See How Disney World Holidays Take it to the Next Level

New Years Fireworks over Magic Kingdom, Disney World
Photo: Cory Disbrow

At any time of the year, Walt Disney World is magical, but holidays bring it to another level. Last Fall, I took my oldest daughter to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. To see her eyes twinkle every time we came across a trick-or-treat station was worth every penny, even though we had to pay extra for the special event admission ticket. She absolutely loved seeing the characters dressed in their Halloween costumes, as she was dressed in hers. Imagine if one of the world’s largest entertainment company were in charge of Christmas, New Years, and 4th of July? That’s basically what Disney World holidays are like. This guide will take you inside each one of these special days.

1) Christmas: The Ultimate Disney World Holiday Celebration

Nutcracker parade at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
Photo: Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party | Cory Disbrow

It’s always a white Christmas in Magic Kingdom, where the entire park is covered in fake snow. Jingle bells and candy canes hang everywhere, and Santa and Mrs. Claus are waiting to greet every boy and girl on the Nice List.

Over in Hollywood Studios, the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights features five million, multi-colored, computer-operated lights that dance to the rhythm of the Christmas carols that ring in the air. Literally every square inch of the park is wired during this Disney World Holiday celebration.

Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Hollywood Studios
Photo: Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights | Cory Disbrow

In Magic Kingdom, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party includes a parade out of the Nutcracker, and dozens of displays and parties throughout the park. It takes place on select evenings from early-November to late-December. Some nights WILL sell out, so be sure to get your ticket early! The party begins each evening at 7 pm and ends at the stroke of midnight.

A Helpful Tip: as long as the park isn’t at capacity, you may enter the Magic Kingdom as early as 4 pm with your special admission ticket. Be sure to grab a map and a times guide as you enter the park. You’ll need this to find the complimentary cookies and hot cocoa locations, as well as times for the parade and fireworks spectacular.

What you need to know
When to go: November 8 – December 18, 2015, on select evenings.
Special ticket price: $74

2) New Years Eve & New Years Day

New Years Eve at Disney World
Photo: Cory Disbrow

Walt Disney World Resort is a fantastic destination to ring in the New Year. On this holiday, you’re treated to a dazzling fireworks display with music, dance, and more. Keep in mind, though that this is the busiest time of year, so the parks will be at full-capacity.

3) Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Jack-o-Lantern
Photo: Cory Disbrow

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is a SPOOKTACULAR time of year! The parks are decorated with hundreds of carved pumpkins and Fall foliage. This is the only holiday where you’ll see characters, such as Mickey and his pals, dressed in Halloween costumes.

Start planning now what you and your family will go dressed as. A few suggestions are The Incredibles family, members of the Mickey Mouse Club, or Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Don’t forget to bring along a trick-or-treat candy tote, there’s a TON of candy given out along the way!

This Disney World holiday celebration includes Mickey’s “Boo to You” Halloween Parade and Happy Hallowishes nighttime firework spectacular. Also, be sure to catch the Villains Castle Show on stage at Cinderella Castle.

Tickets for this special event are separate from park admission and sell out quickly, so you’ll want to get thing in advance.

A Helpful Tip: As long as the park isn’t at full-capacity, you may enter Magic Kingdom as early as 4 pm for the party.

What you need to know
When to go: September 15 – November 1, from 7 pm –12 am on select evenings.
Where: Magic Kingdom

4) Epcot Flower & Garden Festival

Mickey Topiary at Epcot Flower & Garden Festival
Photo: Mickey Topiary at Flower & Garden Festival | Cory Disbrow

The Epcot Flower & Garden Festival is an extraordinary event that transforms Epcot into a character topiary dreamland! Dozens of Disney characters are created into giant living, plant sculptures, and hundreds of flower displays, line the the streets of the park. There’s also a series of food stands featuring farm-to-table dishes within the gardens. Best of all, The Epcot Flower & Garden Festival is included with a daily admission ticket!

What you need to know
When to go: March 4 – May 17
Where: Epcot

5) Mother's Day & Father’s Day

Magic Kingdom on Mother's Day
Photo: Cory Disbrow

This is the perfect time of year for parents who love Disney World to visit the parks. The crowds tend to be lighter during both Mother and Father’s Day, so you won’t have to wait in line as long during these holidays. Have your family photo taken together in front of Cinderella Castle, take a ride on Splash Mountain and stay for the Wishes fireworks display.

6) Fourth of July

Fourth of July America Flag at Disney World
Photo: Matt Correia via Flickr

The stars and stripes line the streets of Magic Kingdom on the 4th of July, and fireworks light up the sky to patriotic music at night. But you don’t have to come on the actual holiday to enjoy a tribute to America at Magic Kingdom. Stop by the flag pole on Main Street USA, any day at 5 pm to watch the Magic Kingdom Flag Retreat Ceremony. Listen as members of the Main Street Philharmonic and the Dapper Dans sing the National Anthem and recite the Pledge of Allegiance. The flag is then lowered and given to a special guest – the Veteran of the day. It’s 15 minutes of patriotism that will make you proud to be an American!

What you need to know
When to go: Fourth of July
Where: Magic Kingdom

7) Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival

Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival
Photo: Jimmy G via Flickr

Epcot is known for its huge variety of amazing food. But, during the Food & Wine Festival, they take it to the next level, with nearly 30 international food and beverage marketplaces and signature dining experiences with world renown chefs. You’ll find food from countries that aren’t normally featured in World Showcase. There’s also an Eat to the Beat concert series to keep you entertained as you dine.

Like every Disney event, there’s so much to see and do, that you could have a different experience each time.

What you need to know
When to go: September 25 – November 16, all day, all over Epcot.
Where: Epcot

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About Melissa Hillier

Melissa Hillier lives in sunny Florida with her husband and five children. Her most favorite pastime is days spent at Walt Disney World Resort. When she isn't writing stories about family fun and travel on her blog,, you can find her behind her sewing machine or her camera.