I am a kid at heart when it comes to Christmas and the holidays! I get giddy, my smile grows ten times its normal size and my heart literally beats to the tune of Jingle Bells. It’s the most wonderful time of the year for me and everything about it fills me with joy. So, when I received an extra special opportunity IN JULY to preview what’s coming to Walt Disney World Parts and Resorts THIS coming holiday season ~ oh, you can just imagine how excited I was!! Of course, this story wouldn’t be complete until I shared the excitement with YOU. So ~ are YOU ready to explore what’s coming this year to Walt Disney World for the 2019 holidays?
I was invited to preview some of Disney’s Holiday merchandise and events. As a Guest, I was provided with a meal and a small gift. The opinions expressed in this post, however, are mine and mine alone. This post does contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure policy for more information.
Celebrating Christmas in July
Anyone who knows Disney knows that they go ALL out for the holidays. Whether it’s decor, treats, productions….you name it, they aim to make it the most magical time of the year for Guests. Of course, the process of preparing for the holidays at the parks and resorts takes longer than you think and it takes a ginormous team of amazing Imagineers and Cast Members to put it all together.
Earlier in July, I received an invitation to join a talented group of writers, vloggers and social media influencers for a preview of what’s coming this holiday season. We were invited to enjoy a delicious brunch while being serenaded by carols and holiday tunes. We were also introduced to various members of the holiday-focused teams and had the opportunity to gain insight and perspective from them on where the holidays will be taking us this year.
Boy ~ we learned a lot! This year is going to be extra special as there are several new opportunities coming to the parks and resorts. I mean, think about it. We actually have TWO NEW RESORTS that will be decked out in holiday decor. Not to mention, new holiday shows and treats will be coming to the parks…and we will see new and exciting festivities taking place at a park that is FINALLY jumping into the celebration (keep reading to find out more!).
The #DisneyHolidays Event
Upon arrival, we received our credentials, which just happened to be an adorable jingle bell necklace. It actually lights up and has various settings, so you can alter the tempo of the lights according to your “mood.” So much fun!!
Since I arrived early (what else is new?), I took opportunity (as did many) to snap a few photos and do some preliminary video of what was going on around me. They had a fun photo opp prepared for us, along with coffee and cocoa to enjoy while we waited.
At the designated time, we were welcomed into a ballroom decked out with Christmas trees, holiday colors and lights twinkling everywhere! It was such a fun scene!! The room was divided in half and we were given instructions to find a seat at one of the tables in the front half.
For the first portion, our host, Mark Daniel (well known for being one of the faces of Disney Parks Live), inspired us with holiday cheer and introduced us to the various Disney experts we would have the chance to interview that morning. I had a GREAT seat for this and took everything in.
So – what’s NEW???
Let’s dive in ~ as there is so much to share! There were eight stations to visit during the course of two hours. During those two hours, we interviewed Cast Members, shot video and snapped photos, and had the chance to handle some of the merchandise. What a blast! So – here’s the lowdown.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
This year, the holidays are going WILD over at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Guests will experience more festive and holiday fun around the park! (I cannot tell you how happy this makes me!!! DAK is one of our favorite parks as a family!)
- Over in Discovery Island, life-sized puppets will mingle with the villagers and entertaining Guests.
- At night, animal-shaped luminaries will light up the sky from the rooftops.
- Donald’s Dino-Bash will take on a festive flare with colorful holiday attire, music and fun.
- The Tree of Life will light up at night with a series of wintry tales backed by a holiday score. In between, the Tree will sparkle and shimmer alive with the magic of nature and spirit of the holidays.
- Pandora: World of Avatar will participate in the celebration, as well, as ex-Pats living and working on the moon will roll out their seasonal cheer with a display of whimsical decor at Pongu Pongu.
Epcot (International Festival of the Holidays)
I had the opportunity to chat was Chef Noah. Chef Noah is a pastry chef at Walt Disney World and his primary goal during the event was to share with us the cookies that will be available during the Holiday Cookie Stroll at Epcot. Yum!
This year, a new assortment of cookies will be available on the stroll. I can tell you this ~ they all look AH-MAZING and the ones we were able to taste were sooooo good.
So what is the cookie stroll?
The Holiday Cookie Stroll was initiated in 2018 and turned out to be a HUGE success. Hubby and I even enjoyed the hunt and the win! There are five specialty cookies to find at various Holiday Kitchens throughout World Showcase. Purchase one of each of the five, then return to the designated redemption kitchen where you show your completed cookie passport and receive a Santa Mickey cookie FOR FREE!! (Santa Mickey cookie is available for purchase if not interested in the stroll). The five cookies this year include:
- Black & White
- Chocolate Kringle
- Peppermint Pinwheel (last year it was a chocolate peppermint…this one is yummy, too!)
