Sneak Peek: Walt Disney World Resort Prepares to Welcome the Holidays
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (Oct. 23, 2023) – Preparation for the holidays is already in high gear at Walt Disney World Resort as The Most Magical Place On Earth gets ready to celebrate “the most wonderful time of year.” While planning and preliminaries culminate in fall, many Cast Members spend months – sometimes a full year – getting ready to spread seasonal cheer.
Here is a first look at what guests can expect as they celebrate the 2023 holiday season that begins Nov. 11, 2023, at Walt Disney World – from details about a new nighttime event, Disney Jollywood Nights, to the latest news about Disney holiday traditions.
Holiday Happenings: Disney Jollywood Nights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
The long anticipated, glam holiday party Disney Jollywood Nights is almost here. This new separately ticketed event is a swanky Hollywood bash filled with merriment, music and spirited good times. It will take place on select nights Nov. 11 to Dec. 20.
Two mesmerizing new shows will immerse guests in the joy of the holidays. 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.
Partygoers won’t want to miss What’s This? TIM BURTON’S THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS Sing-Along. Jack Skellington leads an ethereal exploration of “TIM BURTON’S THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS,” Guests can sing along to beloved songs from the iconic film as they discover peculiar magic in unexpected places.
In addition, Disney Jollywood Nights guests can enjoy favorite attractions with lower wait times during this limited-capacity event. A virtual queue will also be in place for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.*
Even More to Adore
More holiday treats await with special appearances by classic Disney Channel favorites, including Powerline Max, Rescue Rangers Chip ‘n Dale, and Phineas and Ferb. Guests can grab that perfect holiday selfie with these icons from decades past. PhotoPass photographers will be there to capture the moment, and complimentary digital downloads of Disney PhotoPass photos captured during the event are included with the price of the ticket.**
At Welcome to Disney Jollywood Nights, revelers can strike a pose with a stunning new neon sign before joining the dance party where a DJ plays the merriest of mash ups featuring a mix of smooth classics layered with modern beats.
New ‘Fits for the Fete
Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and friends are donning new outfits exclusively for this glitzy celebration. They invite guests to do the same and join them for photos in a colorful setting from the golden age of Hollywood. Disney art directors, show producers and designers worked together to land on just the right combination of colors and fabric, inspired by palettes of the ‘30s, ‘40s and ‘50s.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios will also once again present Sunset Seasons Greetings nightly throughout the season. Each evening The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is magically transformed into an array of holiday scenes as snow falls along Sunset Boulevard.
Fractal Frenzy: NEW Frozen Holiday Surprise at Magic Kingdom Park
At Magic Kingdom Park, “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 at her side, Queen Elsa adds sparkling finishing touches, transforming 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.
Debuting Nov. 7, “Frozen Holiday Surprise” will occur nightly during the holiday season.
Families and kids of all ages can also enjoy Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Now in its 40th year, this specially ticketed event has become a holiday tradition for many. Featuring a dazzling parade, fireworks, complimentary sweet treats and so much more, it’s warm-hearted, family-friendly fun at Magic Kingdom on 25 select nights Nov. 9-Dec. 22.
Delicious Doings: EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays
For an international holiday flavor, EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays presented by AdventHealth is the place to be. The stage is set with spectacular decor around every corner, and entertainment fills the air from celebrity narrators reciting the Christmas story each night to time-honored traditions from countries around the world.
And no holiday celebration would be complete without tasty treats.
The festival culinary team has been hard at work for nearly a year, dreaming up the menu and testing new recipes. More than 15 Holiday Kitchens will celebrate the diversity of holiday traditions with comfort foods that inspire warm memories.
Because ensuring a delicious encounter with every bite is top of mind for the team, thorough testing is imperative before massive production begins. How massive? The culinary team has historically baked more than 250,000 cookies in just five weeks for the event’s signature Holiday Cookie Stroll.
This year will bring several “firsts” to the festival. Luminous the Sympony of Us is an all-new fireworks-and-laser spectacular that will debut December 5, 2023. And, with EPCOT being home to The Walt Disney Company’s 100thanniversary celebration, guests will find beautiful holiday decor at the park entrance commemorating the Disney100 celebration.
EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays begins Nov. 24.
Comfort & Joy: Gingerbread Galore at Disney Resort Hotels
Guests often gaze in fascination at the larger-than-life gingerbread displays that appear each holiday season at Disney Resort Hotels. Culinary teams spend up to seven months planning and building the displays. For example, 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.
This year, guests will once again be able to enjoy the stunning works of culinary art – including a new display – in six resort locations:
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Disney’s Beach Club Resort
- Disney’s BoardWalk Resort
- Disney’s Contemporary Resort
- Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
- Disney’s Yacht Club Resort (featuring a new display)
More Merriment: Holidays Around the “World”
Disney Springs is THE place to shop, dine and play amidst a wonderland of beautiful decor and culinary delights. The 120-acre entertainment, retail and dining district will be in full holiday swing beginning Nov. 10. Those seeking festive fun should save time to visit Santa Claus at Once Upon a Toy and take in the Disney Springs Christmas Tree Stroll presented by AdventHealth. Nineteen Disney-themed trees will be on display throughout the four “neighborhoods” that make up Disney Springs. Plan at least one nighttime visit to experience snowfall in Town Center.
Cheerful decor and festive flotillas are holiday highlights at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park. In addition to meeting with favorite Disney characters and Santa himself, guests can interact with a Merry Menagerie of life-size, artisan-sculpted animal puppets daily on Discovery Island. The park’s iconic Tree of Life also awakens each evening with a colorful tableau of wintry tales accompanied by a familiar musical score.
Making Magic: Walt Disney World Holiday Services
It takes more than Santa’s elves to transform the four theme parks, resort hotels, Disney Springs and other locations across the Walt Disney World Resort with dazzling decor. That incredible feat is the work of Holiday Services.
This team of designers, decorators and other professionals ready more than 600 trees and 1,700 wreaths and hang nearly nine miles of garland each year. In fact, as soon as one holiday season wraps up, the Holiday Services team begins preparing for the next.
Whether creating new items or making sure that existing decor remains merry and bright, these talented specialists ensure that the entire resort sparkles.
Cheery Mementos to Remember the Magic
There’s no better way to remember a visit to Walt Disney World than with the perfect souvenir, and holiday merchandise is a great way to show some holiday spirit or to keep the cheerful vibes alive after guests return home. Special holiday-themed attire, accessories, home decor and more can be purchased throughout the resort, with special collections available for both Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom and EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays.
Create Special Memories to Last a Lifetime
Guests looking to capture their special moments can take advantage of Disney PhotoPass Service**, which will create festive photo fun this holiday season with new limited-time Magic Shots and props throughout Walt Disney World Resort.
To learn more about planning a holiday experience at Walt Disney World Resort, visit DisneyWorld.com or call your travel agent.
*Guests attending the event can request to join the queue beginning at 6:00 p.m. Each Guest can request to enter this virtual queue no more than once per event. This is only available for Guests on the day of the event they are attending, and their specific event tickets must be linked to their My Disney Experience account in order to join the virtual queue. Guests attending this special ticketed event do not need to be in Disney’s Hollywood Studios to request to join at the time the queue becomes available.
** Disney PhotoPass service is subject to Disney PhotoPass terms and expiration policy at https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/photopass-terms-conditions. Online registration required. Subject to restrictions and change without notice.
(The Twilight Zone® is a registered trademark of CBS, Inc. and used with permission pursuant to a license with CBS, Inc.)