PlanningThe ParksTips

Heading to Disney in December? You Need to Know This

December is a magical time to visit Walt Disney World. The holidays add a little extra magic to the Disney Parks and Resorts during this time. If you have a trip coming up this month, there are a few things you will want to make sure you are aware of before you arrive in the magic.

child on Main Street in the snow during Christmas party
credit: Disney

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party: Magic Kingdom

One of the most significant events of the holiday season is Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. This special ticketed event happens on select evenings at the Magic Kingdom. Tickets for the event are sold out for the year, but it is still essential to be aware of this event if you are attending and if you don’t plan on attending.

For those with tickets, make sure you know everything that your ticket purchase offers. You can enter Magic Kingdom starting at 4:00 pm. This is a great way to get into the Park and enjoy some typical experiences before Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party begins. Rides some rides, have some food, and enjoy Magic Kingdom.

Once the party starts at 7:00 pm, make sure you have a plan for the evening. Be aware of when the special fireworks will be happening, when the fantastic parade will be going on, and when the particular stage shows on the castle stage and in Tomorrowland happen.

Going into the party with an overall plan will make it easier for you to experience everything you want during the evening. Think about which characters you might want to meet and if you want to ride those experiences with holiday overlays such as Space Mountain, Jingle Cruise, or Tomorrowland Speedway.

For those not attending the party, it is essential to know when it is taking place at Magic Kingdom. This is important because the Park will close to you starting at 6:00 pm. If you don’t have a Park Hopper option, you need to figure out how you want to spend the rest of your evening. Also, because party Guests can get into Magic Kingdom starting at 4:00 pm, the Park becomes very busy between 4:00 and 6:00 pm.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a magical part of December at Walt Disney World. Make sure you are aware of all that it brings to Magic Kingdom.

Credit: Disney

Festival of the Holidays: EPCOT

Another fantastic experience throughout December is the Festival of the Holidays at EPCOT. This festival has so much to offer Guests with their regular Theme Park tickets. Make sure you know when the amazing Candlelight Processional is happening during your visit. This is an outstanding retelling of the Christmas story that brings music, narration, and beauty together in a way that only Disney can.

Festival of the Holidays also offers a variety of holiday kitchens. These provide unique cuisine and drinks from around the world. Guests can enjoy a variety of holiday dishes while experiencing Storytellers as well. These talented individuals bring the holiday story to Guests in a unique way.

Also, fun scavenger hunts and a cookie stroll are at the Festival of the Holidays. These are great ways to keep kids entertained while traveling around the World Showcase. Don’t miss out on these experiences when you head down. Make sure you take time to experience all the holiday magic.

batuu at night DT
batuu at night DT

Additional Extended Evening Hours

For those staying at a deluxe Disney Resort, you can take advantage of extended evening hours. Typically they are at both EPCOT and Magic Kingdom. For two nights in December, Guests of these Resorts can experience extended time at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

On Thursday, December 15th and 22nd, Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be opened for Extended Evening Hours. This will give Guests an additional two hours after Park closing to enjoy the magic of Toy Story Land and Star Wars: Galaxy Edge.

These are great ways to see the Disney Parks with lower crowds and under the lights. There is something truly magical about Disney Parks at night.

Mickey Mouse during Christmas parade on Main Street
credit: Disney

Key Dates To Know

A few dates could impact your experience at Walt Disney World throughout December.

December 10th and 11th are Dapper Days. These will help on December 10th and 11th throughout Walt Disney World. Get ready to see many Guests dressed up in their fanciest holiday outfits as they celebrate the holiday.

From December 23 through December 31, Guests will be able to catch the beloved Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade during regular Park hours at Magic Kingdom. This beloved holiday parade will perform for Guests at 12 pm and 3 pm each day.

Remember that the Parks will be the busiest on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve. Make sure you watch the hours, as Magic Kingdom will be open until 1 am on December 30 and 31st. These longer hours give you much time to experience the holiday magic. Go in with a plan on how you are going to handle the crowds. Doing so ahead of your trip will help you be less stressed when you arrive.

Over at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort, Guests can enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride throughout the beautiful Resort. These came back for Guests starting December 1 and are a fantastic way to celebrate the holiday season.

If you are heading down to Walt Disney World this month, you will want to be aware of all these magical opportunities that happen during this month. Take advantage of the special events that fill this time of year with some extra pixie dust.

Jennifer Retzlaff

Jennifer became a lifelong Disney fan during her first trip to Walt Disney World in 6th grade. From that moment, Disney became a big part of her life. She quickly started to introduce her love of Disney to her family with a Disney honeymoon and then family trips when her youngest was 18 months old. She loves the magic that Disney brings to people through theme parks, cruises, and adventures. As a teacher, she tries to bring Disney magic into her classroom to help kids believe that “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It.” She is also part of the Magic Vacation Planner team as a personal travel advisor. With this team, she can now help others plan magical vacations. She loves bringing her love to Disney to readers with How to Disney.

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