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2017 marks the biggest Christmas celebration at Disney World yet


Disney blew out its resort-wide Christmas celebrations at Walt Disney World today, and it’s easy to see how the company is clearly itching to make this year the biggest – and, quite possibly, the best – holiday season it’s ever had across the destination’s 46-year history.

There’s so much going on in November and December, it’s best to simply break all the festive activities down by location.

Magic Kingdom

Frozen Holiday Wish at Magic Kingdom
Frozen Holiday Wish at Magic Kingdom

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas (at Disney World, at least) without the hard-ticketed Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, a long-running event that transforms Magic Kingdom into a winter wonderland (literally, in the case of Main Street, USA). In addition to the usual goodies of seasonal decorations, entertainment, and photo ops, guests can also enjoy Holiday Wishes Fireworks – Celebrate the Spirit of the Season, Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, the Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration stage show, and the Frozen Holiday Wish castle-lighting ceremony, which transforms Cinderella Castle into “a glimmering, shimmering ice palace for the holidays.”

Oh, yeah – Mickey’s Christmas Party also includes complimentary hot coca and cookies, which aren’t to be missed.

Event dates are:

Nov. 9, 10, 12, 14, 16, 17, 26, and 28
Dec. 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 10, 12 14, 15, 17, 19, 21, and 22


IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth holiday finale at Epcot
IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth holiday finale at Epcot

This year, the former Holidays around the World event is getting overhauled into the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays, and it’ll now include:

  • Holiday Kitchens – these food stops around the park will be doubled for 2017, now reaching a total of 15, and will feature such sweet treats as the Canadian Maple Buche de Noel (maple mousse rolled in gingerbread chiffon cake with cranberry sauce and pecan crumble).
  • Chip & Dale’s Christmas Tree Spree – a treasure hunt that has guests looking for the titular chipmunks as they gather ornaments from around World Showcase (the cost is $5.99 per map).
  • Candlelight Processional Narrators – new celebrity narrators for this year include Pat Sajak, Matt Bomer, and CCH Pounder, who join a number of returning favorites.
  • Fireworks finale – the year-round IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth will be outfitted with its traditional holiday ending.

In addition, expect to see some new holiday entertainment scattered throughout World Showcase, such as a Hannukkah celebration in the America Pavilion.

Hollywood Studios

Disney's Flurry of Fun logo
Disney’s Flurry of Fun logo

As exciting as all the other Christmas festivities are, it’s clear that the new jewel in Disney’s holiday crown is Hollywood Studios. Now called Flurry of Fun, the Yuletide program is headlined by Sunset Season’s Greetings, which kicks off in 2017 and which features “spectacular” projections of Mickey, Minnie, and the rest of the gang in yuletide tableau all across a decked-out Sunset Blvd – along with a similarly-transformed Hollywood Tower Hotel, which will have a pile of Christmas presents, a gingerbread house, and a frozen winter wonderland alternatively projected unto it.

Echo Lake will also be getting into the overhauled holiday spirit, featuring extra-large ornaments and a massive Christmas tree. The popular Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM nighttime show returns, as does For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration, albeit with the new addition of Olaf the snowman. And bringing up the seasonal rear is appearances by Santa Claus himself, who will be coming to the Once upon a Time shop for his time-honored meet-‘n-greets.

Animal Kingdom

Although Christmas won’t be an all-out affair at Disney World’s newest theme park, like it is at all the other locations across the resort, it still will make its presence felt, with many beautiful decorations being used as “frames” for new day-into-nighttime experiences, such as the Tree of Life vignettes that just recently started playing at the park.

Disney Springs

Santa Claus meet-‘n-greet at Disney Springs

Yes, Disney Springs already features a slew of holiday décor and shopping experiences – that greatest of all Christmas traditions, right? – but Disney is similarly expanding its yuletide offerings here, as well. Expect to see 10 new Christmas trees (themed to such classic films as Sleeping Beauty, Dumbo, Snow White, and Peter Pan) along the Marketplace’s Christmas Tree Trail and, additionally, four new stops on Stitch’s Holiday Gift Hunt. And, of course, old St. Nick will once again be appearing at Santa’s Chalet, although now it’ll be located next to Christmas Tree Trail – just note that, after Christmas Eve, Goofy will take over as Santa to allow the big guy a much-needed break. (Just in case Mr. Claus isn’t to your kid’s liking, an eight-foot Coca-Cola Polar Bear will similarly be meeting and greeting on the second floor of The Coca-Cola Store.)

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About Marc N. Kleinhenz

Marc N. Kleinhenz is the former editor of Orlando Informer.

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