Christmas at Disney World: An Updated Guide for 2021

The holidays are a magical time of year. Most folks are in a merry mood, and the decorations, music, and activities are all geared toward glad tidings and good cheer.  Goodness knows we could all use some good cheer this year! Check out my complete guide to Christmas at Disney World in 2021.

Complete Guide to Christmas at Disney World

While visiting Disney World during the Covid-19 pandemic has altered many typical experiences, there is still holiday cheer to be found in 2021. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party has been cancelled for this season. However, Disney Very Merriest After Hours special event will be taking place in 2021!

Don’t give up on your Disney holiday plans just yet! The holiday season begins November 12, 2021, which gives you plenty of time to plan your trip. I hope my guide to Christmas at Disney World helps you and your family make the most of this magical time together!

Christmas in the Magic Kingdom

While there are no special dessert parties in Magic Kingdom this year, “Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks” will be happening during the Very Merriest After Hours event. Access to 20+ select attractions, Disney characters throughout the park, holiday music and décor, included treats, and more will all be happening on select nights at the Magic Kingdom.

Though the holiday season begins on November 12, Very Merriest After Hours events will begin on November 8 and continue on select nights through December 21, 2021. Tickets for this event will go on sale in August, and Walt Disney World hotel guests will get first pick of the tickets and dates.

Christmas in Epcot

Epcot International Festival of the Holidays will take place November 26-December 30, 2021. Voices of Liberty will perform as well as other musical acts to be announced. Recently announced is the return of the beloved Epcot Candlelight Processional! It will take place on the same dates as Festival of the Holidays. The celebrity narrator schedule has not yet been announced (as of 9/30/2021).

Festival kitchens will allow you to sip and savor your way around the World Showcase. The Holiday Cookie Stroll will return this year as will the complimentary cookie for completing the stroll.

No announcement has been made regarding “Olaf’s Holiday Tradition Expedition.” It is similar to other hide-and-seek experiences at EPCOT. Guests purchase a map to search for Olaf and receive a prize upon completion of your quest! I believe this will be back, but it’s just a guess at this point.

Hollywood Studios Christmas Events

Minnie will once again host a yuletide gathering for guests who dine at Hollywood & Vine in Hollywood Studios. Socially distanced appearances by Minnie and friends in their holiday best will also include Santa Goofy!

Sunset Seasons Greetings will also return to Hollywood Studios. The Hollywood Holiday Tower Hotel will have projection effects that transform it into a Toy Story hotel, a snowy corner of Arendelle, and more.

Holiday Experiences at Animal Kingdom

Seasonal décor and festive character flotillas will sail down Discover River at Animal Kingdom. The Tree of Life will display a holiday edition of the Tree of Life Awakenings. It will also become a Beacon of Magic during most nights of the 50th Anniversary Celebration of Walt Disney World.

Christmas Outside the Parks

I am usually busy enjoying holidays in the parks and forget to visit the resort holiday displays. Don’t make my mistake! The resorts are decorated in spectacular fashion!

Traditionally, resort lobbies showcase elaborate gingerbread displays. I am happy to share that they will be BACK in 2021! More details to come concerning the traditional displays.

At Disney Springs, the Christmas Tree Trail will feature trees spaced out throughout the property, much like in 2020. Look out for a magical snowfall in the evening hours that will be sure to delight!

Holiday Character Experiences

Character experiences will be altered during the 2021 holiday season. Guests will be treated to “pop up” characters as opposed to waiting in line to meet them.

In Epcot, Anna and Elsa will participate in the “Frozen Holiday Promenade.”

Mickey and the gang will participate in the “Mickey and Friends Holiday World Tour” around the World Showcase.

Santa will also be making appearances at Magic Kingdom and Epcot via parade floats or horse-drawn carriages.

Animal Kingdom will continue to have characters on flotillas. Hollywood Studios will have “merry motorcades” of characters throughout the day.

However you choose to spend the holidays at Disney World, there will be no shortage of festive fun! It may look different this year, but don’t let that stop you from experiencing glad tidings and good cheer!