Where to Find Santa at Disney World This Christmas
The holidays are in full swing at Walt Disney World – and you know what that means. Santa Claus is coming to town! Just in time for the Christmas season, Jolly Old Saint Nicholas takes a break from making toys and lists of all the good girls and boys in his workshop and heads south for a few weeks to spend some time at The Most Magical Place on Earth.
But, just where can you find Santa Claus at Disney World during Christmas in 2022? Can you meet him and pose for photos? And does Santa sign autographs? (Asking for a friend.) Put on your Santa hat and read on as we list out all the ways you can see the big guy with your family around the Walt Disney World Resort this holiday season.
Searching for Santa Claus at Walt Disney World
Nothing beats the magic of visiting Disney World at Christmas. The theme parks, hotels and Disney Springs are all decked out with elaborate holiday decorations. Disney characters dress up in the holiday finest, greeting guests and spreading cheer during festive parades.
And just like any holly-jolly get-together, seasonal bites and beverages like festive cookies, yuletide cocktails and even cozy Christmas dinners are on offer at restaurants across the Central Florida resort. It even snows! (Spoiler alert: It’s made from soap.)
Of course, it wouldn’t be the holidays without an appearance by Kris Kringle himself. Fortunately, during Christmastime at Disney World, guests have several opportunities to see Santa Claus, whether they’re in the theme parks, at Disney Springs or even cooling off at Blizzard Beach Water Park.
Is Santa Claus at Disney World Around Christmas?
Yes! Santa appears at all four of the Disney World theme parks, as well as the popular Disney Springs entertainment complex and Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park. However, he doesn’t stop by Disney’s BoardWalk or any of the Disney World hotels.
See Santa cruise past during a parade, motorcade or flotilla, learn more about the spirit of Saint Nicholas at Epcot’s International Festival of the Holidays, stop by to say “hello,” pose for pictures and pass along your Christmas list during a meet-and-greet, or get in the yuletide spirit with a special dining experience.
Can You Meet Santa at Walt Disney World During the Holidays?
Yup! While you can wave at the jolly old elf from afar during a parade, flotilla, motorcade or show, you can also say “hi” to and pose for photos with Santa during a traditional meet-and-greet. This is a great opportunity for kids to make any last-minute requests before Santa’s big night, as well as to take a picture for your family holiday card.
Typically, during meet-and-greets, Santa Claus is accompanied by a Disney PhotoPass Photographer. That said, should one not be available during your visit, a nearby cast member will be happy to take a photo for you with your personal camera or cell phone.
Have Character Meet-and-Greets Returned to Normal?
Although the COVID-19 pandemic threw a wrench in up-close character interactions for a while, as of April 18, 2022, traditional character meet-and-greets have returned in all their glory to the Walt Disney World Resort, along with hugs and autographs.
Can You See Santa Goofy During Christmas at Disney World in 2022?
Gawrsh! In addition to appearances by the jolly old elf himself, Santa Goofy also stops by select locations around Walt Disney World. Usually, Santa Goofy can only be seen during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party in Magic Kingdom or Minnie’s Holiday Dine at Hollywood & Vine in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
That said, don’t be surprised if he makes a surprise appearance during regular operating hours the closer it gets to Christmas. Check out the My Disney Experience app for current meet-and-greet times and locations.
Can You See Black Santa at Disney World This Holiday Season?
Whether with The Princess and the Frog, Raya and the Last Dragon, Coco, Elena of Avalor or Encanto, Disney has shown that representation matters. And in 2021, they carried that message over to the holidays in Disney World and Disneyland, with a Black Santa Claus following in the footsteps of Princess Tiana, Moana, Miguel, Mulan and Mirabel Madrigal.
This year, as with last year, keep your eyes open for a Black Santa (as well as the typical White Saint Nick) during Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade or at meet-and-greets during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.
Does Santa Claus Sign Autographs at Disney?
So, with regular meet-and-greets back in action at the Disney Parks, can you have Santa sign your autograph book? Sadly, Santa Claus doesn’t usually sign autographs during Disney meet-and-greets. Santa Goofy, on the other hand, well, that’s a different story. Having said that, should you be lucky enough to meet him, chances are he will sign only as “Goofy” instead of “Santa Goofy.”
Can You Eat with Santa at Disney World This Christmas?
You sure can! We don’t know about you, but character dining is one of our favorite things to do at Disney World. Not only is combining a meal with a meet-and-greet a great way to save time, but it’s also a ton of fun.
So, this cozy season, why not consider booking a brunch with the big guy or, if you’d rather, having supper alongside Santa Goofy? In Disney Springs, Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante is offering Breakfast with Santa on select mornings from November 26 through December 24, 2022.
Meanwhile, Hollywood & Vine in Hollywood Studios has Minnie’s Holiday Dine, a spirited spread of yuletide treasures with appearances by Santa Goofy and other Disney pals decked up in their festive best. Just remember that eating with character dining is incredibly popular and tables can fill up quickly, so be sure to book a reservation early.
When Can You See Santa During the Holidays at Disney World?
