If you are planning a November or December trip to Disney World you may wonder which parks have the best holiday decorations or celebrations, which you should dedicate the most time to, and which park you may want to skip if you have limited time.
In this article, I’ll rank the holiday offerings at the four Disney parks to help you make your decision.
4. Animal Kingdom
Overall this park has the weakest holiday offerings so if you were going to skip one park this would be it. In past years, Mickey and Minnie met in their holiday sweaters at Animal Kingdom. However, this year their costumes were changed to their regular safari outfits with subtle Christmas additions, which was a disappointing change for a lot of guests.
Animal Kingdom did add some new holiday offerings this year. There are adorable wintry animal puppet shows, called Merry Menagerie, during the day and a new holiday addition of Tree of Life Awakenings. There are also some subtle holiday decorations in DinoLand, Pandora, Africa, and Asia.
3. Hollywood Studios
Hollywood Studios has some charming Christmas decorations including lights, giant ornaments, and Christmas hats and scarves on characters in Toy Story Land.
At night there is a festive fireworks/projection show called Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM that takes place nightly on the backdrop of the Chinese Theater. There is also a dessert party you can attend to make it extra special with reserved seating and snacks.
Plus, snow on Hollywood Blvd. makes everything extra festive! Tower of Terror is the backdrop for Sunset Seasons Greetings. It’s a fun projection-based holiday celebration where LED billboards will magically transform to holiday seasonal presentations with your favorite characters.
2. Magic Kingdom
You could definitely make the argument for Magic Kingdom being #1, but part of the reason I placed it at #2 is that the best holiday offering, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, requires a separate ticket.
The highlight of holiday offerings at Magic Kingdom is Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, which is offered a few times a week in November and December and requires a separate ticket.
There is a parade featuring marching toy soldiers, reindeer, and Santa himself. Several treat locations throughout the park give out free cookies and holiday drinks, and snow falls on Main Street every night of the party. Plus the new fireworks presentation can’t be missed. It’s truly magical.
Character Locator has everything you need for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas party. Touring plans, character meets, best spots to view the parade and fireworks, and a map of where everything is located are all in one spot.
For regular day guests, The Magic Kingdom offers holiday decor along Main Street, a Christmas overlay on the Jungle Cruise and Elsa’s lighting of the castle, which happens nightly before MVMCP begins.
There are also some delicious holiday treats, some of which are exclusive to MVMCP and some of which are available all day. For descriptions and photos of Magic Kingdom holiday treats offered in 2019 see here.
Epcot has some amazing Christmas decorations around the World Showcase and each country features its own Holiday Storyteller as well as special holiday treats. The experience is called International Festival of the Holidays, and it is not to be missed. You could easily dedicate two days to Epcot just to catch all the activities, storytellers, and food offerings.
Epcot is also the only park where you can meet Santa AND Mrs. Claus which makes it pretty special.
But, the highlight of a Christmastime trip to Epcot is the Candlelight Processional which happens several times a night in November and December. It is a retelling of the Nativity story with a choir, candles and a celebrity presenter. It is an incredibly moving experience that every Christmas-lover needs to experience!
The best part is the event is included with admission to Epcot! However, standby lines can be long especially for popular narrators so I recommend getting a dining package to ensure you get a seat for the performance.
So there are my rankings of the four Disney parks at Christmastime! How would you rank them? What’s your favorite thing to do at Disney during the holidays?
Ashley Beckwith McKellar
Follow me on Instagram @disneyparksmom