Disney World Special Events, Festivals and Parties

LAST UPDATE: 9/14/17 This page covers Walt Disney World special events and annual festivals in the theme parks, Disney resorts and Disney Springs.

This is an UNOFFICIAL listing, and while we make our best efforts to keep it updated, complete and accurate, Disney changes things constantly. Be sure to call ahead before making any major plans based on the information below!

For recurring Disney World special events (e.g., Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party) we update new information as it becomes available, but we do not remove the previous year’s information until the new year’s information becomes available. We do this so that you can get a general idea of what has been offered in the past, and the range of dates when it was offered.

Walt Disney World Special Events, Festivals & Parties

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January-March Events

April-June Events

July-September Events

October-December Events

New Year’s Day

Christmas decorations remain up throughout Walt Disney World through New Year, and generally several days past the first of the year.

There are special meals available at certain restaurants on New Year’s Day. You can reserve holiday meals up to 180 days in advance by calling (407) WDW-DINE (939-3463).

Note that “holiday pricing” (i.e. higher prices) will be in effect for some restaurants (particularly the buffets and character meals) from mid-December through the first few days of January (holiday season). Other restaurants may charge a premium on New Year’s Day, so be sure to ask when booking reservations.

Chinese New Year

Each year the China Pavilion in Epcot has a Chinese New Year celebration. Usually there are Chinese acrobats and special activities for kids.

Walt Disney World Marathon and Half Marathon

The Walt Disney World Marathon and Half Marathon highlight an entire running weekend at Walt Disney World Resort. Other highlights include Goofy’s Race-and-a-Half Challenge, Family Fun Run 5K and Kids’ Races.

In 2018, the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend will be January 3-7.

Registration for the 2018 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend opened February 14, 2017.

Walt Disney World Annual & Season Passholders, Disneyland Annual Passport holders and DVC members are able to register ahead of the general public for some runDisney events. Check the Annual Passholder or DVC member website for details closer to the public registration date.

Epcot International Festival of the Arts

New for 2017, the Epcot International Festival of the Arts ran for 6 weekends (Fridays through Mondays) combining visual, culinary and performing arts. There was art from Disney historical artist Mary Blair and Herb Ryman art of Epcot, as well as from current Disney artists Joe Kaminski and Costa Alavezos. New art was unveiled each weekend.

In 2017, the Epcot International Festival of the Arts was held January 13 – February 20 on Fridays through Mondays.

There were interactive workshops like the Gesture Drawing Class, led by former Disney animator Todd Bright. Other select workshops include watercolor painting, mixed media art, calligraphy and floral arrangements. The Interactive Workshops are $41.54, tax included. Click here for a list of some of the workshops you can reserve.

In 2017, along with the visual arts, Disney Theatrical brought a showcase of music and Broadway talent to the America Gardens Theatre stage.

Reservations for a meal and performance combo (breakfast, lunch or dinner) followed by a Disney on Broadway inspired concert were available. The Dining package includes a three-course meal or full buffet and priority seating at the 8:00 pm concert at participating Epcot restaurants. Prices range from $41.54-$73.49 for adults, tax included and $24.50-$43.67 for children, tax included.

For kids, there is Figment’s Brush with the Masters Scavenger Hunt; maps and stickers are available for $7.44, tax included, at various retail locations in Epcot. Kids search for artwork that has Figment in the picture and add the location sticker to their map. Turn in the map to a cast member at a retail location to pick up a surprise.

  • 2017 Festival of the Arts workshop and meal/performance combo registration opened on December 28, 2016. Call 407-WDW-PLAY (939-7529) for more details or to book.  Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club members get 15% off select experiences.

Disney After Hours – Magic Kingdom

Enjoy the Magic Kingdom at an after-hours special event, Disney After Hours. By purchasing a ticket to Disney After Hours, you can enter Magic Kingdom as early as 7:00 pm and then stay for an 3 extra hours at night after the park closes to the general public. Select attractions and character meet and greets will remain open. Ice cream novelties and select bottled beverages are included with the cost of admission and available at carts stationed through the park.

New!In 2018, Disney After Hours will be offered January 19, 26, 30; February 8 from 8 pm-11 pm and February 15; March 1, 8 from 9pm-midnight.

Tickets cost $126.74 per person in advance, tax included. DVC members and Annual Passholders can purchase tickets for $94.79 per person, tax included. Tickets purchased the day of the event cost $132.06 per person.

There are a limited number of tickets for each date.

  • 2018 tickets for Disney After Hours went on sale September 14, 2017. For more information or to purchase tickets, go to the Disney After Hours page or call all (407) 827-7185.

Valentine’s Day

In 2017 on February 13-14, Cinderella’s Coach was in Fantasyland in Magic Kingdom along with a Disney PhotoPass photographer so that guests could have their photo taken in front of the coach. Photos taken at this location were available to purchase in your My Disney Experience account. If you have Memory Maker or a qualifying Walt Disney World Annual Pass with a Disney PhotoPass download benefit, these photos were available in your account to download and share.

Mardi Gras

A little-known event on Mardi Gras (which in 2018 will be February 13) is the mini-parade through Disney’s Port Orleans Resort. Several departments of the resort build floats on golf carts. The floats are judged and then parade through the grounds. During the parade they throw New Orleans-style trinkets (beads, candy, doubloons) to the guests who line up to watch. If you will be at Port Orleans on Mardi Gras, be sure to ask at the front desk when this event will take place.

Disney’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend

This annual event includes Disney’s Princess Half Marathon, a Family Fun Run 5K, and Kids’ Races.

In 2018, the Disney’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend will be February 22-25.

Registration for the 2018 Disney’s Princess Half Marathon opened May 2, 2017.

Walt Disney World Annual & Season Passholders, Disneyland Annual Passport holders and DVC members are able to register ahead of the general public for some runDisney events. Check the Annual Passholder or DVC member website for details closer to the public registration date.

Atlanta Braves Spring Training at Disney’s Wide World of Sports

The Atlanta Braves hold their Spring Training season at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex starting in February. After a period of workouts, the Braves play a series of games against major rivals at The Ballpark at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex.

Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival

The Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival is an annual event. Thirty million blooms, half a million plants, nearly 100 topiaries, 240 floating mini-gardens and 1,000 butterflies add up to a wonderful world of theme park color at the Festival. Outdoor Kitchens feature foods & beverages from the garden and grill.  New for 2017 are the Northern Bloom and The Berry Basket Outdoor Kitchens.

The 2017 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival was held March 1 – May 29.

