Dining Planning for Christmas in Disney

The holidays in Disney Parks are an incredibly magical time, and because we’re well into the Disney World dining planning window for folks who are headed to Orlando during the holiday season I wanted to add a few resources to the planning sessions!

Where to Eat

Disney holiday menus will always feature special treats! At the request of several readers, I did a quick poll of our facebook fans and twitter followers to determine the answer to this question, “If you could dine at one Disney World restaurant for your holiday dinner, where would you go?” I was quickly rewarded with some fantastic answers! Here are some of the most popular responses:

Liberty Tree Tavern
This location wins with our readers for Thanksgiving, and it was an overwhelmingly popular choice for Christmas as well. Most readers indicated that the cozy atmosphere at Liberty Tree Tavern and the traditional holiday dinner fare is what would bring them here.

Liberty Tree Tavern Pot Roast

Mele Kalikimaka! ‘Ohana was tied for first place with Liberty Tree Tavern, so clearly DFB readers share my affinity for the islands! :-) After growing up in the snowy tundra of western New York State, Hawai’i sounds pretty good as a Christmas destination right about now! Plus, this location has a wonderful family-style service that makes it perfect for holiday family reunions.

'Ohana Fire Pit

Le Cellier
I’m pretty sure we never have a top list that Le Cellier Steakhouse doesn’t get voted onto! This cozy location is perfect for holiday dining, I must admit — the subdued lighting and feel of the wine cellar-like restaurant makes you feel like you must have just escaped the cold weather of a Canadian winter! “Dripping candle” sconces on the walls and pine decorations make this spot feel like you’re home for the holidays.

Le Cellier Entryway

California Grill
This is the pick for a dramatic Christmas dinner! Sitting atop the Contemporary Resort with sweeping views of Seven Seas Lagoon, the Grand Floridian Resort, and the Magic Kingdom (including those all-important fireworks!), California Grill will offer you a holiday dinner to remember!

California Grill Apple Cobbler

Artist Point
Located in Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Artist Point‘s northwestern decor combined with the pine trees outside can easily make you feel as though you’ve gone north for the winter instead of south! This cozy signature restaurant featuring soaring ceilings and beautiful murals serves up hearty, inventive dishes using signature ingredients from the northwest, including bison, rich cheeses, mussels, mushrooms, and venison.

Artist Point Decor and Murals

Of course, those were just the most popular choices! Other suggestions that got plenty of votes from our readers for their holiday dinners were Narcoossee’s, Citricos, and Victoria & Albert’s in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort; Cinderella’s Royal Table and Crystal Palace in the Magic Kingdom; Jiko in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge; Chef Mickey’s in Disney’s Contemporary Resort; and 50’s Prime Time Cafe in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Also, remember that several Disney restaurants announce specialty Christmas Day menus closer to December. In 2009, these included: Biergarten, Boma, Cape May Cafe, Flying Fish Cafe, Chef Mickey’s, The Wave, Trail’s End Restaurant, 1900 Park Fare, Citricos, Narcoossee’s, Victoria & Albert’s, Grand Floridian Cafe, Olivia’s Cafe, bluezoo, Whispering Canyon Cafe, Captain’s Grill, Fulton’s, Wolfgang Puck Grand Cafe, Wolfgang Puck The Dining Room, and Portobello. You can find information, details, Disney Food Blog posts, and links to current menus for all of these restaurants on our Disney World Table Service Restaurant Guide.

Beach Club Resort Gingerbread Carousel

Events and Experiences

And while we’re talking holidays, don’t forget that there are lots of incredible events for food lovers that take place in Disney parks during the festive season. Be sure to check out our Disney Food During the Holidays primer to see our coverage from last year! Here are a few of the magical experiences you can expect while in Disney during the holidays:

Candlelight Processional Dining Package
The Candlelight Processional is a truly magical musical event that takes place in Epcot during the holiday season. You can learn all about it here, but for your planning purposes, just know that the Dinner Packages that accompany the event and offer priority seating at the Processional will be available for booking on August 26th.

Gingerbread Houses at Disney Resorts
You’ve never seen Gingerbread Houses like these! Most of the Disney World deluxe resorts showcase massive Gingerbread displays ranging from live-sized cottages to huge carousels. It’s quite a site to see! Check out our 2009 Disney Gingerbread Display photos here.

