TMSM Explains: The Walt Disney World Resort 2016 Holiday Event Schedule


With Halloween events over at the Walt Disney World Resort we know Main Streeters are now thinking about the upcoming Christmas holiday events and decoration schedules at Walt Disney World. Even though times and locations for all holiday events can be found in the My Disney Experience App. We have taken the time to compile a list of these events and their start and finish dates and times below to help you with your holiday event planning.

Magic Kingdom

  • The Castle Dream Lights/A Frozen Holiday Wish Show at Cinderella Castle will be held nightly at 6:15 pm and 8:20 pm on non party nights, and 6:15 pm and 8:00 pm  in front of Cinderella Castle.
  • The Jingle Cruise layover is back and will be running daily through the holiday season.
  • Disney Parks holiday specials will be taped in all four parks November 9-12, 2016.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a special ticket event held on select nights. This year it will be held on November 7,8,10,11, 13, 15, 18, 27,  and 29 and December 1,2,4,6,8,9,11,13,15,16,18, 22. Those who buy a party ticket can enter the park at 4pm. The party itself runs from 7:00 PM to 12:00 AM. Though exact locations of each event can be found in your party guide map, times for the party’s special events are as follows:

  • All new! Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration: New to the Cinderella Castle Forecourt Stage during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, Mickey and his pals host some of their friends for an unforgettable Christmas soiree filled with medleys of delightful classic and contemporary holiday songs, and magical holiday projections on Cinderella Castle building to a sensational, snowy finale. This show is also a castle projection show. (Also available Dec. 23 – 31 during regular park operating hours). Show times are 7:40, 9:25 and 10:30 PM.
  • Meet Santa Claus– Consult the party’s nightly times guide
  • Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade will be held at 8:30 pm and 11 PM.
  • A Frozen Holiday Wish (Castle Dream Lights): This season, the wintry wonder and magic of Disney’s blockbuster “Frozen” enchants park guests as Queen Elsa transforms Cinderella Castle into a glimmering, shimmering ice palace for the holidays. The lighting will be held at 6:30 PM on non-party nights, and at 6:30 and 8:15 PM on party nights.
  • Holiday Wishes – Celebrate the Spirit of the Season:The night sky bursts with color high above Cinderella Castle with a holiday fireworks spectacular. 10 PM
  • A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas!  a 20-minute long dance party featuring Buzz Lightyear, Mike Wazowski, and Stitch.  7:40 pm, 8:30 pm, 9:20 pm, 10:45 pm, and 11:35 pm
  • Club Tinsel – Join DJ Krinhle and friends for a dance party in Tomorrowland 7:00 PM – 12:00 AM
  • VoicePlay (popular with Disney Cruise Line guests) will be appearing on party nights in Tomorrowland at 8:05, 8:55, 10:15 and 11:10 PM
  • The special party Sorcerer of the Magic Kingdom card can be picked up by party attendees at the Magic Kingdom Firehouse or the the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom booth located behind the Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe in Liberty Square.
  • This year’s party treats will have more offerings! Different locations will have different cookie and drink selections.
    • Hot Chocolate and Snickerdoodle cookie, Tortuga Tavern, Adventureland
    • Eggnog and Gingersnap Molasses Cookie, Heritage House in Liberty Square
    • Snow Cone and Snowman Sugar Cookie, Friar’s Nook in Fantasyland
    • Spiced Apple Cider and Snowman Sugar Cookie, Pete’s Silly Sideshow Storybook Circus in Fantasyland
    • Hot Chocolate and Peppermint Bark Cookie, The Lunching Pad in Tomorrowland

Christmas Week Special Events:
Starting December 19- December 31 the following holiday events will be held during park hours.

  • Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade 3:30 pm

Hollywood Studios

  • “Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!” is a new holiday project show that will run from Nov. 14-Dec. 31.  Times vary nightly but are scheduled for either 6:45 or 9:00 PM, please consult MDE for your night’s time.
  • A new“Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!” dessert party is a available to be booked. Pricing is as follows (November 14-December 17, $69 adults, $39 children, including taxes and gratuities; December 18-31 $79 adults, $45 children, including taxes and gratuities. Book through Disney Dining.
  • Meet Santa Claus at the Once Upon a Time shop from November 14 through December 24, Santa Goofy will be available from December 25-31


EPCOT’s holiday events start after Thanksgiving.