In 2017, the Festival Center was open every day from March 1-5 with a variety of gardening seminars and DIY workshops. Throughout the rest of the festival, the center will be open each Friday through Sunday.

Garden Rocks concerts (formerly known as Flower Power concerts) featuring popular bands rock the open-air America Gardens Theatre every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday at 5:30, 6:45 and 8:00 pm. Garden Rocks Dining Packages are available on select days at a number of Epcot restaurants.

In 2017, special appearances related to Earth Day and other spring activities include:

Redesigned interactive play gardens will include the new Cars-themed Road to Florida 500 garden introducing the new “Cruz” character topiary from Cars 3. Music Garden Melodies play area will return with a new garden design, musical note topiary elements and climbing nets.

MouseSavers.com reader Carrie B offers this tip: “Festival merchandise usually gets marked down 50% off one full week before the end of the Flower & Garden Festival.”

2017 Garden Rocks Concert Series (formerly known as Flower Power Concerts)

St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day is March 17 each year. Raglan Road Irish Restaurant & Pub usually offers a program of Irish music, song and dance during St. Patrick’s Day weekend. The Raglan Road Dancers and a variety of Irish bands perform during this event. A selection of beers, food by Irish celebrity chef Kevin Dundon of Raglan Road and complimentary face painting are part of the festivities.

For 2017, the St. Patrick’s Day celebration in Disney Springs was March 16-19.

Please note: On March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, guests were seated on a first-come, first-served basis with a cover charge of $10 for each guest age 18 and older.

Easter

Easter Sunday in 2018 will be April 1.

Magic Kingdom

Epcot

Hotel Events

Some of the Disney hotels offer egg hunts, egg decorating, characters in Easter costumes, etc. to their guests on Easter morning. If you are staying at a Disney hotel, inquire at the front desk when you arrive.

Grand Floridian Resort pastry chefs usually display elaborate edible Easter Eggs in the lobby. In 2017, the Easter Eggs were on display April 11-19.

Special Meals & Meal Pricing

There are special meals available at certain restaurants on Easter Sunday. An Easter Brunch is usually held each year at the Epcot World ShowPlace located between Canada and the United Kingdom pavilions. Regular Epcot admission is required. You can reserve holiday meals up to 180 days in advance by calling (407) WDW-DINE (939-3463).

Note that “holiday pricing” (i.e. higher prices) will be in effect for some restaurants (particularly the buffets and character meals) for the two weeks on either side of Easter. Other restaurants may charge a premium on Easter Sunday, so be sure to ask when booking reservations.

Religious Services

In the past, services have been held on Easter Sunday only in the Fantasia Ballroom at the Contemporary Resort. Catholic Mass is at 8:00 am and 10:30 am. A Protestant service is held at 9:15 am. If you plan to attend, it is best confirm the time and location with the front desk or concierge.

You may not park at the Contemporary for these services, so to get there, you must do one of the following:

Star Wars Half Marathon – The Dark Side

This event includes a 5K, 10K, kids races and half marathon plus a special challenge for completing the 10K and half marathon called the Star Wars Dark Side Challenge. Runners who participate in both Star Wars Half Marathon events (the Star Wars Half Marathon – The Dark Side at Walt Disney World and the Star Wars Half Marathon – The Light Side at Disneyland) will earn the inaugural Kessel Run Challenge medal.

In 2018, the Star Wars Half Marathon – The Dark Side will be April 19-22.

Registration for the 2018 Star Wars Half Marathon – The Dark Side opened May 23, 2017.

Walt Disney World Annual & Season Passholders, Disneyland Annual Passport holders and DVC members are able to register ahead of the general public for some runDisney events. Check the Annual Passholder or DVC member website for details closer to the public registration date.

Party for the Planet at Animal Kingdom

New for 2017, Animal Kingdom celebrates the magic of nature and Disney’s commitment to conservation with a 3 day Party for the Planet. There will be family-friendly experiences and special interactions with the animal care experts and education instructors throughout the park. A Party for the Planet Times Guide is available at the park entrance.

In 2017, Party for the Planet was held April 21 – 23.

Activities include:

Early Morning Magic – Fantasyland

The Disney Early Morning Magic package allows a very limited number of guests to be among the first to enter Magic Kingdom – Fantasyland to enjoy breakfast and experience a trio of Fantasyland attractions on select Tuesdays and Sundays..

By purchasing a ticket to Early Morning Magic, you can enter Fantasyland in Magic Kingdom at 7:45 am. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Peter Pan’s Flight attractions will be open. Tickets also include breakfast at Pinocchio Village Haus from 8:30 – 10:30 am. Magic Kingdom opens to the general public at 9:00 am.

In 2017, Early Morning Magic – Fantasyland will be offered May 9, 16; June 11, 18, 25; July 9, 11, 16, 18, 23, 30; August 1, 6, 8, 13, 15, 20, 22, 27, 29 and September 3, 5, 10, 12, 17, 19, 24, 26 from 7:45 – 10:00 am.

Tickets cost $73.49 adult (10 and up) and $62.84 child (ages 3-9), tax included. There are a limited number of tickets for each date. Regular admission to Magic Kingdom is required.

  • To purchase tickets to Early Morning Magic – Fantasyland, go online or call (407) 827-7350.

Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo (5th of May) is a celebration of Mexican heritage and commemorates a Mexican victory in the 1862 Battle of Puebla. There is a relatively low-key Cinco de Mayo celebration centered on the Mexico Pavilion at Epcot, tied in with the International Flower & Garden Festival. It usually features some sort of special activity for families.

Mother’s Day

On Mother’s Day, the second Sunday in May, some Walt Disney World Resort restaurants offer a special brunch menu. In 2017, there was a Mother’s Day brunch at: Boma – Flavors of Africa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Cape May Cafe at Disney’s Beach Club Resort, Captain’s Grille at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort and The Wave…Of American Flavors at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

In 2018, Mother’s Day will be May 13.

Star Wars Weekends

There were no Star Wars Weekends held in 2017 or 2016 due to the construction of the Star Wars-themed land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  We don’t know if they will return. The 2015 Star Wars Weekends were held on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from May 15 – June 14.

Frozen Summer Games at Blizzard Beach

Kristoff and Olaf from Frozen invite guests visiting Blizzard Beach Water Park to join Team Kristoff or Team Olaf each day to participate in a variety of winter-themed activities including:

Olaf and Kristoff will be on hand, appearing on the Observation Deck near Summit Plummet to take part in the opening and closing ceremonies, and giving updates on their teams’ progress throughout the day.

