There is nothing more magical than being at Disney World during the holidays. Whether you have kids or not, the magic and sparkle of the season is present everywhere on property. This is by far my favorite time of the year to go, but it is also the busiest!
Poor planning can cause you to miss some amazing things that happen at WDW around the holidays, and best of all, they are FREE! That’s right! No additional money needed! If you’re like me, spending an additional $70 per person for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is simply just not in our budget, but that doesn’t mean we miss out on the fun!
FREE Things to Get You in the Holiday Spirit at Disney
1. Check Out the Different Resorts** – Disney really goes all out with their resort Christmas decorations. Sticking with strict themes and guidelines, all decorations match the overall theme of the resort. Some highlights to see are the Gingerbread house at The Grand Floridian and the Carousel at the Beach Club. Both are made from real gingerbread and chocolate and they are simply amazing! Make sure to buy a treat from the gingerbread house… you can thank me later!
2. Enjoy Holiday Wishes ** – The evening firework show, Wishes, is transformed into a holiday spectacular show, complete with panoramic fireworks! Set to holiday music and a holiday story that still features your Disney favorites, you can enjoy these fireworks from many locations. My personal recommendation is the hub at the Magic Kingdom or somewhere on Main Street, but you can view them from The Grand Floridian, The Polynesian, or the Contemporary as well!
3. Holidays Around the World at Epcot – Enjoying the different countries in Epcot is already on my list of favorite things to do at Disney, but during the holidays, the countries are even more spectacular. In every country, Disney showcases how they do the holidays. Since the majority of workers in each country are natives of that country, the cast members really make the experience amazing!
4. Candle Light Processional – By far my absolute favorite experience during the holidays. Held in the America Pavilion outside of America in Epcot, this beautiful telling of the Christmas Story is always narrated by a celebrity and features the most amazing choir, made up of cast members from around the park that audition for the part! When we saw it last, Gary Sinise did the reading and it was beyond packed! Some areas are reserved for those who choose to the dining package, but it is free to all park guests!
5. Visit the Christmas Shop at Downtown Disney ** – Now it doesn’t have to be the holiday season to enjoy this awesome store, but it is much more magical visiting in December than it is in June! Check out all of the holiday gear that Walt Disney World offers and have the chance to get it personalized right there in the store! Don’t worry, you don’t have to stand there while it’s done. You can pick it up later, or they will deliver it right to your resort with no additional fee! Trim Up The Tree with Disney stuff!
6. Watch the Castle Lighting – Another thing that should not be missed is watching the castle-lighting show at Cinderella’s Castle! This is something they implemented the year we lived down there, and no lie, grown men are known to cry at how beautiful it is! If you are in the Magic Kingdom, make sure to check your time’s guide or the app for what time is happens! You won’t regret it!
7. Check Out the Osborne Family of Lights – Displayed for the last time at Hollywood Studios in 2015 are the Osborne Family of Lights. Millions of lights are strung across the Streets of America and dance to Christmas music blaring through the air! Purchase hot chocolate and cookies, grab a good spot and watch the snow. Feel like you’re being transported up north when it starts snowing and you really get into the Christmas spirit!
So you don’t have to break the bank to enjoy the holiday season if you are a local, or if you are visit the Mouse during this amazing time of year! While these are 7 of the most popular things to do, there are hundreds of holiday happenings around the Disney property during November and December! What are your favorites?
** These experiences can be enjoyed without purchasing park tickets.
All photos are taken directly from Disney websites.