Parks

Photo of Frozen Tree at Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail

Stitch’s Holiday Gift Hunt

Stitch’s Holiday Gift Hunt runs through Jan. 6, 2019 and it makes for the most magical scavenger hunt. For those who participate, you must locate all the items on Stitch’s lost holiday gift list and once finished, you’ll receive a festive prize. All you have to do is pick up a Holiday Gift Hunt booklet, which includes a map, clues, and stickers, at any of the participating locations. The goal is to find the hidden Stitch holding up one of his presents at each gift hunt site and then match the correct gift sticker to its corresponding location on the map. Once you’ve successfully placed all 12 stickers, you can collect your prize (one per completed booklet) at any of the redemption centers. (Hint: be sure to pay close attention to the Mickey & Minnie tree in the Christmas Tree Trail for a possible clue.)

Santa’s Chalet

Yes, you can even meet Santa Claus himself at Disney Springs. Here are all of the details:

  • WHERE: Christmas Tree Trail cottage – Disney Springs Marketplace (across from Once Upon a Toy)
  • WHEN: Sundays through Saturdays; Now through Dec. 24, 2018; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Photos of Grand Floridian's Gingerbread House

You’ll also notice a variety of holiday-themed food and beverages, in addition to festive merchandise across the parks. Oh, and don’t forget about all of the gorgeous hotel decorations, like Grand Floridian’s massive and very real Gingerbread House (above)! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask, and I’ll be sure to update you if any new Disney World holiday event information is released.

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Images:  Courtesy of Walt Disney World Resort