The “Frozen” Games will be an all-day event that guests can sign up for when they arrive at the park entrance. All activities are included with regular admission to Blizzard Beach.

In 2017, the Frozen Games took place May 26 – August 13.

Gay Days

Gay Days is usually held the first week of June. In 2017 the dates were May 30 – June 5. While this is not a Disney-sponsored event, it is a very well-attended one.

Gay Days originally began in 1991. At the time it was “Gay Day in the Magic Kingdom,” a single day when the gay and gay supportive community was encouraged to “Wear Red and Be Seen” while visiting the world’s most popular theme park. Over the years it has grown to a week-long event. Visit GayDays.com for more info.

Sounds Like Summer Concert Series

All summer long you can dance to classic rock n’ roll hits under the skies of the open-air America Gardens Theater at Epcot. This summer concert series features a lineup of cover bands performing timeless tunes. Get the family together and groove to the songs you all know and love!

There are three shows nightly at 5:30 pm, 6:45 pm and 8:00 pm, which are included in park admission.

The 2016 “Sounds Like Summer” concerts were offered June 5 – July 23. There were no Sounds Like Summer Concerts in 2017.

2016 Sounds Like Summer Concert Series

Independence Day (July 4)

Magic Kingdom offers a special Independence Day fireworks show on July 3 & 4 in the Magic Kingdom above Cinderella Castle. There are also dance parties in Tomorrowland and Frontierland during the fireworks show. These activities are included in regular park admission.

At Epcot, on July 4 there is a special Independence Day version of Illuminations: Reflections of the Earth. Disney characters are dressed in patriotic attire throughout the day at the American Adventure Pavilion. Voices of Liberty, the eight-part a cappella group, has a special performances at the American Gardens Theatre at 5:30, 6:45 and 8:00 pm. These activities are included in regular park admission.

In 2017, the Grand Floridian offered a 4th of July cookout on July 3 and 4 from 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm at the resort’s Summerhouse. The menu included grilled steak, shrimp and hot dogs with a variety of sides, along with specialty drinks, beer and wine. There was a live DJ and crafts for kids throughout the evening. After dinner, the event moves to the resort’s Marina for dessert and a view of the Magic Kingdom’s Fourth of July fireworks. The cost is $127.80 per adult (age 12 and up) and $62.84 per child (age 3-11), tax and gratuity included. For reservations, call 407-WDW-DINE (939-3463). Advance reservations are recommended.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom does not offer fireworks since they would disturb the animals.

If you plan to visit one of the theme parks on July 4 (particularly if it falls on a weekend), be aware that it is one of the most popular days of the year. The parks may reach full capacity at some point during the day, and you may not be admitted (or re-admitted) to the parks until the crowds die down again, usually around dinner time. (This can happen even if you have a ticket, even if you’re staying at a Disney resort and even if you have dining reservations in the park. If the park is full, it’s full — Disney has to follow fire codes!) For that reason it’s best to arrive first thing in the morning and stay in the same park all day, or if you plan to leave, don’t plan anything (like dinner reservations) that would require you to re-enter in the afternoon. Bring any items you may need later and stow them in a locker when you arrive (the lockers will also sell out). Get FastPasses right away if you think you will want to ride anything, because the lines will be very long by noon.

Bastille Day

On July 14 the France Pavilion in Epcot celebrates Bastille Day, which commemorates the beginning of the French Revolution. This is a low-key event, but there are special activities for kids and adults.

Early Morning Magic – Disney’s Hollywood Studios

New for 2016, Walt Disney World offered a new option for families who wanted to get an early start at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on select Mondays and Wednesdays. The Disney Early Morning Magic package allows a very limited number of guests to be among the first to enter Disney’s Hollywood Studios to enjoy breakfast and experience select attractions.

By purchasing a ticket to Early Morning Magic, you can enter Disney’s Hollywood Studios at 7:45 am. Star Tours – The Adventures Continue, Toy Story Midway Mania!, Pixar Place character greetings (with Woody and Buzz), and Mickey and Minnie on Commissary Lane and Olaf at Celebrity Spotlight attractions will be open. Tickets also include breakfast breakfast at ABC Commissary from 8:00 – 10:00 am. Disney’s Hollywood Studios opens to the general public at 9:00 am.

In 2016, Early Morning Magic – Disney’s Hollywood Studios was offered August 1, 3, 8, 10, 15, 17, 22, 24, 29, 31 and September 5, 7, 12, 14, 19, 21, 26, and 28 from 7:45 – 10:00 am.

Tickets are $73.49 adult (10 and up) and $62.84 child (ages 3-9), tax included. There are a limited number of tickets for each date. Regular admission to Disney’s Hollywood Studios is required.

  • 2016 tickets for Early Morning Magic – Disney’s Hollywood Studios went on sale July 12, 2016. Go online or call (407) 827-7350 to book.

Epcot International Food and Wine Festival

Each fall, Epcot hosts the International Food and Wine Festival, a several-weeks-long celebration that includes both “free” (i.e. included in Epcot admission) and separately ticketed events such as food and wine pairings, specialty dinners, Party for the Senses, culinary demonstrations and wine/beverage and cheese seminars.

The 2017 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival will be August 31 – November 13.

During this entertainment-packed event, park guests can taste fine cuisine and wines from the top “foodie” cities of the world. Festival guests can enjoy the flavors of more than 25 international marketplaces dotting the World Showcase promenade. Tapas-sized portions of regional specialties run $3 to $8 each, and recommended wines and beers make perfect pairings at each kiosk.

For kids, there is Remy’s Ratatouille Hide & Squeak, a search throughout the World Showcase for Remy statuettes and the ingredients he needs to make his signature ratatouille. Maps and stickers are available for $9.95 plus tax at the following locations in Epcot: Disney Traders, Festival Center, Pin Central and World Traveler (International Gateway). Return your map to the redemption location by the last day of the Food & Wine Festival to pick up a surprise.

Annual highlights include:

Authentic Taste seminars, Authors Without Borders programs with special book signings at the Festival Center, Eat to the Beat! concerts, and all attractions and park entertainment are included with regular Epcot admission. Click here for additional information about the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival.

New for 2017, Several new marketplaces will be announced this summer. In addition, India and Spain marketplaces will return.

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival has a few events at some of the Walt Disney World Resort hotels, including:

Reservations are required for these Resort Hotel events.

Wondering what it’s really like?

Click here to read a review of the 2010 Food & Wine Festival “international marketplaces” (aka food booths).

