The holiday season at Disney’s theme parks and resorts is filled with delights for food fans!
We’ve compiled many years of Disney holiday experience so that you don’t miss a single treat, holiday meal, event, or activity. It includes NEW events and holiday happenings for 2016, over 350 photos, an events calendar, and an informative FAQ section!
As the resorts turn visions of gingerbread houses into life-size creations, guests walking into the hotels are greeted first by the memorable aroma that conjures up memories of long-ago Christmas mornings. Then there’s chocolate and icing decor to be admired too!
The Disney shops tempt us with seasonal merchandise and treats previously only seen in our candied dreams. When the Main Street Confectionery begins to offer Peppermint Fudge, it’s time to linger even longer — to watch and to indulge!
For another Disney Food Blog Christmas, we strive to capture the spirit of the holiday:
Walt Disney World Dining Planning for the Holidays
There are plenty of Disney holiday events and details for the food lover in Disney World. For Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s, guests can expect specialty menus and holiday meals at many Disney restaurants.
Here’s what you can expect for Christmas Options in Disney World:
- Restaurants that are often closed will be open during this busy season. For example, look for Tomorrowland Terrace in the Magic Kingdom to be serving.
- Buffets such as the Biergarten in Epcot will have holiday menu options.
- Many restaurants will have holiday meals on the menu. For example, at the Grand Floridian, the Grand Floridian Cafe will add a special entree to the regular menu.
For information on every single Disney World restaurant holiday option, treat yourself to the DFB Guide to the Walt Disney World Holidays 2016!
For more ideas, check out our reader-suggested restaurants for Christmas in Disney World! Plus our readers have chimed in on their favorite spots for Thanksgiving meals in WDW!
Learn how to budget your time during the holidays at Walt Disney World in this DFB Video!
Holiday Treats at Walt Disney Word
Watch here for our first look at some holiday-themed treats popping up on Disney Property.
2016 Seasonal Treats in Epcot:
Epcot will feature full themed FOOD BOOTHS for the Christmas and Winter Holidays! Look for the ramped-up food offerings from November 25 through December 30 at Epcot’s Holidays Around the World.
Mickey Santa Hat Cupcake
World Showcase Plaza
Seasonal Southern Specialties
New for 2016! Frozen S’Mores, Hoppin’ John (Black Eyed Peas, Ham Hocks, and Kale, served over Rice with Cornbread Crumbles), Blackened Catfish with White Cheddar Grits and Okra, Tomato and Onion Stew, and Chocolate Pecan Tart.
Feast of Three Kings
New for 2016! Shredded Beef Tamale with Avocado Crema, Roasted Pork with Mashed Yucca and Pickled Green Bananas, Three Kings Bread. Drinks include Coquito, or Coconut Milk, or add a Rum Floater to the beverage for an adult twist.
Holiday Waffle: This year’s Turkey Waffle will feature a sweet potato waffle filled with roast turkey and green bean casserole.
Hot Holiday Twinings Teas: Chai; Pumpkin Spice Chai; Christmas; Pure Mint Tea with Chocolate (Specialty Beverage)
Flavored Hot Chocolates: Toasted Marshmallow; Salted Caramel; Peanut Butter;Traditional
Flavored Hot Ciders: Toasted Marshmallow; Hazelnut; Traditional; Spiced Cider with Frangelico Liqueur
Popcorn cart – Pecan Maple Bark
Beer Cart – Hot Applejack Cider (a hot mulled cider with whiskey and a blend of seasonal spices)
New for 2016! Duck Confit, Dumplings, and Roasted Brussels Sprouts with a Fig Reduction, Cheese Fondue in a Bread Bowl served with Steamed Vegetables, Sachertorte (Chocolate Cake, Apricot Jam, and Dark Chocolate Glaze), Frozen Winter Spice Hot Chocolate featuring Twinings of London Tea (alcoholic and non-alcoholic version available), Weingut Stadt Krems Gruner Vetliner, White Wine, and Heinrich Red Blend.
