Disney World in December: Tips for the Holiday Season and What to Expect

Disney World in December is the peak of the holiday season including the ever popular event Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party inside Magic Kingdom. But not just Magic Kingdom gets into the holiday spirit, you will see holiday magic inside each theme park at Disney World.

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Everyone has personal preferences to consider when planning the date of their Walt Disney World trip- each season will have its pros and cons and guests' choices will vary based on those. Make sure to read our Walt Disney World crowd calendar to get an idea of what to expect when picking a date to visit Walt Disney World.

Keep reading for everything you need to know about visiting Disney World in December including current events, what weather to expect, crowd level predictions, and what to pack!

Disney World Events in DecemberDisney World in December- Epcot Candlelight Processional

Here are all the current events to know about impacting Disney World in December!

Holiday Events & Celebrations at Disney World

The holiday season runs until January 6th at the Walt Disney World Resort so you will see a holiday presence in each theme park for the entire month of December. The highlight of the holidays at Disney World include Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom, the International Festival of Holidays at Epcot, winter celebrations in Animal Kingdom, and “Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!” in Hollywood Studios. Read our full guide to celebrating the holidays at Disney World to find out everything about how each park celebrates, meet and greets, special events, food, and more.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a ticketed event that takes place on these select nights in November:

  • December: 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 20 and 22

The tickets range in price from $109 to $139 depending on the date you select. We recommend buying them in advance as tickets do tend to sell out. Admission into the party includes special themed entertainment options like a Christmas parade, holiday fireworks, lower wait times for key attractions, seasonal food options, and more.

It's important to note that if you do not have a ticket to the party you will have to leave once the party starts! Make sure that you have a park hopper ticket so you are not left without somewhere else to go. If you plan on attending on one of the party nights then I recommend arriving as early as Disney World will let you in the park so you can get full access from your party ticket to the Magic Kingdom. Make sure to read our full guide to the Christmas party to find out all the details about this special event.

The Epcot International Festival of the Holidays

This special themed event take places until December 30th this holiday season.

The festival is a celebration of international holiday traditions from around the world. This festival experience includes an International Yuletide Extravaganza: featuring 11 holiday traditions of the 11 World Showcase nations, seasonal food from around the world, and IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth: a fireworks show featuring laser and water technology to celebrate the holiday season.

Epcot Candlelight Processional

The Epcot Candlelight Processional tells the biblical story of Christmas typically told by a celebrity narrator and accompanied by a 50-piece orchestra and massed choir. The Epcot Candlelight Processional dates and celebrity narrators for December are:

The 2019 Narrators and Dates:

  • November 29 through December 1
    • Ming-Na Wen
  • December 2 through December 5
    • Neil Patrick Harris
  • December 6 and 7
    • Whoopi Goldberg
  • December 8 and 10
    • Isabella Rossellini
  • December 13 through 15
    • Gary Sinise
  • December 16 through 18
    • Pat Sajak
  • December 19 through 21
    • TBA
  • December 22 through 24
    • Steven Curtis Chapman
  • December 25 and 26
    • Edward James Olmos
  • December 27 and 28
    • Marlee Matlin
  • December 29 and 30
    • Lisa Ling

Performances are at 5:00 PM, 6:45 PM and 8:15 PM nightly until December 30th.

“Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!” and Sunset Greetings at Hollywood Studios

“Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!” is a nighttime spectacular holiday show featuring festive music, special effects, celebrity stars, and Disney entertainment centering around the theme of Santa going missing.

Sunset Greetings is a holiday themed laser projection show that takes place on the Hollywood Tower. After dark, the billboards transform into real life characters and tell a holiday story. The characters include: Mickey and Minnie, Toy Story characters, The Muppets, and Olaf.

Both of these shows run the entire month of December.

New Years Eve at Walt Disney World

New Year's Eve at Walt Disney World is one of the most popular nights of the year in the parks. You can expect to see great nighttime fireworks in the Magic Kingdom, nighttime spectaculars and dinners in Epcot, and a DJ dance party in Hollywood Studios. Read our full guide to New Years Eve at Walt Disney World to be prepared. 

Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge at Hollywood Studios

Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge opened to the public at the end of August. Make sure to read our guide to Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge for land reviews, tips and tricks, and everything you need to know. This land has been extremely popular since opening so it's important to plan your day accordingly if Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge is a priority.

Disney World in December Crowd CalendarLittle girl with Santa- Disney World in December

This is the first holiday season since Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge opened at Disney World which may result in larger crowd levels inside Disney's Hollywood Studios. Combine this new addition with the popularity of the holiday celebration and moderate weather, visiting in December is a popular time for many guests to visit.

