All the Festive Fun Coming to Disney This Holiday Season
Between the festive decorations, seasonal sweets and treats, faux snow flurries, and other yuletide treasures, there’s just something about the holiday season that makes the Disney Parks especially magical. In fact, we’d even go so far as to say that it’s our absolute favorite time of the year to visit.
If you’re anything like us, then you’re probably counting down the days until twinkle lights, tinsel and gingerbread make their way to Main Street, USA once more. Well, you’re in luck because last week, Disney made that merry time feel just a little bit closer with its Halfway to the Holidays event.
Along with a slate of limited-time bites to put you in the festive spirit, they also dropped a sleighful of announcements and sneak peeks. As our gift to you, we’ve packaged them up in one convenient location (this article!) to make your holiday vacation planning that much easier.
All the Holiday Happenings Coming to Disney Parks & Disney Cruise Line in 2023
Are you planning to visit the Disney Parks or set sail with the Disney Cruise Line this holiday season? From entertainment and character costumes to a jolly new Christmas party, here’s the list (we checked it twice) of all the festive fun coming to the Walt Disney World and Disneyland resorts, as well as Disney cruise ships, for 2023.
Walt Disney World Resort
What better place to soak up the spirit of the most magical time of the year than The Most Magical Place on Earth? While Walt Disney World is filled to the brim with Christmas cheer each festive season, the Central Florida resort is set to get even more jolly this year with the addition of an all-new holiday party at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Is Back at Magic Kingdom for 2023
The Walt Disney World Resort’s most enchanting theme park will set the merry mood once more this year with the return of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party to Magic Kingdom Park. For 2023, this separately ticketed event will be offered on 25 select evenings (how appropriate!) starting on Thursday, November 9 and culminating on Friday, December 22.
Along with fan-favorite entertainment offerings like Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks and the Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration stage show, guests will also have the chance to snack on cookies and hot cocoa, as well as other exclusive dishes and drinks, and enjoy after-hours access to some of the park’s most popular attractions. This includes the recently opened TRON Lightcycle / Run in Tomorrowland, which will be available via virtual queue.
Santa Claus (and the New Disney Jollywood Nights) Is Coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios
With its retro-chic holiday decorations, faux snow flurries on Hollywood Boulevard and appearances by Santa Claus in a convertible that’s as red as Rudolph’s nose, Disney’s Hollywood Studios has been climbing the ranks of our favorite Disney World theme park to visit during the holidays. This year, it may even catapult itself into first place with the debut of Disney Jollywood Nights, a brand-new after-hours holiday party.
Held on 10 select nights in November and December from 8:30 PM to 12:30 AM, this separately ticketed event puts a Tinseltown-inspired twist on the festive season, with such entertainment offerings as:
A DJ spinning holiday tunes
A Latin Street Fair on Commissary Lane
A holiday stage show at Theater of the Stars emceed by Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy
A spirited sing-along at the Hyperion Theater that, if the “what’s this?” clue during the announcement is any indication, will likely be The Nightmare Before Christmas themed
Two limited-capacity entertainment areas – a jazz lounge at The Hollywood Brown Derby and a soiree at The Hollywood Tower Hotel Courtyard
Return of the Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! fireworks and projection show
Like Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, tickets go on sale for everyone starting July 6 (June 29 for guests staying at select Disney World hotels) and will be priced at between $159 to $179 per person, depending on the desired evening. Party dates include:
November: 11,18, 20, 27, 29
December: 4, 6,16,18, 20
Holiday Happenings During Regular Park Hours
You don’t need to pay for a special ticket to get in the holiday spirit at Disney World this year. Guests visiting The Most Magical Place on Earth will be able to enjoy a stockingful of limited-time entertainment offerings, starting with special appearances by Santa Claus himself. Jolly Old St. Nick will be stopping by all four theme parks, as well as Disney Springs and Typhoon Lagoon Water Park, where you’ll spot him soaking up some sunshine in his island-inspired holiday beachwear.
