Honest Review: Magic Kingdom 2020 Holiday Season

in Magic Kingdom, Travel, Walt Disney World

Santa Claus Cavalcade

Credit: ITM/ TJ M.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the Magic Kingdom park, and you should come to see it for yourself.

On Friday, November 6, I visited the Walt Disney World Resort to experience the first day of the modified holiday celebrations at Magic Kingdom. Despite all of the necessary changes and the cancellation of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, I was not disappointed in the slightest and hardly anything felt to be missing. Actually, I experienced far more than I was expecting.

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Christmas Decorations and Characters at Magic Kingdom

magic kingdom christmas 2020

Credit for creating that complete feeling has to first go to the decorations. Take away the face coverings and all of the social distancing cues (and queues), nothing felt left out as I made my way from beneath the train station and took my walk up Main Street, U.S.A. When I took this stroll, looking at the massive Christmas tree, all of the garlands and listening to the music, I felt completely immersed in the Christmassy spirit of the season.

We had the Dapper Dans caroling from the horse-drawn trolley, toy soldiers marching with the Main Street Philharmonic, extra-special holiday cavalcades, and tons of characters. Everyone we saw was dressed in their holiday finest.

From the Main Street Train Station, Guests can see Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Alice, Mad Hatter, and Peter Pan, Wendy, Mary Poppins, and Bert all together. The Disney Princesses also make an appearance on the balcony. Kermit the Frog and the Muppets can be seen in Liberty Square (my favorite experience yesterday). Cinderella’s stepsisters and Jiminy Crickett can be found in Fantasyland. Buzz Lightyear and Stitch step out on the Rockettower Plaza stage in Tomorrowland. The Country Bears and Chip and Dale can be seen in Frontierland. And, these are not even including the character sightings you get in the cavalcades.

Holiday Cavalcades at Magic Kingdom

Disney World’s entertainment department did not hold back when creating their Christmas cavalcades. Taking bits and pieces from the parades we would normally see, we have Mickey’s Holiday Cavalcade, Santa Claus’s Cavalcade, the Royal Holiday Cavalcade, and Goofy’s Scrumptious Cavalcade. The famous toy soldiers also made their return, marching down the parade route with the Main Street Philharmonic.

Goofy’s cavalcade is completely new and original, with his son Max leading the way in a candy roadster (typically Guests see Wreck-It Ralph and Vanellope Von Schweetz with this float during Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade), and Clarabelle making some mischievous dancing gingerbread men.

But, in my opinion, the best one is Santa’s cavalcade. After all, you cannot have the holiday season without seeing the big man himself!

Santa Claus Cavalcade
Credit: ITM/ TJ M.

Every time I have visited the Magic Kingdom since the Annual Passsholder preview over the summer, there seem to be more and more characters coming back out to greet the Guests. These four holiday cavalcades, combined with the toy soldiers, Dapper Dans, and greetings from Winnie the Pooh’s friends aboard the trolley, bring to life the most magical entertainment options seen at the Magic Kingdom, at least by this writer, since before the park shut down in March.

Related: Characters Coming to Disney World for the Holidays

Magic Kingdom at Night

magic kingdom at night christmas

But nothing — not the decorations, or the music, or the characters — beats the splendid majesty of finally seeing the Magic Kingdom lit up at night. From Main Street and Prince Charming’s Carrousel to Storybook Circus and Adventureland, there is an entirely different kind of magic when you walk through the park after dark. That magic was then combined with the magic of Christmas lights and the new overlays on Cinderella Castle, and standing in the Hub, immersed in all of it, I was almost brought to tears.

magic kingdom at night
Credit: ITM

Holiday Crowds at Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom Crowds
Credit: ITM/ TJ M.

On Friday, it was a very crowded day in the park. Lines were long, and everybody gathered around to watch the castle projections come on. I heard some grumbles from other Guests, but overall it seemed that everyone was fine. I thought they were trying to be as courteous as they could be, with what appeared to be 90% of people wearing their masks properly. Nobody I saw talked back after being called out by Cast Members for wearing them improperly.

When it came time for the projections to turn on, I looked down Main Street, and seeing everyone gathered around made me tear up. Minus the face masks, this was the most normal Magic Kingdom has looked since reopening. Please keep in mind that there was plenty of space due to limited capacity and Guests were being polite giving each other space. But, just seeing everyone be able to gather for some semblance of a nighttime spectacular again made my heart full again.

Crowds at Magic Kingdom
Credit: ITM/ TJ M.

I arrived in the park close to 8:30 am. I did not leave until after 10 pm. It was without a doubt the most magical day I’ve spent at Disney World since reopening. The holiday celebrations at Magic Kingdom this year prove that Disney is finding ever more ways to revive more and more magic safely.

I recommend to anyone who loves Disney–especially at Christmas–mask up and come see it for yourself. You will not regret it.

I can’t wait to go back to Disney World and experience all of the holiday festivities at EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

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Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Inside the Magic overall.

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