WHY IT RATES: It's never too soon to begin planning a vacation, and travel agents should be selling clients on visiting Disney during the winter holidays.-Donald Wood, Breaking News Senior Writer.
From captivating décor and unique character experiences to delicious treats and magical moments, there is something for everyone during the holiday season at Walt Disney World Resort, starting November 8. Here is a preview of the festivities that await guests.
Disney's Hollywood Studios
Guests will experience a Flurry of Fun at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Nov. 8-Jan.6, with festive entertainment and exciting holiday touches around the park.
-The new Toy Story Land will feature special seasonal fun, such as holiday songs on Alien Swirling Saucers.
-Sunset Seasons Greetings returns this year with impressive new laser effects and "snow." Guests will witness spectacular projections of beloved Disney Characters - Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Olaf and others - sharing their favorite seasonal stories as holiday magic transforms the famous Hollywood Tower Hotel into scenes of the season.
-The nighttime spectacular Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! will combine state-of-the-art projections, fireworks, special effects and music to create a one-of-a-kind holiday experience.
-Guests will meet Santa at the Once Upon a Time shop November 10-December 24, and Santa Goofy after he steps in December 25.
Magic Kingdom Park
Charming decorations, holiday treats, a sparkling icy castle and more will await guests at Magic Kingdom Park, transforming it into an enchanting holiday wonderland.
The holiday festivities at the park will also include Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, a specially ticketed, limited-attendance celebration that will take place on select nights starting November 8. Each night of the event will feature an exclusive showing of Holiday Wishes fireworks and performances of Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas and Mickey's Most Merriest Celebration stage show. Guests will also experience the beauty of a scintillating Cinderella Castle, meet characters in their festive finery and even enjoy complimentary cookies and cocoa.
For more information about this specially ticketed party, guests can visit Disneyworld.com/Christmasparty.
Guests will discover joyous holiday traditions from 11 World Showcase nations during Epcot International Festival of the Holidays. Beginning November 18, this year's festival will deliver a yuletide extravaganza.
-Seasonal tastes from around the globe are served at special Holiday Kitchens.
-World Showcase pavilions come alive with the sights and sounds of special entertainment celebrating each country's holiday heritage.
-Chip and Dale will be collecting ornaments for their Christmas tree. In Chip & Dale's Christmas Tree Spree scavenger hunt, guests will purchase a map and stickers from select merchandise locations and travel around World Showcase looking for the famous chipmunks with their ornaments. Guests will then return their completed maps for a festive surprise, courtesy of Chip and Dale. Maps are available for $6.99 (plus tax).
-The nightly fireworks display, IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth, will feature an additional holiday finale.
-One of the most popular Epcot traditions, the Candlelight Processional, returns. This retelling of the Christmas story will feature a celebrity narrator accompanied by a 50-piece orchestra and a choir. Performances will run three times each night from November 22-December 30.
Disney's Animal Kingdom
New this year, the magic of nature will receive a holiday touch with the inclusion of Diwali, the holiday Festival of Lights in India, as part of the new live show UP! A Great Bird Adventure. Starting November 8, guests will join fun-loving pals Russell and Dug from Disney•Pixar's "Up" in discovering some of the world's most exotic birds.
Disney Springs will be the perfect destination for holiday shopping, dining and entertainment, with the chance to experience holiday magic along the way. Festivities run November 8-January 5:
-Guests will stroll through the Christmas Tree Trail and view custom-decorated holiday trees, each dedicated to a popular Disney theme featuring characters like Mary Poppins, Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, among others.
-At Santa's Chalet, Santa Claus will accept Christmas wish lists and welcome guests. From December 25-December 31, Santa Goofy will take over after Old Saint Nick heads back to the North Pole.
-Guests will take part in Stitch's Holiday Gift Hunt and discover where the mischievous Experiment 626 is hiding.
Holiday Fun at Resort Hotels
Resorts across Walt Disney World will be decked out for the holidays. Special offerings include:
-Life-size edible creations will take shape at select resorts. A holiday gingerbread house at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa will be home to The Bake Shop, where guests will pick up holiday treats, including the namesake gingerbread. A life-size, edible spinning carousel is a holiday tradition at Disney's Beach Club Resort, while a holiday village with a miniature train takes center stage at Disney's Yacht Club Resort.
-In the lobbies of Disney's Wilderness Lodge and Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, guests will take in the grandeur of massive Christmas trees.
-No holiday is complete without a special dining experience. Holiday menus that celebrate the season will be found at restaurants throughout Walt Disney World. For holiday dining information and reservations, guests can call (407) WDW-DINE.
Ring in the New Year at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel
To celebrate the New Year, guests will be able to choose between two New Year's Eve celebrations at Disney's Contemporary Resort. Pixar Party: A New Year's Eve Celebration and Disney Countdown to Midnight, including an option to purchase VIP access to the Ink and Paint Club. Both celebrations will feature entertainment, music, food and refreshments, plus a viewing of the Magic Kingdom New Year's Eve fireworks to cap off the night.
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