  • Candlelight Processional is a nightly show held 3 times a night at 5:00 PM, 6:45 PM and 8:15 PM, except on December 6, 2015 when it is only held at 6:45 PM and 8:15 PM only. This year’s Narrator schedule is as follows:
    • Steven Curtis Chapman  November 25 to 27, 2016
    • Neil Patrick Harris  November 28 to December 1, 2016
    • Whoopi Goldberg  December 2 to 3, 2016
    • Edward James Olmos  December 4 to 6, 2016
    • Anthony Mackie December 7- 9
    • Robby Benson  December 10 to 12, 2016
    • Meredith Vieira  December 13 to 15, 2016
    • Jim Caviezel  December 16 to 18, 2016
    • Joe Morton  December 19 to 21, 2016
    • Ming-Na Wen  December 22 to 24, 2016
    • Jodi Benson  December 25 to 27, 2016
    • Cal Ripken, Jr.  December 28 to 30, 2016
  • Joyful! A Gospel Celebration of the Season a seasonal showcase that blends gospel and inspirational melodies with jazz, R&B and urban music will be held daily. 1:25 PM, 2:25 PM, 3:25 PM, and 4:25 PM
  • The World Showcase’s Holidays Around the World at Epcot will be held daily from 11:00 AM until close of day. They start November 27 and end December 30, hours and show times may vary in each Pavilion so make sure you check MDE for more information once Disney officially releases it.
  • This year EPCOT is adding new holiday dining options. The new “Seasonal Tastes”marketplaces will offer guests new food options.
    • Prost! in Germany (artisan cheese plate or sauerbraten with red cabbage and spätzle)
    • American Holiday Table in American Adventure Pavilion (slow-roasted turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce)
    • Alpine Haus between France and Morocco (cheese fondue in a bread bowl with fresh steamed vegetables)
    • Seasonal Southern Delights near World Showcase Plaza (blackened catfish with white cheddar grits with okra)
    • Feast of Three Kings Feast near World Showcase Plaza (Three Kings Bread)
    • Hot and cold drinks will be offered all around World Showcase, as well as holidays sweets such as the Mickey Santa Hat cupcake at Fountain View restaurant, chocolate honey baklava in Morocco, panettone (Italian Christmas cake) in Italy, gingerbread ice cream and buche de Noel au chocolat (Christmas cake shaped like a log) in France, pai cha (Beijing-style fried dough twist with sesame) in China and guava tamales in Mexico.
  • The Holiday finale of IllumiNations will be held from November 25 to December 30, 2016.
  • Meet Santa Claus at select times in the American Pavilion. Consult MDE or the parks time guide for daily times.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom’s Christmas celebration has been down played over the last few years due to park construction and expansion. This years events will include

  • Decorations including the large animal-themed holiday tree at the parks entrance.
  • Characters in their holiday finest.
  • A gingerbread African Marketplace at Tusker House Restaurant

Disney Springs

  • A nightly tree lighting ceremony at the Once Upon a Toy fountain play area
  • Storefront decorations
  • Santa’s Chalet! Meet and take a keepsake photo with Santa Claus from November 11 through December 24, 2016; and with Santa Goofy from December 25 through December 30, 2016.
  • Disney Springs’ Christmas Tree Trail, a trail of fifteen trees.  November 11, 2016 and running until January 8, 2017 there will be fifteen Disney character or story themed trees along the trail that starts near the fountain outside of Once Upon A Toy. The fifteen trees will be
    • “Alice in Wonderland“
    • “Beauty and the Beast“
    • “Cinderella“
    • Disney Villains
    • “Frozen“
    • “Mary Poppins“
    • Mickey and Minnie Mouse
    • “Moana“
    • “Mulan“
    • “Tangled“
    • “The Jungle Book“
    • “The Little Mermaid“
    • The Muppets
    • “The Princess and the Frog“
    • “101 Dalmatians“
  • A holiday-themed DJ dance party with games and activities at the Once Upon a Toy fountain play area
  • Live entertainment, including toy solider and snowflake stilt walkers, pop carolers, acapella groups and more—6:00 PM to 10:00 PM from November 11 through January 8, 2017
  • Special performances celebrating Kwanza on Waterside Stage in the Marketplace on December 26 and December 27, 2016
  • Songs and stories in honor of Hanukkah at Waterview Park in The Landing, with evening performances from December 24 through January 1, 2017.
  • A decked out trail near the Marketplace bus loop with custom-decorated holiday trees—all centered around a different Disney theme
  • Photo ops with sculptures throughout Disney Springs

Holiday Park Tours

Walt Disney World offers guests two special ticket tours during the holiday season.

