Of the four Disney World theme parks, none do Christmas better than Magic Kingdom. The decorations are up, and the holiday festivities have begun. Things may be a bit different from years past, but we are truly thankful that we can even enjoy Walt Disney World during the holiday season this year. What can you expect when visiting Magic Kingdom this holiday season? Keep reading for the 9 things you need to know!
Editor’s Note: We’ll be visiting all of the parks, Disney Springs, and Disney resorts. Be sure to follow us on Instagram for live coverage of our visits, where we share lots of photos and video! Click here for our Instagram Story of our recent visit to Magic Kingdom! Happy Holidays! ~ Chad and Cindy
1 – Modified Offerings
As Walt Disney World is still operating in a limited phased reopening, holiday offerings have been modified to adhere to their strict health and safety guidelines. As we noted earlier, we are thankful they are even open (sorry, Disneyland!). The restrictions are there to keep Cast Members and guests safe so we can all enjoy some much-needed Disney magic! The parks have been open for four months now, and Disney has done a fantastic job managing things under the circumstances. Yes, we’re sad that Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party has been canceled, but now all guests, not just those who pay for the party ticket, will enjoy the holiday entertainment and food, usually exclusively reserved for party guests.
Here are a few reminders to keep in mind when visiting:
- You must have a park reservation to visit Magic Kingdom. Magic Kingdom has always very popular, and getting a reservation can be tricky, especially on weekends. As soon as you have your park ticket, we recommend making a park reservation as soon as possible.
- Face coverings must be worn at all times, except when eating or drinking while stationary. Disney has really been enforcing this rule, and remember, it is keeping Walt Disney World open!
- Park hours for Magic Kingdom have been extended for the holidays but vary on weekends and weekdays. Be sure to check your My Disney Experience app for up to date park hours. Disney has been adding hours as crowds fluctuate, so they may change.
- Crowd levels are up. Disney recently announced that capacity has been raised to 35% and it certainly is busier than it was this summer when it was at 25%. Expect it to be busy and attractions to have longer wait times than reported this summer. (Remember though, that wait times are still much less than what would be considered “normal.”) It is also becoming increasingly difficult to physical distance on Main Street USA and the Hub. Keep this in mind as you consider if you want to visit this holiday season.
2 – Holiday Decorations
Many were disappointed with the Halloween decorations this year. The pumpkins and bunting didn’t make an appearance, and the park wasn’t decorated to the extent it usually was. We’re happy to report that most of the holiday decorations are out this year. The only difference we noticed was that the Christmas trees that are usually out front of the Magic Kingdom Railroad station are not out—it’s just Mickey’s face. But along Main Street USA, the wreaths, garland, and other decorations are wonderful to see. The Christmas tree is as stunning as ever. The holiday magic can be felt in the air. Our friend John burst into tears when we saw the decorations for the first time because he said it was just so wonderful to be back and see a bit of “normal” again.
3 – Holiday Themed Character Cavalcades
While there are no character meet and greets, there are still plenty of opportunities to see your favorite characters. Several times daily, favorite characters don their holiday best and celebrate the season in a series of special cavalcades, complete with Christmastime floats and music.
- “Mickey’s Holiday Cavalcade” is a holiday celebration with Mickey Mouse and his friends.
- “Goofy’s Scrumptious Cavalcade” features Goofy cooking up some holiday fun from his gingerbread house and bake shop floats, joined by dancing gingerbread men.
- “A Royal Christmas Processional” heralds the arrival of Disney princesses on a crystal castle float.
- Toy soldiers march with the Main Street Philharmonic as they bring musical cheer for all to hear.
- Santa glides down Main Street USA, in his sleigh, led by prancing reindeer.
Disney fans may recognize these outfits and floats. The holiday cavalcades are actually sections of the “Once Upon a Christmastime Parade,” which usually runs during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Usually, you need to either pay for a party ticket or be visiting during Christmas week to catch this parade. We love the fact that Disney is offering more guests the opportunity to see parts of this parade through December 30.
There is no official information given on when the cavalcades come out. Generally, speaking though, they usually come out one right after another, with the Holiday Trolley mixed into the lineup. The cavalcades begin in Frontierland and follow the Festival of Fantasy parade route. If you also want to see the trolley, you’ll want to stick around the Hub or Main Street USA since the trolley only follows that route.
4 – The Holiday Trolley
Main Street USA is the place to be to catch the Holiday Trolley. You’ll either spot the Dapper Dans barbershop quartet singing holiday tunes, or Rabbit, Piglet, and Eeyore in holiday outfits waving to guests.
5 – Other Character Around the Park
We also spotted some of the Country Bears in Frontierland. Rabbit, Eeyore, and Piglet can be spotted later afternoon outside the Crystal Palace restaurant on the balcony to wave to guests. Santa Stich and Buzz Lightyear come out in Tomorrowland for distanced selfies. Jiminy Cricket can be found in Fantasyland. Again, you’ll never know where characters might pop up, but be sure to be on the lookout for them!
6 – Holiday Treats
There are many holiday treats to be found at Magic Kingdom. These treats are available until December 30.
Twice Upon a Cupcake – A confetti Christmas tree tops a vanilla cupcake with a red velvet hidden Mickey (Available at Main Street Bakery)
Let it Snow Taco – Sugar cookie “taco shell” filled with salted caramel and spiced chocolate mousse (Available at Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe)
An Orange Bird Christmas – Orange–scented white chocolate mousse filled with orange curd (Available at Sunshine Tree Terrace)
Chip and Dale Christmas Churros – Gingerbread churros topped with apple pie filling and chocolate chips (Available at Westward Ho)
Pistachio Chai Tea Float – Pistachio soft–serve, spiced chai tea, and a red velvet cake pop ornament (Available at Aloha Isle)
Macaroon Christmas Tree – macaroons, and icing make up an adorable little Christmas Tree! (Available at Gaston’s Tavern)
7 – Cinderella Castle Holiday Projections
Be sure to stick around in the evening for some amazing holiday projections. Count us among those disappointed to hear that the Dream Lights would not be put up this year. There is just something about seeing Cinderella Castle all lit up in those lights. However, after seeing the projections in person, Disney has done a great job creating holiday magic in the evening. I was there on the first evening, and after the first projections went up, the crowd oohed, awed, and clapped. Four different projections rotate about every fifteen minutes, including a whimsical Christmas sweater and a regal overlay of red, green, and gold ornamentation. The projections will begin around 6:00 pm and go through closing. Hours vary and are different on weekdays and weekends. Be sure to check the My Disney Experience app for park hours for the day you visit. You don’t want to miss these! Check out our Instagram post below with video of each of the four projections!
8 – Holiday Merchandise
Guests can bring the Disney Parks magic of the season home with them with new holiday-themed merchandise available throughout Walt Disney World Resort and online at shopDisney.com. From apparel to accessories to homeware and more, these very merry collections feature the latest Minnie Mouse ear headbands, spirit jerseys for adults and children, plush, mini-backpacks by Loungefly, cloth face coverings and more.
Other highlights include:
- The first Disney Parks holiday snow blower
- Matching onesies for the whole family
- Fuzzy clogs by Crocs
- A new holiday collection from BaubleBar
9 – Overall Thoughts
Let’s face it. 2020 has been a rough year. While we don’t know if 2021 will be any better, we are confident that visiting Magic Kingdom for the holiday season will lift your spirits. There is plenty of holiday magic to be enjoyed and it’s still a magical time to visit Magic Kingdom.
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.