Kabuki Cafe – Teriyaki Chicken Karaage (Bite-sized Boneless Pieces with Teriyaki Sauce)
Sugar and Spice Bake Shop – Fresh baked: Gingerbread Men; Chocolate Chunk Cookies and Sugar Cookies; Hot Chocolate; Apple Cider and Peppermint Bark; Sparkling Wines, Cocoa Candy Cane (Hot Chocolate with Peppermint Schnapps topped with Whipped Cream)
American Holiday Table – New for 2016! Roasted Turkey with Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes, and Cranberry Sauce or Pork Tenderloin served with Green Bean Casserole, Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges, and a Champagne Demi-Glace. Shipyard Eggnog White Porter Aged on Bourbon, Firenog (a combo of Eggnog and Fireball Whisky), Great American Wine Company Red Blend, and Chardonnay made by famed California winemaker Rosenblum, Hot Chocolate, Eggnog, and Cocoa Candy Cane (Hot Chocolate with Peppermint Schnapps).
Panettone (a sweet bread loaf)
Before shopping at the Christmas Market, stop by Prost where you’ll find Gluhwein by the glass for some warm holiday cheer!
Delicious spots that are likely to return this year:
Nuts About the Holidays: Get cinnamon-glazed pecans and almonds at park kiosks and on the Boardwalk.
BoardWalk Bakery: Keep an eye out for holiday treats.
Contempo Cafe: Look for holiday-themed cupcakes in the bakery case.
Shopping for specialty holiday items is part of the seasonal fun. Take a look at some great merchandise for your Disney World holiday shopping lists!
Disney World Gingerbread Displays and Activities
There are wonderfully aromatic and gorgeous gingerbread displays under construction this year at the Contemporary Resort, BoardWalk Resort, Beach Club Resort, Grand Floridian, Epcot, and more!
New for 2016: Tusker House Restaurant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom will feature an African Marketplace – made of gingerbread.
Don’t forget that you can actually purchase pre-made gingerbread houses and other gingerbread and holiday treats at many of the gingerbread displays!
Collectible Gingerbread House Pins: Every year, Disney releases trading pins commemorating their Gingerbread House displays.
Events and Experiences
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 DFB Guide to the Walt Disney World Holidays 2016!
Here are a few of the magical experiences you can expect while in Disney during the holidays:
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
This exciting event is absolutely memorable! Join Mickey and all his friends for a magical evening in the Magic Kingdom! Indulge in sugar cookies and hot chocolate to your heart’s content, then watch as Santa parades down Main Street in his beautiful sleigh while the snow (yes, SNOW!) comes down all around you. Take a look at 2016’s Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party treats with expanded offerings this year!
This is a hard-ticket event, which means Disney sells a limited amount of tickets per party. In 2016, it’s offered on select dates:
November 7, 8, 10, 11, 13, 15, 18, 27, 29; December 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 11, 13, 15, 16, 18, 22
Tickets range from $86 to $99 plus tax for adults; $81-$94 plus tax for kids 3-9. Buy your tickets in advance for the best savings! Advance purchase, Annual Passholder, and Disney Vacation Club discounts are available for select dates.
Holidays Around the World Entertainment
Epcot celebrates the holidays season from November 25 – December 30, 2015. Visit the countries around World Showcase to learn traditions and customs from around the globe. Learn about Hanukkah and Kwanzaa customs, hear the tale of Italy’s kind witch La Befana, see the Canadian Holiday Voyageurs, and visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus. A returning favorite is “Joyful! A Gospel Celebration of the Season”.
Stop by Mexico for the musical performance — Fiesta de Navidad — featuring dancers, mariachis, and traditional songs. In Morocco, a storyteller takes guests on a journey celebrating the festivals and traditions that create a “spice of life”. At the China pavilion, the vibrancy of a Chinese Lion Dance honors the Lunar New Year and Lantern Festival.
Walt Disney World Candlelight Processional Dining Packages
This is one of the most incredible events of the year, and the Dining Packages make it easy for you to get reserved seating!