Here is some of the other festive entertainment coming to Walt Disney World Resort that is sure to leave you feeling merry and bright.
Join your favorite friends from Frozen—including Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, Olaf and the Snowgies—as they take to the Cinderella Castle stage for the brand-new Frozen Holiday Surprise. Available during normal park hours and at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party in Magic Kingdom, this new stage show will light up Cinderella Castle like never before.
The globally inspired Epcot International Festival of the Holidays is back again for 2023, and with it the beloved Candlelight Processional. Running from November 24 to December 30, this festive event features everything from musical acts making a joyful noise and spirited storytellers to yuletide treats cooked up in Holiday Kitchens.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Watch colorful projections transform The Hollywood Tower Hotel into a holly, jolly beacon of the holidays with the return of Hollywood Studios’ nightly light show. Known as Sunset Seasons Greetings in years past, this merry projection show boasts eye-popping lasers, cheery Christmas tunes and even an enchanted snowfall on Sunset Boulevard. Over in Toy Story Land, wannabe toys will be able to pose alongside Woody, Buzz and Jessie, who will be all decked out in their holiday best.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park
Come face to face with a Merry Menagerie of cold-weather creatures like penguins, reindeer and polar bears on Discovery Island in front of the Tree of Life. Featuring a herd of artisan-sculpted puppets, this interactive entertainment offering adds a touch of whimsy to the winter season while also staying true to the spirit of Animal Kingdom. Make sure you have your camera ready to capture adorable interactions that are sure to ensue.
Hoping to get into the holiday spirit without paying for a pricey park ticket? Or maybe you just want to keep the merry mood going while doing a little souvenir shopping. Then you’ll be happy to hear that the Disney Springs Christmas Tree Stroll will be returning again for 2023—complete with a spirited snowfall in Town Center.
While Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse always look their best no matter what time of year it is, the dynamic duo will be looking especially spiffy hanging out in Disneyland Park this holiday season in their new festive outfits. Featuring mid-century modern touches and matching holly brooches made by Miss Minnie herself, these classy getups put the “merry” in “Merry Christmas.”
But wait, there’s more! You’ll also be glad to know that “it’s a small world” Holiday will be making a comeback this year. This festive fan-favorite overlay sees the classic attraction get a jolly makeover, complete with spirited decorations, Christmassy scents, yuletide tunes, twinkle lights and special holiday attire for the children that call the ride home.
Disney Cruise Line
Believe it or not, you don’t need to visit one of the Disney Parks to experience the yuletide season with a sprinkling of pixie dust. You can also set sail with the Disney Cruise Line, too. Very Merrytime cruises bring the spirit of the holidays to the high seas, with festive decorations, Disney characters decked out in spirited outfits, seasonal food and beverage items, Christmas carolers, and jolly activities.
Of course, it wouldn’t be the holidays without a magnificently decorated tree. To commemorate the occasion, a brand-new tree lightning ceremony will kick off each Very Merrytime sailing, featuring a glorious tree spanning three decks in the ship’s atrium, a sing-along starring the likes of Mickey, Minnie and Goofy, and a special appearance by Santa Claus.
Sailors will also be able to get in the holiday spirit during Mickey and Minnie’s Holiday Party. Hosted by everyone’s favorite mice, this all-new deck party will be a spirited extravaganza with dancing, characters like Chip ‘n’ Dale and Donald Duck and Daisy Duck in cheerful costumes and a catchy playlist of both classic Christmas tunes and original holiday songs.
Hoping to set sail on a Very Merrytime cruise with your nearest and dearest? Itineraries departing from Florida, California and Texas are still available for 2023. Otherwise, start your holiday vacation planning early for 2024 with departures from two ports in Florida or Galveston, Texas.
Well, elves, that brings our roundup of all the festive fun heading our way in 2023 to its thrilling conclusion. Are you planning on celebrating the holidays at the Disney Parks or on a Disney cruise this year? Let us know in the comments! Then, learn how you can save some cash to splurge on an after-hours holiday party or some yuletide goodies (or both!) with our discount Disney tickets.