The holiday season at Disney’s Parks and Resorts is filled with delights for food fans, and if you ask us, it’s never too early to start planning for holiday fun!!
We’ve compiled years of Disney Parks holiday experience so that you don’t miss a single treat, holiday meal, event, or activity. The DFB Guide to the Walt Disney World Holidays 2022 includes all the NEW events and holiday happenings for 2022, over 350 photos, an events calendar, touring suggestions, an informative FAQ section, and more!
The 2022 Holiday Season officially kicked off on November 11, 2022! Below, you’ll find some of our favorite holiday events, tips, and suggestions for making this year’s Disney World holiday trip your merriest one yet!
Dining at Walt Disney World During the Holidays
There are plenty of special Disney holiday events for the food lover at Walt Disney World. For Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s, guests can expect specialty menus and holiday meals at many Disney restaurants in the Parks, at the Resorts, and in Disney Springs.
Here’s what you can expect for Christmas Dining 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 quick service eats.
- Many restaurants — both Table Service and Counter Service — will add holiday meals to the menu. You can also check out some terrific options for Thanksgiving here.
For information on every single Disney World restaurant holiday option, treat yourself with an order of the DFB Guide to the Walt Disney World Holidays 2022!
For more ideas, check out our DFB YouTube Video and this post for some of our favorite spots to enjoy Thanksgiving and Christmas meals in the World!
Holiday Treats at Walt Disney World
The holidays are another welcome excuse for Walt Disney World to introduce lots of special treats just for the season. From sundaes and yule logs to cupcakes and hot spiked beverages, there’s a holiday-inspired treat for everyone!
You can find ALL of our reviews for the 2022 Season HERE, and we’ll keep adding MORE as the season continues!
EPCOT Holiday Treats
During the Festival, guests enjoy enhanced offerings around World Showcase and experience holiday traditions from various cultures as expressed through decorations, stories, music, cuisine, and additional special events.
EPCOT features internationally themed food booths called Holiday Kitchens! Look for the ramped-up food offerings at booths like American Holiday Table, Las Posadas, and Chestnuts & Good Cheer Holiday Kitchen.
Magic Kingdom Holiday Treats
Magic Kingdom adds plenty of holiday treats to jingle our taste bells, and while several are exclusive to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, some are available all day, every day during the holiday season. We’re always fans of a seasonal cupcake or classic sugar cookie, but we also love fun twists on yuletide treats like the totally unexpected Holiday Dinner Dog!
We love that holly-jolly time of year in the Magic Kingdom!
Hollywood Studios Holiday Treats
Whimsical, eye-catching, and all-together tasty, Hollywood Studios always comes up with truly creative holiday goodies.
Animal Kingdom Holiday Treats
Keep an eye out for smashing seasonal treats like the beautiful — and tasty! — Magical Menagerie Cupcake!
Disney Springs Holiday Treats
Watch for TONS of seasonal treats found at various locations throughout the entertainment, shopping, and dining district. We love the Gobbler (holiday turkey) Poutine at The Daily Poutine for a unique savory option!
But there is plenty of SWEET STUFF going on in Disney Springs, too…
Disney Resort Hotels Holiday Treats
The Resorts at Walt Disney World like to show off their seasonal creations too, and many of them are well worth the trek outside the parks!
Many treats include design elements and flavors typically associated with the holiday season, like gingerbread, cinnamon, and more. Oh, and speaking of gingerbread…
… you can find PLENTY OF IT at the larger-than-life Gingerbread Displays at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Beach Club Resort, and BEYOND!
It’s difficult to resist a gingerbread snack of your own when you can smell the divine fragrance wafting from the Resort’s amazing edible creations.
And keep an eye out for seasonal beverages and holiday-themed cupcakes, tarts, and treats at each and every one of the Resorts. CHEERS!!