A Few Tips

Separate admission events for the Food and Wine Festival fall into two categories: Premium Events and Seminars.

Premium Events & Experiences such as the Party for the Senses, Food and Wine Pairings at select Epcot restaurants, Signature Dining, Epcot Wine Schools and other special wine and culinary programs require reservations and payment of an additional fee over and above park admission. In July 2017, a complete list of these events became available on the official site at DisneyWorld.com/foodandwine. These events are very popular and it is advisable to book as early as possible. Tickets are non-refundable and non-transferrable.

  • In 2017, Disney Vacation Club Members could book seats at the September 23 and October 21 Party for the Senses on July 18 at 9:00 am EST. On August 4, 2017 any remaining seats for those two shows will be open to the general public to book. Call Member Services at (800) 800-9800 and have your credit card ready.
  • 2017 Food and Wine Festival Premium Events tickets went on sale July 23. To reserve, you can go to the Epcot Food & Wine Festival webpage or call (407) WDW-FEST (939-3378) and have your credit card ready.

Wine & Beverage Seminars, Culinary Seminars and Mixology Seminars are offered in the Festival Welcome Center and require reservations and payment of an additional fee over and above park admission.

  • In 2017, Annual Passholders, Disney Vacation Club Members, Tables in Wonderland members and Golden Oak residents could book specially ticketed experiences, including culinary demonstrations, beverage seminars and the “Party for the Senses” on July 18 at 9:00 am EST. (DVC Members save $2 on culinary demonstrations and beverage seminars held Monday through Thursday.) Call (407) WDW-FEST (939-3378) and have your credit card ready.
  • In 2017, the general public could book culinary demonstrations and beverage seminars on July 20 at 7:00 am EST. Go online or call (407) WDW-FEST (939-3378) and have your credit card ready.

Eat to the Beat Concerts

Enjoy musical evenings during the Food & Wine Festival with the “Eat to the Beat” concerts scheduled daily at 5:30, 6:45 and 8:00 pm on the America Gardens Theatre stage. Please note: lineup is subject to change.

You can make FastPass+ reservations for the Eat to the Beat concert series. Normal FastPass+ booking guidelines apply. You can also book an Eat to the Beat Dining Package that includes breakfast, lunch or dinner and a guaranteed seat at the Eat to the Beat concert held on the same day.

2017 Eat to the Beat Concert Lineup

Eat to the Beat Dining Package

In 2017, the Eat to the Beat Dining Package, available for breakfast, lunch or dinner, is part of the Eat to the Beat Concert Series and will be offered from August 31 through November 13. Dining packages are available at 15 Epcot restaurants. Cost will vary depending on restaurant and mealtime selected.

Dining packages include an appetizer, entrée and dessert—or one full buffet or family-style dining, where applicable—along with a non-alcoholic beverage and a guaranteed seat to the Eat to the Beat Concert held on the same day. Dining reservations must be at least 2.5 hours prior to showtime.

  • To make a reservation, go to the Eat to the Beat Dining Package page or call (407) 939-3378. Please note: admission to Epcot is required and is not included in the price. Advance reservations are highly recommended.

Halloween

Halloween decorations start going up in the Magic Kingdom in late August (generally before Labor Day weekend) and are complete in time for the first Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.

If you are staying at one of Disney’s resorts over Halloween, ask the front desk concierge whether any special events are planned. Frequently the resorts do offer some kind of festivities.

Disney Springs offers live entertainment such as music, storytelling, a dance party, stilt walkers and/or magicians on Halloween. Trick-or-treating was eliminated as of 2011.

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is held on selected nights in August, September and October each year. It is offered from 7:00 pm to midnight, after the regular closing of Magic Kingdom, and requires separate admission. (You don’t have to have paid admission on the same day to the Magic Kingdom in order to attend the special after-hours event.) Guests with Not So Scary Halloween Party tickets are admitted to the park as early as 4:00 pm. You will need to get a wristband that allows you to stay in the park after the party begins.

Admission to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party includes trick-or-treating for adults and kids, costume parades for little ones, character meet-and-greets, fortune tellers, Halloween riverboat ride, two performances of a unique holiday parade, and a special fireworks display. Plus, most of the major attractions are open.

Attendees can wear costumes (subject to a few rules based on safety and appropriateness), but guests ages 14 and older are strongly discouraged from wearing layered costumes or costume props that surround the entire body. They may be subject to additional security screening. Check Walt Disney World’s costuming guidelines for more details.

Other activities include:

Is Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party worth the money? Depends on how much you are “into” Halloween. Some of the experiences available during the party are not offered at any other time, so it allows you to enjoy Magic Kingdom in a unique way.

Although the number of people admitted each night is limited, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party can feel quite crowded, particularly on weekend nights and the last couple of nights it’s offered. The rides will be less busy than they would be at that time on a regular park night, but the headliners can still build up some decent wait times, and the special character meetings will often have quite long lines. To give you some idea, on October 25th, 2013, one of the busiest Friday nights, before the party started the wait time for Peter Pan’s Flight was hovering between 30-40 minutes. After the party started, the wait went down to 20-30 minutes. On the other hand, the Haunted Mansion didn’t change; it was 10-15 minutes before the party started and 10-15 minutes after the party started. Don’t necessarily expect to walk onto every ride. The party is more about the parades and Halloween “atmosphere.”

It’s fun to have dinner at Tony’s Town Square or Liberty Tree Tavern just before the party. This allows you to be in the park right when the festivities begin. The two restaurants book up quickly, so make reservations as early as possible (180 days in advance).

In 2017, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party will be offered from 7:00 pm to midnight on August 25, 29; September 1, 7, 10, 12, 15, 17, 19, 22, 24, 26, 29; October 1, 3, 5, 6, 9, 10, 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 20, 22, 24, 26, 27, 29, 31 and November 1.

Friday nights in October and the final week leading up to Halloween usually sell out in advance, and are not discounted.

2017 Prices and Discounts

  • 2017 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party tickets went on sale May 10, 2017. Go online or call (407) W-DISNEY (934-7639) to order.

Happy HalloWishes Dessert Premium Package

In 2017, the Happy HalloWishes Dessert Party, part of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, will be offered on select evenings from August 25 through November 1.

This separately ticketed premium event includes a private dessert party with a view of the Happy HalloWishes Fireworks Spectacular.

The Happy HalloWishes Dessert Premium Package costs $84.14 per adult and $50.06 per child (ages 3 to 9), including tax. Admission to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is required and is not included in the price. Seating will be available at the dessert party, where it will be pre-assigned. Please note that Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is a separate ticketed event and is not included in Magic Kingdom Park admission. Reservations are highly recommended.

