Disney Holidays

Magic Kingdom Parade Information for December:

The Magic Kingdom parade schedule changes a bit in December:

 Information about changes to the December parade schedule in the Magic Kingdom at Disney World - includes information about Mickey's Once Upon A Christmastime Parade and Festival of Fantasy Parade as well as Fantasy in the Sky fireworks on New Year's Eve.
  • Disney’s Festival of Fantasy Parade will be presented daily at 3:00PM through December 22nd. It is not offered from Dec. 23 – 31 but returns on January 1, 2017
  • Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime parade will be presented daily at 12:00PM and 3:30PM on December 23 – 31, 2016. This parade is also presented during the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Parties offered on select evenings in December (special ticket required).
  • Disney’s Main Street Electrical Parade is no longer presented at Disney World.

Magic Kingdom Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks – In addition to the regular Wishes Fireworks, a New Years Fireworks display will be presented at 11:48PM on December 30 & 31, 2016.

Click Here for more Disney World holiday information

Click Here for a Full List of December Closures & Refurbishments

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Disney World Theme Parks Open Early For Christmas

 Disney World will open its theme parks early on select days during the 2015 holidays. For a full schedule, see: http://www.buildabettermousetrip.com/visiting-disney-world/2015/12/5/disney-world-theme-parks-open-early-for-christmas

In anticipation of holiday crowds, Disney is opening an hour earlier at some or all of their parks to the general public.  This is not an “Extra Magic Hour”, this is for everyone whether they stay at a Disney World hotel or not.   The Magic Kingdom will have morning “Extra Magic Hour” most days too.

Magic Kingdom:

  • Dec. 16 / 8:00AM Opening for everyone
  • Dec. 18 – Jan. 2/ 8:00AM Opening for everyone
  • Dec. 19 – Jan. 2 / 7:00AM opening for Disney World hotel guests (Extra Magic Hour)

Epcot:

  • Dec. 25 – 31/ 8:00AM Opening for everyone
  • Dec. 29  / 7:00AM opening for Disney World hotel guests (Extra Magic Hour)”

Disney’s Hollywood Studios:

  • Dec. 25 – Jan. 2/ 8:00AM Opening for everyone
  • Dec. 26  / 7:00AM opening for Disney World hotel guests (Extra Magic Hour)
  • Dec.31  / 7:00AM opening for Disney World hotel guests (Extra Magic Hour)

Animal Kingdom:

  • Dec. 18 – Jan. 2/ 8:00AM Opening for everyone
  • Dec. 20  / 7:00AM opening for Disney World hotel guests (Extra Magic Hour)
  • Dec. 23  / 7:00AM opening for Disney World hotel guests (Extra Magic Hour)
  • Dec. 27  / 7:00AM opening for Disney World hotel guests (Extra Magic Hour)
  • Dec. 30  / 7:00AM opening for Disney World hotel guests (Extra Magic Hour)

Important Information About Crowds

On a scale of 1 – 10, the crowds will be mostly 9’s or 10’s during these dates.

  • Early birds get the most rides: The first 1 – 2 hours of the day are always the least crowded.  Arrive at least 30 minutes before 8AM park opening to enjoy the shortest lines of the day.
  • Please, please please use a touring plan: Use the plans from the Unofficial Guide to Disney World (printed guidebook) or get a subscription to TouringPlans.com – these crowd levels are where a good touring plan provides the biggest benefit so please use those plans.  Contact me if you don’t know where to find the plans or have questions about how they work.  I’m happy to help.   

Click Here for Our Top 10 Tips for Visiting Disney World at Christmas

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Meet Santa at Disney Springs from Nov. 14 - Dec. 30, 2016 (Free event)

Disney World Seasonal Freebie - From November 14, 2016 through December 24, 2016 (Noon to 10PM), Santa and his helpers will be greeting Guests at their cottage across from Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop in Disney Springs.  Santa Goofy will take over for December 25 - 30.   Check in at the podium and get a pager so you can enjoy the area until it is your turn.   When you're pager buzzes, you will have 10 minutes to return.  Photographers will be on hand and photos with Santa are included in the Memory Makers photo package.