Disneyland Candy Canes: Image (c) Disney

Candy Canes in Disneyland
Disneyland’s Candy Canes are an institution! Guests line up around the Main Street “block” to see these limited edition sugary treats in the making. Candy-makers at the Candy Palace only make these for a limited time, and last year they had to begin selling tickets to purchase them!

Holiday-Inspired Flavors Throughout the Parks
Throughout Disney’s parks you’ll find specialty items like holiday-flavored fudge (pumpkin and candy cane last year!), rice krispie treats in holiday shapes, and specially wrapped chocolates and other delicious snacks. You can even purchase pre-made Gingerbread houses to bring home! My favorite addition, however, is the red and green Dole Whip! See Disney Christmas treat photos here, here, and here.

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
This exciting event is one you’re never going to forget! Join Mickey, Minnie, and all their friends for a magical evening in the Magic Kingdom! Indulge in sugar cookies, ginger snaps, and hot chocolate to your heart’s content, then watch as Santa comes down Main Street in his massive sleigh while the snow (SNOW!) comes down all around you. This is a hard-ticket event, which means Disney only sells about 20,000 tickets per party. Find dates and prices for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, along with lots of other information about what Disney has planned for the 2010 holiday season, here.

I’m so glad I’ve booked a short, quickie trip to Disney World for the 2010 WDW Today Podcast Reunion (a Disney fan meet up) this December! Writing this post has gotten me pretty excited!

What are your plans for the holidays at Disney Parks this year? And, if you’re not going to Anaheim or Orlando this season, what would your ideal trip look like? I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions for our Disney Holiday blog post next year!

This post is part of the 8th Edition of the DisMarks Blog Carnival! Be sure to check out the carnival to read more great posts about Disney!


  1. Lori says

    I’m just wondering what part of WNY you’re from? We live in Clarence Center and I’m surprised at how many “Disney Addicts” live around here!

  2. says

    I’m sure in your excitement for Reunion, you forgot to mention the best event for the holidays in WDW….the Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights….right? right? ;)

  3. Liz says

    Great post. We love to go to DHS and see the Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights. It’s the perfect way to start off the holidays and you can buy some hot apple cider (or hot chocolate) in one of their souvenir holiday mugs and grab a gingerbread cookie as you stroll around viewing the light show.

  4. says

    We did Biergarten one year for Thanksgiving. Think I’d still recommend it for Christmas. Had lots of items that we’d have at a holiday meal because of our heritage. So if your heritage is represented in the World Showcase, give it a try!

    See you at Reunion!!!

  5. says

    Lori — I’m from a little town south of Buffalo, NY :-)

    Matt and Liz — Curses! I left if out thinking I was only going to mention the events that have a significant food tie-in… and Liz has to go and showcase the food tie-in I didn’t consider! ;-)

    Kelly — Biergarten was mentioned in the poll, but didn’t get enough votes to make the list. However, I agree with you — I think it would be a great place to celebrate the holiday! And they do have some Christmas tie-ins to the show!

  6. Shayne says

    Tucking this away for 2011, when we’ll be at WDW for my son’s 10th birthday (12/21) and Christmas. I CAN’T WAIT!!!

  7. CanadiansloveWDW says

    AJ you are not too far from me.. i am from hamilton which is between niagara falls and toronto.. i will be flying out of buffalo on the 27th to DISNEY for 9 days…

  8. says

    CanadiansloveWDW — We used to drive through Hamilton all the time back when I lived in that area! :-) Hopefully you’re coming to the WDW Foodie Fest on October 3rd!!

    chris — I’ve never seen it during the holidays; will have to get there soon!

  9. CanadiansloveWDW says

    AJ we are going on august 27th .. so in 2 weeks today .. and i have 2 ADR for le cellier… cant wait.. i can smell the steak already…

  10. says

    Thank you so much for taking the time to put this together AJ! I really do appreciate it.

    I’m glad that the California Grill in the Disney’s Contemporary Resort made the list. These are some really great pictures that you have I must say and the Mickey Mouse with the scarf is a nice touch.

    I never knew that about the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party having a parade, this makes everything so much better. And what would Christmas be without Santa Clause (Santa Mickey?). I wonder how much in advance you need to book for it though since it’s a hard ticket event?

    Thanks, and keep up the wonderful work!

  11. says

    Canadians Love WDW — Oh, have so much fun! Can’t wait to hear all about it!

    Josh — You can purchase Very Merry Christmas Party tickets now if you want! It’s great to get them early :-)


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