Christmastime at Disney World is magical! All four parks are home to different festive garnishes and aesthetics. This year, unlike years past, the seasonal offerings are not as elaborate. Today, I will be ranking three of the parks (I have never been to Animal Kingdom for the Christmas season) based on their decorations, seasonal offerings, and overall atmosphere for 2020.
Epcot is the master of recurring galas. One of their better events is Festival of the Holidays. This annual celebration of holidays worldwide offers authentic delicacies and Storytellers who relate traditions recognized at “that time of year.” The festival is lackluster compared to previous years. There are limited kiosks and no Storytellers. Because of this, the main attraction is the mostly delightful cuisine. Also, like its sister festivals, Festival of the Holidays boasts a scavenger hunt. Presently, guests can search for Olaf toting special holiday traditions around World Showcase.
The Christmas fun also extends into Future World with colorful strings of Lights at Living with the Land and a delightful holiday surprise at the Imagination Pavilion. Although enjoyable, Epcot ranks third because of the lack of holiday offerings.
In ordinary times, there is more Christmas fun, but unlike the other two parks, Epcot is not effectively compensating for this shortage with additional events. Also, while Christmas begins immediately after Halloween in the other parks, Epcot’s Christmas doesn’t begin until November’s end, due to the Food and Wine Festival. This means fewer can experience the Christmas activities, another reason why Epcot is not the best park to visit during Christmastime.
Magic Kingdom is famous for fabulous, beautiful Christmas decorations that engulf Main Street, U.S.A. This land screams Christmas, which is where its problem lies. The holiday décor stops at Cinderella Castle, not extending into other lands. This is disappointing as many guests do not spend much time on Main Street. Of course, the lack of some Christmas staples is saddening. However, contrary to Epcot, Magic Kingdom has done a fantastic job giving guests a cornucopia of holiday experiences.
In lieu of the Christmas Party, several floats and performers, including the iconic toy soldiers and dancing reindeer, travel parade routes daily. It’s a great way for guests to experience after-hours activities during the day. Another carry-over from the Christmas Party is a variety of characters in holiday costumes.
The Muppets put on hilarious shows with seasonal attire while the Country Bears adorn wintry wear to wave to guests.
Although the castle is not lit nightly with “ice crystals,” projections illuminate Cinderella’s abode. Projections alternate, providing a lovely, seasonal ambience. These nightly occurrences and cavalcades give Magic Kingdom a boost.
Hollywood Studios tops the list with its plethora of retro Christmas décor and general holiday ambience. Decorations, such as old-fashioned reindeer and Santa Gertie, are spread throughout the park, which provides an unforgettable Christmas experience.
Hollywood Studios is often overshadowed by Magic Kingdom in terms of the holiday season, but this park is truly the Christmas champion. Previously, it has been home to even more spectacular holiday entertainment, including Toy Story Land decorations, a rocking firework show, and billboards that illuminate Sunset Boulevard.
Fortunately, the projections on the Hollywood Tower of Terror remain, allowing guests to bask in its colored light as they stroll around the park during the evening. At night, there are many glittering lights around the park, unlike Epcot and Magic Kingdom. Walking around during this time is great fun. The classic music and decorations perfectly encapsulate the theme of a 1950’s Hollywood Christmas, creating a wonderfully festive atmosphere.
Which Walt Disney World park is your favorite during the holidays?
Katrina is a bookish writer and unapologetic Disney enthusiast. She can't imagine anything more wonderful than a day at the Most Magical Place on Earth with her family. When she's not occupied with her studies, she writes, reads, daydreams about wandering World Showcase, and wishes she were riding Cosmic Rewind.