Whether enjoying the retro holiday charm of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, yuletide treats at Epcot’s International Festival of the Holidays or the wintry celebrations at Animal Kingdom, there’s certainly no shortage of festive fun at the Walt Disney World Resort. However, when it comes to the best Disney Park to visit during the holiday season, Magic Kingdom takes the (fruit)cake.
From Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and other seasonal special entertainment to jolly food offerings and a flurry of holiday decorations, Magic Kingdom transforms into a veritable winter wonderland once November and December roll around.
So, if you’re heading to Walt Disney World at Christmastime, read on for all the holiday happenings at Magic Kingdom in 2023, as well as a festive photo tour of the cheery trimmings and trappings sprinkled like pixie dust throughout the park. (Updated October 25, 2023)
Spending the Holidays at Disney World’s Most Magical Kingdom – Christmas Decorations, Special Entertainment, Holiday Treats & More
Between the holly-jolly décor, yuletide entertainment, the holiday-inspired hijinks of the Jungle Jingle Cruise and the specially ticketed seasonal extravaganza that is Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, no Disney Park does Christmas like the Magic Kingdom.
Sure, you could certainly spread some holiday cheer at one of the other Walt Disney World theme parks (after all, you can’t spell Hollywood Studios without “holly”) or set out on a merry quest at the Disney Springs Christmas Tree Stroll. However, for a classic Christmas experience with a sleighful of Disney magic, you can’t beat the holiday season at Magic Kingdom.
In recent years, another Disney Resort, the majestic Wilderness Lodge, also cooked up its own gingerbread display: a cozy gingerbread cabin to match the resort’s rustic vibes. Oh, and did we mention that visiting them all is completely free?
The year, Christmas at Magic Kingdom officially runs from November 11 through December 31, 2023, with festive decorations appearing as soon as early November until the beginning of January. That said, as we’ll get into, not every Magic Kingdom holiday offering runs for the entirety of the season.
Magic Kingdom Holiday Events, Entertainment & Character Experiences
No trip to the Walt Disney World Resort is complete without a dazzling fireworks display, a parade of Disney characters, a thrilling stage show or an up-close character meet-and-greet, and that’s especially true for the Magic Kingdom at Christmas. Best of all, you don’t even need to pay for a pricey special event ticket for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party to get in on the fun.
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
Along with the likes of Epcot’s International Festival of the Holidays and the Disney Springs Christmas Tree Stroll, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom is one of the premier special events of the holiday season at Disney World. Held on select nights from November 9 to December 22, 2023, the spirited soiree takes place outside normal operating hours from 7:00 PM to midnight.
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is packed with presents like extra-special entertainment, meet-and-greets with Disney characters in their yuletide best, an exclusive holiday food menu, classic attractions with a festive twist, complimentary treats like cookies and hot cocoa, and even a magical snowfall down on Main Street (shh, it’s soap!). Talk about some enchanting evening!
Popular event offerings sure to leave you feeling merry and bright include Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks, a stage show featuring Mickey and Minnie and a heartwarming collection of holiday tunes, the Club Tinsel character dance party in Tomorrowland, and even a close-up encounter with Santa Claus.
Unfortunately for all the Scrooges out there, this jolly after-hours event is not included with your regular park ticket. Not to mention, access doesn’t come cheap, with adult tickets for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party clocking in at between $159 and $199 and children’s tickets (ages 3 to 9) costing $149 to $189, depending on when you go.
At the time of writing, tickets for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party 2023 are still available. However, if you don’t feel like paying for tickets, you can still soak up some holiday cheer (and save a little money in the process) with these other yuletide treasures available during regular park hours at the Magic Kingdom.
Frozen Holiday Surprise
Ready to see Cinderella Castle glisten like a frost-kissed ice palace à la Elsa this Christmas season? Making its debut in 2023, the new “Frozen Holiday Surprise” will give Cinderella Castle a merry makeover, thanks to the hard work of Elsa, Ana, Kristoff, Olaf and a slew of Snogies.
Each evening, the Magic Kingdom icon will transform into a crystallized palace courtesy of colorful projections, complete with onstage appearances by Frozen favorites, a wintry mix of Christmas music and a dash of Disney magic. “Frozen Holiday Surprise” will light up the night every evening, starting with the seasonal spectacles grand debut on November 7, 2023.
Main Street, U.S.A. Entertainment with Festive Flair
We don’t know about you, but we love a little nostalgia during the holidays. And what better place to step back in time than Main Street, U.S.A.? Every day, this picturesque promenade comes alive with live performances, and they’ve even received some extra-festive upgrades just for the yuletide season.
The Dapper Dans, Magic Kingdom’s resident barbershop quartet, charm guests with their catchy Christmas songs and wholesome jokes, while the Main Street Philharmonic rocks around the Christmas tree with swingy holiday tunes. Each offer shows several times each day, so refer to the My Disney Experience app for current showtimes.