- REDEMPTION COOKIE – Santa Mickey
FOOD ALLERGY NOTES: All of the above cookies contain gluten. The Linzer contains nuts. Cross contamination potential is high, so our son will not be participating. On a good note, the Black & White, while not gluten-free, is VEGAN (no eggs!).
While this is the one thing from Epcot that was highlighted that morning, Epcot will still host a variety of holiday events. The Epcot International Festival of the Holidays is very special in that it showcases the traditions and customs from each of the eleven countries calling World Showcase home. We meet various holiday figures and can taste a variety of seasonal culinary treats. It’s one of my favorite places to visit during this time of year and it never disappoints!!
Of course, we can’t forget the other holiday happenings around Epcot:
- Candlelight Processional ~ the most magical musical celebration ever, in my honest opinion. Celebrity narrators grace the America Gardens Theatre stage to tell the story of Christmas while backed by a 50 piece orchestra and a mass choir of harmony. (Psst – my son has had the opportunity to sing in this choir and it is an experience he will NEVER forget!!)
- RECENT NEW ADDITION (learned about the morning of this event!!) ~ Lisa Ling joins the list of celebrity narrators towards the end of the season!!!
- Chip ‘n Dale’s Christmas Tree Spree ~ This one is for the littles (and littles at heart). Chip ‘n Dale are on a mission! They are hunting down ornaments for their Christmas tree and need our help. Guests can purchase a map with stickers and go on a journey around the park to find the duo as they search for holiday tree decor. Once the hunt is complete and all stickers are in place, Guests can return to a designated redemption center to receive a special holiday gift courtesy of Chip ‘n Dale!
- JOYFUL! A Celebration of the Seasons Experience is back!! I love this!! Get your holiday groove on as Guests celebrate the joy of Christmas and Kwanzaa with the uplifting Gospel, R&B and holiday songs of the ‘Joyful!’ vocal ensemble.
There is nothing like spending the holidays roaming the kingdom!! Magic is EVERYWHERE and this year will be no different. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party will take place on select nights between November 8th and December 22nd, providing a special opportunity for Guests who purchased tickets to enjoy special holiday treats, unique character meet and greets, festive stage shows and more!
New this year to the party:
- Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks!! Minnie Mouse takes the reins on this one and celebrates the most wonderful time of the year by bringing her friends together with some of our favorite holiday tunes. It will be a heartwarming celebration of memories and times together with family and friends complete with a Castle Display and fireworks synchronized to Christmas carols in a way we have never seen them before.
- Enhanced Attractions! Various attractions throughout the park will transform for party Guests. Some of the attractions that will be a little extra jolly this year include Mad Tea Party, Tomorrowland Speedway and Space Mountain (which I hear will have a rockin’ holiday score to enjoy during your adventure!). One of the enhancements I’m looking forward to the most is the special holiday show at Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor Comedy Club!!! The Monsters will be sharing their holiday memories and what Christmas means to them ~ how cool is that?!?!?
Of course, these are magical additions to what we already know and love about Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Guests will still have opportunity to enjoy The Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, A Frozen Holiday Wish stage show, the Holiday Fireworks Dessert party and more!!!
For more information on tickets for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, check out the Walt Disney World website.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
While nothing new for the holidays was shared about Disney’s Hollywood Studios, we will still see the return of our favorites. Sunset Seasons Greetings, complete with lights music and holiday cheer, will light up the boulevard and and snow on Guests as the sun sets on the park. The fourteen minute Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! fireworks display with its state of the art projections will also return to energize the crowds with the holiday spirit. This year’s celebration at Disney’s Hollywood Studios takes place between November 8, 2019, and January 5, 2020.
Not to mention – Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will be open!!!!!
Something Hubby and I love to do around the holidays is resort hop!! A few years back, during an anniversary trip (which just happens to fall at the beginning of the holiday season at Walt Disney World), we decided to stroll through a few of the resorts near Magic Kingdom. It is mesmerizing to see the intricate details and decor displayed around the various hotels and venues.
This year, Disney adds two more resorts to its “must decorate” list. With the brand new Gran Destino Tower now opened at Disney’s Coronary Springs Resort and the soon-to-be-opened Disney’s Riviera Resort, Holiday Services had some extra work and planning to do to find the right style, theme and decorations for these new locations.
The design for both resorts is exquisite, adding just the right amount of elegance and flare.
Of course, don’t forget to visit the other resorts and hotels for their beautiful displays, including two of my faves:
- The Gingerbread House at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
- The Carousal at Disney’s Beach Club Resort
Add a Special Touch To your Resort Room This Holiday!
