November 8th is a HUGE day. Maybe even as huge November 12th (Disney+ Day).
What’s today? Today – November 8th – is the kick off to nearly all the Disney Holiday festivities and decorations at Disney World’s parks. (The only thing we’re waiting on now is Epcot’s Festival of the Holidays, but we’ve still got a couple solid weeks of Food & Wine so no one’s complaining)
Tonight is the first Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party of the season, which has been sold out since mid-October. It’s also the start of all decorations, special shows, holiday meet and greets, and more inside Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom, along with the festive fun at Disney Springs.
There’s SO MUCH to talk about that it’s almost overwhelming. Disney World goes hard for the holiday season for sure, and this year they are going even harder with more stuff at Animal Kingdom than ever before. With so much to do, it’s helpful to have a list of your priorities. Your must-sees and must-dos for your holiday trip.
To help you out with that, here’s my Disney World Christmas To-Do List (in no particular order, by the way)…
Resort Hop on the Monorail Loop
Oh. My. Gosh. I said this is in no particular order, but this is definitely one of the first things I have to do. I cannot wait to see this year’s Gingebread House in the Grand Floridian lobby and the gingerbread display at the Contemporary.
It’ll be easy to make this my first stop, because when I fly in next weekend, Magical Express is taking me straight to the Polynesian where I’ll be staying (and then I’m staying at the Grand the next night). I didn’t even think about the timing aligning with the resorts’ holiday decor being up, but it’s perfect. I’m so excited to not only resort hop on the monorail loop, but STAY THERE during the holiday season!
And while it’s not technically a monorail resort, take the boat over to Wilderness Lodge to see the giant and beautiful Christmas tree in the lobby there. If THAT doesn’t put you in the holiday spirit, I don’t know what will.
Attend Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
It’s become a tradition for me, and it’s one I don’t intend to break. Yes, it’s expensive and the parties are getting more crowded every year. But there’s nothing like Main Street snoap (fake snow), Christmas music playing around the castle lit up in dream lights, and meeting characters in winter and holiday attire to put you into the Christmas spirit.
I don’t know when I’m going yet, but it’ll be some time in December most likely (after my dapper day trip, I’m going back down to Orlando for the week of Thanksgiving and then again for multiple weeks over Christmas and New Year’s).
Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail
I’m anxiously waiting for the day when I have a huge house and a different Disney-themed Christmas tree in every room. Until then, I’ll soak up the Christmas tree trail at Disney Springs every chance I get. These trees are gorgeous and I absolutely love seeing all the different decorations (of course, you can buy just about anything on them at the Disney Springs Christmas store).
See the Voices of Liberty/Dickens Carolers Perform
I mentioned Epcot is the one part of Disney World that has a delayed start to the holidays. They actually wait till the day after Thanksgiving to kick into the festive spirit. When they do, though, the Dickens Carolers (the Voices of Liberty’s new name for the holidays) will be one of the first things I see.
They perform a whole new set of Christmas – and Hanukkah – music in the American Adventure building. And they are decked out in a new wardrobe as if they are a part of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol movie set/time period.
Resort Hop the Boardwalk Resorts
The monorail resorts aren’t the only resort area that decks their halls for the holidays. The Boardwalk resort area is another favorite of mine for their decorations. I really loved Yacht Club’s tree last year (each resort at least a tree decorated to fit their theme if not more).
I highly encourage you to just take a day or half-day to hop around as many resorts as possible honestly – they are gorgeous any time of year, but especially now. And with the Skyliner now connecting the Boardwalk to Caribbean Beach, Pop Century, and Art of Animation, you can add those stops to the same tour.
Do the Cookie Stroll at Epcot
Once Festival of the Holidays does start on November 29th, I intend on fully participating in the holiday cookie stroll again this year. This was so fun last year when it was introduced. I love cookies in general, especially Christmas cookies, and these were delicious and also fairly affordable (for Disney, of course).
They have cookies scattered across the World Showcase booths for the festival, and you get a special Mickey cookie when you get all of the regular ones as a prize.
See the Candlelight Processional
Yep, another Epcot to-do. You can see which park I’ll be spending most of my time in during the month of December, right? The Candlelight Processional is another tradition for me and so many others to see. The music, sung by a huge massed choir and led by performers from the Voices of Liberty group, is beautiful and it’s always fun to see which celebrity narrators will be doing the show. One of these days I’ll catch the show when Neil Patrick Harris is doing it!
Celebrate Christmas Day on Main Street
This is a new one for me this year. I’m planning to be at Disney over the actual Christmas holiday this year for the first time, and I can’t wait to wake up on Christmas morning in my Christmas pajamas (courtesy of The Lost Bros) and go walk down Main Street. I’ll definitely be having breakfast from the Confectionery too, and riding all the rides and having a magical Christmas!
Even with all these things listed out, there’s SO MUCH MORE happening throughout Disney World’s four theme parks. Not to mention, there’s a lot happening for the holidays over at Universal Orlando that I’ll be checking out as well – now that I’m also an annual passholder over there. Follow along on all my holiday adventures over on Instagram and share your Christmas to-do list!