Holiday Happenings at Walt Disney World Resort 2018

Holiday Events at Walt Disney World 2018

Holiday Events at Walt Disney World 2018

I'm calling it, “Joy Through the World” at Walt Disney World this holiday season because there are so many holiday activities and events being offered throughout the resort. 

This holiday season, you can experience a Flurry of Fun at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, featuring Sunset Seasons Greetings; Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!; and special seasonal cheer in the new Toy Story Land.

Head over to Epcot for the International Festival of the Holidays including the Candlelight Processional.  

Have festive fun with Mickey and the gang during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom Park

Plus if you're still looking for a hotel offer, view special offers on Walt Disney World Resort hotel rooms during this holiday season. 

Darren specializes in Walt Disney World Resort

Holiday Happenings on Disney Cruise Line 2018

Holiday Happenings on Disney Cruise Line 2018

Holiday Happenings on Disney Cruise Line 2018

Beginning in early November, the Disney cruise ships will transform to special holiday themed sailings.

During the 2018 holiday season, Disney Cruise Line is offering a lineup of winter parties and themed entertainment including:

  • Mickey’s Tree-Lighting Magic, where Mickey and his pals lead carols and the lighting of the ship’s three-deck-tall Christmas tree.
  • Santa’s Winter Wonderland Ball, a magical welcome party for the guests of honor, Santa and Mrs. Claus, featuring Broadway-style entertainment and favorite Disney characters… including a pair of royal sisters whose appearance causes a flurry of “frozen” fun as a magical snowfall overtakes the atrium!
  • Deck the Deck Holiday Party, a tropical celebration up on deck where Disney friends lead hula hooping, limbo under oversized candy canes and high-energy family dances like the “Yuletide Slide” and a conga line around the pool.
  • Holiday activities for the whole family, like building gingerbread houses, meeting Santa Claus and singing along with Dickens-inspired carolers. Plus, special activities just for kids include decorating stockings and gingerbread men cookies, making holiday cards and creating holiday animation cells.
  • Sea-sun’s greetings ashore at Disney’s private island Castaway Cay, where the celebration continues with “snow flurries,” a decked-out Christmas tree, Disney character meet-and-greets and merry island music.

And Guests sailing on each holiday will have even more festivities to enjoy, like Thanksgiving Day feasts and football games on the ship’s jumbo screen, Christmas morning surprises from Santa Claus and daily Hanukkah services.

Darren W specializes in Disney Destinations

Holiday Happenings at Walt Disney World Resort 2018

Holidays 2018 at Walt Disney World Resort

Holidays 2018 at Walt Disney World Resort

The return of the holiday season to Walt Disney World Resort starts Nov. 8, 2018. 

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

The return of Sunset Seasons Greetings featuring impressive new laser effects and “snow,” holiday magic transforms the famous Hollywood Tower Hotel with spectacular projections of Disney Characters such as Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Olaf sharing their favorite seasonal stories.

Another returning favorite is the nighttime spectacular Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! The new Toy Story Land also gets special seasonal fun including holiday songs on Alien Swirling Saucers and more!


11 World Showcase nations during Epcot International Festival of the Holidays beginning Nov. 18, 2018. One of my favorite holiday traditions at Epcot is the Candlelight Processional and this year it starts performances on Nov. 22, 2018.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park

New this year the magic of nature will receive a holiday touch with the inclusion of Diwali, the holiday Festival of Lights in India, as part of the new live show UP! A Great Bird Adventure.

Darren W specializes in Walt Disney World Resort

Replacement for Osborne Lights Announced - Hollywood Studios

All-New Holiday Nighttime Spectacular “Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!” Coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios November 14.

All-New Holiday Nighttime Spectacular “Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!” Coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios November 14.

The all-new Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! holiday spectacular comes to Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort starting on Nov. 14, 2016. Santa Claus is missing and the search-and-rescue mission to get The Big Guy back to the North Pole in time for Christmas Eve is all part of the fun. The show comes to life on, above and around the Chinese Theater with state-of-the-art projections, special effects, fireworks and a rousing seasonal musical score.

