2014 Holiday Season Happenings at Walt Disney World
It’s nearly Halloween, so you know what that means… it’s time to talk about Christmas at Walt Disney World! If you’re planning to go this Holiday Season you should be well into planning mode for what you’ll be doing while you’re there. Just so you don’t miss a thing, here’s a look at what’s happening this year:
Queen Elsa from “Frozen” Transforms Cinderella Castle Nightly Beginning Nov. 5: New this year, Queen Elsa from “Frozen” will use her incredible powers to transform Cinderella Castle into a glistening ice palace for the holidays — thanks to a special effects spectacle bathing the castle in 200,000 shimmering white lights. Magic Kingdom guests are treated nightly to the dramatic “Castle Dream Lights” celebration and “A Frozen Holiday Wish” stage show.
Entertainment, Fireworks and More: Santa’s elves have transformed Magic Kingdom into a winter wonderland with festive wreaths, bows, garland, sparkling lights, parades and towering Christmas trees. The fun includes Holiday Wishes: Celebrate the Spirit of the Season nighttime fireworks spectacular, plus live entertainment with Disney characters all dressed up for the holidays.
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party: On select nights from Nov. 7 – Dec. 19, 2014, guests with tickets to this special event, after park hours, can enjoy for the first time Princess Anna, Queen Elsa, Kristoff and Olaf from “Frozen” joining the festive procession, “Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade,” along with a flurry of skaters, skiers and ice cutters from the Kingdom of Arendelle.
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party presents a night of holiday splendor with lively stage shows featuring Disney characters in their holiday best, a unique holiday parade and favorite holiday traditions including complimentary cookies and hot cocoa, and snow flurries on Main Street, U.S.A.
The fun continues with a holiday “Celebrate the Magic” castle projection show and Holiday Wishes: Celebrate the Spirit of the Season nighttime fireworks spectacular. Tickets for this event may be purchased online at WaltDisneyWorld.com or by calling 407/WDW-7679.
From December 20-31, “Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade” is presented to dayguests in the park in place of Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade.
Jungle Cruise Goes ‘Jingle Cruise’: For the holiday season, the iconic Jungle Cruise will temporarily transform into “Jingle Cruise” for Magic Kingdom guests with festive decor in the attraction queue and boathouse, holiday names for the Jungle Cruise boats and a slew of seasonal jokes from the Skippers. This seasonal takeover of the attraction debuts November 7 in Adventureland.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
“Frozen”: For the first time for the holidays and continuing indefinitely, guests at Disney’s Hollywood Studios can sing along to “Frozen” songs with Queen Elsa, Princess Anna, Kristoff and the Royal Historians of Arendelle daily during “For the First Time in Forever – a ‘Frozen’ Sing-Along Celebration” inside Premiere Theater. Close to the theater and also inspired by the film as the little log cabin in the mountains, Wandering Oaken’s invites guests to shop for “Frozen” merchandise and invites them to enjoy a large play area with real snow.
The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights: This massive seasonal display features millions of dancing lights, plus animated displays and 3-D effects perfectly synchronized to electrifying holiday tunes amidst snowfall. The rich tradition takes place on the Streets of America, dazzling guests from November 7, 2014 – January 4, 2015.
Candlelight Processional is one of the most beloved holiday traditions Walt Disney World Resort, with the joyous retelling of the Christmas story by a celebrity narrator, accompanied by a 50-piece orchestra and glorious mass choir. Among new celebrity narrators this year is Jonathan Groff, who voiced the rugged mountain man Kristoff in “Frozen.” Candlelight performances are at 5, 6:45 and 8:15 p.m.*
Jodi Benson 11/28 – 11/29
Neil Patrick Harris 11/30 – 12/2
Jonathan Groff NEW! 12/3 – 12/4
Whoopi Goldberg 12/5 – 12/6
TBD 12/7* – 12/8
TBD 12/9 – 12/11
Joe Morton NEW! 12/12 – 12/14
Chita Rivera 12/15 – 12/17
Ana Gasteyer NEW! 12/18 – 12/20
Marlee Matlin 12/21 – 12/23
Isabella Rossellini 12/24 – 12/25
Blair Underwood 12/26 – 12/27
Steven Curtis Chapman 12/28 – 12/30
Please note that narrators are subject to change without notice.
*Show Times on December 7 are 6:45 and 8:15 p.m. only
Guests may purchase Candlelight Dining Packages to reserve a seat at the Candlelight Processional. These packages, available on select nights, include a delicious meal, a guaranteed seat for one of the Candlelight Processional performances and a pre-arranged location for fireworks viewing. Guests may call 407-WDW-DINE for reservations or at www.disneyworld.com. Availability is limited.
JOYFUL! A Gospel Celebration of the Season blends the soulful expressiveness of Gospel and inspirational music with the sounds of jazz, R&B and urban music daily from November 28 – December 29 at the Future World Fountain Stage.
The World Showcase Promenade comes alive with IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth that incorporates a unique finale celebrating the season. The song “Let There Be Peace on Earth” and a TBD narrator who offers a special message of peace and good will nightly at 9:30 p.m.
Other festive holiday offerings include the Gingerbread Village at The Land pavilion, which showcases sweet recreations of Walt Disney World Resort’s theme park icons, plenty of holiday merchandise and food and beverage offerings around World Showcase, and guests can celebrate each country’s holiday traditions with storytellers at each pavilion during Holidays Around the World:
◦ Canada – The Canadian Holiday Voyageurs
◦ United Kingdom – Father Christmas
◦ France – Père Noël
◦ Morocco – Taarji, a Moroccon drummer and the holiday of Ramadan
◦ Japan – Story of the Daruma Doll and the Japanese customs of the New Year
◦ American Adventure – Mr. & Mrs. Claus, Hanukkah traditions and Kwanzaa celebrations
◦ Italy – La Befana, the kindhearted witch who grants gifts to good children
◦ Germany – Helga and the story of the First Christmas tree and her first Nutcracker
◦ China – Monkey King tells tall tales celebrating Chinese New Year
◦ Norway — Sigrid and the story of Julenissen, the Christmas Gnome
Downtown Disney & Walt Disney World Resort Hotels
Starting in November, Festival of the Seasons returns to Downtown Disney with joyous holiday entertainment and festive décor, as well as a meet and greet with the jolly man himself, Santa Claus. The Walt Disney World Resort hotels are all glittery for the season, as well, with merry décor, gingerbread houses and more. Guests will find a sugary showcase of holiday displays throughout the magical resort hotels. From enhancing visual feasts created from all kinds of sweets to refreshing stops offering tasty beverages and treats, each display has its own charming features.
Photos courtesy Disney and Barrie Brewer