Wondering when Disney World decorates for Christmas? Plan your trip for the most magical time of the year with our guide!
When does Disney decorate for Christmas? Sooner than you think!
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With the most magical time of the year being Christmas and the most magical place on earth being Walt Disney World, it’s no wonder Disney goes all out for the holiday season!
From special events to Christmas trees to magical lights and holiday decorations galore, Christmas at Disney World is everything you could dream of!
Disney resorts and theme parks get completely decked out for Christmas, like their own Disney Christmas Village, with thousands of Disney fans flocking to Disney World to take a peek at the magical Disney World Christmas decorations.
But when does Disney decorate for Christmas, and when is the best time to see the magical Christmas decorations?
If you don’t want to visit Disney during the insanity of the peak holiday season, we’ve got all the information you need on when it’s best to see Disney’s magical Christmas displays.
Keep reading to find out when Disney will decorate for Christmas in 2022!
When Does Disney Decorate For Christmas?
Much to Disney goers delight, the answer to this question is way sooner than you might think!
Let’s look at when you can expect each Disney park to be Christmas-ready.
Magic Kingdom is the first to get transformed in Disney holiday garb in early November, beginning just days after the last Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.
It’s a very quick transformation as cast members remove Halloween decorations and add Christmas decor in its place, transforming Main Street USA into a holiday wonderland.
By the time the first Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party takes place (this year, on November 8th, 2022), the entire park should be decorated, possibly with the exception of the giant Christmas tree.
The famous and lavishly decorated giant Christmas tree is sometimes left down due to the Christmas parade taping at Magic Kingdom for ABC.
The Christmas season officially begins at Magic Kingdom on November 6th, with the Christmas-themed lighting of Cinderella Castle.
As mentioned above, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party runs in November and December and is an after hours event hosted on select nights, that many Disney lovers simply can’t miss!
It features exclusive fireworks, a fantastic Disney parade on Main Street (complete with snowfall!), a stage show, and more Christmas-themed entertainment.
Plus, you get unlimited cookies and hot chocolate – a huge bonus!
This is one of the only times guests will experience shorter lines around Christmas time, as these are exclusive, ticket-holders-only events!
(Note: as of November 2, 2022, Magic Kingdom’s giant Christmas tree is officially up!)
Disney’s Animal Kingdom is an incredibly popular park with a loyal fan base, and was the latest theme park to receive a holiday upgrade.
Much like Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom is expected to be holiday-ready as early to mid-November (this year’s Christmas decorations are due to begin on November 11, 2022!).
You can expect some incredibly unique Christmas decor at Animal Kingdom for the holidays in 2022 – starting with the holiday Flotillas!
These character cruises have a couple of exciting additions for the holiday season, including the Discovery Island Drummers Festive Flotilla and the Santa Claus Festive Flotilla.
Animal Kingdom also shows a holiday version of the projection on the Tree of Life Awakenings, an epic (not to mention super sparkly!) holiday village in Discovery Island, and a decked-out Dinoland U.S.A.
This doesn’t even scratch the surface of what Animal Kingdom offers for the Christmas season!
While Epcot’s Christmas season offerings tend to begin right around Thanksgiving, you can expect them to start on November 25th this year.
Although Epcot may not go all-out with lavish decorations to the extent of Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom, it hosts several moving Christmas shows and presentations – including the Candlelight Processional.
During Epcot’s International Festival of the Holidays, the Candlelight Processional is a presentation of the Christmas Story like you’ve never seen.
Read by a celebrity narrator (the lineup for 2022 includes Whoopi Goldberg, Neil Patrick Harris, and Gloria Estefan!), the Candlelight Processional also consists of a 50-piece orchestra and a large choir.
This 40-minute show takes place three times per day and is entirely free.
However, most seats are taken up by those who booked the Candlelight Processional Dining Package.
This makes dinner and a show your best bet to see this popular presentation.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios is known for being one of the best holiday experiences at Disney – and for good reason!
If you’ve dreamed of dining with Disney characters for a Christmas-themed buffet, you’re in luck. Hollywood Studios is the only place in Walt Disney World where you can dine with your favorite Disney character dressed up for the holidays.
A reservation for the extremely popular Minnie’s Holiday Dine at Hollywood and Vine must be made far in advance.
Other Hollywood Studios Christmas highlights include holiday themed-motorcades, the free Sunset Season’s Greetings projection show visible from Hollywood Boulevard, and the Frozen Singalong with holiday finale.
Not to mention that Santa himself frequently makes an appearance!
When is the Best Time to Visit Disney World Around Christmas Time?
Disney World is open 365 days per year, including on major holidays – so if you dream of spending Christmas at Walt Disney World, it’s totally possible!
It should be noted that the closer to Christmas you decide to visit Disney, the more crowded it will be – with both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day being incredibly popular days to visit.
The best time to see all of the Christmas magic that Disney World has to offer is the end of November to early December.
This way, you’ll have avoided the Thanksgiving rush and will arrive at nowhere near the same time as the families visiting once school is out.
If you want a specific date, then November 29th to December 5th is one of the best weeks to visit, as well as December 6th to December 12th – so essentially, the last week of November and the first two weeks of December!
If you want to experience the magic of Disney during the holidays, you need to arrive before the New Year.
While Disney will still be in full holiday swing between Christmas and New Years Eve, you can expect Disney World Christmas decorations to start to come down immediately after New Year’s day!
Other Disney World Holiday Decorations to See
Outside of the Disney parks, there’s plenty of Christmas magic to see at the Walt Disney World Resort! Many of the resort hotels deck the halls with impressive holiday decor.
For instance, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort is home to magnificent gingerbread displays unlike any you’ve seen before.
Christmas at Disney Springs features a beautiful Christmas tree that’s perfect for holiday photos. It also has the famous Disney snow that enchants both kids and adults.
Not only that, but the Disney Springs Christmas Tree Stroll is a fun way to see themed Christmas trees!
How Busy is Disney During Christmas 2022?
While we’ve mentioned that Christmas is a busy time of year to visit Disney, what can you expect if you plan to visit Disney during this time?
While crowds will still be larger than average come late November and early December, they will likely reach total capacity over Christmas.
With a maximum capacity of approximately 320,000 thousand for all of Walt Disney World combined, you can expect Disney lovers from every corner of the world to travel to Orlando to experience Disney Christmas magic at its best!
This will impact wait times at Disney World, so you’ll want to be prepared.
Ready to Plan Your Holiday Trip to Disney World?
Visiting Disney World around the holidays is a magical experience you will never forget.
By making sure you arrive at Disney at the right time to enjoy the Christmas decorations and all of the holiday magic that the parks have to offer, you will only enhance your Christmas experience.
While it is ideal to avoid the busy prime holiday time, you might dream of being at the happiest place on earth over Christmas.
With enough planning ahead, you’ll still be able to have the magical Disney Christmas of your dreams!
More Disney Planning Resources:
- What to Bring to Disney World
- How the Disney Payment Plan Works
- Planning a Trip to Disney on a Budget
- How to Get Last-Minute Disney Dining Reservations
Be sure to save this article to your Disney planning board on Pinterest!