Epcots Festival Of The Holidays
Best for: Entertainment, holiday eats and drinks, romantic ambiance
EPCOT is known for its festivals throughout the year, and The Festival of the Holidays at EPCOT is my favorite. It’s like the Food and Wine festival, but with holiday flavors, holiday decorations, and heart-warming traditions from around the world.
EPCOT is the best park for a festive Disney date. The romance of the World Showcase pavilions decorated for the holidays is hard to beat. Plus there is entertainment everywhere, and delicious holiday eats and drinks.
I am so excited to see that the Holiday Storytellers will return to EPCOT this year after not being a part of last year’s limited festivities. Each World Showcase pavilion has a different storyteller that shares some of the history and traditions of the country represented. And, a classic EPCOT attraction, Living with the Land, is adorned with Christmas lights and other decorations.
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
Note: Due to current health and safety measures, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party was suspended for 2020 & 2021. In its place, Disney is hosting Very Merriest After Hours. See below for more on that.
One of the hottest parties around, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a specially ticketed event at Magic Kingdom. During the party you’ll find special character meet and greet opportunities, dance parties, a special parade, fireworks, and special treat stations where you can get hot cocoa and cookies.
Canadian Resident Disney World Hotel Discounts
Canadian residents can book the US offers listed above. The Disney specialist travel agency we recommend, Small World Vacations, gladly works with clients around the globe. They have many clients from Canada.
In addition, you can visit Walt Disney Worlds Canadian website and select the Special Offers tab to see any current deals specific to Canadians, but most of the time the offers are the same as those distributed in the US. Sometimes the Canadian offer will have a different discount code, but otherwise it will be identical to the US offer. If we learn of any specials for Canadians only, they are listed below.
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Disney Genie & Disney Genie+ System
Disney knows that there will be crowds at Disney World in December and has come up with ways to help you spend less time waiting in line. They want to keep the lines moving smoothly so that visitors can enjoy their experience without wasting precious vacation time standing around.
The Disney Genie and Disney Genie+ system at Disney Worlds are services you can utilize to make your vacation more magical. These features allows you skip the lines at many attractions with a little pre-planning, even if youre not staying in one of Disneys resort hotels! Read more about Disney Genie and Genie+ here.
The 8 Big Updates From Walt Disney World This Week
This week at Walt Disney World, Disney’s Magical Express gets ready to shut down permanently, Genie+ Lightning Lane gets another attraction plus Expedition Everest’s refurbishment is just about ready to begin!
Outside Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort brings back its mandatory mask policy plus The Mummy’s 2022 refurbishment is almost ready to begin!
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Operating Hours At Walt Disney World 12/4
Magic Kingdom will be open from 9a-10p 12/4, 9a-8p 12/5, 9a-9p 12/6, 9a-8p 12/7, 9a-9p 12/8, 9a-8p 12/9, 9a-8p 12/10, 9a-10p 12/11, and 8a-8p 12/12
Epcot will be open from 10a-10p 12/4 through 12/6, 11a-10p 12/7 through 12/9, and 10a-10p 12/10 through 12/12
Disneys Hollywood Studios will be open from 9a-9p every day
Disneys Animal Kingdom will be open from 8a-8p 12/4, 9a-8p 12/5, 8a-8p 12/6, 8a-7p 12/7 through 12/10, and 8a-8p 12/11 and 12/12
Tips For Visiting Disney World In December
When it comes to visiting Disney World in December, we have some tried and true hacks for having a magical time on your vacation.
What to Wear
One of the most frequently asked guest questions is: what should I wear to Disney World? Always check the weather leading up to your trip. The good news about visiting Disney World in December is that the chance of rainfall is greatly reduced making it less necessary to wear a rain poncho daily to the parks. We still recommend bringing one so you can enjoy the water rides without getting drenched. I recommend dressing in layers and come prepared for some chilly mornings. Once the sun goes down, the evenings will feel chilly so bring some lightweight hoodies or jackets. You can always rent a locker to store jackets in during the day and go back to grab them once the day cools down.
