If you’re traveling to Walt Disney World® Resort for a holiday vacation between 12/23/2017 and 12/31/2017, we recommend sharing one of our favorite experiences: “Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade” at the Magic Kingdom® Park. Mickey’s Christmastime parade originally debuted during the holiday season of 2007 and is now in its 10th year of delighting Guests.

Grab a hot chocolate and a yummy treat (indulge your sweet tooth – it’s the holidays, after all) and find a place on Main Street U.S.A. At first you’ll hear a few faint notes and an excited murmur from the crowd. And then – at last – here comes Mickey and Minnie on a colorful float celebrating with a party at their cozy home. A merry original song, “Once Upon a Christmastime” fills the air along with a medley of beloved holiday tunes that will set your toes tapping and heart humming.

Disney Christmas with Santa flying in front of the Castle

There are as many magical Disney Christmastime moments to enjoy as there are snowflakes at the North Pole, but here are just a few you won’t want to miss. Queen Elsa and Princess Anna arrive in a beautiful horse-drawn sleigh. Performers dressed as skiers swoop by on roller skates (no one’s letting the lack of snow in Florida stop them from having winter fun). Vanellope from Wreck-It Ralph races past on a gingerbread Kandy Kar. And Disney Princesses waltz past on a Fairytale Christmas Float that is so large it takes two drivers to guide it along the parade route.

The 2017 parade ends on a high-energy note with the Grand Finale North Pole Toy Factory. “It’s all about elves, elves on scooters, elves on rocking horses, elves everywhere,” says Tara Anderson, Show Director, Walt Disney World® Resort. Woody, Jessie, Bullseye and Sarge show up and the iconic Toy Soldiers, who have been part of every holiday parade since 1961, march alongside. Naturally, Santa and his reindeer show up—to the delight of excited youngsters along the route. (What would a holiday parade be without the Jolly Old Man?) “It even snows,” Anderson says, “which is very exciting in Florida!”

Toy Story Bullseye in Disney Parade

All total the parade features 12 colorful floats and 160 performers and Disney characters (many of whom are rarely seen in the Park at any other time of year.) Some floats even incorporate fragrances such as pine, gingerbread and peppermint.

As you might expect, planning for a parade of this magnitude takes hundreds of hours of rehearsal. “For instance, the toy soldiers often rehearse up to four weeks leading up to the parade because their routine is so precise and demanding,” Anderson says. “But the hard work is all worth it! Our Guests love the Disney Characters and stories so much. Being able to share that legacy with them in this parade is very special. I think we all feel fortunate to be part of it,” Anderson says.

If all that color, music, energy and excitement whets your appetite, take time for a delicious holiday meal at one of the many restaurants and add that to your memorable experiences. Cardmembers enjoy savings of 10% off at select dining locations most days at Walt Disney World® Resort.1, 2