Also announced is the Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! Holiday Dessert Party, which includes reserved viewing, desserts, specialty beverages and more. Each dessert party guest will get a pair of 3D HoloSpex glasses to use while watching the show. The glasses create spectacular holographic illusions of gingerbread men, candy canes, snowflakes and ornaments on any bright point of light.

>> Check out available Walt Disney World Resort hotel offers

Darren Wittko is rated a Best of the Best Disney Travel Agent by readers of the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World


Tickets on Sale Today! New Year's Eve at Disney's Contemporary Resort

Disney Countdown to Midnight – A New Year’s Eve Celebration” at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

Today I'm excited to announce a new special event coming to one of my favorite Disney resorts: Disney Countdown to Midnight at Disney's Contemporary Resort. View exclusive hotel offers from Magical Vacations Travel for these dates and save big! 

This ticketed event will take place Dec. 31, 2016, beginning at 8 p.m. at the hotel’s Convention Center.

Featured Events

  • Dancing to music spanning from the ’60s to today
  • Bites and wine pairings from California Grill, Flying Fish, Cítricos and Narcoossee’s. Y
  • Dancing to live music with the group Alter Ego.
  • Strolling outside to catch a unique musical act playing songs of today with a retro twist.
  • Viewing Magic Kingdom New Year's fireworks with a champagne toast.
  • Themed photo with backdrops and props to help you capture the memories of the evening
  • Receive a souvenir to commemorate the night.
  • Complimentary transportation will be provided for select Walt Disney World Resort hotels.

Disney Countdown to Midnight at Disney's Contemporary Resort is an all-inclusive, all-ages event available for $225 per Guest (tax and gratuity included), and takes place from 8:00 PM on December 31, 2016 to 1:00 AM on January 1, 2017.

Tickets for this special evening are extremely limited. Reservations will open to all Guests on July 4. To purchase or for more information, visit or call 407-939-3463.

Darren Wittko - Specializes in Disney Destinations with Magical Vacations Travel. He is rated aBest of the Best Disney Travel Agent by readers of the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World

Celebrate the Holidays at Disney Springs

New to Disney Springs, The Landing is home to unique shopping locations and memorable dining experiences, including the recently opened Morimoto Asia and Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar. And, coming soon, Town Center will include a diverse mix of retailers and unique restaurants. Here’s a look at just some of the new dining and shopping offerings at Disney Springs that are open now.

During the holiday season, Disney Springs glistens with new offerings to make the season merry and bright. Around every corner, you'll find new decorations, including unique holiday trees and pop-up greeting cards. Plus, delectable food and non-stop entertainment - including Hanukkah and Kwanzaa musical groups, carolers, toy soldier stilt walkers and Santa himself – bring the holidays home to Disney Springs.

The Art of Shaving offers premium grooming essentials for the modern man. The location also has a team of shaving specialists who offer advice to Guests on proper grooming techniques. Appointments for a haircut or shave are suggested.

Apex by Sunglass Hut is designed with the athlete, sports and outdoor enthusiast in mind. This shop utilizes innovative technology, such as the Apex Smart Mirror, to help guests find the best choice in sport sunglasses.

Chapel Hats specializes in fashionable hats and headwear for Guests of all ages. The location carries just about any style of hat including fedoras, sun hats, floppy hats, outdoors hats, kid's hats and more.

Sanuk offers creatively inspired footwear designed with non-traditional materials like yoga-mats.

Havaianas provides the options to "Make Your Own Havaianas" and "Embellish Your Own Havaianas." This store features a large assortment of Havaianas sandals for women, men and children, plus kids' rain boots.

Sound Lion has the latest technology in headphones, earbuds, speakers, and other digital sound and music products can be found in this shop. They also provide education in digital music applications that improve the listening lifestyle.

Erin McKenna's Bakery NYC will offer the same unsurpassed core vegan, gluten-free menu as its flagship bakery in New York City, and its sister bakery in Los Angeles. Look for a full selection of award-winning donuts, cupcakes, cookies, bagels (with vegan butter!), and other savory items daily.