What to Pack
Even though the average high temperatures start dropping this time of the year, the temperatures can still be pretty warm especially if you’re not used to hot climates and humidity. Because the weather can vary so much day by day, check the weather each day leading up to your trip. Come prepared based on what the forecast says. Dress in layers so you’re prepared for sunny afternoons and chilly nights.
You can read our giant packing list here to make sure you show up prepared for literally anything you need while you’re visiting Disney World.
What to Expect
But most of all, remember to enjoy your time at the most magical place on earth!
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Operating Hours At Walt Disney World 12/25/21
Magic Kingdom will be open from 9a-11p 12/25 through 12/29, 9a-1a 12/30 and 12/31, and 9a-11p 1/2 and 1/2
Epcot will be open from 9.30a-10p 12/25 through 12/30, 9.30a to 1a 12/31, 9.30a to 10p 1/1, and 9.30a-9p 1/2
Disneys Hollywood Studios will be open from 8.30a-9p 12/25 through 12/30, 8.30a-12MN 12/31, and 8.30a to 9p 1/1 and 1/2
Disneys Animal Kingdom will be open from 8a-8p every day
Weather In Disney World In December
The average high temperature in Orlando in December is 73º and partly sunny!
The humidity is gone, so while it is warm, it is not sticky like it is in the summer months.
This marks a much drier season for Florida, and while it can rain, most likely you wont see it rain enough to dampen your visit to the parks!
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Major Updates From Last Month
November has seen the announcements of Live Entertainment and Meet and Greets returning to Walt Disney World Resort. Meet and Greets have popped back up across almost all of the parks. Destination D23 brought the announcements that Disneys Festival of Fantasy and Fantastic would be returning sometime in 2022. Mickeys Royal Friendship Fare and Finding Nemos new show will also be reopening in 2022. Mickeys Philarmagic also received a new Coco scene and I thought it was very good and was spliced seamlessly into the show.
Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular is currently scheduled to reopen later this month on December 19, 2021, as well, which is great news.
Two resort dining options 1) Boatwrightss Dining Hall at Disneys Port Orleans Riverside and 2) Artist Point at Disneys Wilderness Lodge
Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party
If youre looking for an extra dose of Christmas spirit on your December Disney World vacay, check out Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom! This separately ticketed event is available on select nights throughout the month. Guests can enjoy festive entertainment, specialty treats, complimentary snacks, and lighter crowds!
Holiday Wishes at Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party
Party entertainment offerings include Minnies Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks, Mickeys Most Merriest Celebration stage show, character meet-and-greets, A Frozen Holiday Wish Castle Lighting Ceremony, and the Once Upon a Christmastime Parade!
Mickeys Once Upon A Christmastime Parade
If youre traveling in early December, youll only be able to catch this parade during the party but in the days leading up to Christmas, its also shown during the afternoon for day guests!
Once Upon a Christmastime Parade
Guests also have plenty of holiday treats to enjoy! Select complimentary snacks like cookies and hot chocolate or cider are included with admission to the party. And there are also party-exclusive food and beverage items available for purchase!
Chocolate Yule Log
Tonys Most Merriest Town Square Party
Tickets and dates have yet to be released for 2020 but last year, prices ranged from$99 to $139, depending on the night. If youre looking for an extra dose of Christmas magic on your December trip, Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party might be the perfect fit for your family!
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What Order Should You Visit The Parks
Depending on the length of your trip, here’s how many days we recommend for each park:
When it comes time to decide which days are best for each park, here are some general things to keep in mind:
- Hollywood Studios is consistently the first park to reach capacity, primarily because of popular attractions like Rise of the Resistance and Slinky Dog Dash.
- Magic Kingdom is the most popular park overall. It is also the park most first-time visitors think of when they think “Disney World”. Saturdays are the busiest, with mid-week typically the least busy.