 More Holiday Cheer at Disney Springs

  • While in Disney Springs, you may also want to see the nightly tree lighting ceremony at the Once Upon a Toy fountain play area and DJ Dance party.
  • Stroll through a trail of Disney themed, decorated Christmas trees near the Marketplace bus loop.
  • Take time to check out the holiday storefront window displays.  
  • Adding to the holiday cheer are toy soldier and snowflake stilt walkers, carolers, acapella groups and other live entertainment from November 13, 2016 - January 8, 2017 / 6:00PM - 10:00PM.    
  • Kwanza will be celebrated on the Waterside Stage in the Marketplace on December 26 & 27, 2016.   Hanukkah inspired songs and stories will be presented at Waterview Park in The Landing in the evenings from December 24, 2016 - January 1, 2017.

Click here for our Top 10 Tips for Visiting Disney World during the Holidays. 

 Click on the photo for a list of crowd warnings, closures and special events at Disney World in December.

Click on the photo for a list of crowd warnings, closures and special events at Disney World in December.

Planning a Disney vacation? You'll definitely want to subscribe to our free newsletter. You will receive a link to 45 great Disney World Freebies in your welcome note and several helpful “how-to” e-guides over the next week. Unsubscribe at any time.

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Day of the Dead traditions at Disney World and Disneyland / Dia de los Muertos

The Mexican Day of the Dead(Dia De Muertos) tradition is observed on from October 31 to November 2nd and it is a time of honoring departed loved ones.   It has roots in Aztec beliefs that say that the souls of departed loved ones can return for a brief time. 

Click here to read more about Day of the Dead traditions and origins. 

Dia de Los Muerto at Disney World

Certain elements have been incorporated into the "Gran Fiesta Tour with the Three Amigos" ride in the Mexico pavilion at Epcot.  Skeletons and skull masks (called calacas) are a a recognizable part of modern Day of the Dead celebrations. (Did you notice the Donald Duck pinata under the arch, in the background of the picture below?)

  Mexican   Day of the Dead    (Dia De Muertos) depictions in the Grand Fiesta Tour with the Three Amigos attraction in the Mexico pavilion at Epcot / Walt Disney World Resort - Florida. 

Do you see the Donald Duck banner? This is a Disney-fied version of a folk art called Papel Picado, which means punched or perforated paper, and are usually made by punching or cutting designs into tissue paper, using small chisels. They are used to decorate a lot of events but skeletons and the color pink are a common theme in banners used in Day of the Dead altars.

 Donald Duck  Papel Picado  (punched or "peckered" tissue paper banner) in the    Gran Fiesta Tour with the Three Amigos" ride in the Mexico pavilion at Epcot

Pixar's "CoCo" at Disney World and Disneyland

In 2017, there will be sneak preview's of Pixar's "Coco" at Disney World and Disneyland beginning November 22nd.   This animated movie takes an aspiring musician named Miguel on a journey through the Land of the Dead with a trickster named Hector.  Click here to learn more

  • Disney World - Disney's Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney Presents
  • Disneyland - Disney California Adventure - Sunset Showcase Theater in Hollywood Land.

Dia de Los Muerto at Disneyland

From September 15 to November 2, 2017, the Plaza de la Familia at Paradise Gardens in Disney California Adventure (Disneyland) is inspired Dia de los Muertos and the movie "CoCo" and will feature storytellers, songs from the movie, Folklorico dances and Mariachi Divas.   Authentic Mariachi music will be presented at the Paradise Gardens Bandstand along with delicious Mexican foods available for purchase.   Click here for more information

In Disneyland park, guests can head over to Frontierland from September 15 to November 2, 2017 to join the festivities.   Zocalo Park will have a musical trio of iconic calacas (skeleton figurines), brightly colored flowers and Calaveras-style face painting.  You can enjoy dtasty mexican food at Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante.

Click here for a Disneyland Vacation Quote

Planning a Disney vacation? You'll definitely want to subscribe to our free newsletter. You will receive a link to 45 great Disney World Freebies in your welcome note and several helpful “how-to” e-guides over the next week. Unsubscribe at any time.

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