Celebrating Christmas at Walt Disney World
Spending Christmas Day at Walt Disney World? For many this is a once in a lifetime trip, for others a family tradition. Either way, if you find yourself at Disney World at Christmas, here are a few tips for events and dining.
The Magic Kingdom is definitely the place to be on Christmas. Prior to the holidays you can enjoy Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. However on Christmas Day, the park is one big party. Be forewarned, the crowd level at this park on Christmas Eve and Day is the highest all year. Often the park will be closed within hours of opening because they are at capacity. If you brave the crowds, you will be rewarded with amazing holiday decorations and atmosphere. The parades are Christmas themed as are the fireworks. Cinderella’s castle is covered with a layer of LED snow and icicles. While all restaurants are open for Christmas, many with holiday features, the following offer a special Christmas meal (don’t forget your reservations):
- Liberty Tree Tavern-Family Style Lunch and Dinner
- Tony’s Town Square Restaurant-A la Carte Dinner
- Diamond Horseshoe Saloon-Counter Service Lunch and Family Style Dinner
Not to be missed is the Candlelight Processional at Epcot. This year actor, Gary Sinise will be reading the story of Christmas accompanied by a choir and orchestra. The Holiday’s Around the World Showcase is a great way to spend the day. Again, all restaurants will be open, and you can’t go wrong celebrating the special day at any of Epcot’s table service options. Germany’s Biergarten Restaurant offers a seasonal menu along with Christmas Carols. Another option is a Candlelight Processional Lunch or Dinner Package, with guaranteed seating for the show. You must have a reservation for the Candlelight Processional Packages. Included in your package is a meal at the following restaurants.
- Biergarten-Lunch and Dinner
- Rose and the Crown Pub-Dinner
- The Coral Reef-Lunch and Dinner
- San Angel Inn-Lunch and Dinner
- La Hacienda de San Angel-Dinner
- Le Cellier-Lunch
- The Garden Grill-Dinner
- Nine Dragons-Lunch and Dinner
- Via Napoli-Lunch and Dinner
- Tutto Italia-Lunch and Dinner
- Restaurant Marrakesh -Lunch and Dinner
- Les Chefs de France-Lunch and Dinner
- Teppan Edo-Lunch and Dinner
- Toyko Dining-Lunch and Dinner
Hollywood Studios features the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. The Streets of America are one huge holiday display of lights, synchronized to music. Disney “snow” will polish off the show. Whether you eat at Hollywood Studios or not, this is a “must do” at Christmas time in Disney World. Dining Options for Christmas include:
- Hollywood and Vine-Lunch and Dinner Buffet Style
- The Hollywood Brown Derby-Lunch and Dinner A la Carte
Animal Kingdom does not have any special dining or events for the Christmas Season. Mostly for the safety of the animals, the decorations are minimal. They do have a grand Christmas Tree and the parade becomes Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade. Santa Goofy’s Holiday Village (otherwise known as Camp Mickey and Minnie) features all your friends in their holiday finest, available for photo opportunities and autographs.
Downtown Disney is not only a shopper’s delight, but has many special events for Christmas. Mainly a Santa’s Village which features Santa Claus (November 16-December 24th) and Santa Goofy (December 25th-27th). You will also find caroling, live performances, and a holiday dance party. There is a special price fixe holiday menu at Portobellos. However, as there is no ticket to enter Downtown Disney, any of their restaurants would be a great option for a special celebration
Let’s not forget the resorts! Just because you aren’t staying at a particular Disney World Resort property, doesn’t mean you can’t swing by to see their special decorations for the holidays. You may even have a better chance of getting a reservation at one of their holiday meals. Below is what to find and where to find it:
- Cape May Cafe-Buffet Style Dinner
- Captains Grille-Lunch and Dinner Buffet Style
- Yachtsman Steakhouse-Price Fixe Holiday Dinner (Available Christmas Eve and Day)
- Flying Fish Cafe-Dinner A la Carte
- Citricos-Price Fixe Holiday Dinner (Available Christmas Eve and Day)
- Victoria and Albert’s-Dinner Choice of A la Carte, Chef’s Table or Queen Victoria’s Room
- Garden Grove-Dinner Character Buffet (Available Christmas Eve and Day)
- Todd English’s bluezoo-A la Carte Dinner
- Mickey’s Backyard BBQ-Buffet Dinner
- Trails End-Lunch and Dinner Buffet
- Whispering Canyon Cafe-Lunch and Dinner Family Style
While at Disney World at Christmas, leave some time for resort-hopping. Every lobby is decorated to extremes with a tree and each hotel has a special gingerbread display of some kind. Here are some of the more elaborate ones:
- Disney’s Grand Floridian-16 foot tall Gingerbread house. Make sure you look for the cinnamon “smoke”" come from the Chimney. There are also Gingerbread house making demonstrations and souvenir ”shingles” for sale.
- Disney’s Beach Club-A Gingerbread Carousel that’s totally edible, right down to the chocolate ponies! Hidden Mickey’s are in abundance here, so open up those eyes!
- Disney’s Yacht Club-A Holiday Village Train Set, made from gingerbread and sugar. Yes, the mountain is made entirely of sugar!
- Disney’s Boardwalk-A Holiday Gazebo and Bakery, featuring Lilo and Stitch. This chocolate and gingerbread storefront, is a great place to purchase some holiday goodies unique to Disney.
- Disney’s Contemporary-A 17 foot tall Gingerbread Tree highlights the display. Candy ornaments and treats for sale make this a fun stop on the monorail. The staff show off their gingerbread house creations daily!
Whether its your first or fifteenth visit to Disney for Christmas, take time to enjoy your loved ones. Try to take advantage of the special decorations and displays which are only available during the holiday season. Happy Holidays from Chip and Co.!
- Disney Food Blog Guide to the Walt Disney World Holidays 2012 e-Book (chipandco.com)
- Gingerbread Holiday Displays at Walt Disney World (chipandco.com)