With Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party starting right around the corner (it kicks off this year on Friday, August 17), it’s time for Disney and all good vacation-planners alike to look ahead to the next big seasonal event: Christmas, which begins this year at Walt Disney World Resort on Thursday, November 8.
After the success of last year’s expanded holiday offerings, Disney has decided to plus this festive season a little further, adding in a few new offerings at such locations as Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios (including a Christmas overlay for the just-opened Toy Story Land!). There’s actually so much going on for 2018, we’re just going to get right to it, listing everything out according to theme park or section of the resort.
As has been the custom for many years now, the center of holiday activities at Magic Kingdom is Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, a hard-ticketed event that is held on select nights (more on those in just a moment). In addition to seeing a “scintillating” Cinderella Castle and enjoying complimentary cookies and cocoa, guests will also get to experience Mickey’s Once upon a Christmastime Parade, A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas and Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration stage shows, and a special showing of the Holiday Wishes fireworks spectacular.
Event dates are:
Nov. 8, 9, 12, 13, 15, 16, 25, 27, 29, and 30
Dec. 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, and 21
The Epcot International Festival of the Holidays is returning for a return appearance, and it’ll once again include Holiday Kitchens (where guests can experience some seasonal treats at the 11 participating World Showcase nations), Chip & Dale’s Christmas Tree Spree (an add-on scavenger hunt that takes place all over World Showcase), the Candlelight Processional (which runs from November 22 through December 30), and, of course, the Christmas edition of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth.
(Note: the International Festival of the Holidays starts a little later than Disney World’s other festivities, beginning on Sunday, November 18.)
Did you enjoy last year’s first-ever Flurry of Fun at Hollywood Studios? Good – so did Disney, and the company is eager to expand on the seasonal platform with even more goodies for 2018.
First up is Sunset Seasons Greetings, the projection-mapping show that transforms the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror into various festive scenes; expect to see new laser effects and, even, snow added this time ‘round. Also returning are the Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM nighttime spectacular and Santa Claus himself, who will meet-‘n-greet festive guests at the Once upon a Time shop from November 10 through December 24. (If you miss Santa, you can always catch his replacement, Santa Goofy, from Christmas Day onwards [hey – ol’ Kris Kringle has to get back to the North Pole, right?].)
But the real excitement for this year’s Christmas will be located over at the still-brand-new Toy Story Land, which will be getting into the spirit with a still-unspecified range of “special seasonal fun.” Disney did manage to announce one specific in this regard, however: Alien Swirling Saucers will feature Christmas music, which should hopefully be just as eclectic and fun as its normal, everyday soundtrack.
As part of the theme park’s 20th anniversary this summer, Disney threw a major party and rolled out some new experiences, such as the Up! Great Bird Adventure stage show. A special Christmas overlay of this production will be on-hand for this year, and – perhaps most intriguingly of all – it’ll include, for the first time ever, Diwali, India’s holiday Festival of Lights. If Disney’s version looks anything like the real-world celebration, audiences should be in for a real treat here.
In addition to shopping and eating – the two greatest time-honored traditions of Christmas, right? – Walt Disney World’s entertainment complex will also host a slew of returning favorites from last year: the Christmas Tree Trail, a collection of various trees themed to various characters, ranging from Minnie Mouse to Mary Poppins; Santa’s Chalet, where patrons can meet Old Saint Nick (and Santa Goofy), of course; and Stitch’s Holiday Gift Hunt, a scavenger hunt staring the mischievous Experiment 626.