  • Disney’s Yuletide Fantasy – $99.00 per person-  Guests must be 16 years of age or older and have a valid photo ID.
    Head backstage and get the scoop on the staggering logistics involved in the wintertime transformation of Walt Disney World Resort each and every holiday season! During this festive and fact-filled 3-hour tour, you’ll:

    • Come upon the Cast Members of Holiday Services—the “elves” who create the decorations used to dress up Walt Disney World Resort theme parks and hotels.
    • Explore World Showcase and hear how holidays are celebrated around the globe: Christmasfest in Germany, the legend of La Befana in Italy and the diversity of traditions at The American Adventure.
    • Get an up-close look at the traditional trimmings of Main Street, U.S.A. and see a Currier & Ives-themed Christmas bring the spirit of Santa Claus to life.
    • Visit a Resort hotel and learn how the lavish holiday atmosphere is created through the grand-scale application of color, texture, architecture, illusion and attention to detail.
    • Each Guest will also receive a special treat and a holiday keepsake!
    • As this is a seasonal event, Disney’s Yuletide Fantasy tour is offered only on select dates in November and December. Call (407) WDW-TOUR or (407) 939-8687 for exact schedule.
  • Disney’s Holiday D-Lights – $259.00 per person – Guests must be 12 years of age or older and have a valid photo ID.
    Come celebrate the magic of the holidays like only Disney can with the festive sights and sounds of the season. As night falls, your “holiday host” will unwrap some of the secrets behind our most cherished traditions:

    • Witness the stirring Candlelight Processional, a retelling of the Christmas story brought to life by a 50-piece live orchestra, choir and celebrity narrator.
    • Turn “ho-ho-ho’s” into “ha-ha-ha’s” as you experience the “Jingle Cruise”—a.k.a. the world-famous Jungle Cruise, infused with festive sights and plenty of holiday pun-chlines!
    • Meet the talented Event & Decorating Support team responsible for turning the entire Resort into a winter wonderland and producing thousands of grand-scale events each year.
    • Each Guest will also receive a limited-edition keepsake pin exclusive to this tour.
    • Enjoy an early, family-style barbecue dinner included with your tour.
    • As this is a seasonal event, Disney’s Holiday D-Lights tour is offered only on select nights in November and December. Call (407) WDW-TOUR or (407) 939-8687 for exact dates.

Resort Decor 

Each year Walt Disney World’s Resorts decorate for the holiday season. While they start decorating shortly after Halloween, per Disney they are not guaranteed to be completely done with set up until the weekend after Thanksgiving.  Below are just a few of the traditional holiday resort decorations that anyone can go and check out.

  • Disney’s Contemporary Resort will have a Gingerbread Holiday Ice Castle
  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa will have their traditional life-sized holiday gingerbread house.
  • Disney’s Beach Club Resort will have their annual spinning carousel.

New Year’s Eve Events

New Year’s Eve Fireworks:
Though the exact time has yet to be announced the Magic Kingdom’s New Year’s Eve Firework display is usually held December 30 and 31st, or EPCOT’s fireworks on December 31st.


Special New Year’s Eve Dining

  • California Grill New Year’s Eve Dinner. Dinner and characters and a great view of the Magic Kingdom fireworks. restaurant.
    7:30 p.m.-midnight, $650. (Dinner jacket required for men.)
  • Victoria & Albert’s will offer a 10 course meal, music, and wine.
    Seatings between 6-7:45 p.m. $600.
  • New Year’s Eve at Epcot World ShowPlace will offer an all-you-care-to eat buffet at the World ShowPlace Events pavilion as well as photo options (but no characters) and music. Later at night you will head to the promenade for fireworks over World Showcase Lagoon to welcome 2017.
    Seatings available from 3-9 p.m., $72.90, $44.38 ages 3 to 11.
  • Monsieur Paul’s in France will a four-course prix fixe menu of classical French cuisine with six seatings on New Year’s Eve: 11:45a.m., noon, 2:15p.m., 2:45p.m., 5:45p.m. and 6:15p.m.  Cost is $110.81.
    A special late-night dinner with two seatings at 8:45p.m. and 9:45p.m. offers and enhanced French menu, including Paul Bocuse’s famous Soupe aux Truffles V.G.E. Cost is $305.03.
  • La Hacienda de San Angel from 9:30p.m. and ends at 1a.m will offer a five-course prix fixe dinner, live music with the mariachi band and a fabulous view of the Epcot IllumiNations holiday show.
  • Narcoossee’s  will have a four-course menu with seatings between from 5 and 5:45 pm$150 for adults, $70 children ages 3-9.. A five-course menu will be offered from 8:30-9:25 pm $255 for adults, $95 for children ages 3-9.


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