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Is Walt Disney World Open on Christmas Day? (Yes, and Here's What Else You Need to Know)

  • By Tammy van der Westhuizen
  • Published 12 September 2023
  • Revised 15 September 2023
Is Walt Disney World Open on Christmas Day? (Yes, and Here's What Else You Need to Know)
  • By Tammy van der Westhuizen
  • Published 12 September 2023
  • Revised 15 September 2023
Is Walt Disney World Open on Christmas Day? (Yes, and Here's What Else You Need to Know)
  • By Tammy van der Westhuizen
  • Published 12 September 2023
  • Revised 15 September 2023

While the Sunshine State may seem a little warm for snowflakes and sleigh bells, rest assured Walt Disney World at Christmas melt your heart. From 11 November to 31 December 2023, the entire Disney resort is transformed into a winter wonderland, with every corner of the resort - from the hotels to the theme parks - decked out in festive decorations.

Even if you fancy a visit on Christmas day itself, The Happiest Place on Earth is open for merriment. Yet due to immense popularity, you will need to secure theme park reservations for Christmas 2023 and beyond well in advance.

Then all that's left to decide is which Disney park speaks to your Christmas spirit? Look no further, as we give you a glimpse into the festivities at each theme park in this guide...

Magic Kingdom Park at Christmas

Disney's Magic Kingdom Park is where your fantasy becomes a reality, so it's no surprise that this theme park goes all out for Christmas. 

Among the dazzling highlights is the Jungle Cruise, transformed into a Yuletide spectacle, and Main Street, U.S.A., adorned with festive wreaths. And, of course, don't miss the breathtaking 65-foot Christmas tree that casts its radiant glow over Town Square. However, the most brilliant decorations can be found at Cinderella Castle. This year, prepare to be fascinated by the debut of Frozen Holiday Surprise. Elsa, Anna, Olaf, Kristoff, and the adorable Snowgies will join forces to illuminate Cinderella's Castle with mesmerising projection mapping, creating a winter vision like no other.

Magic Kingdom's festivities also include Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, starting from 9 November to 22 December 2023. This ticketed event offers evening access to the twinkling Magic Kingdom with enough treats to fill a stocking. You can meet your beloved Disney characters, experience the joyous musical performance of Mickey's Most Merriest Celebration, witness the merriment of Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime Parade as it winds its way through Frontier Land, Liberty Square and Main Street, U.S.A. with Santa and Disney characters, and be charmed by Minnie's Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks Show.

But that's not all! Get ready to put on your dancing shoes and let the holiday spirit move you at Club Tinsel and Disney Junior Jingle Jam, where you can add some joyful dance moves to the most wonderful time of the year.

Epcot at Christmas

If there's a Disney theme park to rival Magic Kingdom at Christmas, it's at Epcot, where the impossible becomes possible. Epcot's World Showcase Lagoon stands tall with its very own magnificent Christmas tree, adorned with unique decorations featuring Disney globes and flags from around the world, welcoming everyone to this jubilant extravaganza.

From 24 November to 30 December 2023, this Disney theme park will host the EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays Presented by AdventHealth. Showcasing Holiday Kitchens from around the world spread across EPCOT's various pavilions, indulge in traditional holiday cuisines for a heartwarming feast. To add to the enchantment, Holiday Storytellers will whisk you away on a journey through Disney's holiday traditions, including magical tales from Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and Lunar New Year. 

Every evening, a breathtaking Candlelight Processional takes centre stage, featuring a celebrity narrating a heartwarming tale to a captivated audience while an orchestra and choir fill the air with heavenly hymns. Previous celebrity narrators have included Chris Pratt, Whoopi Goldberg, and Neil Patrick Harris. For those seeking the ultimate Christmas experience, treat yourself to a Candlelight Processional Dining Package. 

Better yet, park-goers can have a jolly encounter with Santa Claus at the Odyssey Pavilion, where he welcomes guests from his snow-covered sleigh starting on 24 November. For a light show that's unlike any other, make sure not to miss the opportunity to explore Living with the Land - Glittering Greenhouses. This unique experience promises a memorable journey through a whimsical world of lush greenery and glowing illuminations, adding an extra touch of magic to your visit.

Disney's Hollywood Studios at Christmas

At Disney's Hollywood Studios, the glamour of the silver screen sparkles like tinsel at Christmas. And there's no better event than Disney Jollywood Nights to infuse glitz and old Hollywood elegance into this sophisticated celebration of Yuletide.

This ticketed event doles out the dapper decor and Disney-filled delights against a soundtrack of festive mashups, a musical variety hosted by the ever-so-glam Miss Piggy and man of the people, Kermit the Frog. The highlight of the night is the all-new stage show, Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! This extravaganza transforms The Chinese Theater into a radiant Christmas tree, with state-of-the-art projection mapping, special effects, and a symphony of music.

Outside of this event at Disney's Hollywood Studios, there are two more nighttime Christmas shows. The first is Sunset Seasons Greetings at the Hollywood Tower Hotel, which decorates the building with a giant projection of colour. And for a good old festive sing-along, experience For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration.

What's more, you can enjoy holly jolly additions to select rides and attractions. In Toy Story Land, larger-than-life fairy lights will reveal reindeer ears on Rex, Buzz Lightyear dressed as Santa and other fun touches sure to place a bright smile on children's faces. 

Our top pick for a Disney dining experience at Christmas is Minnie Mouse's holiday feast at Hollywood & Vine, serving prime Tinseltown breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park at Christmas

The holiday season at Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park is a multi-cultural event!

As well as Christmas, tributes are paid to other holiday seasons from around the world, such as Diwali (depending upon when the celebration happens each year). This international theming is in keeping with the representation of international lands across this theme park.

The very first thing you will notice is a north-pole-sized Christmas tree at the entrance draped in beautiful animal ornaments. To continue the winter wonderland experience, head onto Disney's Animal Kingdom's Christmas, where you can meet Mickey and Minnie at the Adventure Outpost wearing their best holiday outfits. Afterwards, embark on a journey to Discovery Island, where you'll encounter the Merry Menagerie, featuring lifelike, handcrafted puppets of arctic creatures such as penguins, reindeer, and polar bears.

However, at night, the celebrations truly come to life... 

As you walk through Asia, you will begin to understand why Diwali is a festival of light. Glowing lanterns illuminate the square between Anandapur Theatre and the waterfront stage. When you reach Discovery Island, sparkling animals will line the rooftops as wire-framed birds shimmer in the sky. While in Africa, Harambe performers blend Western traditions with enchanting African ceremonies to create an original show. Over in Pandora, the World of Avatar, the residents create their own otherworldly decorations. While in Dinoland, subtlety is replaced with good old-fashioned in-your-face Christmas fun - including new seasonal species of dinosaur, such as Tree Rex and Santa Claws.

In general, not many rides at Animal Kingdom have a Christmas overlay - like Hollywood Studios - in other to retain their authenticity. Yet all in all, Animal Kingdom captures the true essence of Christmas inclusivity.

Want to spend the most wonderful time of the year at The Happiest Place on Earth? Browse our Walt Disney World 2024 & 2025 Holidays and let's start planning your Christmas wish list!

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