Massive Crowds, High Wait Times – Here’s How to Survive the Holiday Season at the Disney Parks

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Mickey and Minnie dressed in Holiday garbs during the Holiday season at the Disney Parks

Credit: Disney Parks

The holiday season has arrived at the Disney Parks worldwide. With the wait times climbing past several hours and the overcrowded parks, here’s how you can survive the Holiday season when visiting Disneyland, Walt Disney World Resort, and the rest of the Disney Parks worldwide.

Large crowds entering Disneyland Park with Mickey and Minnie dressed in Holiday garments.
Credit: u/la-cazadora on Reddit / Disney World Resort

The Holidays Arrive at the Disney Parks

Right now, the Holiday cheer is in full swing at the Disney Parks around the globe, with shows, parades, and Christmastime galore. Here are some holiday events happening at Disney parks right now: 

  • Disney Jollywood Nights: A new nighttime event at Disney’s Hollywood Studios with themed celebrations, live music, fireworks, and characters
  • Disney Festival of Holidays: At Disney California Adventure Park, this festival celebrates Christmas, Navidad, Diwali, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Three Kings Day
  • EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays: November 24–December 30
  • Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party: Select nights at Magic Kingdom from November 9–December 22
Other Disney festivals include: 
  • EPCOT Festival of the Arts
  • EPCOT Flower and Garden Festival
  • DCA Food and Wine Festival

At Disneyland Paris, here’s what guests looking for that Christmas Holiday magic can enjoy.

Mickey and Minnie dressed in Holiday garbs during a Holiday parade event at the Disney Parks.
Credit: Disney

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Holiday Events at Disneyland Paris – Disney Parks

Here are some holiday events at Disneyland Paris in 2023:
  • Disney’s Enchanted Christmas Runs from November 11, 2023 until January 7, 2024. Includes holiday entertainment, decorations, exceptional food, and a festive atmosphere.
  • Disney Halloween Festival: Includes parades, meets and greets, and a fun atmosphere.
  • Disney D-Light: A magical show with drone light choreography that illuminates the sky over Sleeping Beauty Castle.
Other holiday events at Disneyland Paris include:
  • Holiday Entertainment
  • Decorations
  • Special food
  • Opening times from 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. in both parks
  • Magic Hour (for the Disney Hotels guests) starts at 8:30 a.m.
  • Visiting Santa in Santa Village

Disneyland Paris at Christmas is always one of the busiest periods. Theme park reservations are required to visit.

The Holiday season at the Disney Parks.
Credit: Disney

Holiday Events at Tokyo Disney Resort – Disney Parks

Tokyo Disney Resort has several holiday events in 2023, including:
  • Disney Christmas
    From November 8 to December 25, 2023, Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea will celebrate with decorations, food, merchandise, and entertainment.
  • Disney Christmas Stories Parade
    This parade features Disney characters in Christmas outfits, dancing, and floats that stop mid-parade. The train includes seven stories, including Donald Duck as Santa Claus.
  • Sky Full of Colors
    Colorful fireworks light up the night sky to the 40th-anniversary theme song and other Disney songs.
  • Christmas-themed meals
    Tokyo DisneySea will offer snowy Christmas-themed course meals. Both parks will provide hot apple ginger drinks, strawberry milk tapioca drinks, and dishes with Christmas design souvenir items.
Other events at Tokyo Disney Resort include:
  • Anniversary Event “Tokyo Disney Resort 40th ‘Dream-Go-Round'”:
  • New Year’s at Tokyo Disney Resort
  • Disney Pal-Palooza “Minnie’s Funderland”

Christmas at Shanghai Disneyland – Disney Parks

Shanghai Disneyland has several holiday events in 2023, including:
  • Disney Winter Frostival
    A limited-time winter celebration with festive shows, seasonal merchandise, and treats. The Frostival runs from November 10, 2023, to February 24, 2024.
  • Disney Winter Magic Cavalcade
    A cavalcade with new floats, characters, costumes, performances, and a new song.
  • Zootopia
    It is an atmosphere show that brings the characters from the film to life. It opens on December 20, 2023.
  • Donald’s birthday
    The park and Disneytown celebrate Donald’s birthday with activities.
  • Duffy and Friends Summer Bubble Party Collection
    A collection of bubble party-inspired plushes, keychains, accessories, apparel, and homeware.
Other holiday events at Shanghai Disneyland include:
  • Festive entertainment shows
  • Exclusive seasonal merchandise
  • Delicious treats
  • Snowy vignettes with characters from Frozen, The Incredibles, Zootopia, and Beauty and the Beast
  • A Disney and Pixar activation
Holiday Wishes: Celebrate the Spirit of the Season
Credit: Disney Parks

Holidays at Hong Kong Disney Resort – Disney Parks

Here are some holiday events at Hong Kong Disneyland in 2023:
  • Disney Christmas Live in Concert: A live concert on the Castle Hub Stage with special appearances from Mirabel, Anna, and Elsa
  • Mickey and Friends Christmastime Ball
  • A Holiday Wish-Come-True Tree Lighting Ceremony
  • New Year’s Eve Countdown
  • Festive shopping and treats
  • Festive staycations
Other events at Hong Kong Disneyland in 2023 include:
  • Halloween: September 16–October 31
  • World of Frozen: Opens November 20
  • Duffy and Friends-themed experience
  • Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse statue
Hong Kong Disneyland also has daily parades, including The Main Street, U.S.A. Electrical Parade.
Parade at Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party
Credit: Jill Bivins

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Holiday Season Events at Walt Disney World Resort – Disney Parks

There are many fun and festive events right now through the Holiday season at Walt Disney World Resort.