In 2017, the Happy HalloWishes Dessert Premium Package will be offered August 25 and 29; September 1, 7, 10, 12, 15, 17, 19, 22, 24, 26 and 29; October 1, 3, 5, 6, 9, 10, 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 20, 22, 24, 26, 27, 29 and 31; November 1.

  • Reservations for the 2017 Happy HalloWishes Dessert Party opened on June 13. Go online or call (407) 939-3463 to book. Please note: admission to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is required and is not included in the price.

Club Villain

Club Villain is a special ticketed event held in Sunset Showcase in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The mysterious Dr. Facilier is your host for the evening, welcoming guests and his friends from the “other side” to his parlor of mystical mishaps, with musical numbers and a wicked mix from his house DJ. Also stopping by to socialize are those divas of evil, Maleficent, Queen of Hearts, Cruella De Vil and the Evil Queen. Enjoy fiendish concoctions from the Potions Bar, savor culinary delights from New Orleans and beyond, meet with the villains and dance the night away.

No new 2017 dates for Club Villain have been announced. In 2016, Club Villain was held on September 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17, 23, 24, 30; October 1, 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22, 28, 29 and 31; every Friday and Saturday night in November 2016 and December 2016 and every Friday night in January 2017. Showtimes are at 5:15 pm and 8:30 pm.

Tickets are $129 per person, tax and gratuity included. A separate ticket for admission to Disney’s Hollywood Studios is required.

  • 2016 tickets for Club Villain went on sale July 14. Go online or call (407) 939-3463 to book.

Return To Sleepy Hollow at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground

Enjoy a group viewing of the 1949 Disney animated classic film The Legend of Sleepy Hollow inside the Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground’s Tri-Circle-D Ranch stables and an up close and personal encounter with the Headless Horseman. All attendees, age 3 and older, will receive an exclusive limited edition pin.

In 2017, Return to Sleepy Hollow will take place at 8:00 and 10:00 pm on September 29-October 2, October 5-9, 12-16, 19-23 and 26-31.

General seating costs $22 per person, including tax, and includes a photo opportunity with the Headless Horseman.

Premium seating costs $38 per person, including tax, and includes a priority photo opportunity with the Headless Horseman and a Halloween treat bag.

Guests age 2 and under are admitted for FREE, but are asked to sit in a parent’s lap.

  • 2017 Return to Sleepy Hollow reservations opened on September 1. Call 407-WDW-TOUR (939-8687) to book. Space is extremely limited.

Night of Joy

Contemporary Christian music acts perform at Disney World on two nights each September. This is an after-hours event that requires a separate ticket.

In 2017, Night of Joy will be held September 8 – 9.

New for 2017, you can purchase a concert only ticket for 1 or 2 nights OR a 1- or 2-night concert ticket plus a 1-day Walt Disney World ticket. If you purchased a 2-night concert ticket with a 1-day Walt Disney World admission add-on before August 8, 2017 you received a FREE 1-day Walt Disney World water park ticket for use between September 8 – 30, 2017.

Disney’s Night of Joy takes place in indoor and outdoor venues at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Night of Joy guests receive admission to Magic Kingdom Park and there is dedicated transportation provided from Magic Kingdom Park to the Sports Complex.

2017 Night of Joy tickets went on sale in May 16, 2017.

Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend

The Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend includes the Mickey’s Holiday 5K, the Half Marathon and Kids’ Races and the Disney Wine & Dine 10K. All of the races, including the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon, have a morning start time. The Post Race Party will take place Sunday evening at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, finishing with exclusive runner access during the later hours.

Runners who complete the Disney Wine & Dine 10K on Saturday and the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon on Sunday within the pacing requirements will receive Lumiere’s Two Course Challenge Medal. Registration for Lumiere’s Two Course Challenge is required to receive the Lumiere’s Two Course Challenge Medal.

In 2017, the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend will be November 2-5.

Registration for the 2017 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend opened on January 17, 2017.

Walt Disney World Annual & Season Passholders, Disneyland Annual Passport holders and DVC members are able to register ahead of the general public for some runDisney events. Check the Annual Passholder or DVC member website for details closer to the public registration date.

Advocare Invitational (formerly known as the Orlando Classic)

Each year ESPN cooks up a Thanksgiving weekend basketball feast so big that even if a match-up or two turns out to be a proverbial “turkey,” the event still will provide roundball junkies with a memorable holiday treat.

The 2017 Advocare Invitational will be November 23, 24 & 26 at the HP Field House at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

Thanksgiving

Disney does not offer a Thanksgiving parade or decorations in the parks. (However, the Christmas decorations are normally in place by Thanksgiving weekend.)

There are special meals available at most Disney World restaurants on Thanksgiving. Reservations for holiday meals can be booked up to 180 days in advance by calling (407) WDW-DINE (939-3463).

Note that “holiday pricing” (i.e. higher prices) will be in effect for some restaurants (particularly the buffets and character meals) from the weekend prior to Thanksgiving through the weekend after Thanksgiving. Other restaurants may charge a premium on Thanksgiving Day, so be sure to ask when booking reservations.

Christmas Decorations

Christmas decorations at the Walt Disney World Resort usually begin going up around the first of November. The decorations are gradually added at night and are substantially complete at Magic Kingdom by the time of the first Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (in 2017, that will be November 9), with the resorts and other parks completed by the day after Thanksgiving. The decorations usually start coming down about January 3.

The Disney resorts are all decorated for the holidays, as are the theme parks. Each theme park will have an enormous decorated Christmas tree and so will the Deluxe resort lobbies.

Deluxe Resort Edible Holiday Displays

Among the especially amazing decorations are the edible holiday displays whipped up by pastry chefs throughout Walt Disney World Resort. Gingerbread goodies are sold nearby. Most of the displays open on Thanksgiving weekend.

The Deluxe resorts at Walt Disney World offer fantastic edible displays. Beach Club Resort usually has a fully detailed, life-sized gingerbread carousel in the lobby. The lobby of Yacht Club Resort has had displays such as a miniature New England-style train racing through a sugary rock mountain surrounded by a candy-coated model village. The lobby of BoardWalk Resort always has an amazing gingerbread display, and the Contemporary Resort has had a 17-foot gingerbread Christmas tree!

