As a travel agent and blogger specializing in family adventures, I understand the importance of planning the perfect holiday getaway. You may be asking “Is Magic Kingdom open on Christmas Day?” If you’re considering spending Christmas at the most magical place on Earth—Disney World—I’ve got you covered. In this complete guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know to make your Disney Park Christmas truly enchanting during the holiday season.
Is Disney World Open on Christmas Day?
Yes, Disney World is open on Christmas Day, offering a unique and festive experience for visitors. While the park may be busier than usual, the holiday spirit and special events make it the most magical place and time to visit. Main Street is filled with Christmas decorations and Christmas lights during the Christmas season.
While park hours can vary, Disney World typically extends its operating hours during the holiday season. On Christmas Day, Magic Kingdom tends to open early and close late, allowing you to maximize your magical experience beyond regular park hours.Opening time is generally at 9:00 AM with closing time at 9:00 PM. If you are staying at a Walt Disney World resort, be sure to take advantage of the early entry half hour. It is one of the best ways to experience shorter lines on Christmas Day, one of the busiest days of the year, at Magic Kingdom Park. Magic Kingdom is usually the most popular park on December 25th. Check the My Disney Experience app for the most up-to-date info on park hours.
Are there special events during the winter holidays?
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
This exclusive after-hours event is held on select nights throughout November and December. Although it doesn’t take place on Christmas Day itself, attending one of these parties is a fantastic way to kick off the holiday season with a special Christmastime parade, stage shows, holiday treats, and even snowfall on Main Street!
The party is a special ticketed event (in addition to your standard park ticket), so it’s a good idea to purchase tickets for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas party tickets in advance of your Disney trip. Ticket prices vary, depending on the demand on the day. Grab a hot cocoa and some Christmas cookies and enjoy shorter lines throughout the park, along with meeting your favorite characters in their Christmas-time outfits.
Held at EPCOT, the Candlelight Processional is a breathtaking retelling of the Christmas story, accompanied by a mass choir and a celebrity narrator. Be sure to check the schedule to catch this heartwarming performance on select nights.
This event is held in the American Pavilion at 5:15, 7:00 and 8:30 PM. Celebrity narrators like Whoopi Goldberg, Chrissy Metz, John Stamos, Steven Curtis Chapman, Marlee Matlin, and Neil Patrick Harris, accompanied by visiting choirs inspire during the holiday season.
You can purchase a Candlelight Processional dining package as well. This allows you to dine at one of the fantastic EPCOT restaurants with a dining reservation and reserved seating in the amphitheater. If you choose to just attend the event without a dining reservation, be sure to get there early, as long lines form at least an hour in advance of each performance.
EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays
Experience the holiday traditions of 11 different World Showcase nations, complete with seasonal food and drink offerings at the EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays. Meet Santa Claus at the Odyssey Pavilion from late November to Christmas Eve. Enjoy holiday music from a variety of cultures throughout the World Showcase.
Visit holiday kitchens around the world, showing off their favorite holiday food and traditions. Listen to storytellers throughout the park with the best holiday tales. You do not need a separate ticket for this event, as it is included with your standard Disney theme park ticket. Pro tip: Christmas Eve is always a great time in the Walt Disney theme parks, especially EPCOT!
Be sure to look for the holiday transformations of some rides in Magic Kingdom. My favorite is the “Jingle Cruise” which takes over for the Jungle Cruise. The ride is transformed with cute holiday decor and even the script changes up a bit.
You may also experience some holiday magic on Space Mountain if you visit during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party!
Favorite Characters in Holiday Costumes
Wear your holiday best and be ready to pose with your favorite Disney friends in their special holiday costumes! If you have young children, be sure to pack an autograph book for Mickey and Minnie Mouse and all of their friends to sign!
Parades and Entertainment
Once Upon a Christmastime Parade
Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade is an enchanting parade. It is a holiday highlight at Magic Kingdom, featuring festive floats, beloved Disney characters in their holiday best, and even a special appearance by Santa Claus himself. Of course, Mickey Mouse comes too! This special Christmas parade is part of Mickey’s Verry Merry Christmas Party. Be sure to snag a ticket for the event, especially for Christmas week, as tickets can sell out during busy times.
Holiday Fireworks Show
End your Christmas Day with a bang by witnessing the spectacular fireworks display at Magic Kingdom. Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks show makes the sky come alive with vibrant colors and holiday-themed pyrotechnics, creating a truly magical atmosphere. This fireworks performance is a part of the ticketed Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party event.
Weather and Packing Ideas
Florida weather in December can be unpredictable, ranging from cool evenings to mild afternoons. Here’s a packing list to ensure you’re prepared for all possibilities:
- Layers: Bring light layers to accommodate temperature changes throughout the day. Early mornings and late evenings can be cool, even in Orlando. Check the weather forecast before you pack.
- Rain Gear: Pack ponchos or waterproof jackets just in case of an unexpected shower.
- Comfortable Shoes: You’ll be doing a lot of walking, so comfortable and waterproof shoes are a must.
- Festive Accessories: Embrace the holiday spirit with Santa hats, reindeer antlers, or festive Disney-themed accessories.
Tips for Navigating the Crowds
- Arrive Early: Beat the crowds by arriving at the park well before opening time.
- Utilize Genie+: Take advantage of Disney’s Genie+ system to reserve access to popular attractions and skip the regular lines.
- Plan a Midday Break: Head to a less crowded area for a midday break to recharge and avoid the peak crowd times.
- Use the My Disney Experience App: Stay updated on wait times, show schedules, and mobile food ordering with the official Disney World app.
- Visit Disney resorts: Consider visiting the resorts around Magic Kingdom, if you need a break from the parks during Christmas time. Holiday decor, including themed Christmas trees and amazing lights, go up in early November. Our family always takes a loop around the monorail resorts to check out the decor, especially the gingerbread houses at Disney’s Grand Floridian.
- Make dining reservations: If you are visiting the parks during the holiday season all the way through New Year’s Eve, consider making sit down dining reservations. This is especially important if you are looking for Christmas morning breakfast or Christmas dinner. You can begin to book your dining reservations 60 days in advance of your trip. Some of our family favorites in the Magic Kingdom include Liberty Tree Tavern in Frontierland , Tony’s Town Square near the train station main entrance, and Skipper Canteen near Jungle Cruise.
- Use mobile ordering. If you prefer quick-service restaurants, consider using mobile ordering in the My Disney Experience. Order some hot dogs from Casey’s or tacos from Pecos Bill from your phone while waiting in line or before the start of a show or parade. The best time to eat during peak holidays for lunch is before 11:30 or after 1:00. Consider eating dinner by 5:30 or around 7 PM for less of a wait. If you are traveling with young children, this is especially helpful!
So, is Disney World open on Christmas Day? Yes! Spending Christmas at Disney World is a magical experience that your family will cherish forever. With special events, extended park hours, and holiday-themed entertainment, the magic is in the air. By following these tips for navigating the crowds and packing wisely, you’ll ensure a stress-free and enchanting holiday celebration.
Be sure to utilize the help of a travel agent who specializes in DIsney vacations, like me, to maximize your time. All of our services are included in the price of your Disney vacation, so why not?! Now, go ahead and start planning your Disney Christmas adventure—it’s the most wonderful time of the year!