There’s only one word for it: Christmas at Disney is magical. Everything is decked out in colorful lights and glitter and “snow” and the weather in Florida is perfect this time of year. There are tons of things to do and see, so I wanted to share with you my absolute favorites that are on my Must-Do List every year. I’ve even created a special checklist PDF you can download and print off if you want to make sure to get to all this goodness!
Christmas Tree Trail at Disney Springs
These are really cool. Disney has decorated a bunch of Christmas trees with theming from all of your favorite Disney movies. The details are wonderful and the best part is that it’s free! You can find my full posts on this awesome activity here and here!
The Winter/Christmas Tradition Storytellers at EPCOT
Another EPCOT favorite, the storytellers in each country around the world have fun and interactive stories to tell that are unique and interesting to learn about. My personal favorite is the Italian story of La Befana – a kind old witch who brings gifts to Italian children on the eve of the Epiphany.
Here’s a secret for you: you don’t have to pay to see the special Holiday Wishes fireworks show over Cinderella Castle during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. What?!? The coolest place to view them for free is the marina at the Grand Floridian Resort. All you do is tell the gate guard you’d like to look around at the Christmas decorations (more on that later!) and they’ll allow you to park and go inside (or you can ride the resort monorail over from the TTC). The soundtrack to the fireworks show is broadcast over loudspeakers at the marina, so you’ll get a great view AND get to hear the show! Grab a hot chocolate from the nearby cafe and you’ll be set. If you are going to Very Merry, make sure you read my post about getting the most out of your visit!
This is another free one! You can visit any of the Disney hotels to look at their beautiful holiday decorations. Make a day/night of it with your family! Here’s my suggested path: Start by parking at the Boardwalk. Look around at their lights, then walk around the boardwalk itself to the Swan and Dolphin (don’t miss the gorgeous multi-story tree made of faintly lit white poinsettias in the lobby!), and check out the Yacht and Beach Club resorts. Once you’ve made the loop, hop back in the car and go to the Grand Floridian. Take your time here and enjoy the gigantic decorated trees and the life-sized real gingerbread house that you can actually purchase holiday treats from! SO cool! If you’re feeling up to it, ride the monorail over to the Contemporary and the Polynesian. Their decorations aren’t nearly as spectacular as the Grand Floridian, but they’re still fun to see. Finish your night by driving over to Wilderness Lodge. It’s the perfect backdrop for some gorgeous and rustic Christmas photos with the family. We even did our card photos there last year!
The Voices of Liberty
By far, my favorite show at Disney. It’s intimate and not as well known as most other shows and that’s part of what makes it special. This a capella group is amazingly talented. They perform throughout the year under the rotunda in the America Pavilion at EPCOT, but their holiday music selection (ranging from Christmas to Hanukkah to Kwanzaa) is pure perfection. Make sure you stop by to see them perform on your next visit!
The Candlelight Processional
If you’re already at EPCOT, make sure you stay for the nightly Candlelight Processional during the Christmas season. It’s the story of the birth and life of Jesus as told by a celebrity (they vary throughout the season), with the music of a full, live orchestra and a choir made up of schoolchildren from all over the local area and the country, as well as cast members and the Voices of Liberty. There is even audience participation during the performance of Stille Nacht (Silent Night performed in German) and the Hallelujah Chorus. I’ve actually teared up during this moving show. You have to see it, but make sure you’re in line at least an hour before the show starts on a weeknight and probably closer to two hours before the show on a weekend. It gets really busy. If you don’t make it in time to get in line for one of the performances, you should still hang around the America Pavilion because you can see and hear it from the area just behind the seats of the amphitheater.
Jingle Bell Jingle Bam!
This is the new Christmas show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and it is awesome! They use projection on the Chinese theater, as well as lasers, fireworks and “snow” to tell the story of finding Santa Claus who was missing for a little while. You can see the show from anywhere in front of the theater, but I’d say that being near the center of the large open walkway is probably the best because the show uses perimeter fireworks.
What are your favorite Christmas activities at Disney? Share them with me in the comments!