Start celebrating the holidays at the Magic Kingdom with the 2015 Jingle Cruise (Photos/video by Seth Kubersky)
It seems like it was only last week that we were celebrating Halloween…oh wait, it was only last week. Well, never mind the 90 degree weather, the winter holidays have arrived at Walt Disney World! Only days after it was decked out with spirited All Hallows decor, the Magic Kingdom is already dressed for Christmas. And to start the season in safari style, the 2015 Jingle Cruise has docked in Adventureland, bringing holiday cheer to the world-famous Jungle Cruise attraction.
First, let’s take a stroll from the entrance’s poinsettia planter and up Main Street U.S.A., where a towering Christmas tree has made its annual appearance:
The holiday season is upon us here in Orlando! Walt Disney World is always the first of the major theme parks to kick off their festivities. The green light to start getting into the holiday spirit is shining bright, so let’s talk about the holiday festivities at Walt Disney World that need to be on your must-do list this year.
5. Monorail Resorts Tour
Photo by Brian McNichols
Three of Disney’s deluxe resorts await along the monorail loop, as part of the Magic Kingdom’s dominion. These resorts are highly sought after, commanding some of the highest room rates in the area. There are many desirable features here and during the holidays each resort offers their own unique way to celebrate the season.
Each year Disney’s Contemporary Resort offers a large gingerbread display in the Grand Canyon Concourse. This resort has the most kinetic energy and I find it to lack a bit of peace and instead at certain points feel as hectic as the shopping malls are this time of year. Still, the hustle and bustle is a traditional feeling of the season for many.
Hopping on the monorail (assuming it is actually operational) you’ll make a quick pit stop at the TTC before proceeding to Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. Get ready to say Male Kalikimaka, which is Hawaii’s holiday greeting. The holiday festivities and décor are not as extravagant as you will find in our next stop, the Grand Floridian, but the tropical charm and exotic feel is something you’ll rarely find anywhere else.
The grand finale is the Grand Floridian. This resort sparkles and shines during the holidays. The elegance and grace of the season are reflected in the Victorian Christmas decorations, evoking holiday traditions of a more refined era. Accents of gold, scarlet, and pale peach shine against the deep emerald green garlands. Nearly every Deluxe resort has a multi-story Christmas tree for all to admire. Here the tree is 40 feet high with golden lights and ornaments of doves, harps, bird cages, and other graceful elements.
The main attraction here is the life-size gingerbread house. The detail on this childhood dream come true never fails to impress each year. I’m getting giddy just typing about it. You can view the house from all angles, peer in the windows, and even shell out some dough (pun intended) at the sweet shop inside the house. The treats are pretty pricey, I would recommend picking out one treat to share.
Bonus round: secure a spot at any of the three resorts to catch a performance of Holiday Wishes, my absolute favorite fireworks ever to grace the Magic Kingdom.
4. Epcot Area Resorts Tour
Typically the monorail resorts get all kinds of love and recognition during this time of year, but I think there is a collection of resorts that offer a better experience during the holidays. The Epcot Area / Crescent Lake Area Resorts are much easier to access and tour through. You can walk to each resort or for a seafaring twist hop aboard the Friendships (though not the most effective use of your time).
It is time to plan your Disney holiday vacations and if you’ll be heading to Disney’s Hollywood Studios to catch the holiday festivities, I have one more thing you’ll want to make sure you experience.
A new character dinner called Minnie’s Holiday Dine will occur from November 7 through January 3 at Hollywood & Vine. Characters that guests will have the chance to meet will include Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy and Goofy in all-new holiday costumes. The restaurant will be decked out in holiday-themed décor, American-style cuisine, music and activities that your family is going to love.
The cost is $46.99 for adults ages 10 and up and $27.99 for children ages 3 to 9 (plus tax and gratuity).
This meal can also be booked with reserved seating for Fantasmic! and the cost is $52.99 per adult (ages 10 and up) and $31.99 per child age 3 to 9 (plus tax and gratuity).
Keep in mind that the Disney Junior Play and Dine meal will still take place for breakfast and lunch and during that meal, guests will be able to meet their favorite Disney Junior stars like Sofia the First, Jake from Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and Doc McStuffins.
Advanced reservations are highly recommended for Minnie’s Holiday Dine. Please book online or call (407) WDW-DINE.
Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland – December 30, 2014, 11:09 AM (Photo by Sarah Graffam)
We finally took the plunge this year. After multiple trips to Walt Disney World in assorted months, my family decided to take a trip during the absolute busiest time at the World, between Christmas and the first few days of January. As first-time Christmas time visitors at Disney World, we had certain expectations about how it would be to tour with the masses of people visiting during the holidays. This article tells how these expectations matched up with reality as well as how well our planning and previous trips prepared us for the trip. But first, here is some background on how we got to the point of braving Christmas time crowds at Disney World.
This year, Epcot’s Hanukkah entertainment includes a storytelling show about the Festival of Lights, staged outside the American Adventure pavilion. This year’s Hanukkah show features new songs, and you can get a free “gelt” chocolate coin at the end!
The decorations at Art of Animation might surprise you! I know I wasn’t expecting a white Christmas tree with every color of the rainbow wrapped around it! But the design couldn’t be more fitting for this bright and happy hotel. Want to see more decorations and a Little Mermaid room? Be sure to click to read more below.
About five years ago I decided to have Thanksgiving lunch in the Magic Kingdom. After spending almost an hour fighting to park and catch the monorail over, I vowed never to visit on the holiday again. Well, with the park open until 1am that night I broke down and decided to give it a try this weekend. I was pleasantly surprised, it was crowded but not too bad. We were able to hop on a couple rides with FastPass+ and noticed the Totally Tomorrowland Christmas show was already playing during regular park hours! This show is always offered during the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, but it was nice to see it without paying for the additional ticket. It’s a cute show that I recommend! Want to see what else is new this week? Be sure to click below the photo to read more.
The trees and garland are up all over Epcot. The holiday music wafts through the air as you enter the gates. It’s a balmy 85 degrees. Feels like…winter?
Even with the heat, many families were standing in line in their holiday finery and heavy winter sweaters for the first DVC Merry Member Mixer of the year. Located at the World Showplace between Canada and the United Kingdom, this event is held during the holiday season for DVC members and their guests. It is a tradition for many families to enjoy holiday cheer at this free event.
Snow falls at the entrance to the Merry Member Mixer. (Photo by Julia Mascardo)
I brought my personal self-described expert on all things holiday-related (my four-year-old daughter), and into the winter wonderland we went.
As you enter through the snow, make sure you are nice to Santa’s elves standing outside. One had the naughty list, and one had the nice list – I didn’t look to see which list I ended on, but my daughter was assured she made the nice list….so far.
Last year’s inaugural Jingle Cruise was criticized for confining the custom scenery largely to the Jungle Cruise’s boathouse queue, and for some jokes that were staler than fruitcake. As you can see in the following Jingle Cruise POV videos, more holiday decor has been installed along the riverbanks, and the spiel has been adjusted appropriately to reflect the additions.