The biggest edible production is a gingerbread house at Grand Floridian Resort that is large enough that it doubles as a real bake shop. Featuring gingerbread using a classic Austrian recipe, the bake shop offers freshly baked items such as cookies, ornaments and miniature gingerbread houses. Other homemade items for sale may include Stollen Bread, chocolate peppermint bark, lollipops and special Grand Floridian logo boxes filled with truffles. Demonstrations of how to decorate a gingerbread house take place in front of the bake shop six days a week. The gingerbread house usually opens in mid-November.

The Gingerbread Bake Shop in Epcot enchants guests of all ages. Guests peer inside the life-sized gingerbread house at goodies galore. The giant structure, made entirely of gingerbread, cookies and icing, features a bake shop that usually opens in late November as part of Epcot International Festival of the Holidays (formerly Epcot’s Holidays Around the World).

Cinderella Castle Dream Lights

Disney decorates Cinderella Castle for the holiday season with a “Dream Lights” effect that makes the Castle seem to be covered in ice. Over 200,000 lights are draped over the turrets and roofs of the Castle to create this beautiful effect. A short show called “A Frozen Holiday Wish” and a castle lighting ceremony (featuring Queen Elsa from Frozen) is held each evening, usually around 6:15 pm, and the lights remain on, slowly changing colors, for the rest of the evening.

For 2016, the Dream Lights were turned on each evening beginning November 7. In the past the Dream Lights have run through mid-January.

Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!

Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! is a nighttime holiday spectacular in Disney’s Hollywood Studios that takes place above and around the Chinese Theater.

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. Enjoy memorable holiday moments from Disney films including Mickey’s Christmas Carol, Beauty and the Beast, Pluto’s Christmas Tree, Bambi, Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas and more. This show combines state-of-the-art projections, fireworks, special effects and Christmas music to create a dazzling, one-of-a-kind holiday experience for guests – capped by a special message from Santa himself.

In 2017, Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! will be performed November 9 – December 31.

Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! Holiday Dessert Party

The Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! Holiday Dessert Party takes place offered nightly, one hour prior to each performance, in the courtyard of the Chinese Theater.

This separately ticketed event includes a private dessert party and reserved viewing for Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! and Disney Movie Magic. Each dessert party guest will get a pair of 3D HoloSpex glasses to use while watching Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! The glasses create spectacular holographic illusions of gingerbread men, candy canes, snowflakes and ornaments on any bright point of light.

The Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! Holiday Dessert Party costs $79 per adult and $45 per child (ages 3-9) for November 9 – December 15 (including tax and gratuity) and $89 per adult and $49 per child (ages 3-9) for December 17-31 (including tax and gratuity).

Seating at the dessert party is mainly outdoors and uncovered and seating is limited. Wheelchairs and ECVs can be accommodated. In the event of potential rain, the dessert party will be moved to an alternate covered location.

In 2017, the Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! Holiday Party will be offered from November 9 – December 31.

  • Reservations for the 2017 Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! Holiday Dessert Party opened on August 9. Go online or call (407) 939-3463 to book. Please note: admission to Disney’s Hollywood Studios is required and is not included in the price.

New!Sunset Seasons Greetings at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

New for 2017, as the year draws to a close and night falls on Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Sunset Boulevard transforms into an enchanted winter wonderland. Billboards come to life and tell a tale, courtesy of iconic characters sharing their love for the season. All the while, the Hollywood Tower Hotel—a.k.a. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror—magically transforms, bringing to life the characters’ stories.

In 2017, Sunset Seasons Greetings will be November 9 – December 31. Santa Claus will be at the Once Upon a Time shop November 9 – December 24. Santa Goofy will step in from December 25 – 31 when Old Saint Nick returns to the North Pole.

Disney character moments include:

Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights

The 2015 holiday season was the final year of the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

This elaborate holiday decoration display incorporating millions of Christmas lights, fake snow and various holiday vignettes was originally created by Jennings Osborne at his home in Little Rock, Arkansas. After he was forced to remove the display due to complaints by his neighbors, Disney agreed to use parts of it at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, where it was an annual event for several years.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

Scrooge McDuck

Scrooge McDuck by Sam Howzit (CC)

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is held after the regular closing of Magic Kingdom and requires separate admission. (You don’t have to have paid admission on the same day to the Magic Kingdom in order to attend the special after-hours event.) The event is held from 7:00 pm to midnight on selected nights, usually running from about the second week of November through approximately a week prior to Christmas. Guests with Very Merry Christmas Party tickets are admitted to the park as early as 4:00 pm. You will need to get a wristband that allows you to stay in the park after the party begins.

Admission to the event includes complimentary hot chocolate and cookies, “snow” on Main Street, holiday stage shows, carolers, two performances of the holiday parade, and a special fireworks display. Plus, most of the major attractions will be open.

“Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration” was presented on the Cinderella Castle Forecourt Stage. Mickey and his pals invite some of their friends for an unforgettable Christmas party filled with music, dancing, color and fun.

Is Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party worth the money? Depends on your plans. Be aware that the same parades, shows, “snow” experience and fireworks (but not the hot chocolate and cookies) are offered as part of regular admission if you visit Magic Kingdom starting the day after Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party ends, through New Year’s Eve. So if you will be visiting Magic Kingdom between the day after the party and New Year’s Eve, it might not be worth the extra money to attend Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party earlier in the month. The special character meet and greets, some (fairly minor) special decorations, and some commemorative merchandise are only available at the party.

Although the number of people admitted each night is limited, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party can feel quite crowded, particularly on weekend nights and the last couple of nights it’s offered. The rides will be less busy than they would be at that time on a regular park night, but the headliners can still build up some decent wait times, and the special character meetings will often have quite long lines. To give you some idea, on the final sold-out night of 2013, before the party started the wait time for Space Mountain was hovering between 40-45 minutes. After the party started, the wait went down to 15-25 minutes. On the other hand, the Haunted Mansion didn’t change; it was 10-15 minutes before the party started and 10-15 minutes after the party started. It can be a lot of fun to attend if you want to get into the Christmas spirit in late November or early December, but don’t necessarily expect to walk onto every ride. The party is more about the parades and Christmas “atmosphere.”

It’s fun to have dinner at Tony’s Town Square or Liberty Tree Tavern just before the party. This allows you to be in the park right when the festivities begin. The two restaurants book up quickly, so make reservations as early as possible (180 days in advance).

In 2017, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party will be offered from 7:00 pm to midnight on November 9, 10, 12, 14, 16, 17, 26, 28; December 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 10, 12, 14, 15, 17, 19, 21 and 22.

In the past the last party before Christmas (December 22 in 2017) has sold out well in advance and was not discounted.

