This blog post was updated on October 26, 2018.

Experience Holiday Magic Mickey-style at Walt Disney World Resort, Flickr: through dans eye

Winter break is a great time book flights to Orlando and visit Walt Disney World. The palm trees are trimmed with twinkling lights and the average high is 73, making it a comfortable escape from the freezing temperatures that are sure to blanket the majority of the country. Disney definitely knows how to embrace the holiday season and each of its four theme parks has something special planned. Here is a look at what Disney World has planned for the 2011 holiday season.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom:  Animal Kingdom is known for its Kilimanjaro Safaris which takes visitors on a trek across 100 acres of simulated savanna as well as Expedition Everest, a high speed coaster haunted by a Yeti. During the holiday season, this Africa-themed park gets trimmed with a Christmas tree decorated with animal ornaments and Mickey puts on a Jingle Jungle Parade lead by the Jungle Book’s King Louie and Baloo. Larger-than-life animal puppets dance alongside traditional characters as Minnie Mouse’s candy cane and hot cocoa float fills the air with a chocolaty scent.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios: The Hollywood Studios backlot features world-class attractions such as Beauty and the Beast-Live on Stage, Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, and “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” movie adventure year-round, but during the holidays, another special attraction joins the ranks.  The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights began at the home of Jennings Osborne who strung his Arkansas home with 1,000 lights in 1986 as a gift to his daughter. Eventually the light show which features millions of dancing lights and animated displays synchronized to holiday music outgrew their home and was transported to Disney in 1995, where it has made an annual appearance ever since.

Epcot: My favorite part of Epcot is the World Showcase which features the cuisine and culture of eleven different countries. A walk around the lagoon can take you from Norway to China with stops at Germany, Morocco, and Canada along the way. During the holidays each country’s pavilion is decorated to reflect the traditions of its people. During the evenings, a Candlelight Processional features a retelling of the Christmas Story, complete with choir, 50-piece orchestra, and a celebrity narrator.

Magic Kingdom: Some of the most magical moments of the season happen at the Magic Kingdom.  Main Street USA is decked out in its holiday finest with strands of garland sweeping the storefronts and a fully trimmed Christmas tree standing front and center. During the evenings, Cinderella Castle turns into an ice palace with 200,000 ice cycle lights draped on its spires putting on nightly light show.  On nineteen special nights during the holiday season, guests can experience Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party- and after hours experience featuring Disney characters in holiday attire, complimentary hot cocoa, a Christmas parade, and even a snow fall on Main Street.  In true Disney style, the night culminates with a special holiday fireworks extravaganza.


Photo: through dans eye

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