This holiday season marks the return of Candlelight Processional at EPCOT and a new holiday-themed after-hours event, “Disney Very Merriest After Hours,” at Magic Kingdom Park. As 2021 holiday festivities officially kick off Nov. 12 across Walt Disney World Resort, guests will discover a sleigh-full of festive entertainment, whimsical décor, seasonal food and drinks, special merchandise and more. Here is a look at merrymaking that can be found this year during the 50th anniversary celebration of Walt Disney World Resort:
Magic Kingdom Park
Main Street, U.S.A. is decked for the holidays with holly jolly seasonal décor and themed menu items at select locations.
- On select evenings, special holiday projections will beam onto Cinderella Castle, alternating periodically throughout the night with the Castle transforming into a Beacon of Magic as part of “The World’s Most Magical Celebration.”
- “Disney Very Merriest After Hours,” a new specially ticketed event, began Nov. 8 and continues on select nights through Dec. 21, 2021. The four-hour experience features “Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks,” Disney character sightings, holiday music, complimentary treats, “Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade,” and a new show, “Mickey & Minnie’s Very Merry Memories,” which draws inspiration from classic Disney holiday stage shows. The event is open to a limited number of guests after regular park operating hours, with lower wait times on more than 20 available attractions. Tickets can be purchased online at Disneyworld.com/events
- Guests will have the opportunity to wave hello to Jolly Old St. Nick during special appearances through Dec. 24 of this year.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- The Hollywood Holiday Tower Hotel twinkles anew at the end of Sunset Boulevard during Sunset Seasons Greetings. Projection effects magically transform the park icon into snowy Arendelle, a Muppets gingerbread masterpiece, a Toy Story toy hotel, and a Dickensian village inspired by “Mickey’s Christmas Carol.” This holiday show also alternates with the tower’s nightly transformation into a Beacon of Magic.
- “For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration” features a festive finale starring Olaf.
- Santa Claus brings some North Pole cheer to a Merry Motorcade down Hollywood Boulevard through Dec. 24 of this year.
- Minnie Mouse hosts a meal at Hollywood & Vine, joined by her pals in their holiday finest – and Santa, too!
- Cheerful holiday décor throughout Disney’s Hollywood Studios honors the spirit of the season.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park
- Discovery Island springs to life with a Merry Menagerie of winter animals in the form of playful, life-sized artisan-sculpted puppets interacting with guests.
- The park’s centerpiece – The Tree of Life – becomes another Beacon of Magic most nights as a part of the 50th anniversary celebration. During the holiday season, there will be even more magic inspired by nature as the holiday edition of Tree of Life Awakenings also takes place most nights.
- Accompanied by joyful songs of the season, Disney characters set sail down Discovery River, including limited-time voyages featuring Santa Claus through Dec. 24 of this year.
- The Walt Disney World shopping, dining and entertainment district transforms into a winter wonderland, full of sparkling lights, enchanting décor and holiday surprises, offering a wide array of Disney holiday merchandise, including ornaments, matching family pajamas, Spirit Jerseys and more.
- The Disney Springs Christmas Tree Stroll presented by AdventHealth features 20 elaborately decorated themed trees, including some inspired by “The World’s Most Magical Celebration.”
- In the evening, guests visiting Town Center experience a magical snowfall, bringing the spirit of the North Pole to Central Florida.
- Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar becomes Jock Lindsey’s Holiday Bar with delightful décor and a delicious limited-time menu filled with festive favorites.
- Santa Claus will visit Disney Springs, where guests have the opportunity to wave hello and pose for a photo through Dec. 24 of this year.
Disney Resort Hotels
- Iconic trees and other seasonal touches turn Disney Resort hotels into holiday hideaways.
- Select resorts feature intricate gingerbread displays perfect for holiday photographs … and inspiration for holiday treats.
- Select resorts offer holiday menus at restaurants, as well as other specialty food and drinks.
- The EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays presented by AdventHealth will return Nov. 26 – Dec. 30 with special live entertainment, Holiday Kitchens around World Showcase, a Holiday Cookie Stroll and more.
- Candlelight Processional at EPCOT, a beloved holiday performance and Disney Parks tradition dating back to 1958 at Disneyland park, returns with a lineup of celebrity narrators telling the Christmas story, a choir of Disney Cast Members and a live orchestra.
- Guests of all ages can take part in Olaf’s Holiday Tradition Expedition Scavenger Hunt to search for holiday traditions Olaf has gathered from around the world – and lost along the way!
- A stirring and uplifting performance of music in celebration of Christmas and Kwanzaa, “JOYFUL! A Celebration of the Season” returns to the Showcase Plaza Stage.
- Holiday traditions of the world come to life once again around World Showcase with unique presentations such as Las Posadas at the Mexico pavilion, the Canadian Holiday Voyageurs in the Canada pavilion, a Chinese Lion Dance celebrating the new year in the China pavilion, a Hanukkah storyteller along the promenade and delightful holiday storytellers in France, Italy, Japan, Norway and the United Kingdom.
- Santa Claus will appear at EPCOT through Dec. 24 of this year, giving guests the opportunity to wave hello and pose for a photo.
A Disney blooded, crafty, fun-lovin’ wife/mom/organizer/planner, etc who is obsessed with all things Disney 🙂 Maria grew up with the Magic Kingdom and has loved watching WDW evolve into what it is today. A firm believer in the Power of Pixie Dust, she is the owner of The Disney Driven Life – A Community for Neurotic Disney People & a d.i.y. crafty blog, Carousel of Projects – create~inspire~share.