Whether you’re a fan of Christmas, classic Magic Kingdom attractions or cheesy dad jokes, you’re sure to love the Jingle Cruise. This yuletide takeover of an Adventureland favorite is popular year after year. And with good reason!
Between the Christmas decorations cobbled together by the Jungle Cruise Skippers and a dusting of festive dad jokes and puns, the whole experience is undeniably endearing. As you can imagine, the wait can get long, so plan your time accordingly.
See Disney Characters in Holiday Attire
Meeting characters at Disney World is a good idea no matter when you decide to visit. Not only are the interactions memorable, but Disney character meet-and-greets also make for some of the best photo opportunities. This is especially true around Christmas, when characters like Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and more usually dress up in their festive best.
Typically offered during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, you might also see some characters looking particularly jolly during regular park hours the closer it gets to Christmas. At the very least, you’ll be able to see them parade past in all their finery in the few days leading up to Christmas Day.
Meet Santa Claus in Liberty Square
Mickey and Minnie aren’t the only Christmas-loving characters mingling with guests during the holidays at Magic Kingdom. Santa Claus also comes to town to pose for photos and take last-minute gift requests from all the good girls and boys.
You can see Santa at either the Magic Kingdom Christmas party or during regular park hours, typically off and on between 10:00 AM and 5:00 PM, at the gazebo near Liberty Square’s Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe. If you don’t have the time to meet him, he also makes an appearance in Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade.
Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade
One of the highlights of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party each year is Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade. With an army of toy soldiers, prancing reindeer, dancing gingerbread men, a cast of characters looking spiffy in their holiday attire and Santa riding high in his sleigh as the parade marshall, this is one Magic Kingdom parade you won’t want to miss.
And guess what? Since special daytime showings are offered in the few days before and after Christmas, with showings at noon and 3:00 PM from December 22 to New Year’s Eve, you don’t even need a special event ticket to do it. It’s a Christmas miracle!
The parade starts in Frontierland next to Splash Mountain, then jingles all the way over to Liberty Square before dashing right down the middle of Main Street, U.S.A. So, choose your viewing location accordingly, especially since the best spots can fill up fast.
Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks
Another nighttime spectacular Disney is known for is its glittering fireworks shows, and Christmas at Magic Kingdom is no exception. As the shining star of the entertainment lineup at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks Show blazes to life with a sky full of twinkle lights, colorful castle projections and a stirring holiday soundtrack.
Like the parade, Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks are also shown on select nights leading up to and following Christmas Day during normal park hours, with a showing at 8:15 PM each evening from December 23 to December 29.
Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration
Whether you’re hoping to rest for a while or looking to see a Disney character or two without spending a bunch of time waiting in line for a meet-and-greet, a stage show can be a great way to enjoy the magic and sing along to some lovable songs. The same goes for Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration, a holly-jolly stage show featuring delightful holiday tunes and everyone’s favorite mouse.
As with the holiday fireworks and parade, this Walt Disney World stage show is usually only available at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. However, good boys and girls can also enjoy the show during normal park hours closer to Christmas Day.
Currently, the show is only on the schedule for December 30 and 31, 2023 at 7:45 PM, 9:00 PM and 10:00 PM. But, don’t be surprised if showtimes are also offered on the days between Christmas and New Year’s. Refer to the My Disney Experience app for the most up-to-date schedule.
Holiday Treats at Magic Kingdom
From cozy classics like stuffing and sweet potato pie to seasonal sweets made with chocolate or ice cream and doused in sprinkles or red-and-green sugar, it wouldn’t be the holiday season without some festive food. (Do all the decadent gingerbread displays at the Disney World hotels count? Because we sure think so!)
Unfortunately, although a tantalizing spread of exclusive eats is sold at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (see what’s available in our foodie guide), gaining access to those wintry bites doesn’t come cheap, ringing in at $159 to $199 for an adult ticket.
On the bright side, while you might not be able to try all the holiday treats on offer at Magic Kingdom this Christmas, some are available during regular park hours, meaning you don’t need to dig too far into your gift budget to sample some festive flavors. Here are the spirited snacks available at Magic Kingdom during normal park hours in November and December.
Main Street, U.S.A.
Holiday Dinner Dog – All-Beef Hot Dog with Cranberry Mustard, Savory Stuffing Funnel Cake and Cheese Curds (New! Offered Nov. 8 to Dec. 31, 2022)
Main Street Bakery
Cinnamon Roll – Mickey Mouse-Shaped Cinnamon Roll with White Icing (Offered Nov. 8 to Dec. 31, 2022)
Main Street, U.S.A. Snack Carts
Offered Nov. 8 to Dec. 31, 2022
Christmas Cookie Churro – Churro served with Marshmallow Cream, Cookie Crumbles and Christmas Sprinkles (New!)
