The Holidays At Walt Disney World Resort: A Sneak Peek Into The Festivities

Walt Disney World Prepares to Welcome the Holidays

The team at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, fondly known as the magic makers or Disney cast members, is gearing up for the holiday season. The resort, often referred to as The Most Magical Place On Earth, is bustling with activity and anticipation as preparations for the festive season are underway. The planning phase peaks in fall, but many Cast Members dedicate several months, sometimes a whole year, to ensure the holiday cheer is spread far and wide.

Disney Jollywood Nights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Jollywood Nights at Walt Disney World
Jollywood Nights at Walt Disney World

The much-awaited holiday party, Disney Jollywood Nights, is on the horizon. This separately ticketed event is a ritzy Hollywood soiree filled with joy, music, and jolly good times. The party will be held on select nights from November 11 through December 20.

Awe-Inspiring Shows

Jollywood Nights at Hollywood Studios
At Disney Jollywood Nights, Disney Holidays in Hollywood is a star-studded variety show in the grand tradition of Tinseltown’s most beloved holiday specials – all with a twist of today’s Hollywood magic. Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Tiana, Belle, Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse are among the special guest stars, and there are plenty of surprises in store, including a brand-new original song by Tiana. This separately ticketed event takes place select nights Nov. 11-Dec. 20 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort. (DISNEY)

Two captivating new shows will immerse guests in the holiday spirit. Disney Holidays in Hollywood is a star-studded variety show, reminiscent of Tinseltown’s cherished holiday specials, but with a modern twist. Among the special guest stars are beloved characters like Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Tiana, Belle, Mickey Mouse, and Minnie Mouse. The show will also feature a new original song by Tiana. Another must-see is the sing-along led by Jack Skellington, featuring songs from the iconic film “TIM BURTON’S THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS.” Party-goers can also enjoy their favorite attractions with lower wait times during this limited-capacity event.

Additional Festive Features

More holiday surprises await, with special appearances by classic Disney Channel favorites such as Powerline Max, Rescue Rangers Chip ‘n Dale, and Phineas and Ferb. Guests can capture the perfect holiday selfie with these characters. Complimentary digital downloads of Disney PhotoPass photos captured during the event are included with the ticket. At the event, guests can also enjoy a dance party, where a DJ spins a mix of classic tunes combined with modern beats.

Frozen Holiday Surprise at Magic Kingdom Park

Frozen Holiday Surprise at Magic Kingdom Park
In Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort, “Frozen” friends from Arendelle are conjuring up something remarkable for the holidays. The new Frozen Holiday Surprise brings together Olaf and more than 100 of his Snowgie siblings who attempt to add festive decor to Cinderella Castle. With Anna and Kristoff, Queen Elsa transforms the castle into a shimmering crystallized palace, a look that will remain throughout each evening. Bringing this new spectacle to life is no small feat, as lighting designers, video technicians, composers and a full orchestra worked together to create this enchanting new entertainment experience. (Harrison Cooney, Photographer)

The characters from “Frozen” are planning something extraordinary for the holidays. The Frozen Holiday Surprise will feature Olaf and over 100 of his Snowgie siblings attempting to decorate Cinderella Castle. Queen Elsa, assisted by Anna and Kristoff, will add the final sparkling touches, transforming the castle into a crystallized palace. This spectacle will take place nightly during the holiday season starting November 7.

EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays

Festival of the Holidays

For those seeking an international holiday experience, the EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays is the destination. With spectacular decor, entertainment including celebrity narrators reciting the Christmas story each night, and traditions from countries worldwide, the festival promises a unique holiday celebration. Over 15 Holiday Kitchens will serve comfort foods that evoke warm holiday memories. The all-new fireworks-and-laser show, Luminous the Symphony of Us, will debut on December 5, 2023.