Holiday Events and Experiences at Walt Disney World
Disney World Gingerbread Displays and Activities
Wonderfully aromatic and gorgeous Gingerbread Displays can be found at locations including the Beach Club Resort, the Grand Floridian, the Contemporary Resort, Animal Kingdom Lodge (featuring a Gingerbread Giraffe), BoardWalk Inn, and EPCOT!
The horses spinning on the Beach Club Gingerbread Carousel are themed differently every year.
The 2022 theme, as you’ll see, is Disney Princesses!
The signature Gingerbread House at the Grand Floridian Resort is SO large that cast members can stand inside to serve holiday treats!
The house is made from a classic Austrian recipe, and among all the details you can see hand-painted candy canes, white chocolate, edible snowflakes, sugar poinsettias, 25 hidden Mickeys, an 85-pound chocolate Santa, nutcrackers, toy soldiers, and snowmen! And since it’s still Disney World’s 50th anniversary celebration, the gingerbread house once again features EARidescent colors and accents in honor of the Anniversary.
The Gingerbread Castle has returned to Disney’s Contemporary Resort this year, also with 50th Anniversary touches!
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge debuted its Gingerbread Giraffe and Zebra on November 23rd!
This year’s display is made with honey from approximately 32,256 bees, totaling about 42 pounds of honey. It was created by the incredible pastry team at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.
Magic Kingdom celebrates the holiday season in a BIG way with a larger-than-life Christmas tree, beautiful decorations, and a special extra-ticket event!
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
Once inside, guests enjoy plenty of festive fun and entertainment unique to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party!
This included a showing of Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks, Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, snowfall on Main Street, U.S.A., and MUCH more!
“JUNGLE ALL THE WAY!”
Santa Claus in Magic Kingdom
Everyone can also say “Hello!” to Santa Claus!
His greeting space is located in the gazebo just behind Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe in Liberty Square.
Cinderella Castle Holiday Projections
Holiday projections light up Cinderella Castle with an extra-festive glow in the evenings!
Special Entertainment During Christmas Week
Guests can enjoy daytime showings of Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade from December 23 – 31, 2022!
Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade will run at 12PM and again at 3PM in Magic Kingdom from December 23rd through the 31st. (It will replace the Festival of Fantasy parade on those days.)
EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays
EPCOT celebrates with the EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays from November 25 through December 30, 2022. Expect delicious treats from the Holiday Kitchen food booths, festive decorations, and music and entertainment celebrating holiday traditions around the globe!
The popular Holiday Cookie Stroll is back along with the Festival. Guests stroll around to select Holiday Kitchens trying five different designated cookies (this year, you can buy 5 cookies from ANY of the cookie stroll locations featured in the Festival Passport).
Once you’ve received stamps in your Festival Passport for five included cookies, you can redeem your stroll with a FREE completer cookie!
Costumed Holiday Storytellers also share traditions from the different nations that make up World Showcase.
Another favorite and family-friendly activity at Festival of the Holidays is Olaf’s Holiday Tradition Expedition.
EPCOT Candlelight Processional
And the beloved EPCOT Candlelight Processional is BACK for 2022! This EPCOT tradition is one of the most anticipated events of the year. The Christmas story is told by a celebrity narrator while a 50-piece orchestra and choir (composed of Disney cast members) accompany the re-telling.
The packages provide guests with a lunch or dinner meal at select EPCOT restaurants and guaranteed seating to the popular Candlelight Processional.
Festive Ride Overlays
NEW in 2022, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind has received a festive update!
Disney has shared “the Guardians will trade in their classic hits playlist for a mash-up of seasonal jams” for an Awesome HOLIDAY Mixtape!
Even the classic Living with the Land attraction gets all dressed up for the Festival!
And speaking of getting “all dressed up…” Spaceship Earth will present a brand new, sparkling Holiday Lights display in the evenings.
But there’s much more in store during the Festival of the Holidays, and you can find it all here!
