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Everything you need to know about Disney World’s Christmas decorating timeline

Everything you need to know about Disney World’s Christmas decorating timeline

Find out exactly when each area of Disney World is decked out for the holidays this season, so you don’t miss any of the fun!

Holidays at Disney World

Credit: Susan

There’s something extra magical about being at Disney World during the holiday season. Disney offers ALL the Christmas decorations, characters in unique costumes, festive meals, and so much more! Once you go at the holidays, you may have a hard time going any other time.

Take a look at Disney’s decorating timeline below and see when you can experience each of these favorites. Disney’s official holiday kick-off date is November 11 so everything will be completed by then.

Disney’s official holiday kick-off date is November 11, but some of the holiday magic starts before then!

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Credit: Donna

One of the first areas decorated for Christmas is Disney’s Hollywood Studios. First, the snow machine was set up in mid-October. Last year, the tinsel decorated streets and lamp posts appeared on October 14. They were up this year the week before Halloween.

The old Hollywood holiday glam at Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards in Disney’s Hollywood Studios is so much fun. And don’t miss the festive touches in Toy Story Land and vintage life-size toy decorations. Not only that, but the Santa Claus Merry Motorcade features jolly St. Nick himself cruising down Hollywood Boulevard in his candy-apple red convertible stuffed full of presents. 

Check out Donna’s full guide for all things festive at Disney’s Hollywood Studios HERE.

Disney Resorts

Credit: Monica

Disney announced the beloved gingerbread displays and wonderful holiday decorations are coming back Disney Resort Hotels. The EPCOT resorts, including Disney’s Beach and Yacht Club and Disney’s Boardwalk Resorts, were fully decorated this year on November 2! That’s right, they were the first ones finished.

Although you can expect all of the resorts to be decorated by November 11, the Grand Floridian began building its epic gingerbread house on November 2nd also. In addition, don’t miss these over-the-top decorated resorts: Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Contemporary Resort. Each Disney owned resort has multiple Christmas trees and resort themed decorations.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Credit: Donna

While at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, be on the lookout for animal-inspired décor, luminaries on Discovery Island and decorations from Earth have brought to Pandora. These luminaries were spotted just before Halloween this year.

One of my favorite Disney traditions, A Merry Menagerie, is coming back. Its life-sized, artisan-sculpted puppets of winter animals bring Discovery Island to life as they interact with guests alongside serenading musicians. After dark, watch the Tree of Life awaken as a series of wintry tales emerge from within, complemented by holiday-inspired music. Both of these return on November 11.

Disney Springs

Credit: KtP

Take a look at nightly snow flurries and Disney-themed Christmas tree trails at Disney Springs. Guests can walk in a winter wonderland through Town Center and the West Side as flurries of snow add a touch of magic to holiday shopping. Expect to see the Christmas tree trail November 5 until December 30.

Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar transforms into a holiday bar complete with jolly decorations to ring in the merry season. Guests can indulge in limited-time holiday-themed sips and snacks to get into the spirit of the season.  Enjoy new and returning festive food items throughout Disney Springs like Olaf’s Hot Cocoa Surprise from The Ganachery. Last year, these holiday menus began on November 5.

Disney’s Magic Kingdom

Credit: KtP

In addition to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, guests enjoy the classic festive decorations throughout Main Street, U.S.A. beginning November 1. Not only that, but the Jingle Cruise holiday overlay attraction also began on November 2.

We’re so excited that the Christmas Party is returning this year! We are back to the original format after a two-year hiatus. In 2020 they had castle projections and a themed cavalcade. Then, in 2021, they hosted Very Merriest After Hours. You can read Monica’s review HERE. The first Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party takes place on November 8, and runs until the week before Christmas.

Credit: KtP

This year’s Christmas party brings back new and returning holiday offerings, including Mickey’s Once Upon a Time Christmastime parade with Santa and Mickey Mouse greeting guests. Then, get ready for “A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas,” featuring Buzz, Mike Wazowski, and Stitch on the Rockettower Plaza Stage.

On non-party nights, Cinderella Castle transforms to take on a magical holiday look complete with special projection effects, festive colors and a rotating series of designs including a whimsical Christmas sweater, a jeweled castle look and more.  


Credit: Monica

EPCOT is the last Disney World theme park to celebrate the holidays. This is due to EPCOT’s Food & Wine Festival running through mid-November. The Festival of the Holidays begins November 25 and offers tasty snacks and sips throughout the park.

New savory offerings include an Impossible™ Chorizo Tamale, a Plant-based Cotija Cheese and Spicy Red Chile Sauce found at Nochebuena Cocina Holiday Kitchen.  Returning items include the Maple Bûche de Noël found at Holiday Hearth Holiday Kitchen.

Disney recently shared some exciting news about the 2022 Candlelight Processional, including the list of narrators and dining packages. So many favorites are returning this year! And don’t miss the Storytellers. These performers perform in countries around the World Showcase during the festival.

And don’t miss Santa greeting guests inside the Odyssey Pavilion this season.

Final Thoughts

Credit: Kenny the Pirate

There is so much to see and do over the holidays at Disney World. It’s almost impossible to see it all. Hopefully, this timeline will help you prioritize what you want to see during your next holiday trip. Do you prefer EPCOT festivals with unique entertainment and food or the traditional vintage Magic Kingdom decorations?

Keep in mind that the week after Christmas is the busiest week in the entire year! It’s manageable with a good touring plan, but if you want to avoid major crowds, this may not be the best week for you. The week before Christmas is also heavily crowded. If you’re able to visit earlier in December, the holidays will be in full swing, but crowds will be slightly lower (especially during the week.)

Are you visiting Disney World this holiday season? Which is your favorite way to celebrate at Disney? Please share your thoughts with us on our Facebook Page.

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