Magical Holidays at Disney World: Useful Guide to Festivities and Events

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Holidays are special times for families and friends to come together and make unforgettable memories. What better way to celebrate than by spending your holidays at Disney World? Boasting a variety of seasonal experiences, from Halloween to Easter, and everything in between, this popular travel destination knows how to deliver the seasonal fun.

Join us on this journey as we explore the magic of holidays at Disney World and discover why it’s the perfect place to celebrate any occasion.

What Holidays Are Celebrated at Disney World?

From Halloween to New Year’s Eve and beyond, Disney World celebrates every holiday in its own unique way. Whether you’re a fan of spooky thrills, festive parades, or heartwarming traditions, there is something for everyone to enjoy at Disney World during several of the holidays recognized across the U.S.

If you want to experience holidays at Disney World but don’t know when to visit, this information can help you narrow in on the right holiday for you.

Christmas Is the Biggest Holiday Celebration at Disney World

If you’re looking for colorful decorations and dazzling light displays across the 4 theme parks, then Christmas is the time to visit Disney World. You’ll find towering trees and specialty décor designed to evoke the best of the season as well as the theme of each park. At Animal Kingdom, for instance, decorations take on a festive safari flair.

Lion shaped Christmas ornament on Christmas tree at Animal Kingdom: Holidays at Disney World
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At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you’ll discover nostalgic Christmas décor from the golden age of Hollywood.

Christmas decorations at Disney's Hollywood Studio reflect the golden age of Hollywood. Holidays at Disney World
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However, the seasonal spirit brought to life inside each park is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to experiencing festive delights. You’ll find that each resort located on Disney property is decked out for the season. From the moment you pull up to the doors to the moment you enter your room, you’ll find that Disney hotels know how to celebrate the season.

Some of our favorite decorations can be found at the Grand Floridian Resort, where a giant ginberbread house takes center place in the lobby. We also love Port Orleans Resort French Quarter, where holiday décor takes on a jazzy flair, full of bright colors and glitz.

Gingerbread house celebrating the holidays at Disney World Grand Floridian Resort
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In addition to Christmas decorations, Disney World goes all out for the Christmas holidays in many other ways, with special events like Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and the Candlelight Processional.

Another popular special event is Epcot International Festival of the Holidays. This celebration showcases the diverse holiday traditions of cultures around the world with special performances, food booths, and holiday-themed merchandise.

Whether you’re celebrating Christmas or New Year’s Eve, there are plenty of special ticketed events at Disney World to add even more magic to your holiday vacation. Be sure to book your tickets in advance, as these events often sell out quickly.

Enjoy a Not So Spooky Halloween

Magic Kingdom Castle
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While Christmas may be one of the more popular times for holiday-bound visitors, Halloween is one of our favorite seasons to visit Disney World. You’ll find the largest decorative displays at Magic Kingdom where everything from lamp posts to the windows on Main Street USA are decorated with fall flair.

Pumpkin Mickey at Disney World Halloween 2023
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Decorations tend to rotate as well, so you’ll never see quite the same decorations year after year. However, large jack-o-lanterns and Mickey shaped pumpkins tend to be standard.

Disney World Halloween 2023 entrance to MK
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At other parks, you’ll find nods to the holiday in seasonal treats and merchandise, but little in the way of décor. In 2022, EPCOT celebrated with pumpkins painted to represent Disney characters. They were hidden in various places for guests to stumble upon or seek out.

What the other parks lack in holiday decorations is more than made up for with Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. This ticketed event brings everything you love about the holiday with none of the blood and gore.

Highlighting the event is the Boo to You parade, led by the Headless Horseman and featuring many of Disney’s more villainous charcters. You’ll also find special castle lighting, spooky fog and an array of Halloween treats and merchandise that is exclusive to the party.

To learn more about Disney World’s Halloween party, visit our Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party guide.

Thanksgiving at Disney World

Acorn shaped treat available at Disney World during Thanksgiving.
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Thanksgiving at Disney World is nearly swallowed up by Christmas. As soon as the Halloween decorations come down, the Christmas decorations go up, in an overnight transformation that sees the Magic Kingdom turn from festive fall to glittery Christmas. However, you will find a few nods to the season as Thanksgiving Day approaches in the form of special treats or merchandise.