The earlier in December you can visit, the better it will be when it comes to avoiding crowds. The closer it gets to Christmas the busier the parks will get. Visiting early in the month will help avoid those crowds. If you can't visit earlier, just have a solid strategy in place for navigating crowds. Make sure you booked your FastPass+ and dining reservations, arrive early to the parks each day, and consider staying late to enjoy the parks to their fullest.

Guests visiting the Magic Kingdom in December will have to be aware of Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. If you don't have a party ticket, you will be asked to leave the park around 5pm on party days. It's important to plan ahead for those dates so you have a plan in place for once the party starts. In the past the first start of the day before the Christmas party is actually low in crowd levels as many party goers don't enter the parks until later in the day when their Christmas party ticket allows saving them the cost of a full day ticket. It can actually be a wise decision to start off the day early at the park hosting the Christmas party to beat some of those crowds.

Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge will still be a large draw for guests visiting Disney World in December so you can expect some larger crowds flocking to Disney's Hollywood Studios than normal. This may be welcome news for Pandora fans as it may take some pressure off the high ticket rides in Animal Kingdom.

Disney World Weather in DecemberA crowd of people near buildings lit up with lights and lasers

The weather at Disney World in December is fairly dry with warmer days and chilly nights making it a great time of the year to visit. The average high for Orlando in December is 73 degrees with the average low being 50 degrees. Since the weather isn't as hot, this is a great time of year to visit for those that don't enjoy heat.

Chances of rain in December are the lowest you typically see all year with only an average three days of rain in the month. For guests that love Disney World but are not a big fan of the rain, this makes December a great time to visit.

Tips for Visiting Disney World in December

When it comes to visiting Disney World in December, we have some tried and true hacks for having a magical time on your vacation.

What to Wear 

One of the most frequently asked guest questions is: what should I wear to Disney World? Always check the weather leading up to your trip. The good news about visiting Disney World in December is that the chance of rainfall is greatly reduced making it less necessary to wear a rain poncho daily to the parks. We still recommend bringing one so you can enjoy the water rides without getting drenched. I recommend dressing in layers and come prepared for some chilly mornings. Once the sun goes down, the evenings will feel chilly (especially when you factor in humidity) so bring some lightweight hoodies or jackets. You can always rent a locker to store jackets in during the day and go back to grab them once the day cools down.

What to Pack 

Even though the average high temperatures start dropping this time of the year, the temperatures can still be pretty warm especially if you're not used to hot climates and humidity. Because the weather can vary so much day by day, check the weather each day leading up to your trip. Come prepared based on what the forecast says. Dress in layers so you're prepared for sunny afternoons and chilly nights.

You can read our giant packing list here to make sure you show up prepared for literally anything you need while you're visiting Disney World.

What to Expect

There are a few things you should expect when choosing December as your month to visit Disney World:

  • Know the Christmas Party Dates- being prepared for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party is essential for guests looking to visit Magic Kingdom. You should plan on park hopper tickets so you can hop over to the other theme parks when the party starts if you don't have a ticket. If you plan on attending, we recommend not buying a park ticket that day as your party ticket will allow you into the party! Party days tend to reduce crowds in the mornings before the party starts so we also recommend taking advantage of those mornings to ride those popular rides.
  • Prepare for Possible Construction- at the recent D23 Expo, Disney Parks announced a huge project to completely reorganize and add to Epcot in preparation Disney World's 50th Anniversary in 2021.
  • Holiday Tips and Tricks- there is so much to see and do between the four theme parks for the holiday celebrations at Disney World. I recommend looking through our extensive Disney World Christmas guide to plan out what you want to see the most and make any applicable dining reservations for must do experiences.
  • Tips for Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge- if you're planning on visiting Batuu, then make sure to read our guide on the new Star Wars themed land! There are a few experiences that have been extremely popular aside from the Millennium Falcon ride and it's good to show up prepared so you know where to go first and how to make reservations for popular experiences.

But most of all, remember to enjoy your time at the most magical place on earth!

Plan Your Disney World Vacation!

Keep reading our blog to keep you updated on everything you need to know to prepare for a Disney Parks vacation! We have a team of writers working hard to keep you updated weekly on events in the parks and tips for navigating the magic. Subscribe to our free deals newsletter to receive helpful planning information, exclusive Disney deals, and access to the lowest priced Disney tickets anywhere. You can find more information on planning your vacation here:

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