Have you ever visited Walt Disney World during the holiday season? It’s the “Most Magical Time of the Year” to visit! Things may look a little different right now than they have in the past, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less magical. My family just returned from spending a week at Walt Disney World and had an amazing time! Let me share some of our favorite holiday experiences from our 2020 trip.

We stayed at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and it was beautifully decorated with a themed tree and holiday touches around the resort. The Poly is currently undergoing renovations in many of the guest rooms, some will be redone with Moana theming, and they are also updating the Great Ceremonial House. At this time, the monorail is not available to Magic Kingdom from the resort, but it was still really easy to get to the park. You can take a bus, boat or a short walk to the Transportation and Ticket Center to catch the ferry or monorail. Buses are available to Animal Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios. We enjoyed having a very quiet stay with fewer guests at the resort. Also, you can see the castle in the distance and we were fortunate enough to be there on a night they were testing fireworks at Magic Kingdom after hours.

The 4 theme parks are all decked out to bring holiday cheer and offer amazing entertainment and treats that are sure to get you into the spirit of the season! At this time traditional parades are not taking place, but Disney has replaced them with character cavalcades (unscheduled mini parades that pop up in the parks) and I love them! You will see so many of your favorite characters in their festive attire and Santa too! Also, you will find characters around the parks, some dressed for the season, like Buzz wearing his Santa hat in Tomorrowland, Mickey & friends at the Main Street Train Station, Chip & Dale in Frontierland, and Rabbit & Eeyore outside of The Crystal Palace, just to name a few.

There’s holiday magic at each park you won’t want to miss!

Animal Kingdom – Tree of Life Awakenings – Holiday Edition where the tree comes alive at night with holiday spirit, Festive Flotillas featuring Santa Claus, Donald Duck & Friends, Chip & Dale, Mickey & Pals, and the Discovery Island Drummers.

Epcot – Visit Holiday Kitchens and take part in the Holiday Cookie Stroll during the Taste of Epcot International Festival of the Holidays from November 27th to December 31st. Living with the Land has added lights and decorations (cute during the daytime, but best to ride when it’s dark) and Holiday Promenades featuring Santa Claus, Mickey & Friends, and Queen Anna and Elsa. Also, NEW this year, Olaf’s Holiday Tradition Expedition Scavenger Hunt! Enjoy musical offerings as well. The JAMMitors at the Canada Pavilion, JOYFUL! A Celebration of the Season inside the World Showplace, The Epcot pianist will take the stage at the World Showplace to perform a festive set of holiday music from around the world, and the America Gardens Theatre will host a rotating lineup of holiday performances, including Voices of Liberty, performing Voices of the Season and the Mariachi Cobre, celebrating Las Posadas, a tribute to Mexican holiday customs.

Hollywood Studios – The Santa Claus Merry Motorcade featuring jolly old St. Nick riding down Hollywood Blvd. in a red convertible with his dancing elves. Stay until dark for The Hollywood Holiday Tower Hotel Projections featuring The Muppets, Toy Story, Frozen, and Mickey’s Christmas Carol and make a reservation for Minnie’s Holiday Dine at Hollywood & Vine.

Magic Kingdom – Magical Holiday Projections on Cinderella Castle, Jungle Cruise is transformed into Jingle Cruise with holiday decorations throughout the queue and ride, Holiday Trolley with the Dapper Dans, Main Street Philharmonic along with Toy Soldiers marching their way through the park sharing festive tunes.

We were able to try so many of the delicious holiday treats!

Frozen Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate – Frozen salted caramel hot chocolate topped with marshmallows, green sugar, and a chocolate drizzle with or without a souvenir Mickey Glow (Available at PizzeRizzo, Backlot Express, ABC Commissary, and Rosie’s All–American Café)

Holiday Whoopie Pie – Red velvet whoopie pie filled with a classic cream cheese filling (Available at The Trolley Car Café and Backlot Express)

Mickey’s Holiday Cookie – Vanilla butter cookie covered with white chocolate and sugar snowflakes (Available at ABC Commissary and Rosie’s All–American Café)

Olaf’s Snow Flurry – Yellow cupcake with vanilla buttercream, snow flurry sugar, and Olaf Glow (Available at Rosie’s All–American Café)

Holiday Tree Mousse – Milk chocolate chia mousse on an almond financier cake and a butter cookie (Available at Backlot Express)

Spiked Frozen Apple Pie – Ole Smoky Apple Pie Moonshine with Minute Maid® Apple Juice and Cinnamon (Available at Block & Hans)

Twice Upon a Cupcake – A confetti Christmas tree tops a vanilla cupcake with a red velvet hidden Mickey (Available at Main Street Bakery)

Holiday Mickey Cinnamon Roll – The classic Mickey Cinnamon Roll drizzled with red and green icing (Available at Main Street Bakery)

An Orange Bird Christmas – Orange–scented white chocolate mousse filled with orange curd (Available at Sunshine Tree Terrace)

Pistachio Chai Tea Float – Pistachio soft–serve, spiced chai tea, and a red velvet cake pop ornament (Available at Aloha Isle)

Yuletide Wishes – Chocolate cake filled with chocolate mousse and covered in chocolate ganache (Available at Pinocchio Village Haus)

Belle’s Enchanted Christmas Tree – A stack of almond macarons (the green) with cranberry orange cream (the red), and a yellow M&M on top (Available at Gaston’s Tavern)

* Treats listed above are the ones we enjoyed during our trip, additional treats are available.

And for something savory, we tried the “Spice Up Your Holiday” Chicken Sandwich – A spicy chicken sandwich with sriracha aïoli and pickle slaw topped with a Santa Mickey brioche bun and served with fries on the side (Available at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe)

If you love Disney popcorn, how can you not?… There are holiday-themed popcorn buckets available to purchase. Santa Mickey, Santa Alien and a White Christmas Tree with Mickey and Minnie were available during our trip. They can be refilled for $2 for each serving. When you are staying at a Disney Resort hotel, you can purchase a holiday or Disney character themed resort refillable mug for $19.99, good for the length of your stay.

Be sure to take some time to visit Disney Springs for the Christmas Tree Stroll, shopping, holiday photo ops, and stop in Amorette’s for some cute holiday-themed treats!

There’s no place like “Home” for the holidays! If you are considering a trip to Walt Disney World during the “Most Wonderful Time of the Year”, I would love to help you plan your magical vacation! If you’re not ready to travel just yet, it’s not too early to start planning for next year!

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