For 2022, Christmastime at Disney World officially runs from November 11 through December 31, with Epcot joining the party fashionably late on November 25. However, although the celebrations continue through New Year’s Eve, keep in mind that you won’t be able to see Santa all season long, as he returns to the North Pole on December 24 for his annual adventure around the globe. So, plan your visit accordingly if you know you want to see him.
Where to See Santa at Disney World During Christmas 2022
Now, without any further ado, here are all the places you can spot Santa Claus at Disney World in 2022.
Magic Kingdom Park
There are two different ways to see Santa at Magic Kingdom: as part of the park’s Christmas parade or at a classic meet-and-greet in Liberty Square. Best of all, depending on when you visit during the holiday season, both of these Santa sightings are available to regular Magic Kingdom guests and those going to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (MVMCP for short).
Mickey’s Once Upon a Time Christmastime Parade
There’s no better parade marshall for Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade than Santa Claus, who dashes through Magic Kingdom from atop his sleigh. With appearances by St. Nick, dancing reindeer, an army of toy soldiers, and Mickey Mouse and his pals, this jolly procession is a fan favorite each year.
For much of the season, the parade is exclusively for Christmas partygoers, running two times each night of the after-hours event at 8:30 PM and 11:00 PM. However, in the days leading up to Christmas and for roughly a week after (MVMCP ends for the season on December 22, 2022), it also shows in the daytime during regular operating hours, with showtimes twice daily at noon and 3:00 PM from December 23 to 31.
Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade steps off in Frontierland next to Splash Mountain. From there, it winds over to the Liberty Square Bridge and out onto the Hub before jingling all the way down Main Street, U.S.A. Just be aware that the Magic Kingdom Christmas parade is incredibly popular and can draw huge crowds, so be prepared to claim your spot ahead of time.
Liberty Square Gazebo Near Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe
Santa doesn’t just wave at his adoring fans from the comfort of his sleigh. When it isn’t raining, he also greets guests over at the Liberty Square Gazebo near Ye Old Christmas Shoppe.
Similar to his starring role in the holiday parade, this extra-special meet-and-greet with Santa is available at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, as well as during regular operating hours – typically, on an intermittent basis between 10:00 AM and 5:00 PM the closer it gets to Christmas. Check the My Disney Experience app for the current schedule.
World Showcase Storytellers at International Festival of the Holidays
Without a doubt, along with Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, one of the best festive activities at Disney World is Epcot’s International Festival of the Holidays. Featuring seasonal snacks and sips at the Holiday Kitchens, jolly decorations and spirited special entertainment like the Candlelight Processional, there’s something for everyone.
However, when it comes to Kris Kringle, you definitely won’t want to miss the festival’s cultural storytellers. Set up in select World Showcase pavilions, these wintertime troubadours share yuletide traditions from various cultures across the globe, including the legend of Saint Nicholas.
Santa Claus at the Odyssey Pavilion
From late November through December 24, meet Santa before he sets off on his worldwide adventure at the Odyssey Pavilion in World Celebration. The big elf himself will be meeting guests in 60-minute chunks every day during the festival at 11:00 AM, 12:30 PM, 2:00 PM, 3:30 PM, 5:00 PM and 6:30 PM.
Father Christmas at the United Kingdom Pavilion
Today, Father Christmas in the United Kingdom and the American tradition of Santa Claus are virtually one and the same. However, this holiday ambassador actually has much earlier roots as a symbol of feasting, merry-making and good cheer.
Hear his story and UK holiday customs during one of his daily 15-minute performances at 10:30 AM, 11:30 AM, 12:40 PM, 1:30 PM, 3:00 PM, 4:00 PM, 5:00 PM, 6:00 PM and 6:45 PM.
Père Noël at the France Pavilion
Also known as Papa Noël, Père Noël is known for bringing gifts to good little girls and boys in France, placing small trinkets like toys, candy or cash in pairs of shoes that have been left by the fireplace. Hear one child’s letter to this version of St. Nick in one of the daily 15-minute performances at 10:00 AM, 11:00 AM, 12:10 PM, 12:50 PM, 2:15 PM, 3:15 PM, 4:30 PM and 5:15 PM.
Mischievous Magical Barn Santa at the Norway Pavilion
You know those little gnomes with the impressive white beards and distinctive red hats that have become popular holiday ornaments in recent years? Those are Julenisse, the puckish, pixie-like Barn Santas of Norway.
Said to take care of a family’s farmstead, they’re also known for bringing gifts on Christmas Eve. Hear the charming tradition at one of the daily 15-minute performances at 11:35 AM, 12:35 PM, 1:35 PM, 2:35 PM, 4:35 PM, 5:35 PM, 6:35 PM and 7:10 PM.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Whether you want to catch a glimpse of Old St. Nick or you’re hoping to dine with him (sort of) this Christmas at Disney World, Hollywood Studios should be on your list. Disney’s ode to Tinseltown, Hollywood Studios dazzles during the holidays with two different opportunities to see Santa.