- Epcot hosts nearly year-round festivals, and those festivals are popular with both out-of-state visitors as well as with locals. And, since a lot of what the festivals are famous for are alcohol and food, the areas around the Festival Booths can be a lot busier than what you’d find during the daytime hours on the weekdays. If that isn’t the vibe you are looking for, you may want to skip Epcot during the nighttime on Friday and Saturdays.
- Even with the new Park Pass system, Animal Kingdom remains one of the “easiest” parks to fit into a trip. You should be able to plug it in wherever it makes the most sense for you.
We go into a lot more detail in our guide on The Best Days to Visit Each Park.
Epcot International Festival Of The Holidays
Guests can also get festive at the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays! The festival celebrates holiday traditions from various cultures with. The festival is included in the cost of admission to Epcot, although some of the special events do require an additional fee.
Gingerbread Cookie at Epcots 2019 Festival of the Holidays
One of the longstanding guest favorites of the festival is the Candlelight Processional. During this event, the Christmas story is told by a celebrity narrator while accompanied by a 50-piece orchestra and choir. This event is wildly popular, especially for more notable celebrities, so if you want to see it we highly recommend booking a Candlelight Processional Dining Package that will guarantee you seats for the show.
And, of course, no Epcot festival is complete without FOOD! Guests will find Holiday Kitchen food booths throughout the World Showcase which serve holiday dishes from cultures around the world.
Buche de Noel au Chocolat
Every World Showcase Pavilion also has its own Holiday Storytellers who share the traditions that are practiced during the season in the country they represent.
Holiday Storytellers in Norway
The Epcot International Festival of the Holidays is a great way to appreciate and celebrate the holiday traditions of cultures around the world!
Disney World Weather In December
December brings cool but comfortable daytime temperatures and chilly nights to Disney World. On rare occasions, the mercury dips below freezing.
- Average high temperature: 73 F
- Average low temperature: 50 F
The mild daytime temperatures make winter an ideal time to enjoy most of the Disney World theme parks, though it may be too chilly to enjoy water rides. The Orlando area receives an average of 2.24 inches of rainfall in December spread over an average of eight days, making it one of the drier months. In the early part of the month, the park operates on shortened hours, with about 10.5 hours between sunrise and sunset. Extended hours are the norm during the busier holiday season in the last two weeks, however.
Dress In Layers Its Winter And Can Get Cold
Florida may be known as the Sunshine State, but we do get cold snaps. Day time can be glorious with blue skies and sunshine, while evenings can get very chilly. Heck, it could even be actually COLD!
Dressing in layers is one of our Disney Christmas Tips.
- Make sure you take jackets or sweaters to cover up at night.
- A light blanket to put over the kiddos when sitting in strollers will help too.
- If you plan on staying all day, get a locker and store things so you dont need to carry things around all day
- Pack a few rain ponchos too in case of rain. It doesnt rain much in December, but they are so lightweight, its better to have them than not.
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Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser
Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser is not really like any other Disney World resort. Its more like an immersive entertainment and accommodation experience. Its a 2-night experience that puts you aboard a Starcruiser in the universe of Star Wars, where you experience unique food, entertainment and adventures. Most people will choose to add this to the beginning or end of a regular Disney World stay. See our page on the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser experience for more.
How Our Crowd Calendars Work
Ready to dive in? Jump down to the
1. For each day of the month, we tell you on a scale of 1-10 how busy the entire Walt Disney World Resort is when compared to other days of the year.
2. Then, for each park you’ll see the park hours and any special events that are planned.
3. We also track refurbishments and closings .
4. We have a handy feature that allows you to automatically add your Advanced Dining Reservation date to your calendar.
5. And, one of the most useful features is the ability to be able to print the calendar so that you can have a paper copy for planning .
