The year is not even halfway over but we are already thinking about the holiday season in Disney World.
And it seems like many of you readers have the holidays on your minds TOO, because we get the same question all the time: “When does Disney decorate for Christmas?” (And whether you want the year to be flying by so fast or not, you can make those Advance Dining Reservations for Christmas day NEXT MONTH.)
So today we’re laying out a timeline of when you can expect to see Christmas decor popping up all throughout the Most Magical Place on Earth just in case it helps your planning!
Now, it’s rumored that ALL of Disney’s Christmas decorations go up in one night. And while a lot goes up over the course of a night, Disney World likes to get a bit of a head start when it comes to holiday decorating.
In October, Halloween and Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party are happening in full swing around Disney World. But Disney is usually prepping for holidays early in October as they start to hang Christmas lights on Cinderella Castle in Magic Kingdom. You can usually spot cranes midday stringing Christmas lights on the castle while pumpkins are everywhere and spooky treats are being served down below!
Last year, we also saw Christmas decor popping up throughout the parks like Disney’s Animal Kingdom during the month of October (we would want to get a head start too if we had THAT many lights to string!).
We also caught whiffs of fresh gingerbread as the Disney World Resort Gingerbread Displays start to take shape!
Last year, the Cinderella Castle Gingerbread Display at Disney’s Contemporary Resort was already well underway in October, followed by Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort Gingerbread House in early November! Note they are not FINISHED during October, but the structures are being put into place.
The first week in November usually hosts both the last Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and the first Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. So Disney has VERY little time to turn the Magic Kingdom from spooky to jolly.
Last year, the final Halloween party was scheduled for November 1st and the first A Frozen Holiday Wish Cinderella Castle lighting was just two days later!
If the castle lighting wasn’t magical enough, that was the same day the Christmas tree on Main Street, U.S.A appeared!
Main Street, City Hall, and the Train Station were also all decked out in their finest holiday decor. And even though Halloween was just days before, it was already beginning to look a LOT like Christmas!
In Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the holiday celebration began and they featured holiday projections on The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, SNOAP (AKA, Disney’s fake snow), and the Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! projection and fireworks show!
On Saturday, the Christmas Tree Trail in Disney Springs opened, featuring 23 trees inspired by Disney characters, movies, and attractions! Oh, and did we mention churro bites, frozen Eggnog, and SANTA?!
Epcot is usually one of the last parks to fully dive into the holiday season because the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival typically runs until late November. The park puts up decor in the middle of the month, but they really amp things up by the time the International Festival of the Holidays starts.
Last year, the Food and Wine Festival ran until November 23rd and the Festival of the Holidays began November 29th, so Epcot had to do a major turn around in just under a week. The festival features food booths, holiday storytellers, and the Candlelight Processional (featuring celebrity narrators), festive entertainment, and special merchandise.
Even though you have to time your visit close to Christmas, the Festival of the Holidays is a wonderful way to celebrate holiday traditions from around the world.
The Christmas decor remains up throughout the season and several elements even stick around for a few days (or sometimes weeks) after New Year’s Day. But by the time the runDisney marathon weekend takes place in early January, most of the holiday decor has made its way back into safekeeping.
We already think Disney is incredibly magical on its own but seeing that castle lit up in Christmas lights is truly mesmerizing. And if you want a closer look at how Disney transforms the Magic Kingdom into a winter wonderland “overnight,” check out this video:
Disney has announced the dates and they have started selling tickets for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. But dates and ticket info for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party have not been released yet. We will let you know as soon as they are!
Have you ever visited Disney World during the holiday season? Let us know what you thought in the comments below!