2017 Prices and Discounts

  • 2017 Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party tickets went on sale May 10, 2017. Go online or call (407) W-DISNEY (934-7639) to order.

Wishes Fireworks Holiday Dessert Party

In 2017, the Wishes Fireworks Holiday Dessert Party, part of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party will be offered on select nights from November 9 through December 22.

This separately ticketed premium includes a private dessert party with a view of Holiday Wishes: Celebrate the Spirit of the Season fireworks. Enjoy holiday-themed cupcakes and desserts along with sparkling cider, signature lemonades, specialty Christmas drinks, hot chocolate, coffee or tea.

The Wishes Fireworks Holiday Dessert Party costs $84.14 per adult and $50.06 per child (age 3 to 9), tax included. Admission to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is required and is not included in the price of this package. Seating will be available at the dessert party on a first-come, first-served basis, but every table features views of Cinderella Castle.

In 2017, the Holiday Wishes Dessert Premium Package is offered November 9, 10, 12, 14, 16, 17, 26 and 28; December 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 10, 12, 14, 15, 17, 19, 21 and 22..

  • Reservations for the 2017 Wishes Fireworks Holiday Dessert Party opened on June 13. Reservations can be made online or by calling (407) 939-3463. Please note: admission to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is required and is not included in the price.

Holidays at Disney Springs (formerly Festival of the Seasons at Downtown Disney)

Holidays at Disney Springs includes a variety of holiday entertainment, specialty foods and festive décor. Enjoy Toy Soldier stilt walkers, Snowflake performers, pop carolers and acappella groups. There are special performances celebrating Kwanzaa, songs and stories in honor of Hanukkah as well as a holiday-themed DJ dance party and a nightly tree lighting ceremony.

For 2016, Holidays at Disney Springs was November 14, 2016 through January 8, 2017.

Meet Santa at Santa’s Chalet, across from Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop. Check in a the podium and pick up a page to secure your place in a virtual queue line. You can take pictures with your own camera or use PhotoPass. Santa will be greeting guests daily through December 24, noon – 10pm. Santa Goofy takes over December 25 – 30 during the same hours.

Join the nightly Festival of Toys at the Once Upon a Toy Fountain, where toys magically come alive for an interactive holiday dance party on the plaza.

“Starbright Holidays – An Intel Collaboration” ran November 20- January 8 at 7:00 pm and 8:30 pm. This unique show features 300 show drones illuminating the night sky accompanied by an original Disney arrangement of classic holiday songs recorded by a full orchestra.

Stroll through the Christmas Tree Trail, a collection of custom-decorated trees. Each one has been designed to capture a popular Disney theme. Begin your walk near the play fountain outside Once Upon a Toy in the Marketplace.

There are over-sized toy sculptures throughout Disney Springs, the perfect place to pose for family photos. And three new unique-to-Disney-Springs holiday trees will make their debut this season.

Epcot International Festival of the Holidays (formerly Epcot’s Holidays Around the World)

For Epcot International Festival of the Holidays, each pavilion’s holiday celebration comes to life for through the sharing of joyful music and time-honored traditions. Musical performances at the Future World Fountain Stage include JOYFUL! A Gospel Celebration of the Season and Canadian Holiday Voyageurs. The Epcot evening spectacular of lights, lasers and fireworks, Illuminations: Reflections of Earth, completes the celebration with a magical holiday finale from November 24 – December 30, 2017. Epcot International Festival of the Holidays is included with regular Epcot admission.

New!For 2017, Epcot International Festival of the the Holidays will take place daily from November 19 through December 30.

New!New for 2017, there will also be 15 Holiday Kitchens this year, serving up holiday cookies and other sweet seasonal treats and the group Mostly Kosher, who will perform holiday classics celebrating Hanukkah in the America Pavilion. Kids can be on the lookout for Chip and Dale as they gather ornaments from holiday decorations in each World Showcase pavilion. Once you spot them, add the corresponding ornament sticker to your map. The Chip & Dale’s Christmas Tree Spree map and stickers can be purchased for $7.44, tax included, at select merchandise locations, including Pin Central, Disney Traders and World Traveler at International Gateway (while supplies last). Return the completed map to Disney Traders and exchange it for a festive surprise.

Candlelight Processional

The Candlelight Processional is an annual event at the America Gardens Theatre in World Showcase at Epcot. It consists of a celebrity narrator presenting the Biblical Christmas story, plus a large choir and an orchestra performing traditional religious Christmas carols. The Processional is an explicitly Christian religious presentation with a “church service” feel to it.

In 2017 the Candlelight Processional will be offered November 24 through December 30. There are normally three performances each night, at 5:00, 6:45 and 8:15 pm. Each show runs about 40 minutes. You’ll need to line up at LEAST 45 minutes prior to the show if you want to have any hope of getting in (or buy the Dining Package for guaranteed entry).

There is no additional charge for the performance over and above your Epcot admission.

In 2017, the Candlelight Processional schedule was announced on June 30.

2017 Candlelight Processional Narrators (schedule subject to change):

Candlelight Processional Dining Package

You can purchase a special Candlelight Processional Dining Package. With this special package you pay a flat rate for a sit-down meal at an Epcot restaurant and you receive “preferred seating” for the Candlelight Processional. Admission to Epcot is not included in the dining package price.

Lunch, dinner and breakfast packages are available at some Epcot restaurants like Akershus Royal Banquet Hall and Garden Grill. Breakfast, lunch and dinner options are also available at Captain’s Grille at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, and breakfast and dinner options are offered at Trattoria Al Forno at Disney’s BoardWalk.

Based on our experience, getting the package may be the only way you’ll get a seat at all, particularly on weekend nights. Expect to wait in a significant line to enter the show, even if you have the package.

Candlelight Dining Packages for breakfast start at $37.28 per adult (age 10+) and $22.37 per child (age 3-9), tax included.

Candlelight Dining Packages for lunch and dinner start at $46.86 per adult (age 10+) and $16.51 per child (age 3-9), tax included.

  • 2017 Candlelight Processional Dining Packages went on sale June 30. Please note: admission to Epcot is required and is not included in the dining package. Call (407) WDW-DINE (939-3463) or go online to reserve.

Star Wars: Galactic Nights

New for 2017, Star Wars: Galactic Nights will be held at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on December 16, 2017 from 7:00 pm until midnight. Come dressed as your favorite character and celebrate all things Star Wars!

Attendees can wear costumes (subject to a few rules based on safety and appropriateness), but guests ages 14 and older are strongly discouraged from wearing layered costumes or costume props that surround the entire body. They may be subject to additional security screening.

