The 2021 Ultimate Guide to the Holidays at Disney Parks
November 29, 2021
If your holiday wish is to experience the wonder and merriment of Walt Disney World® Resort or the Disneyland® Resort, use our guide to the festivities to help you plan a joyous celebration. Here’s what you need to know about important updates and key events. And as you prepare for the holidays, the New Year and all the unforgettable getaways ahead, remember to use your Disney® Visa® Credit Card to take advantage of special vacation financing on select Disney vacation packages.1
Know Before You Go
Make reservations for theme parks and experiences
Before you can have an enchanting day at the theme parks, you’ll need to book your park visits in advance via Walt Disney World® Resort and the Disneyland® Resort’s online reservation systems, which are especially helpful during the bustling holiday season. You should also plan to make reservations for restaurants, activities and any other experiences that can be scheduled ahead of time to ensure you can maximize all the holiday happenings.
It pays to have a plan
Make the most of your visit when you download the My Disney Experience app for Walt Disney World® Resort or the official Disneyland app*. Navigate the parks, place mobile orders, organize your reservations and stay up to date on the latest news. And check out the new Disney Genie service—available at Walt Disney World® Resort and coming soon to the Disneyland® Resort—for extra help bringing your best Disney day to life. Disney Genie features a personalized itinerary creator and convenient access to planning tools all in one place.
Check the Experience Pages for the latest updates
Bookmark this page for Walt Disney World® Resort and this page for the Disneyland® Resort for easy access to the latest updates, health requirements and information on theme park experiences, dining reservations, hotels, events and tours.
Holidays at Walt Disney World® Resort
What’s New This Year
Ready for holiday-themed fireworks and treats, seasonal songs, a new stage show and a Christmastime Parade with Santa himself? There’s so much to enjoy at this four-hour, separately ticketed event at Magic Kingdom® Park on select nights through December 21, including all the merriment mentioned, plus lower wait times on more than 20 attractions. Remember to redeem your Disney Rewards Dollars toward gifts and goodies at the event to make it even more incredible.2
This year, holiday cheer coincides with the Walt Disney World® Resort 50th anniversary celebration—and there’s plenty to revel in, like the Disney Enchantment nighttime spectacular with Disney music and an immersive projection at Cinderella Castle, the Disney Fab 50 Character Collection, exclusive 50th anniversary celebration merchandise and, of course, the opening of Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure! Plus, you’ll be surrounded by shimmering EARidescence and experience special touches throughout the theme parks and beyond.
What’s Coming Back
Seasonal Lights and Projections
No one beats Disney when it comes to amazing holiday experiences, and the season just wouldn’t be complete without the classics. Take in the stunning glow of holiday projections on Cinderella Castle, The Hollywood Tower Hotel and the Tree of Life.
EPCOT® International Festival of the Holidays
Celebrating traditional tidings from around the world, this spirited fete returns from November 26 through December 30 with wondrous decor, joyous songs, the Candlelight Processional and flavors from 11 World Showcase nations. And don’t miss the Holiday Cookie Stroll (during which Cardmembers can redeem Disney Rewards Dollars toward trying delicious desserts).2
Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park Flotillas and Merry Menagerie
Swing by Discovery River to spot festive flotillas with live appearances from Santa Claus, Donald Duck, the Discovery Island Drummers and other friendly faces entertaining you as they glide past. At Discovery Island, you’ll find life-size, artisan-sculpted animal puppets during the day, as well as rooftop luminaries and bird lanterns at night.
Minnie’s Holiday Dine at Hollywood & Vine
This seasonal soiree hosted by Minnie Mouse features celebratory music, whimsical winter decor and popular Disney Characters dressed to impress. If you have a reservation for this delightful holiday dinner, come hungry for a delicious meal and enchanting entertainment.
Santa Claus Merry Motorcade on Hollywood Blvd.
Nothing says “in the spirit” quite like a Merry Motorcade with Santa leading the charge surrounded by an entourage of elves, right? His convertible is a fun (and oh-so-Florida) twist on his sleigh.
For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
This iconic musical experience is extra spellbinding during the holidays, with a special finale featuring Olaf. You’ll be enchanted by this recounting of Anna and Elsa’s story as told by the Royal Historians of Arendelle.