Comfort & Joy: A Gingerbread Extravaganza at Disney Resort Hotels

Preparing the Gingerbread Display at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Walt Disney World culinary teams spend up to seven months planning and building the displays. The culinary team at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa starts mixing fragrant dough in May, letting it cure a full two months before it is baked. Individual shapes, from shingles to Mickey cookies, are baked and decorated throughout the summer and then stored for “construction” in November. The house itself takes three days to build. (Steven Diaz, Photographer)

One of the most captivating holiday traditions at Disney Resort Hotels is the display of grand gingerbread structures. These magnificent culinary creations, meticulously crafted by talented culinary teams, require up to seven months of planning and execution. For instance, the team at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa begins the dough preparation process in May, allowing it to rest for two months before baking. Individual elements, ranging from shingles to Mickey-shaped cookies, are baked, decorated over the summer, and stored until November when the construction begins. The assembly of the gingerbread house itself takes three days.

This year, guests can marvel at these edible architectural wonders, including a brand new display, at six resort locations:

More Merriment: Celebrating Holidays Around the “World”


Disney Springs, the 120-acre entertainment, retail, and dining district, transforms into a festive wonderland beginning Nov. 10. The location offers a plethora of shopping, dining, and entertainment options amidst enchanting holiday decor. Highlights include meeting Santa Claus at Once Upon a Toy, and the Disney Springs Christmas Tree Stroll presented by AdventHealth. This stroll features 19 Disney-themed trees displayed across the four “neighborhoods” that make up Disney Springs. A visit at night is highly recommended to witness the magical snowfall in Town Center.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park also embraces the holiday spirit with cheerful decor and festive flotillas. Guests can meet their favorite Disney characters and Santa, and engage with a Merry Menagerie of life-size, artisan-sculpted animal puppets on Discovery Island. The iconic Tree of Life awakens each evening, unveiling a vibrant tableau of winter stories set to a familiar musical score.

Making Magic: The Role of Walt Disney World Holiday Services

designers, decorators and other professionals at Walt Disney World Holiday Services
The team of designers, decorators and other professionals at Walt Disney World Holiday Services prepare and install more than 600 trees and 1,700 wreaths, and hang nearly nine miles of garland each year to transform four theme parks, resort hotels, Disney Springs and the rest of the resort into a holiday wonderland. (Harrison Cooney, Photographer)

Creating the holiday spectacle across the four theme parks, resort hotels, Disney Springs, and other locations involves more than just Santa’s elves; it’s the phenomenal work of the Holiday Services team. This group of designers, decorators, and other professionals annually prepare over 600 trees, 1,700 wreaths, and hang nearly nine miles of garland. As soon as one holiday season concludes, the team commences preparations for the next, ensuring that all decor remains bright and festive.

Cherished Keepsakes to Commemorate the Magic

New Mickey and Minnie Holiday Ears arrived at Magic Kingdom $34.99
New Mickey and Minnie Holiday Ears at Magic Kingdom – $34.99

Holiday merchandise offers guests the perfect memento of their visit to Walt Disney World. From holiday-themed attire and accessories to home decor, these items help keep the holiday spirit alive long after guests return home. Special collections are available for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom and EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays.

Creating Lasting Memories

The Disney PhotoPass Service provides guests the opportunity to capture their special moments this holiday season. With new limited-time Magic Shots and props available throughout Walt Disney World Resort, guests can create festive photo memories to cherish for a lifetime.

The Holiday Season At Walt Disney World

The holiday season at Walt Disney World Resort offers an unrivaled blend of traditional festivities and Disney magic. From the awe-inspiring gingerbread masterpieces at various resort hotels to the enchanting decor across the parks and Disney Springs, there’s a sense of enchantment around every corner. The dedicated efforts of the Holiday Services team ensure a seamless transition into the festive season, creating a wonderland that leaves guests spellbound.

Whether it’s capturing precious moments with Disney PhotoPass Service or taking home a piece of the holiday magic with special merchandise, visiting Walt Disney World during the holidays promises unforgettable memories for guests of all ages.

As always, stay tuned to the DVC Shop blog for all the latest developments for Disney theme parks and all the information you could ever need about the Disney Vacation Club resorts.

Written by

Rachel Van Norman

Contributing Writer

Rachel fell deeply in love with all things Disney as a little girl. Now as a wife and a mother herself, she shares this Disney obsession with her son and everyone around her. From her love of princesses to eating all the Disney food, Rachel spends her time radiating Disney magic and keeping everyone up to date on Disney news.

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