Updated October 14, 2021
𝗦𝗘𝗔𝗦𝗢𝗡𝗦 𝗚𝗥𝗘𝗘𝗧𝗜𝗡𝗚𝗦!! The holidays return to Walt Disney World in a big way in 2021!! While still modified to some degree, there will be celebrations spanning all four parks. We can’t ask for more than that!
Let’s break it down and see what we can expect this holiday season.
The merriest season of all begins November 12 at the Walt Disney World Resort! Don’t miss all of the holiday cheer at celebrated in all 4 parks!
Special holiday projections will appear most nights on Cinderella Castle, alternating periodically with the castle’s transformation into a Beacon of Magic. Remember, the holiday celebration will be happening simultaneously with the 50th Anniversary celebration.
There is some sadness that we won’t see the return of the Cinderella Castle Dream Lights this year, but with the 50th celebration happening at the same time, the Castle is already transformed into a Royal Makeover. It would be rather difficult to have both happening at the same time. I suspect we’ll see the Cinderella Castle Dream Lights return in 2023 after the 18-month 50th celebration is over.
Disney Very Merriest After Hours, a new special ticketed event, begins November 8 through December 21 (on select nights). Tickets go on sale August 20 to the general public or August 17 for those with a Walt Disney World Resort hotel reservation for the dates you are planning to attend the party. Enjoy four hours of festivities with “Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks,” Disney characters scattered throughout the park, holiday music and décor, treats and so much more! For all the merriest of details, click here.
The EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays will return this year, from November 26 through December 30, with Holiday Kitchens around the park, performances by Voices of Liberty, the guest favorite Cookie Stroll and more!
The Candlelight Processional WILL RETURN this year!! A limited list of dates and narrators have been announced. More could be added. Stay tuned!
- The following celebrity lineup will lend their talents to the performance:
- Auli’i Cravalho – November 26 through November 28
- Chita Rivera – November 29 through December 1
- Jodi Benson – December 2 through December 4
- Alton Fitzgerald White – December 5 through December 7
- Bart Millard – December 8 through December 10
- Lisa Ling – December 11 through December 13
- Andy Garcia – December 14 through December 16
- Ana Gasteyer – December 17 through December 19
- Courtney B. Vance – December 20 through December 22
- Steven Curtis Chapman – December 23 through December 25
- Blair Underwood – December 26 through December 28
- Pat Sajak – December 29 through December 30
If you want to save some time in your day, book a dining package for the Candlelight Processional! This guarantees you a seat without waiting in line. It’s worth it! The Processional is popular and draws a crowd. You can start booking on October 26th here.
The ever so fabulous Sunset Seasons Greetings returns to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, as the Hollywood Holiday Tower Hotel on Sunset Boulevard will twinkle once again with projection effects, Santa Claus will bring some North Pole cheer to a motorcade down Hollywood Boulevard, “For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration,” will have a festive finale featuring everyone’s favorite snowman, Olaf & Minnie Mouse and gang will return in their festive best to host her favorite holiday meal at Hollywood & Vine at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. More to come on when reservations are open to book Hollywood & Vine!
Animal Kingdom is highly underrated during the holiday season. While the park only recently joined the lineup in celebrating the holidays, they have shown up in a very big way.
Enjoy seasonal décor, festive Disney character flotillas (including Santa!), the Tree of Life Awakenings Holiday Edition and the Merry Menagerie of winter animals all return to the park this year.
The “Flotillas” (Animal Kingdoms version of a cavalcade) will be getting a seasonal holiday overlay. These are characters on boats that periodically float down the rivers throughout the park during the day. Similar to last year, Santa will be joining them once again this season.
- Here’s the proposed schedule:
- Santa Claus Festive Flotilla – See Santa Claus as he sails down the Discovery River to a jolly, world-beat holiday soundtrack.
- Donald’s Dino Bash Festive Flotilla – Spot Donald Duck and friends taking their holiday celebration to the water, waving to everyone as they traverse the Discovery River.
- Chip & Dale’s Festive Flotilla– Groove with Chip ‘n’ Dale as they bring their own style of festive flair to the park’s waterways, jingling through the jungle to the rhythm of the holidays.
- Discovery Island Drummers Festive Flotilla – Feel the beat as a colorful group of percussionists cruise along the Discovery River, entertaining Guests like you on the shore.
This year the Christmas Tree Stroll returns to Disney Springs and I could not be more excited about it! Find over 25 decorated Christmas trees representing Walt Disney animation, Pixar, Star Wars and Marvel. It’s free to the public and a wonderful departure from your park adventures. Make some time on the itinerary to visit Disney Springs and stroll through the Christmas Tree trail. You’ll regret it if you don’t!
Also returning to Disney Springs is the holiday overlay at Jack Hangar’s bar. Be sure to check it out if in Disney Springs. I’m sure as the holidays draw closer, they’ll be sharing special holiday menu items, including awesome and unique cocktails. I’ll share more details as information is released.
There is so much to look forward to as we embark on the second half of 2021. And it’s exciting the see the return of so many favorites to the parks. Stay tuned to A Disney State of Mind, I’ll be sharing all the details as they are revealed.
Tis the Season!!