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Meeting Santa Claus at Disney World – What You Need to Know

Santa Claus is an American holiday tradition that goes back to the founding of the country through the influence of Dutch settlers in New York (there are other versions of Santa that can be found in Epcot, specifically France and the UK pavilions). For many children, getting the chance to meet Santa Claus is a highlight in anticipation of what Santa might bring them on Christmas Eve night. If you visit Disney World in November and December, you’ll be able to meet Santa and even Mrs. Claus! You can meet or wave to Santa in a few different places. Here is what you need to know.


1 – If Santa is Real, He’s Working at Disney World

The first thing you need to know is that meeting Santa at Disney World is going to be as good as it gets. I don’t know where Disney finds them, but there are no pillows under the coats or fake beards here. Disney World Santas are as realistic as they get.

2 – Liberty Square, Enchanted Glade Gazebo, Magic Kingdom

During the holiday season, the Enchanted Glaze Gazebo in Liberty Square hosts Santa Claus now through December 24. The Gazebo is located behind The Old Christmas Shoppe as you head towards Adventureland. The meet and greet is open daily and also during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Times vary, so please check the My Disney Experience app for up-to-date visiting times.

3 – The Odyssey Pavilion, World Celebration, Epcot

You could find Santa in the American Adventure in World Showcase in past years. This year, like last year, Santa can be found in the Odyssey Pavilion in World Celebration. Greet Santa now through December 24. Again, times vary, so please check the My Disney Experience app for up-to-date visiting times.


4 – It’s a Wonderful Shop, Disney’s Hollywood Studios

There’s a new Santa meet & greet location at Hollywood Studios this year. It’s a Wonderful Shop has not been open as a merchandise location since March of 2020. Disney has temporarily reopened the shop as a greeting location for Santa. You can find the shop tucked behind the Muppetvision 3D theater. Currently, Santa greets guests during three-time blocks throughout the day. Check the My Disney Experience app to up-to-date times.

5 – Santa Claus Flotilla, Discovery River, Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Even though you can’t greet Santa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, you’ll be able to see him throughout the day on the Discovery River on the Santa Claus Flotilla. Santa will float by throughout the day, and you’ll be able to wave to him from the path. It’s a unique Flotilla, and it’s a lot of fun to see him at Animal Kingdom.


6 – Once Upon a Toy, Disney Springs

Meeting Santa at Disney Springs is a fantastic option for those looking to meet Santa without having to visit a theme park. Santa is available to visit at Once Upon a Toy daily through December 24. To manage the queue to visit Santa, guests need to enter a Virtual Queue. There are two ways to do this. First, you can join the Virtual Queue using the My Disney Experience app. The app will give you an estimated wait time and assign you a “Welcoming Group.” If you are already at Disney Springs, you can scan the QR code at various points throughout Disney Springs to access the Virtual Queue. When your group is called, you’ll receive a push notification to your phone. Once called, head to Once Upon a Toy, where you’ll have a short wait until you can greet Santa.

Join the Virtual Queue in the My Disney Experience app.

7 – Blizzard Beach Water Park

For a truly unique Santa greeting, head to Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park where you’ll find Santa dressed in his tropical best, sending warm holiday wishes to all guests. Find him by Sonny’s Sleds (near the park’s main entrance) from park opening to 12:30 pm each day through December 24, 2023!

Credit: Disney

8 – Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, Magic Kingdom

You can also see Santa at the conclusion of Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade. You can catch this parade twice during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at 8:30 pm and 11:00 pm. If you are visiting during Christmas week, you can also see this parade during the day. In 2022, the parade will be offered during the day from December 23-December 31 at 12:00 pm and 3:00 pm.

9 – Capture the Moment

Disney PhotoPass photographers are on hand to capture the moment. If you have Disney’s Memory Maker Package, your PhotoPass photos with Santa are included. As always, you may use your own camera!

10 – Meet & Greet Etiquette

The standard Disney World Character meet & greet etiquette applies when meeting Santa. Be sure to have autograph books and Sharpies ready if you are looking for an autograph. The same goes for cameras. While you should never feel rushed, be sure that you are mindful of the people in line behind you as far as how much time you and your children spend with Santa. We observed in a couple of locations for about a half-hour each and Santa was fantastic about talking with the children, asking what they were hoping to receive for Christmas, getting a great picture, and then gently ending the experience when it was time for the next guest.

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.


Photo Credit: Disney Photo Snapper

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 DisneyLists.com 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 DisneyLists.com 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!
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