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Sunset Seasons Greetings
This holiday experience brings guests to a twinkling Sunset Boulevard where holiday decorations set a festive mood. Throughout the night, yuletide scenes are displayed on the billboards of Sunset Boulevard, and the Hollywood Tower Hotel becomes the Hollywood “Holiday” Tower Hotel!
Holiday-themed projections turn the Hollywood “Holiday” Tower Hotel into scenes from Frozen, a Muppets gingerbread house, a toy hotel from Toy Story, and “a Dickensian village inspired by ‘Mickey’s Christmas Carol.’”
The holiday projections alternate with special Disney World 50th Anniversary projections on the Hollywood Tower Hotel.
Vintage-inspired decor transforms Echo Lake — including dressing Dinosaur Gertie up in her dino-sized Santa hat!
And the Hollywood Studios Christmas Tree in Echo Lake is truly a stunner.
Santa pays visits to Disney’s Hollywood Studios by way of a Merry Motorcade, so keep your eyes peeled for ol’ St. Nick in the park!
P.S. He may bring along a few friends, too…
Minnie’s Holiday Dine at Hollywood and Vine
This character-filled meal is centered on seasonal delicacies at lunch and at dinner.
Guests can dine with Minnie and her best festive friends, like Mickey and Santa Goofy in their holiday finest throughout the Season!
For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
Get ready to join in the fun at For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration!
This show, which is presented several times throughout the day, receives a special finale just for the holiday season featuring Olaf himself!
Holiday Cheer in Toy Story Land
Guests can celebrate the holidays with seasonal tunes at Alien Swirling Saucers and special decorations unique to Toy Story Land.
Even Rex gets in on the holiday celebration at Slinky Dog Dash.
It looks like he made these ADORABLE reindeer antlers by hand… err, claw!
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
We are thrilled that the beautiful and charming Merry Menagerie is back once again at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in 2022!
Winter animal puppets bring joy to guests strolling along Discovery Island, and live musicians also help set the scene.
Guests can also enjoy beautiful decorative nods to celebrations such as Diwali in the Asia section of the park.
Festive Flotillas sail along Discovery River, carrying beloved characters through Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
These include the Discovery Island Drummers Festive Flotilla, and the SANTA CLAUS Festive Flotilla!
Tree of Life Awakenings
And in the evenings, the Tree of Life Awakenings — Holiday Edition delivers beautiful winter-inspired scenes to the park’s icon.
Between those awakenings, the Tree of Life will don its “Beacon of Magic” look for the 50th Anniversary.
And, of course, Disney’s Animal Kingdom is always decked out in gorgeous and unique decorations for the holidays!
As always, the festivities extend beyond the parks, too…
Disney Springs showcases festive décor, entertainment, and holiday shopping during the season, including:
Christmas Tree Stroll
Disney Springs’ Christmas Tree Stroll: Stroll, indeed, among custom-decorated holiday, Disney-themed trees placed all throughout Disney Springs!
You’ll find the whimsical, colorful, and stunning Trees with help from the Christmas Tree Stroll Map!
From time to time in the evenings, magical snow falls upon the Town Center.
Meet Santa Claus
Bring that Wish List! You can find Santa inside the Once Upon a Toy gift shop in the Disney Springs Marketplace!
He’ll be there from November 11th through December 24th from 10AM to 9PM. Please be aware that Guests are requested to reserve their space through a Virtual Queue. Opportunities to enter the queue for Santa will open through the My Disney Experience app at 9AM, 12PM, 3PM, and 6PM. Interested guests MUST be IN Disney Springs to enter the Virtual Queue.
One person in your group will get a notification when it’s time for you to return to Once Upon a Toy. Then you’ll just scan the digital entry code that pops up and voila! It’s time to meet Santa Claus! If you want to see how the virtual queue worked last year, click here.
As you shop your way around Disney Springs this holiday season, be on the lookout for great entertainment offerings like Toy Soldier stilt walkers, snowflake skaters, and tunes spun by DJs!
The festive fun continues with Christmas-inspired treats throughout Disney Springs!