Holidays at the Disneyland® Resort
What’s New This Year
Disney Merriest Nites
Did you get a ticket for Disney Merriest Nights? You’re in for a treat with this new, limited-capacity, after-hours holiday spectacular, running on five select nights from November 11 to December 9. Mickey Mouse has invited his friends to host six themed parties, including a Victorian-themed party on Main Street, U.S.A.®, a New Orleans celebration in New Orleans Square and more. Plus, enjoy themed photo opportunities, specialty treats, unique Character sightings and A Christmas Fantasy Parade.
Step inside this all-new holiday store on Main Street, U.S.A.® at Disneyland® Park to be blanketed in warmth and Victorian-era style. The cozy wood-paneled shop is adorned with garland, nutcrackers and other merry decor to keep you in high spirits as you browse ornaments, housewares and other accessories. (And be sure to go back during other times of the year, as Plaza Point will feature items for Lunar New Year, Halloween and other festive occasions.)
What’s Coming Back
Special Attraction Overlays
It’s the perfect time of year to see some favorite attractions in a fresh and festive light. Many of the most popular attractions are getting merry makeovers—such as Mater’s Jingle Jamboree; Luigi’s Joy to the Whirl, presented by Alamo; and Haunted Mansion Holiday inspired by Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Seasonal Lights and Projections
Picture this: Snow falling, lights twinkling, icicles glowing and jubilant music filling the air—it’s all part of the seasonal transformation at Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle. And don’t forget the Buena Vista Street Holiday Tree Lighting, with the 50-foot tree in all its sparkling glory.
Disney Festival of Holidays
Christmas, Hanukkah, Diwali, Kwanzaa and Three Kings’ Day are traditions to be treasured during this celebration at Disney California Adventure® Park that’s filled with multicultural music, food and fun. Stop by the Festive Foods Marketplace to try dishes from around the world. It’s a great opportunity to redeem Disney Rewards Dollars toward tasty bites and experiences.2
Disney ¡Viva Navidad!
Dazzling décor, colorful papel picado banners, piñatas and a flurry of festive accents mark this celebration, not to mention authentic international flavors and music, too!
A Christmas Fantasy Parade
With Christmas-themed floats and a catchy soundtrack, this beloved parade down Main Street, U.S.A.,® brings out all the big names, including Mickey Mouse and friends, Anna and Elsa, and many, many more.
“Believe…In Holiday Magic” Fireworks Spectacular
A kaleidoscope of colors, this pyrotechnical display at Sleeping Beauty Castle has been a festive favorite for more than 20 years and entices attendees with its brilliant displays and merry music.
Holidays Outside the Parks
Disneyland Resort and Disney Resort Hotels
Stay in the magic at a Disney Resort hotel and experience all of the glitzy décor, gingerbread displays and seasonal menu items your heart can handle. Wondering where to begin? Start by reading our Disney Rewards Dining Perks Guide to map out select dining locations where you can save 10% most days by using your Disney Visa Card.34
The spirit of the season is on full display at Disney Springs®, and it’s the perfect complement to your Walt Disney World® Resort vacation. Explore a gallery of gifts, sparkling decorations and enchanting entertainment. Make sure to stop by the Disney Springs Christmas Tree Stroll presented by AdventHealth to revel at 20 artfully adorned trees. Three trees, including one 45-foot beauty, are decked out in traditional ornaments and accouterments and will feature touches of EARidescence in honor of the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World® Resort. The remaining 17 trees are themed with a particular story or Character. Once you’ve admired them all, stop by to see Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar Holiday Takeover and experience magical faux snow flurries.
Downtown Disney® District
Magical merriment is a part of every shopping, dining and entertainment experience in the Downtown Disney® District! From holiday sips, eats and sweets to spirited holiday swag, you’ll find it all right here. It’s a fantastic place to find some gifts during your vacation at the Disneyland® Resort.
We’re wishing you and all your loved ones a wonderful winter ahead. If your holiday plans include shopping and gifting, remember that you can save 10% on select merchandise purchases of $50 or more when you use your Disney Visa Card at select stores around Walt Disney World® Resort and the Disneyland® Resort.35
December 19, 2019
Ring in the most generous time of year by redeeming your Disney Rewards Dollars toward these great gifts!Read more