How many of you knew that you could order a REAL Christmas tree for your resort room if staying on Disney property during the holidays? I didn’t until last year! During the event, I had the chance to chat with Christie who gave me the rundown on special packages you can order to make your stay just that much merrier!
- Guests can order personalized gift bags packed with items geared towards any specific member of their party staying on property. What’s nice is that Guests can work with a Cast Member at Disney Floral & Gifts to accommodate for food allergies and dietary restrictions when it comes to the edible portions of the gift bag. BONUS!!!
- As noted above, Guests can order a Christmas Tree for their Resort Room! It’s real, has uniquely crafted bows that you cannot get anywhere else and smells just like Christmas!!!
- For the ultimate Christmas Dream Come True, Guests can order the Dreaming of a Disney Holiday package, which comes with everything from a door hanger and luminaries to several gift bags filled with Disney magic!
Disney Springs and MORE!!
It’s time to talk MERCHANDISE!!! This was the most popular station to visit and for obvious reasons. Everybody wanted to see what was coming this year in the way of Magic Bands, collectible pins, Ears and Spirit Jerseys!! We each took our time as we paid very close to the details of each item they had on display and captured photos and video so that we could bring it all to you!
I am a huge pin fan and love the new ears that are coming this year, as well. What is it you’re looking forward to seeing?
THE ULTIMATE DISNEY CHRISTMAS PACKAGE IS BACK!!
It seems that more and more people are turning to “experiences” and “vacations” as Christmas gifts. I kind of love the idea, to be honest. Creating memories is a very magical way to celebrate and remember the holidays. Well, Disney knows that taking a trip to visit Mickey Mouse is a very popular item on people’s Christmas list, so they designed a very magical package that could very well fit under your tree this year!
This is something they have offered over the last few years and it continues to pick up steam. Each year, they design a brand new itinerary to keep the magic alive and Guests excited.
So – what is the Ultimate Christmas Package??
Starting at $199 per person (prices vary depending upon the design of your package, including accommodations, etc), families can enjoy a merrier holiday with a 5-night stay at a select Disney Resort hotel (12/21–12/26/19), a 4-day Theme Park ticket with Park Hopper® Option and more! The total package for a family of four (based off two adults, one junior 10-17 and one child 3-9 in a standard view room at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort) is just under $4000.
Check out the included Yuletide offerings with this package:
- Saturday, December 21, 2019: Extra magic time at Disney’s Animal Kingdom as it joins in the festive fun this year. Guests will have EXCLUSIVE nighttime access to ride Avatar Flight of Passage, Na’vi River Journey and Expedition Everest. In addition, they will catch an EXCLUSIVE showing of the new Rivers of Light: We Are One show.
- Sunday, December 22, 2019: Tickets to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom park.
- Monday, December 23, 2019 or Tuesday, December 24, 2019 (one night per reservation): Access to an EXCLUSIVE reserved viewing area to watch Epcot Forever, an all-new nighttime spectacular. Not to mention, each Guest (ages 3 and up) will receive a digital $50 Epcot Theme Park Dine Promo Card to use at participating Epcot locations. You can use this for the Holiday Cookie Stroll – lol!!!
- Wednesday, December 25, 2019: An Ultimate Disney Christmas gift delivered to your hotel room. I mean, you can’t have Christmas without something to open. Right???
PLUS ~ Guests purchasing this package will enjoy special discounts at participating Disney Springs locations. They simply need to show their credentials during their stay.
The number of rooms and packages allotted are limited. Reservations must be booked through the Disney Reservation Center or your travel agent by October 26th. If this is something that excites you and piques your Christmas-loving interest….be sure to check out more information by clicking here!
I’m Still Singing Christmas Carols!
My goodness! So much to take in!!! As you can see, #NowMoreThanEver is the time to plan out a Walt Disney World vacation. With new lands, new shows, new opportunities and new merchandise, Disney has the holidays (and beyond!) covered.
Disney Holidays – Christmas in July – Photo with Mickey and Minnie during event
This whole month has been a celebration of pixie dust and magic! Capping it off with a preview of what’s coming during my favorite time of the year was simply the perfect gift. I am honestly intrigued, excited and cannot wait for the holidays to hit the parks and resorts this year! What about you?
What excites you most about a Disney Christmas vacation? Are you all about the parties? The holiday treats? The music or the merch? Is planning a Disney vacation this holiday season on your to-do list?
BE SURE TO FOLLOW FOOTPRINTS IN PIXIE DUST ON:
- Facebook at Footprints in Pixie Dust by T.M. Brown
- Twitter at @footprintsinpd
- Instagram at @footprintsinpd