As Julie Andrews had sung in The Sound of Music “these are a few of my favorite things…”, starting at the bottom and working my way up, these are a few of my favorite things to see and do for the Holidays at WDW.
#5. The Grand Floridian hotel.
During the Christmas holiday, you will find beautiful holiday decor throughout all of the WDW hotels and grounds. Inside the Grand Floridian, there is something very special. Every year they construct a GIANT Gingerbread House! This fantastic gingerbread house is where you can purchase holiday treats. It is hard to believe that the entire structure is covered with gingerbread. There is so much attention paid to the detail and decoration of the gingerbread house. When they are constructing the gingerbread house it is so large they require a crane to be brought into the lobby for the bakers to assemble it. If you are visiting before it is completed, you will see the crew is busy working away. Best of all, if you happen to be there during the construction they will have free samples of gingerbread laid out to try. Also note, this does not require any theme park admission, it is free to visit the resort, check out the shops and restaurants, you can easily spend a few hours here. Also, you can view the nightly Magic Kingdom Wishes fireworks from the marina (located near Gasparilla and Games)!
Last year we were at the Grand Floridian on December 23rd, they were roasting fresh chestnuts outside. When we had left, I had wanted to see what they were doing up close, and they had offered me some chestnuts. I happily took some chestnuts with me, it was a charming reminder of the holiday season.
#4 Holidays around the World & Candlelight Processional at Epcot.
Epcot hosts the Candlelight Processional at the American Pavillion Stage. Celebrity narrators present the choir and act as the master of ceremony. Some past celebrity guests have been Mira Sorvino, Neil Patrick Harris, Susan Lucci, Isabella Rossellinni, and many more. The event is very popular and seating is limited.
In addition to the Candlelight Processional, there is the Holidays Around the World stories. Journey around the World Showcase and listen to the holiday stories of each country. It is very interesting and educational.
#3 IllumiNations – with extra holiday fireworks. I love the special holiday fireworks. You have probably seen IllumiNations many times, but it is a rare occasion to see an extended fireworks display at Epcot, on these occasions it is always a treat. Better yet grab a delicious ice cream cone, funnel cake, or other tasty treat and enjoy dessert with the fireworks!
#2 The Osbourne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. Come nightfall, people will gravitate to the area in Hollywood Studios called The Streets of America (adjacent to The Muppets 3D) where they will find the Osbourne Lights. They are not named for the Ozzy Osbourne and family, which is what most people think when they hear the name. These amazing lights came from Mr. Jennings Osbourne and family from Arkansas. Millions of LED lights are synchronized to holiday music and choreographed in ways that will utterly amaze you. This area looks like city streets, a side street with homes and a main street with shop facades – all with lights from top to bottom. On some nights there is even “snow” being blown onto the streets from the rooftops. The Osbourne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights is THE ultimate holiday light show. I look forward to this every year.
#1 Magic Kingdom – Main Street USA, Wishes, Lighting of Cinderella’s Castle. Perhaps one of the most stunning views in all of Walt Disney World is the lighting of Cinderella’s Castle. It is the most iconic landmark in all of Walt Disney World and it is awe-inspiring. Main Street USA provides a picturesque holiday wonderland for the castle in the background. To stand on Main Street with all the decorations and lights and the snow flurries is amazing and may possibly bring tears of joy to your eyes.
What I love is the stirring of emotions and the rekindling of the holiday spirit that comes back to me when I am at WDW. We often become hardened by life, our daily lives are full of stress, things or people always seem to weigh us down and trouble us. Spending the holidays at WDW is a wonderful way to recharge our batteries, bond with loved ones, and make lasting memories.