Christmas Wreath Doughnut – Red Velvet Doughnut with Green Buttercream and Holiday Sprinkle Decorations (New!)
Golden Oak Outpost
Offered Nov. 8 to Dec. 31, 2022
Christmas-Style Fried Pork Tamale – Fried Pork Tamale served “Christmas Style” with Red and Green Chile Sauces and Queso Fresco (New!)
Texas-Sized Sweet Potato Pie – Baked Sweet Potato Pie with Marshmallow Meringue and Candied Pecans (New!)
Auntie Gravity’s Galactic Goodies
Lock, Shock and Barrel Sundae – Festive Vanilla Cake, Vanilla Ice Cream, Strawberry Topping, Whipped Cream and Christmas Sprinkles with a Lock, Shock, And Barrel Chocolate Piece (New! Offered Nov. 8 to Dec. 31, 2022)
Walt Disney World Holiday Decorations at Magic Kingdom
Are you the kind of people who start decorating for the holidays partway through November? Do you love checking out the Christmas lights in neighborhoods around your town? (Us too!) Then the Magic Kingdom Christmas decorations are for you.
While there isn’t a festive gingerbread display like at The American Adventure Pavilion in Epcot’s World Showcase or some Disney World hotels, you’ll find yuletide decor throughout the park at Magic Kingdom. The fantastical trimmings and trappings seemingly appear overnight at the beginning of November as if by magic, from the old-timey ornaments on Main Street to the futuristic tinsel of Tomorrowland.
Naturally, nighttime brings the decorations to life in all their twinkling, Christmassy glory. So, to fully appreciate everything decking the halls, follow our lead and try to visit each land during both the day and night. For a sneak peek of all the merriment, keep scrolling for our photo tour of the Magic Kingdom Christmas decorations.
Bedecked with garlands, twinkle lights and jolly red ribbons, as well as Mickey and Minnie topiaries crowned with Santa hats, Magic Kingdom’s main entrance welcomes guests to the park, while also hinting at the yuletide treasures inside. Be sure to take a photo in front of the Walt Disney World Railroad.
Main Street, U.S.A.
Like the Victorian-inspired trimmings and trappings at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort just across Seven Seas Lagoon, Christmas decorations along Main Street, U.S.A. harken back to a simpler time. Toy soldiers stand at attention and garlands are trimmed with old-fashioned baubles.
In Town Square, the park’s massive Christmas tree is decked out with classic ornaments like rocking horses, gingerbread men and a massive strand of popcorn. While at the top of the avenue, Cinderella Castle is hung with EARidescent baubles and glittering garlands in honor of the park’s 50th-anniversary celebration.
There aren’t too many holiday decorations to be seen in Adventureland. After all, they don’t really celebrate Christmas in Agrabah or the South Pacific. Fortunately, those intrepid skippers of the Jungle Cruise are keeping the yuletide spirit alive over at the festively revamped Jingle Cruise. Look for cobbled-together decor with kitsch and charm in equal measure. Decorations are sprinkled through both the queue and ride. So, set aside some time to set sail if you want to experience all the merriment.
Like neighboring Adventureland, you won’t find too many holiday decorations around Frontierland. What is there, however, is delightfully rustic. Think garlands decorated with holly, small flowers, tiny oranges studded with cloves, twisty branches and gingham-trimmed ribbons.
The simple, homespun aesthetic continues on in Liberty Square. Decorations located around this fitting tribute to the Founding Fathers look pretty similar to those in Frontierland next door. (The townspeople must share the same decorator.) Unfortunately, unlike its counterpart at Disneyland in California, there is no east-coast version of Haunted Mansion Holiday, a merry makeover inspired by The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Similarly, you’ll find very few Christmas decorations in Fantasyland. Aside from the luxurious ornaments and garland on the back side of Cinderella Castle, it looks like the only people celebrating the holidays this year are the folks in Belle’s village. Gaston’s Tavern is all dressed up for Christmas, featuring lush garlands peppered with poinsettias, pinecones and rich red ribbons.
There is also a smattering of holiday decorations in the Storybook Circus area of New Fantasyland in the meet-and-greet area for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. The vibrant garlands with colorful baubles and Mickey-inspired details are a fitting addition to the circus tent.
Tomorrowland may not be the most festive part of the park, but the Christmas decorations that are here are really fun. Silvery tinsel trees trimmed with colorful balls and topped with an impressive star make the perfect backdrop for both Club Tinsel and impromptu family photos.
Well, folks, that wraps up our yuletide tour of the Magic Kingdom, as well as our guide to all the holly-jolly fun and seasonal treats on offer. Are you heading to Magic Kingdom this Christmas? What are you most looking forward to about the holidays at the Walt Disney World Resort? Let us know in the comments! Then, find out how to stretch your budget (and save more for gifts) with our discount Disney World tickets.