Disney World is the Most Magical Place on Earth all year long, but ESPECIALLY during the holidays! With amazing decorations and festive vibes aplenty, the parks are LIT with merriment and fun!
But the holiday magic isn’t JUST confined to the parks. Even without a park ticket, there are plenty of ways you can celebrate the season in Disney World!
From Disney Springs to the resorts, there’s a lot more to Disney World than the four parks, and when it comes time for the holidays, you better believe every inch of space will be FULL of merry vibes!
If you’re visiting Disney World during the holiday season, here are 9 ways you can celebrate in jolly style WITHOUT a park ticket!
Christmas Tree Stroll in Disney Springs
One of our FAVORITE annual holiday activities outside the parks is the Christmas Tree Stroll in Disney Springs!
This event involves a series of HIGHLY decorated themed Christmas trees dotted around Disney Springs, and we’re so happy to see that it has returned for another year! You can pick up a map from Guest Services and if you’re able to match all the stickers to their tree locations, you’ll get a special surprise when you return your completed map to Guest Services!
There are 14 trees this year, each with a unique Disney theme. Find them all and see which one ends up being your favorite!
Celebrate Thanksgiving in Disney Resorts and Disney Springs
Although Thanksgiving doesn’t get a lot of the same Disney fanfare as, say, Christmas, the parks definitely go all out with special meals and menu items befitting a pilgrim-style feast! Just because you’re at Disney World, don’t think you’ll have to forgo the turkey!
Outside the parks, you can find LOTS of tasty Thanksgiving options too! Last year, for example, we saw turkey-filled spreads at places like Homecomin’, Maria & Enzo’s, The Edison, Raglan Road, and Wine Bar George! And at this point, that stacked turkey burger from D-Luxe Burger has become an annual obsession of ours.
Binge-Watch Christmas Movies on Disney+
Here’s something you can do pretty much ANYWHERE, whether you’re in Disney World or at home!
As long as you have Disney+, you’re primed and ready for a night (or several nights) of Disney Christmas fun! Some of our faves include Noelle, The Santa Clause trilogy, Home Alone (duh), and a new classic, Godmothered.
Go On A Very Merrytime Disney Cruise
If you’re looking to really go all out and overload on holiday magic outside the parks, you can’t really do much better than a Disney Cruise!
Disney recently revealed details about its Very Merrytime Cruise, with sailings from early November through December, which will include themed holiday decor throughout the ship, Santa sightings, Storytime with Mrs. Claus, holiday merch, crafts for kids, and more!
Peep the Gingerbread Displays
One of the most EXCITING holiday announcements from Disney lately has been about its beloved gingerbread houses!
Last year, the gigantic gingerbread displays typically constructed in the resorts were sidelined in favor of other gingerbread novelties, but they’re back for 2021 and some have glamorous 50th Celebration details!
We’re THRILLED to be able to marvel at these larger-than-life creations, and bouncing around to different resorts to see different houses is sure to be a fun way to celebrate the season! Just remember resort hopping is still not allowed without a dining reservation at the hotel you’d like to visit, so plan accordingly.
Check Out The Christmas Tree Displays Too!
While you’re house hunting for gingerbread, be sure and check out the Christmas trees too!
Disney World famously goes ALL OUT with huge Christmas trees in the parks, and the same is true for Disney Springs and the resorts, several of which feature enormous — and lavishly — decorated trees in lobbies.
There’s just something so entrancing and dazzling about seeing these trees and appreciating all the detail that went into each one!
Jock Lindsey’s Holiday Bar
If you’re looking for a bit of adventure to celebrate this jolly time of year, head over to Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar in Disney Springs to see the holiday makeover this bar receives!
That’s right: once again, Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar received a North Pole-style makeover and has transformed temporarily into Jock Lindsey’s Holiday Bar!
Check out all of the holiday decorations and special holiday eats and drinks! There is a special menu with holiday-inspired treats, including a fun twist on Milk and Cookies by the Fireside.
ALL The Holiday Snacks
You don’t need to be in the parks to FEAST on holiday sweets!
In fact, some of our FAVORITE holiday flavors can be found in the resorts and in Disney Springs! We’re already hungry for Mickey Gingerbread Cookies, Eggnog Fudge, Christmas-colored cupcakes, and more, all of which can be found in places like Screen Door General Store, Bayview Gifts, Candy Cauldron, and Goofy’s Candy Company — all spots NOT in the parks! We even put together some of our favorites you can make at home!
Convince Yourself That Frozen is a Christmas Movie
Okay, so just because Frozen isn’t really a Christmas movie doesn’t mean we can’t pretend, right? And honestly, we don’t really need an excuse to rewatch this musical classic!
It’s got a lot of the Christmas-y essentials, like snow and ice and general merriment! So how about hosting a Frozen viewing party and calling it a new holiday tradition?! And if you’ve had your fill of Anna, Elsa, and Olaf, check out the new Disney+ reboot of Home Alone, Home Sweet Home Alone. (Spoiler alert: it’s not quite the version you know and love. It’s kind of…odd.)
To drink, you can make a Christmas punch with bourbon and coconut rum, since apparently, Disney thinks those are holiday flavors!
Clearly, there are NUMEROUS ways you can celebrate the holidays Disney-style without a park ticket! Whether from the comfort of your own home or out at sea with Santa Claus, these are surefire ways to have all kinds of festive fun this holiday season!
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What’s your favorite Disney holiday tradition outside the parks? Let us know in the comments!