What you need to know before you go
The holidays have arrived Walt Disney World and Disneyland.
For the first time since the pandemic, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is back in Magic Kingdom and World of Color – Season of Light is back in Disney California Adventure, but those aren’t the only things returning for the 2022 holiday season.
Year after year, Disney lovers are drawn to the elaborate decorations, seasonal food and popular entertainment at Florida and California resorts, making the holidays one of the busiest times to visit the parks.
Here’s what travelers need to know about Disneyland and Disney World vacations.
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What holidays does Disney celebrate?
Disneyland and Disney World both go out for Christmas, but that’s not the only holiday they celebrate.
Disney Holiday Festival at Disney California Adventure revel in Three Kings Day, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Diwali.
EPCOT International Holiday Festival also celebrates Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, in addition to Christmas traditions around the world.
What day does Disney put up the Christmas decorations?
Like Cinderella’s carriage turning into a pumpkin at the stroke of midnight, Walt Disney World’s transformation begins after the parks close on Halloween night, so visitors feel like they’re walking through winter wonderland at from November 1.
Disneyland’s makeover takes several weeks and begins during the Halloween season, though guests may notice bigger pieces going up until November 1.
Every November and December, the parks are dazzled by decorations that take their place year to prepare.
How long is Disney Christmas? Is Disney still decorated for Christmas in January?
The Disney Festival of the Holidays runs through January 8 at Disney California Adventure.
Disney World holiday decorations are usually in place until the first week of January.
How far in advance should I make a reservation for Disney?
One must reserve in addition to tickets to the four Disney World parks and the two Disneyland parks. Disneyland park reservations are currently open until February 2023.
Disney World Park Reservations are available through January 2024. Some parks are already booked for the holiday season, and most Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party dates have sold out.
At both resorts, reservations for meals and “enchanting extras” like Shop Bibbidi Bobbidi open 60 days. The most popular experiences book up in minutes, but some catering windows may open at the last minute. Disney World and Disneyland now allow guests to cancel most restaurant reservations up to two hours in advance without penalty.
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Which Disney park is the best for the holidays?
Like all things Disney, the answer is subjective. Some guests prefer the international festivities at EPCOT and Disney California Adventure, while others like classic Christmas at Magic Kingdom and Disneyland Park.
A look at each resort’s plans for this holiday season can help travelers decide for themselves.
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Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party made its pandemic return on November 8 at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. The special after-hours event is only offered on select nights and is not included with regular theme park admission. Day guests should note that Magic Kingdom will close early on event nights and they will not be able to watch fireworks inside the park without party tickets.
Party attendees can experience Minnie’s Wonderful Christmas FireworksMickey’s Merriest Celebration, Mickey’s Christmas Parade and other event-exclusive entertainment through December 22. The party also includes a dance party with Disney Junior characters, free cookies and hot chocolate, and shorter lines to attractions like Space Mountain, Tomorrowland Speedway, Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, and Mad Tea Party, which have holiday twists just for the party.
Tickets for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party 2022 range from $149 to $199, depending on the day. For comparison, regular one-park, one-day tickets for adults start at $134 during the holiday season. Starting December 8, Magic Kingdom prices will hit $189, during the holidays. Guests aged 10 and over are considered adults.
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EPCOT International Holiday Festival
The EPCOT International Holiday Festival returns from November 25 to December 30 and is included with regular admission to the park.
The popular event gives guests a literal and figurative taste of holidays around the world (showcase) with Holiday kitchens and the Holiday Cookie Stroll as well as seasonal storytelling and musical performances like JOYFUL! A celebration of the season and fan favorite candlelight procession featuring a massive choir, orchestra and famous narrators.
- November 25-26 Simu Liu
- November 27-29 Chita Rivera
- 30 Nov-Dec 1 Raúl Esparza
- December 2-3 Whoopi Goldberg
- December 4-6 Isabella Rossellini
- December 7-9 Daymond John
- December 10-12 Josh Gad
- December 13-14 Gloria Estefan
- December 15-18 Neil Patrick Harris
- December 19-20 Mariska Hargitay
- December 21-23 Cal Ripken Jr.
