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NEWS: Disney Releases Details on New 2018 Holiday Season Offerings

It’s Christmas in July! We were able to take part in a special Christmas in July sneak peek where we learned about some exciting offerings coming to Disney World this holiday season. From captivating décor and unique character experiences to delicious treats and magical moments, there is something for everyone during the holiday season at the Walt Disney World Resort. Here is a preview of the festivities that you can take part in beginning November 8, 2018.


1 – Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Hollywood Studios has become a holiday destination, even with the retirement of the Osborn Festival of Lights a few years ago. We heard from Tom Vazana, Entertainment Show Director with Disney Parks Live Entertainment, and he was so excited to share the enhancements coming this year to Hollywood Studios. The Sunset Greetings, projections on the Hollywood Tower Hotel, returns this year with impressive new laser effects and “snow.” Tom shared that they worked really hard to bring the laser elements to the show and he’s so excited for everyone to see them. Guests will also witness spectacular projections of beloved Disney Characters – Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Olaf, and others – sharing their favorite seasonal stories. Here are some more details on what you can expect to find at Hollywood Studios.

  • Flurry of Fun is returning to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, November 8-January 6, 2019, with festive entertainment and exciting holiday, touches around the park.
  • The new Toy Story Land will feature special seasonal fun with a holiday overlay. There will also be holiday songs on Alien Swirling Saucers.
  • 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 on December 25.

2 – Magic Kingdom Park

Denise Case, Entertainment Show Director, Disney Parks Live Entertainment, also shared her excitement about the holiday offerings at Magic Kingdom Park. When we think of celebrating the holiday season at Disney World, most of us dream of walking down Main Street USA with the amazing holiday decorations, including the beautiful sparkling icy castle, that can be found there. Below are some of the holiday offerings you’ll find at Magic Kingdom.

  • Town Square Courtyard will be transformed into Candy Cane Garden to host Santa Claus through December 24. You’ll find the Candy Cane Garden between Guest Services and the Fire Station on the left side as you enter Main Street U.S.A. The meet and greet is open daily and also during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Times vary, so please check the Times Guide.
  • 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.

Photo Credit: Disney Photo Snapper

3 – Epcot

Marsha Jackson-Randolph, Entertainment Show Director, Disney Parks Live Entertainment, shared details on what guests can experience during the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays beginning November 18. A day at Epcot is a must-do since there is so much to see and experience during the holidays. Here are some of the highlights you’ll find:

  • Guests will discover joyous holiday traditions from 11 World Showcase nations during Epcot International Festival of the Holidays. Beginning Nov. 18, this year’s festival will deliver a yuletide extravaganza.
  • Seasonal tastes from around the globe are served at special Holiday Kitchens. We enjoyed a taste of the Maple Busche de Noel, a maple mouse rolled in gingerbread chiffon cake with cranberry sauce and pecan crumble, available at the Yukon Holiday Kitchen. Spoiler Alert: It’s delicious.
  • World Showcase pavilions come alive with the sights and sounds of special entertainment celebrating each country’s holiday heritage. Musical acts Joyful and Mostly Kosher are returning as well as many storytellers sharing each countries holiday’s traditions. Santa and Mrs. Claus are returning to the American Pavilion to greet guests.
  • 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.

4 – 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.


5 – Disney Springs

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. We hear from Darcy Clark, Marketing and Sales Strategy Manager, Disney Springs, who shared with us some of the things we can expect to find at Disney Springs.

  • 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. There will be five new trees this year, bringing the total to 25 trees! Also, by popular demand, certain ornaments that you’ll find on the trees will be available to purchase.
  • 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.

6 – 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.

The Gingerbread House at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort

7 – New Holiday Merchandise

We had a chance to hear from Steven Miller, Marketing and Sales Strategy Manager at Disney Springs, who gave us a sneak peek at some of the holiday merchandise you’ll be able to find throughout the Disney World Resort this year. Steven shared the theme of “Nordic winter” that guests will see a lot this holiday season. These patterns will be found in home decor, in seasonal items, in apparel, in pins, and Dooney and Bourke. New themed and porcelain ornaments will be coming this year! There will be new ugly Christmas sweaters, ear headbands, and a holiday cap with ears.

For a photo sneak peek of the merchandise items, be sure to check out our Instagram post by clicking here.

8 – Celebrate the Holidays at Ft. Wilderness Campground and Resort

We also had the pleasure of hearing from Jay Sanderson, Assistant Animal Operations Manager, Tri-Circle-D Ranch who shared with us some holiday offerings that can be found at Ft. Wilderness Campground and Resort. A highlight for many is the chance to get a holiday sleigh ride. These sleigh rides are available nightly from November 23-December 30 at the campground. These 25-minute rides are $84. The sleighs can hold 4 adults or 2 adults and 3 small children. You will also receive a limited edition pin per reservation. To make an advanced reservation call 407-WDW-PLAY. During your sleigh ride, you’ll be taken throughout the campground and see some pretty spectacular holiday decorations. Guests at the campground decorate campsites with lights, blow-up decorations, and much more. Some of the guests go all out, and it’s well worth a visit to the campground to see the decorations, even if you are not going to do a sleigh ride.

9 – 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.

For a no obligation, FREE Quote on a Disney vacation package, please contact our travel partner Magical Vacation Planner at 407-442-0227 (407-442-0215 for Spanish). You can also request a FREE quote online by Clicking HERE.


About Chad & Cindy Nykamp

After years of multiple Walt Disney World vacations, Cindy and Chad's dream of living in Orlando came true in 2010. After friends and family made them their go-to-people for Walt Disney World advice, Cindy and Chad launched in August 2015 to share their knowledge and love of Disney. Chad and Cindy have been Disney World Annual Passholders for years, DVC members, together have raced more than 70 runDisney races, and particularly love cruising on the Disney Cruise Line. Chad and Cindy also regularly represent at Walt Disney World media events. While attending these events, they get an insiders view of all the new things that have come to Walt Disney World. These experiences have helped them gain knowledge and expertise they happily pass on to their followers. They still can't believe how lucky they are to have such an amazing opportunity and will continue to share Disney with anyone who will listen!