While Thanksgiving decorations may be lacking, you won’t have to forego your turkey and mashed potatoes if visiting on the holiday itself. Several restaurants offer a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, including Tusker House, where you can dine on time-honored fare and experience newly found favorites.

Tusker House Thanksgiving dinner buffet options: Holidays at Disney World
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Celebrating Easter at Disney World

Easter is another one of those holidays at Disney World that is often overshadowed by other events. At EPCOT, the Flower and Garden Festival is in full swing, celebrating the blooms and buds of spring with delightful character inspired topiaries and other garden delights.

EPCOT is also home to the Eggstravaganza Easter Egg Hunt. For a small fee, you can purchase a map and stickers. Find the specially decorated eggs throughout the park, fill in your map with the provided stickers, and win a prize.

Each year, the eggs are decorated to a different theme. In 2023, eggs were decorated to resemble Disney’s famous character rabbits, such as Thumper, White Rabbit, and, well Rabbit from Winnie the Pooh.

At Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, you can find a chocolate Easter Egg display as well as Easter inspired treats. The Easter Bunny and his bunny wife have also made appearances on Main Street USA at the Magic Kingdom in an Easter procession. Mr. Bunny is also willing to meet with children and other fans during this one time of year.

Other Easter delights at Magic Kingdom include a spring trolley show, where the citizens of Main Street dress up in their brightest and finest holiday style. You’ll also find a number of Easter inspired snacks throughout the parks.

Earth Day at Walt Disney World

Since Animal Kingdom Park was established in 1998 to inspire conservation, it doesn’t come as a surprise that most of the Earth Day activities take place here. You’ll find nature-inspired activities, special snacks and possibly an original show to commemorate the day.

Fourth of July at Disney World

When it comes to commemorating America’s independence, Disney World pulls out all of the stops, blazing the night sky with one of the most spectacular fireworks displays. That statement says a lot, because Disney is one destination that knows how to put on a show, and holiday fireworks are no exception.

You’ll also find special nighttime surprises at EPCOT. In years past, this park celebrated the event by adding a special segment to the currently running nighttime spectacular. With a new show in the making, we can’t wait to see how EPCOT amps up the celebration this year.

The only big downside to visiting Disney World during the Fourth of July is the fact that you can’t be in both parks at once.

Holiday Eats and Treats at Disney World

Cactus inspired cupcake celebrating Earth Month at Disney World
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Every holiday at Disney World features special snacks or other food items that can be purchased at different eateries. In the past, we’ve celebrated with something as simple as Christmas spiced frosting on the cinnamon rolls at Gaston’s Tavern to new palate-busting wonders in unusual shapes or forms.

The Halloween treats have already been announced for 2023. Expect to find everything from sweet eats—like the Not-So-Poison Apple Pie Milk Shake—to spicy concoctions such as the Pain and Panic Hot Dog offered at Casey’s Corner in the Magic Kingdom.

If you’re curious about the culinary delights you’ll see at Christmas, drop us a line at Ask to be put on our holiday food list, and we’ll alert you as soon as the special eats are released.

Special Ticketed Events to Celebrate the Holidays

Cinderella's Castle bathed in green light for the Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party; Holidays at Disney World
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One of the many reasons that guests enjoy holidays at Disney World is due to the special ticketed events that take place throughout the parks. These events offer visitors the chance to experience even more holiday cheer and unique experiences during their stay.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a favorite among Disney fans. Held in Magic Kingdom, this special ticketed event features holiday-themed parades, fireworks, and even snow on Main Street, U.S.A. Guests can also enjoy exclusive access to attractions and character meet-and-greets, as well as complimentary holiday treats and beverages.

In the past, guests have had the option to experience a truly unforgettable New Year’s Eve experience: Disney Elegant Evening Under the Stars at the Contemporary Resort. Here, you could join Disney characters as you toast in the new year, while also enjoying live entertainment. If you don’t mind the price tag, nearly $700 a person, it’s also the perfect place to view the Magic Kingdom fireworks display from an exclusive viewing area.