See a list of 2016 Candlelight Processional narrators here!
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! — a brand new Holiday Spectacular revolving around a search-and-rescue mission for Santa Claus — will make its debut at Disney’s Hollywood Studios this holiday season. November 14 – December 31.
A Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! Holiday Dessert Party will also be an option for guests to add to their experience including desserts (of course!), specialty beverages, a reserved viewing area, and a pair of 3D HoloSpex® glasses to enhance the show.
The cost for the dessert party varies per date: the price is $69.00 for adults and $39.00 for children for dates November 14 – December 17. The price is $79 for adults and $45 for children for dates December 18 – 31. Booking is available by calling (407) WDW-DINE or via the Disney World website.
New Santa Meet and Greet
Don’t forget to have a chat with Santa at the Once Upon a Time shop.
From Nov. 11-Jan. 8, Disney Springs will showcase festive décor, entertainment, and holiday shopping.
New for 2016:
Disney Springs’ Christmas Tree Trail: Stroll among 15 custom decorated holiday, Disney-themed trees. Holiday tunes and a light dusting of snow add to the magic of this winter wonderland.
The Festival of Toys will take place at the Once Upon a Toy Fountain. Watch as life-sized toys magically come alive for an interactive holiday dance party every night.
MAC Cosmetics’ Nutcracker Sweet Collection: An eccentric ballet starring a handsome prince, the Sugar Plum Fairy, and rosy-cheeked soldiers will perform multiple times each day from November 16 – November 19, 2016.
Stitch’s Holiday Gift Hunt: Starting the day after Thanksgiving, this a scavenger hunt activity is fun for the whole family. Once complete, visit participating locations for a limited-edition button.
The festive fun continues with pin trading, a nightly tree lighting ceremony, toy soldier stilt walkers, and Christmas-inspired treats.
Cookie Decorating and Crafts
Many of the resorts offer cookie decorating to small guests. After all, just because you’re on vacation, why should you miss one of the seasons most beloved traditions? Check your resort’s entertainment schedule.
Likewise, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotels offer cookie decorating frequently throughout the holidays starting at 5PM in the Swan Lobby.
Special Holiday Music Performances
Holiday music is always a great way to set the mood for a festive celebration. And at Disney World during the winter holidays, you’re bound to find lots of talented musicians sharing joyful cheer!
Many of the Deluxe resorts will feature carolers throughout the season. You’re likely to see them at the Grand Floridian, Wilderness Lodge, and Yacht Club.
In addition, the Grand Floridian Society Orchestra often provides jazz renditions of holiday favorites.
You will also find carolers strolling the “streets” of Disney Springs throughout the season. And On the Marketplace Dock Stage, watch for school choir groups singing festive songs.
Visits with Characters and Santa Claus
But it would hardly be Christmas for the little ones without a visit from Santa Claus. While you can spy him at various places throughout the parks and at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, he’s also available to hear your Christmas wishes at other spots. Disney Springs hosts both Santa and Santa Goofy!
Holiday times are so busy that Disney pulls out all the stops to entertain the large number of guests. It’s quite common throughout Christmas week to find character meet and greets at Deluxe Resorts! Really — can you imagine anything more enchanting than Christmas Minnie and Mickey? Be sure to check with the concierge for more information on appearance times.
And you’ll also spy the big guy in front of his Tiki Hut at the Swan and Dolphin — perfect for a Florida Santa photo op. This year, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be hanging out by their Florida tiki hut on select evenings from 6:15PM – 8PM.
New Year’s Eve Dining Options
Unless otherwise noted, book these New Year’s Eve options at 407-WDW-DINE.
Epcot’s World ShowPlace Pavilion: A dining event geared toward the whole family returns in 2016. Once again, the event will feature buffet dining set to classic Disney music. The kids get their own buffet station with mac ‘n cheese, meatballs, chicken fritters and more. Seatings available from 3-9PM. $72.90 for adults, $44.38 ages 3 to 11. Great photo ops with fun vignettes for posing (sorry, no Disney characters) make for a memorable night.