Santa Claus Merry Motorcade
Hoping to see the man in red without wasting too much precious time? Watch Kris Kringle cruise past during the Santa Claus Merry Motorcade. Accompanied by a squad of prancing reindeer and dancing elves, this pint-sized procession is short but sweet. The cute cavalcade takes place on Hollywood Boulevard several times a day at 10:30 AM, `11:30 AM, 12:40 PM, 2:50 PM, 3:50 PM and 5:10 PM and features Santa’s candy-apple-red convertible.
Minnie’s Holiday Dine at Hollywood & Vine
No trip to the Disney Parks is complete with a Disney character meal, especially if you’re traveling as a family with kids. So, while Santa doesn’t stop by with gifts for Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, Santa Goofy does, making Minnie’s Holiday Dine at Hollywood & Vine well worth the dining reservation.
This bountiful buffet is offered for lunch and dinner from November 8, 2022 to January 5, 2023. In other words, it’s a fun way to wring every last drop of yuletide cheer out of the season even after the New Year. Or, book a table on December 25 for a Christmas dinner with character.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park
Admittedly, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park isn’t exactly the most Christmassy of the Disney Parks. Instead, the yuletide season at Animal Kingdom is all about cold-weather creatures and winter holidays around the world. Still, while you might not be able to meet Santa at Animal Kingdom, you can see the big man set sail down the Discovery River.
Santa Claus Festive Flotilla
Similar to the Santa Claus Merry Motorcade at Hollywood Hollywood Studios, the Santa Claus Festive Flotilla allows guests to celebrate cozy season, snap a quick photo and enjoy a short break without dedicating too much time.
Saint Nicholas floats by on the Discovery River several times each day – at 8:45 AM, 9:45 AM, 10:45 AM, 11:45 AM, 12:45 PM, 1:45 PM, 2:45 PM and 3:45 PM – from the start of the holidays through December 24.
Blizzard Beach Water Park
Even Santa deserves a vacation, especially after all the hard work he puts in each winter. And believe it or not, one of his favorite places to go on holiday is Central Florida. While he and the elves typically like hanging out at Disney’s Winter Summerland Golf Course, this year, from November 13 to December 31, 2022, kids of all ages can also meet Santa at Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park.
Dressed in red Converse hightops, a straw hat and a red Hawaiian shirt bedecked with white fur trim, images of him jetskiing or riding on a motorcycle and white pouf-ball buttons reminiscent of his signature hat, Santa greets guests and poses for photos near Sonny’s Sleds. He’s even parked his trusty sleigh nearby, making for the perfect setting for your holiday photos.
But, that’s not all. To help Santa (and you) celebrate his vacation, Blizzard Beach has also gotten all dressed up especially for the occasion. Enjoy an unseasonable “snowfall” (it’s soap!) in certain locations around the park or float down Cross Country Creek, the park’s lazy river, in a massive Christmas wreath tube.
We must have been extra good this year because Santa appears at two different locations across Disney Springs in 2022: an up-close meeting at Once Upon a Toy in Marketplace or Breakfast with Santa at Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante in The Landing.
Once Upon a Toy
You don’t need to be a kid to meet Santa or to enjoy a photo with the big guy at Once Upon a Toy in Disney Springs’ Marketplace. Ole St. Nick appears at this adorable toy store across from Earl of Sandwich all day long from November 11 to December 24, 2022.
Best of all, since you don’t need to pay for a fancy meal or buy a ticket like you do at Blizzard Beach or the four theme parks, this is the only place to meet Santa at Disney World which is completely free. However, as meeting Kris Kringle at Once Upon a Toy is incredibly popular (and cheap!) and time slots are limited, be aware that you must use a virtual queue if you want to take photos with Santa here. You are not able to join a standby line.
How to Join the Virtual Queue for Santa in Disney Springs
Joining the virtual queue for Santa at Disney Springs is relatively simple. To get started, you’ll first need to be inside Disney Springs. Once you’ve arrived, fire up the My Disney Experience app and select the three horizontal lines in the bottom-right corner.
From there, tap “Virtual Queues” then “Join Virtual Queue,” followed by the “Disney Springs” tab. Note that the virtual queue is only available at 9:00 AM, 12:00 PM, 3:00 PM and 6:00 PM. Then, follow the onscreen prompts to check if there’s still space in the queue, as well as how long you’ll have to wait and which groups are next.
Once it’s your group’s turn, a member of your party (the maximum size is 10 people) will get a push notification on their device with a link to your entry code. Lastly, simply return to the location by the time on your digital pass.
Breakfast with Santa at Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante
But, that isn’t the only place Santa appears at Disney Springs. Guests can also enjoy a decadent family-style breakfast followed by photos with Santa at Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante in The Landing.
Available on the weekends from November 26 to December 11, as well as the entire week leading up to Christmas Eve, Breakfast with Santas starts at $30 for kids and $50 for adults and includes a morning, Italian-style feast for the table to share, kid-friendly holiday activities, take-home treats and a Prosecco mimosa for the adults. Finally, once it’s your turn, everyone is able to pose for a photo with Santa, which is also included with your meal.
Well, Santa fans, that’s a wrap on our guide on where to find Kris Kringle at Disney Springs this year. What’s your favorite location to see Santa at Disney? Let us know in the comments! Then, learn how you can save on your next vacation with our discount Disney tickets.