If you’re interested in this or other ticketed events, be sure to contact us at Ask to be put on our ticketed event list, and we’ll contact you as soon as news is released on these events for the current year.

One of the most popular special events at Disney World is Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. Held in Magic Kingdom, this spooky celebration is perfect for families looking to enjoy Halloween without the intensity and scares that might highlight other celebrations.

Guests are encouraged to dress up in costume and can trick-or-treat throughout the park. They can also enjoy exclusive access to attractions, meet-and-greets with Disney favorites, and a special Halloween parade featuring Disney characters dressed up in their Halloween costumes. The night ends with a spectacular fireworks display. If you haven’t experienced a Disney holiday fireworks show, you are in for a treat!

Tickets for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party are available now for anyone holding a current Disney World resort hotel reservation. Contact us by emailing for more information or to purchase your tickets.

Disney Has Its Own Holidays

Mickey and Minnie topiaries frame Spaceship Earth in EPCOT, one of the best Disney World parks.
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Epcot, one of Disney World’s four theme parks, is not only a celebration of human achievement and technological progress, but also a hub of cultural diversity and culinary excellence. One of the ways Epcot showcases this diversity is through its many festivals that take place throughout the year. We like to think of these as Disney’s own holidays.

The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is one of the most beloved springtime events at Disney World. During this festival, guests can admire stunning topiary displays featuring favorite Disney characters, attend gardening seminars, and taste delicious food and drink at outdoor kitchens throughout the park. The festival also features outdoor concerts, family-friendly activities, and a butterfly garden.

The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is a must-attend event for foodies and wine connoisseurs. Taking place in the fall, this festival features dozens of food booths serving up international cuisine and wine pairings, as well as cooking demonstrations by celebrity chefs and seminars on wine and beer.

Guests can also enjoy live music and special events, such as Party for the Senses, a grand tasting event that features dishes from Disney chefs and renowned guest chefs from around the world. Since the Food & Wind Festivals is easily one of the most popular events, expect nights to be crowded around the world showcase during the dates that the festival is running.

For fans of the arts, the Epcot International Festival of the Arts is a winter event that showcases visual, performing, and culinary arts. Guests can watch live art demonstrations, attend workshops and seminars, and purchase unique art pieces from around the world. The festival also features Broadway-style performances and a variety of food and beverage options.

Finally, the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays is a winter celebration that showcases the diverse holiday traditions of cultures around the world. Guests can enjoy special holiday-themed food and drinks, as well as holiday storytelling and live music performances. The festival also features the Candlelight Processional, a beautiful retelling of the Christmas story featuring a celebrity narrator, choir, and live orchestra.

No matter what time of year you visit Epcot, there is always a festival to enjoy. From floral displays to culinary masterpieces, there’s something for everyone at Epcot’s festivals.

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Celebrating the holidays at Disney World is a great way to create new traditions and enjoy the festivities. While the jury is still out over which holidays are the best for travel, there are two things you can expect.

First, any holiday at Disney World is going to invite higher crowds, particularly if you visit the day of. Plan to spend extra time in the parks to see and do all you want to experience.

Second, adding Disney to any holiday celebration will always add an extra element of fun and excitement. If you’re looking for a fun and festive way to enjoy a holiday celebration, consider booking your trip when the festivities are underway at the parks. For Christmas and Halloween, there is so much to see and do, you might not even realize that you’re enjoying the parks with other holiday travelers.

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Kathleen Hesketh and Ali Patton, mother daughter travel bloggers

We're Kat and Ali, a pair of mother daughter travel bloggers sharing our knowledge and experience from multiple years of Disney travel with other Disney lovers and first-time visitors, hoping to simplify your vacation experience and help you enjoy all of the magic of a visit to Disney World. As Disney vacation planners, we can now book vacations through Mickey World travel, at no additional charge, and help you realize all of the magic of a trip to Disney.

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Kathleen Hesketh

Kathleen is a travel agent with Mickey World Travel, a platinum level Authorized Disney vacation planner, where she helps people discover the magic of a Disney vacation and other travel destinations. She is also the chief author and editor for Seconds to Go - a travel blog where she shares experiences from traveling the U.S. with her daughter, Ali.

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