Monsieur Paul in Epcot’s France Pavilion: Six seatings will be offered on New Year’s Eve. Choose from 11:45AM, noon, 2:15PM, 2:45PM, 5:45PM, and 6:15PM. A four-course, prix fixe menu of classical French cuisine costs $110.81 per person. There will also be two late night dinner seatings at 8:45PM and 9:45PM. An enhanced French menu, including Paul Bocuse’s famous Soupe aux Truffles V.G.E., is priced at $305.03 per person.
Nochevieja at La Hacienda de San Angel: Live Mariachi music, premium tequilas, and terrific indoor views of IllumiNations fireworks are all hallmarks of the New Year’s Eve celebration dinner at Epcot’s La Hacienda de San Angel. The evening starts with a welcome margarita and tequila pairing with appetizers. Wine is served with the surf ‘n turf main course of the five course, prix fixe meal. A dessert liqueur will accompany the dessert course. 9:30PM -1:00AM.
California Grill: Once again, California Grill will host a 7:30PM to Midnight dine-around style dinner along with Disney characters and a spectacular fireworks view atop the Contemporary Hotel. $650 per person. Wine and cocktails included. Dinner jacket required for men.
Narcoossee’s: This waterside restaurant at the Grand Floridian will host two dinner seatings on New Year’s Eve. Seatings between 5 and 5:45PM feature a four-course menu. A five-course menu is offered with seatings from 8:30-9:25PM with live music. Both menus feature Narcoossee’s lobster bisque, seared Wagyu beef, and pan-seared halibut. First seating $150 for adults, $70 children ages 3-9. Second seating $255 for adults, $95 for children ages 3-9.
Il Mulino: A prix-fixe Italian dinner will be served at Il Mulino New York Trattoria in Disney World’s Swan Hotel throughout New Year’s Eve. The first seating will be a la carte from 4PM – 6:15PM. The second seating will be a four course dinner from 7:15PM to 11PM for $105 for adults and $39 for children (alcoholic beverages, taxes, gratuities not included). Reservations and seating after 9PM will include party favors and a champagne toast at midnight! For reservations, call 407-934-1717.
Victoria & Alberts: Enjoy a luxurious evening with “butler-style” service, live harp music, and personalized menus. The 10-course dinner boasts eight savory courses and two desserts including eclectic wines from around the globe. Seatings between 6-7:45PM. $600 per person.
Countdown to Midnight: Disney Countdown to Midnight will be held within the convention center at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. In the Fantasia Ballroom indulge in an assortment of libations (including adult beverages) before dancing to tunes spun by the interactive DJ.
After experiencing “best-of-the-best” bites and wine pairings from such restaurants as California Grill, Flying Fish Cafe, Cítricos, and Narcoossee’s, you’ll watch the group Alter Ego as they perform their extravagant music- and dance-filled revue.
The evening continues outside where you’ll watch a unique musical act. The evening concludes as the New Year’s Eve “Fantasy in the Sky” Fireworks light up the night!
Capture memories at a variety of themed photo backdrops and props.
Disney Countdown to Midnight is an all-inclusive, all-ages event available for $225 per Guest (tax and gratuity included), and takes place from 8PM on December 31, 2016 to 1AM on January 1, 2017. Check in begins at 7PM.
Look for other New Year’s Eve special meals at Chef Mickey’s, Garden Grove, Shula’s Steakhouse, and Todd English’s bluezoo.
Holiday Options at On-Property Hotels
Disney and non-Disney owned hotels on Walt Disney World property have an assortment of holiday options.
Featuring an entire calendar filled with holiday activities, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel celebrates the season with two special guest hosts – Santa and Mrs. Claus!
Tables in Wonderland
Keep an eye out for holiday events for Tables in Wonderland members!
Disney Foodie Gift Ideas:
Just like last year, we’ll be bringing you inspiring gift ideas for the Disney foodies on your list! Stay tuned for our suggestions every week until the Christmas Holiday!