  • Candlelight Processional: A retelling of the Christmas story with a celebrity narrator, mass choir, and 50-piece orchestra
  • Christmas at Magic Kingdom: A holiday wonderland with enchanting decor, holiday treats, and a beaming castle
  • Disney Jollywood Nights: A nighttime holiday party at Disney’s Hollywood Studios with dancing, treats, and spirits
  • Special Holiday Music Performances: Holiday music performances by talented musicians
  • Meet Santa Claus at the Odyssey Pavilion: Join Santa Claus in his snow-covered sleigh from November 24 to December 24, 2023
Other holiday season events at Walt Disney World Resort include:
  • EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays: November 24 – December 30
  • DCA Festival of Holidays: November 10, 2023 to January 7, 2024
  • Holidays at Walt Disney World: November 9 – December 31, 2023

But the main event at WDW is Mickey’s Verry Merry Christmas Party. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a special ticketed event at Disney’s Magic Kingdom in Florida. It occurs on select nights in November and December leading up to Christmas.

Mickey dresses as Santa greets a family in front of Cinderella Castle in the dark.
Credit: Disney
The event features:
  • Holiday entertainment: A parade, dance parties, character meet-and-greets, and complimentary treat stations
  • Exclusive fireworks
  • Snowfall on Main Street, U.S.A.
  • Castle shows
  • Food and drink
  • Special characters

The party officially starts at 7 p.m., but tickets give you access to Magic Kingdom from 4 p.m. onwards. Many nights sell out ultimately, so booking well in advance is recommended. Tickets are non-refundable, even for bad weather. You can purchase tickets online or call the Disney Reservation Center at 407-939-1872.

The party is busier the closer Christmas gets. If you can attend one in early to mid-November, you will find it less crowded than one in late December. The day of the week also tends to matter, with Monday through Thursday evenings less busy than the weekend events.
Mickey's Very Christmas Party at the Disney Parks
Credit: Disney

Holiday Season Events at Disneyland Resort in California

The 2023 holiday season at Disneyland Resort in California includes:
  • Believe … in Holiday Magic fireworks
  • Snowfall
  • World of Color — Season of Light
  • Christmas Fantasy Parade
  • Disney Festival of Holidays
  • Mickey’s Happy Holidays
Other events include:
  • Ornaments and lights
  • “it’s a small world” Holiday boat ride
  • Fake snow released during fireworks
  • Disney Pals on Buena Vista Street
The holiday season at Disneyland Resort runs from November 10, 2023, to January 7, 2024.
Santa Claus Meet n Greet at the Disney Parks during the Holiday season
Credit: Disney

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Here’s How You Can Survive the Most Wonderful Time of the Year at the Disney Parks

The Holiday season can get wild for folks looking to enjoy a nice Disney vacation. But when visiting the Disney Parks during the most beautiful time of year, there are few things you can do and follow to survive the Holiday season inside of the theme parks.

Surviving the holiday season at Disney Parks, known for their festive but bustling atmosphere, requires some strategic planning and patience. Here are a few tips to enhance your experience:

  • Plan: Check the park’s special events, parades, and fireworks schedule. Knowing the timing of popular attractions can help you maximize your day.
  • Use the Disney Genie+ Service: Take advantage of Disney’s Genie+ service to secure access to select attractions, minimizing your time spent waiting in lines.
  • Arrive Early or Stay Late: Crowds are usually lighter during the first few hours after the park opening or in the evening. Consider arriving early or staying late to enjoy popular attractions with shorter lines.
Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party at the Disney Parks
Credit: Disney
  • Dress Comfortably: Wear comfortable clothing and shoes to navigate the parks quickly. Be prepared for varying weather conditions, as temperatures fluctuate during the day.
  • Stay Hydrated and Take Breaks: Disney Parks can be physically demanding. Stay hydrated, take breaks when needed, and find shaded resting spots.
  • Be Flexible with Dining: Make early reservations to secure a spot during peak meal times. However, be flexible and open to trying different dining options if your preferred choices are booked.
  • Utilize Mobile Ordering: Use Disney’s mobile ordering service to save time in lines for food. This allows you to order and pay for your meals through the app, minimizing wait times.
A woman and child happily celebrating Christmas
Credit: Disney Parks

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  • Enjoy the Festivities: Embrace the holiday spirit by enjoying the festive decorations, seasonal shows, and special events. Pace yourself and savor the magical atmosphere.
  • Be Mindful of Peak Days: Some days are busier than others during the holiday season. Plan your visit on weekdays or less crowded dates to avoid peak times.
  • Practice Patience: Lastly, remember that the holiday season is a popular time to visit Disney Parks, and crowds are inevitable. Practice patience, stay positive, and focus on creating magical memories with your loved ones.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to ensure that you plan and plan accordingly to ensure you and your loved ones have the best time possible when visiting the Disney Parks during Christmastime. With proper planning, adequate timing, and patience, your Christmas spirit will stay positive throughout your Disney vacation this November and December.

Speaking of the Holiday season, Inside The Magic is a HUGE giveaway that will spread the Holiday cheer for you and your loved ones. You can check out all of the information by clicking here.

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