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Planning Ahead For Your Holiday Visit
There are two big takeaways I want you and your Santa Baby to gain from this guide.
First, book your visit as soon as possible Christmastime at Walt Disney World is one of the busiest times of year. That means book your Disney Park Pass, any dining reservations, and hotel as soon as you can.
Second, budget about $50 per person for holiday eats and drinks this is above and beyond any regular meals. Besides being the jolliest time of year, it is also the tastiest. There are special holiday treats at every park, every resort hotel, and at Disney Springs. We’ll have a list of our favorite Disney holiday treats very soon.
Read on for all of the information you need to have a holly jolly Disney date.
Visiting Walt Disney World In December 2021
Walt Disney World in December is certainly the most wonderful time of the year! Truly, no one does the holidays quite like Disney. Lights, decorations, festive music, ticketed holiday events, specialty entertainment, seasonal dining there is something for everyone during the holidays in Disney World.
There are definitely a few things youll want to keep in mind, however, if youre planning a vacation to Disney World in December. First of all Christmas crowds are no laughing matter. As Disney goes above and beyond to make the holidays truly special, this typically results in some of the biggest crowds of the year. But even with the crowds, visiting Walt Disney World in December can be truly magical especially with a little bit of planning.
**The reopening of Walt Disney World is an ongoing process that is constantly changing. Be sure to visit our guide to visiting Disney World during the phased reopening for updated information to guide your vacation planning!
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What To Pack For Disney World In December
The first rule of thumb for a Walt Disney World vacation in December is packing clothes that you can layer. Layers are crucial so you can handle any weather forecast on your trip. Walt Disney World at Christmas time is one of my favorite times of the year so I tend to bring Disney vacation clothes like bright holiday sweaters and Christmas minnie mouse ears.
The best way to make sure you’re prepared for weather in Orlando in December is to show up with both summer clothes and winter trip clothes such as:
Walt Disney World does sell a large variety of sweatshirts, rain ponchos, umbrellas, and more but if you’re traveling on a budget it’s better to come prepared with whatever you might need to wear on your December Disney trip.
Holiday Date Ideas At Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Pop into the Trolley Care Cafe, the park’s Starbucks location, and enjoy a festive treat as you stroll around admiring the decorations
- Grab a cocktail from Brown Derby Lounge and enjoy the Sunset Seasons Greetings mini-show on the Hollywood Tower Hotel
- Frozen Hot Chocolate with, or without, alcohol is available at most quick-service locations and it’s quite yummy
- The Butterscotch Caramel Cheesecake Cannoli from PizzeRizo is a must for any cheesecake or cannoli fan
- This park has some of the best merchandise thanks to themed gifts featuring Star Wars and the park’s many wonderful attractions, so do a little holiday shopping together
- Hop aboard the Disney Skyliner for a Skyliner crawl
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Disney World Events Indecember
One of the biggest reasons for visiting Disney World in December is because of all the different events going on. Take a look at some of the fun things you can experience when visiting the parks this month.
Disney Very Merriest After Hours Christmas Celebration at Magic Kingdom
The Christmas party at Disney World is going to look a bit different this year. Like last year, Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party is put on hiatus because of Covid-concerns.
Instead, Disney has decided to replace the popular party with a new special ticketed event, Disney Very Merriest After Hours.
The four-hour experience with feature Minnies Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks, special opportunities to see Disney characters throughout the park and plenty of holiday cheer.
Epcot International Festival of the Holidays
Running the end of November through the first of the year is the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays where Epcot celebrates holiday traditions for each of the 11 World Showcase Nations.
You will find storytellers, festive decorations, food and music.
Hollywood Studios does a great job with decorating at Christmastime! The place to be at Hollywood Studios is along Sunset Boulevard.
Billboards will suddenly transform into cartoon shorts that features popular Disney characters discussing their love for the season.
And Tower of Terror even changes throughout the evening into different holdiay displays!
Disney Springs at Christmas