Jock Lindsey’s HOLIDAY Bar
But no one gets in the holiday spirit more than our pal, Jock Lindsey… and that’s why you HAVE to make a merry stop at Jock Lindsey’s Holiday Bar!
The Hangar AND THE FOOD get all decked out for the season!
Oh, what FUN! Check out our review HERE!
Breakfast with Santa
Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante in Disney Springs is hosting Breakfast with Santa this year! The experience includes a breakfast spread of classic Italian menu items, a visit with Santa Claus, family-friendly holiday activities, take-home treats (and a complimentary mimosa for adults 21+), and a keepsake photo souvenir.
After breakfast, guests meet Santa! Kids can share their wishes with him and take a photo that they will get to keep. Platinum and gold seating packages are available, which will determine table location and the order that tables go to meet Santa. Pricing begins at $30 for children and $50 for adults, plus tax and gratuity, while children under 2 are free.
This special dining event is being offered on November 26th and 27th, and December 3rd, 4th, 10th, 11th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd, and 24th, and tickets can be purchased by clicking HERE.
MORE Holiday Happenings in Disney World
Blizzard Beach Water Park
Blizzard Beach Water Park presents a snowy fun-in-the-sun theme all year long, but the holidays will deliver an “enhanced holiday atmosphere” to this water park!
Be on the lookout for holiday-themed snacks, snowfall, and inner tubes with a festive look. You might even get the chance to meet Santa, and he’ll be dressed for some tropical fun!
Holiday Sleigh Rides
At Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground, holiday sleigh rides allow guests to book a 25-minute horse-drawn sleigh ride!
Each sleigh can fit up to 4 adults, or 2 adults and 3 small children, and each ride starts at $75 but may change depending on the date. Interested guests may book in advance using the My Disney Experience app.
Resort Hotel Activities
Many of the Resorts offer cookie decorating and other special activities to small guests. After all, just because you’re on vacation, you don’t have to miss one of the season’s most beloved traditions! Check your Resort’s entertainment schedule for this year’s offerings.
Likewise, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotels offer cookie decorating on select nights throughout the holidays, typically starting at 6PM.
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 often feature carolers or other musical entertainment throughout the season. Typically, you’re likely to see them at the Grand Floridian, Wilderness Lodge, and Yacht Club.
You may also find carolers strolling the “streets” of Disney Springs throughout the season, too.
Visits with Characters and Santa Claus
But it would hardly be Christmas for the little ones (or us big kids!) without a visit from Santa Claus!
In addition to making appearances at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, Santa also greets guests during the day in Magic Kingdom! His greeting space will be located just behind Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe in Liberty Square.
Santa also makes appearances by way of a Merry Motorcade at Disney’s Hollywood Studios!
He sails by on a Festive Flotilla SLEIGH in Animal Kingdom!
Guests can look for Santa in The Odyssey Pavilion (this is a NEW location for Santa in 2022) in EPCOT during the Festival of the Holidays through December 24th.
And in Disney Springs, he greets guests at the Once Upon a Toy store in the Marketplace.
The Big Guy often makes appearances on Christmas Eve at several Resort hotels, ready to hear your Christmas wishes.
And after Christmas Eve? Once Santa takes off for his midnight ride, you may just catch a glimpse of Santa Goofy in the parks through New Year’s Eve!
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! This year, since Disney World’s 50th Anniversary celebration will continue through April 2023, you may spot pals appearing in their 50th Anniversary costumes!
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 for future trips.
And you’ll also spy the big guy in front of his Tiki Hut by the Swan Pool at the Swan and Dolphin — perfect for a Florida Santa photo opp!
Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary
In 2022, guests visiting Walt Disney World for the holidays have ANOTHER celebration to enjoy, in addition to all the yuletide cheer: The Most Magical Celebration on Earth in honor of the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World!
Elements of the Anniversary will continue to be presented throughout the holiday season, and you can read up on all of the special happenings for this milestone event here!