- December 24-26 Marie Osmond
- December 27-28 Courtney Vance
- December 29-30 Angela Bassett
More holiday events
At all four Disney World parks, seasonal exhibits are added to theLighthouses of magic which light up the park icons every night as part of the resort 50th anniversary celebration. OThe Florida resort’s other festive offerings include:
- Magic Kingdom: The Jungle Cruise turns into the Jingle Cruise.
- EPCO: The new from EPCOT Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Return gets a holiday soundtrack.
- Disney’s Hollywood Studios: For the first time ever: a frozen sing-along celebration adds a holiday finale, Hollywood & Vine features Minnie’s holiday dinner, and Santa’s jolly motorcade comes to town.
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Tree of Life Awakenings has a holiday edition, arctic animal puppets come to life in a Merry Menagerieand flotillas ferry Santa Claus and Disney Characters down the Discovery River in their holiday gear.
- blizzard beach: Reopening November 13 after renovations, Blizzard Beach welcomes Santa Claus in tropical garb, snowfall in some areas and “Frozen” additions to Tike’s Peak. Guests should note that Typhoon Lagoon will be closing for renovations when Blizzard Beach reopens.
- Disney Springs: No park ticket needed to see Disney-themed Christmas trees on the Disney Christmas Tree Walk, experience downtown snowfall, meet Santa, see live entertainment seasonal guests, grab a bite to eat at Jock Lindsay’s Holiday Bar and Disney Springs Holiday Shop.
- Disney resorts: All resorts are decked out for the holidays, but some, like Disney’s Grand Floridian with its giant gingerbread house, are destinations themselves. Guests who wish to come to the hotel to view the decorations may take Disney transportation. Parking is only available for guests staying or dining on site with a reservation.
Disneyland is transforming from “the happiest place on earth” to “the happiest place on earth” for the holidays. The festivities run from November 11 through January 8 and are included with regular admission to the park. One-day park tickets range from $114 to $179 for adults during the holiday season.
“A Christmas Fantasy” at Disneyland
Guests visiting Disneyland Park over the holidays won’t want to miss”A fantastic Christmas parade” or the “Believe…in magical holiday fireworks,” which are included with regular season-long park admission.
Other must-haves include holiday overlays “it’s a small world” holiday and Vacation in a haunted mansion, carried over from the Halloween season with the theme “The Nightmare Before Christmas”.
Fans of Mickey, Minnie and their friends will also want to keep an eye out for the gang wearing new holiday outfits in Town Square.
Disney Holiday Festival
In Disney California Adventure, Disney Holiday Festival celebrates a holiday crowd with international food, live music and a Mickey’s Happy Holidays procession with life-size toy soldiers. This year, Visions of Sugar Plums joins the Festive Foods Marketplace and Tina and The Sounds of Celebration! join the lineup of multicultural artists.
Guests can continue the party with Disney ¡Viva Navidad! street partywhich features traditional music and dance from Mexico and Brazil and appearances by Mickey, Minnie and the Three Caballeros.
Also during the holidays, Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters becomes Luigi’s joy at the whirlwindMater’s Junkyard Jamboree turns into Mater’s Jingle Jamboreeand the nighttime spectacular “World of Color” makes way for “World of Color – Season of Light,” which returns for the first time since the pandemic.
Other Disneyland Festivities
Downtown Disney: Disney lovers can enjoy seasonal entertainment, festive food and holiday shopping without visiting the parks of the Downtown Disney District.
Disney Resorts: In addition to appearing in the two Disneyland parks, Santa Claus stops at the three Disneyland hotels, which are decorated for the holidays. Guests can see where it will be The Disneyland app. Don’t miss the gingerbread display at Disney’s Grand Californian. All three hotels are within walking distance of the parks.