Activities include:

Tickets cost $137.39 per adult and $132.06 per child (ages 9 and under), tax included. There are a limited number of tickets for this event.

  • 2017 tickets for Star Wars: Galactic Nights went on sale September 6, 2017. For more information or to purchase tickets, go to the Star Wars: Galactic Nights page.

New!Galactic Tastings Sampler at Star Wars: Galactic Nights

Enhance your Star Wars: Galactic Nights experience with the Galactic Tasting Sampler. Tasting-sized sips and bites inspired by the stories and characters of Star Wars will be available at various locations throughout the park. With the Galactic Tasting Sampler, you can choose 5 items.

This package will be offered at the Star Wars: Galactic Nights event on December 16, 2017.

The Galactic Tasting Sampler is $30 per person, tax included.

  • To make a reservation, go to the Galactic Tastings Sampler page or call (407) 939-3463. You can also purchase this experience in-person during the Star Wars: Galactic Nights event. Please note: admission to Star Wars: Galactic Nights is required and is not included in the price.

Holiday Sleigh Rides

During the month of December, Disney offers 25-minute “sleigh” rides through the woods from the Ft. Wilderness Campground. (The horse-drawn vehicle is wheeled but made to look like a red sleigh, complete with sleigh bells!) Each person receives a special limited-edition pin. After your ride you can stroll through the barn to check out where the horses live and learn more about them.

You can book up to 180 days in advance by calling (407) WDW-PLAY (939-7529).

Christmas Eve & Christmas Day

First, be sure to read our survival guide to visiting Walt Disney World at Christmas!

You can enjoy the Candlelight Processional at Epcot, Cinderella Castle Dream Lights and the special parades, shows and fireworks at Magic Kingdom, Epcot International Festival of the Holidays (formerly Epcot’s Holidays Around the World) and all kinds of Christmas decorations throughout Walt Disney World.

There are special meals available at certain restaurants on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. You can reserve holiday meals up to 180 days in advance by calling (407) WDW-DINE (939-3463).

Note that “holiday pricing” (i.e. higher prices) will be in effect for some restaurants (particularly the buffets and character meals) from mid-December through the first few days of January (holiday season). Other restaurants may charge a premium on Christmas Eve and/or Christmas Day, so be sure to ask when booking reservations.

Religious services have been held on Christmas Day only in the Fantasia Ballroom at the Contemporary Resort. Catholic Mass has been at 8:00 am and 10:00 am. A Protestant service has been held at 9:00 am. If you plan to attend, it is best confirm the time and location with the front desk or concierge.

You may not park at the Contemporary for these services, so to get there, you must do one of the following:

New Year’s Eve

First, be sure to read our survival guide to visiting Walt Disney World at Christmas! (The advice also applies to New Year’s Eve.)

Theme Parks

Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios all stay open late on New Year’s Eve and offer extra entertainment, usually including live performances, extra parades and fireworks. These festivities are included in regular park admission.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom closes at the regular time and does not offer New Year’s Eve events since they would disturb the animals. Christmas decorations remain up throughout Walt Disney World through New Year, and generally several days past the first of the year.

Special theme park events for New Year’s Eve are usually offered, including special fireworks, dance parties, live bands, etc.

Cirque du Soleil

Each year, Cirque du Soleil presents special New Year’s Eve performances of La Nouba. Guests receive a limited-edition trading pin. Tickets for these New Year’s Eve performances are more expensive than usual. Click here for more information about La Nouba.

Atlantic Dance Hall

New Year’s Eve at the Atlantic Dance Hall at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort includes a video DJ. You must be 21 years of age or older (with ID) to enter Atlantic Dance Hall on New Year’s Eve, and the event requires a separate ticket.

Special Meals

There are special meals available at certain restaurants on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. You can reserve holiday meals up to 180 days in advance by calling (407) WDW-DINE (939-3463).

World ShowPlace in Epcot usually hosts a buffet inspired by Disney’s animated films Fantasia and Fantasia 2000. Reservations are available from 4:30 pm – 10:30 pm.

Other Disney resorts may offer special New Year’s Eve meals – inquire in advance by calling (407) WDW-DINE (939-3463).

Note that “holiday pricing” (i.e. higher prices) will be in effect for some restaurants (particularly the buffets and character meals) from mid-December through the first few days of January (holiday season). Other restaurants may charge a premium on New Year’s Eve and/or New Year’s Day, so be sure to ask when booking reservations.

New Year’s Eve Celebrations at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Disney Countdown to Midnight will be December 31, 2017 from 8:00 pm until 1:00 am on January 1, 2018 in the Fantasia ballroom. This celebration includes dining, live music, libations and more. An interactive band and DJ will fill the dance floor (and Mickey and Minnie may make a special appearance). Welcome in 2018 with a glass of bubbly and a viewing of the New Year’s Eve fireworks in the Magic Kingdom. This party is designed for guests 18 and older.

Pixar Party: A New Year’s Eve Celebration is for children of all ages, and is a family-friendly way to ring in the New Year with a Disney•Pixar-inspired dinner in the Ballroom of the Americas.The Pixar Party will be December 31, 2017 from 8:00 pm until 12:15 am on January 1, 2018. The decorations include theatrical backdrops, set pieces and fun props that re-create the worlds of the Pixar films. Characters from Toy Story, The Incredibles, Cars and Up will join the party. Special activities for kids include: Pixar face painting, a balloon artist and a boot camp with Sarge, while an interactive DJ will spin hits from Radio Disney. Dinner is buffet style. At midnight, the celebration will head outdoors to ring in the New Year with a viewing of the Magic Kingdom fireworks.

Down in New Orleans: A Disney New Year’s Eve Dining Experience will be December 31, 2017 from 7:00 pm until 12:15 am on January 1, 2018 in the Grand Republic Ballroom. Inspired by the Disney’s The Princess and the Frog, the room is decorated French Quarter style to transport you to the Big Easy. The menu includes herb-crusted Louisiana redfish, crayfish etouffee, Black Angus beef cooked two ways, braised short ribs and filet of beef with truffled celery root silk. A N’awlins jazz band will entertain during dinner, joined later in the evening by a vocalist who will bring to life the Academy-Award-winning classics from the film. Ring in 2018 a glass of bubbly in a private viewing area for the Magic Kingdom fireworks.

  • 2017 New Year’s Eve Celebrations reservations opened on July 11. Call (407) WDW-DINE (939-3463) to for more information or to make a reservation.