New Year’s Eve Events and Dining Options
Are you ready to ring in the New Year in Disney World? If so, several special events take place in the parks and at dining locations around the Resort.
While we more await information on New Year’s Eve to welcome 2023, let’s check out the festivities that rang in 2022 to explore the types of events that might be available.
Magic Kingdom New Year’s Eve
Guests in Magic Kingdom could also see Mickey & Minnie’s Very Merry Memories stage show at Cinderella Castle at 4:35PM, 5:50PM, 6:50PM, and 9PM.
EPCOT New Year’s Eve
At EPCOT, the New Year’s “Cheers to the New Year: A Sparkling Celebration” Countdown Fireworks were presented on December 31st at 11:54PM, with Harmonious presented at 6:30PM.
DJ dance parties also took place around World Showcase.
Hollywood Studios New Year’s Eve
Over in Hollywood Studios, a high energy DJ dance party happened in front of the iconic Chinese Theater on New Year’s Eve.
There was also a countdown moment to 2022!
New Year’s Eve Dining Events
The Edison hosted The New Year’s Eve Gala with live entertainment, an open dance floor, and food. The party kicked off at 8PM on December 31st and featured performances from The Sound Society Radio Show, The Pearls burlesque trio, stilt walkers, an aerialist, a DJ, and more.
At Jaleo on Disney Springs’ West Side, a special menu was served to celebrate the new year. The New Year’s Chef’s Tasting Menu included guest favorites and tapas available for one-night-only!
The price was $95 per person or guests could order the dishes a la carte. There was also be a DJ starting at 10PM, a Cava toast at midnight, and party favors to take home.
At Raglan Road Irish Pub, you can ring in the New Year twice! On New Year’s Eve, guests enjoyed complimentary glass of champagne to ring in the Irish New Year at 7PM ET (midnight in Ireland) and then another when the clock struck midnight in Disney World!
The all-day menu was served and the house band and Raglan Road Irish Dancers performed.
At House of Blues in Disney Springs guests could celebrate New Year’s Eve with a special party starting at 10PM hosted by DJ Rincon, who played today’s Top 40 hits. Earlier in the day there was also free live entertainment!
The New Year’s Eve party at House of Blues was free, with a VIP package available for the event, if preferred. Click here to learn more.
STK Orlando offered a live DJ throughout the night and a champagne toast at midnight.
Some New Year’s Eve specials like Wagyu from around the world and a caviar presentation joined items on the regular menu.
Disney World Resort Hotels
Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Disney’s Contemporary Resort hosted A Golden New Year’s Eve in Wine Country at California Grill. The restaurant’s Napa Room was transformed into a speakeasy and a slight-of-hand magician performed while guests enjoyed wine pairings and custom crafted cocktails.
Then, in the Sonoma Room, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and Baby New Year Donald joined the party! A DJ and a roaming violinist played at the event. Between the 2 rooms, 50th Anniversary food stations offered dishes honoring the legacy of California Grill chefs.
Guests could experience the first moments of 2022 watching the fireworks spectacular in Magic Kingdom from California Grill’s special viewing area.
The event took place on December 31st, 2021, with check-in time starting at 7PM and the event going from 7:30PM to 12:30AM. The cost of the event was $700, including tax and gratuity, with full payment due at the time of booking.
Additionally, Disney Vacation Club Members staying at Bay Lake Tower could enjoy visiting the Top of the World Lounge on December 30th and the 31st!
Note that Disney World Resort hotels often offer special family-friendly activities to welcome the New Year, too!
Look for signs like the one above around the Resort or check with your hotel’s front desk for more information about what might be available.
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!
Check out our DFB YouTube Video about “What I Wish I’d Known Before Going to Disney World During the Holidays!”
Happy Holidays from the DFB!
P.S. Considering a 2023 Holiday trip to Disney World? Find out why it’s NEVER too early to start planning HERE!
We’ll see you right here on the DFB as we bring you all the MERRY MAGIC taking place for the Holiday Season at Disney World!