Vivoli Gelateria: Vivoli Gelateria serves expertly crafted gelato made with fresh, seasonal ingredients, panini sandwiches and espresso drinks.

Tea Traders Café by Joffrey's: Tea Traders Café. Joffrey's specializes in premium loose-leaf teas (hot, iced, blended) featuring customs blends, accessories and packaged teas from all over the globe; created to go or for a tea experience in the café.

New Dining Experiences Now Open!

The BOATHOUSE - This upscale, waterfront dining experience will immerse Guests both on land and on water with live music, guided tours aboard the Captain's piloted 40-foot Italian Water Taxi with champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries and guided Amphicar rides that launch from land, enter the water, and take guests on a 20-minute tour of the landmarks of Disney Springs. The BOATHOUSE will feature steaks, chops, seafood and a raw bar.

Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar - Tucked in between Paradiso 37 and The BOATHOUSE restaurant, a new Disney owned and operated Food & Beverage offering is now open — an aviation-themed lounge, Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar.

With a prime location along Lake Buena Vista and seating for 150, the venue features unique cocktails — such as the "Hovito Mojito" with Barsol Quebranta Pisco, fresh lime juice and simple syrup — and small plates such as "Air Pirates Everything Pretzels" with house-made mustard and beer cheese fondue.

Ardent fans of the "Indiana Jones" films may recognize Jock Lindsey as Indy's frequent pilot. In the main room, Guests will discover an expansive bar, aviation decor filling the room, vintage travel posters covering the walls and correspondence between Jock, Indy and their fellow adventurers on display. Guests can eat, drink and be merry outside as well, in Jocks' old steamboat, now in permanent dry dock and aptly named "Reggie;" and in nearby seating on the adjacent deck.

Morimoto Asia - Chef Masaharu Morimoto, known from his appearances on Iron Chef America, has opened a one-of-a-kind dining experience in the heart of Disney Springs. Morimoto Asia is the Japanese master chef's first-ever pan-Asian restaurant featuring flavors from across the continent. This Disney Springs dining destination includes unique exhibition kitchens showcasing traditions like Peking duck carving, and dim sum.


Holiday Events at Epcot

New Years Events at Walt Disney World



As we shared last week, two new seasonal experiences are coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort this year. The Merry & Bright Dessert Party and Dinner Reception will light up the season with special reserved viewing of over 5 million legendary lights during the finale of The Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights


The Merry & Bright Dessert Party includes holiday-themed desserts, specialty alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, sodas, water, tea and coffee. Each Guest in the party will receive a keepsake roll-up stadium blanket. The Dessert Party will take place Nov. 6-Dec. 24, 2015 from 7-8:30 p.m. and Dec. 25-30, 2015 from 8:30-10 p.m. Block-out dates include Nov. 17, Dec. 9 and Dec. 18. The price is $69 per adult and $39 per child (ages 3-9). Tax and gratuity are included.

During the Merry & Bright Dinner Reception, Guests can enjoy a holiday buffet including shrimp, beef, turkey and more, as well as specialty alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, beer and wine. Each Guest in the party will receive a custom keepsake shadow box featuring their own Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights bulb. The Dinner Reception will take place from 8:30-10 p.m. on Jan. 1, 2016 and from 7-8:30 p.m. on Jan. 2-3, 2016. The price is $99 per adult and $54 per child (ages 3-9). Tax and gratuity are included.

During both events, Guests can enjoy the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights from a reserved location at the end of the Streets of America near the entrance to Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show. Guests can check in at the location beginning one hour prior to the event.

Bookings can be made by calling 407-WDW-DINE or online at Advance reservations are recommended as availability is limited.


Darren Wittko is the creator of Save at Walt Disney World and a Disney Destinations Specialist at Magical Vacations Travel. Voted "best of the best Disney travel agent"  by readers of the 2015 Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World. He is also the creator of The Best of Walt Disney World blog.