Disney World at Christmas in 2020 will look a little different than recent years. Events that have typically drawn large crowds have been canceled in line with social distancing guidelines while new festive offerings have been added in their place.
Let’s take a look at what to expect for your Disney World Christmas 2020 plans. If you’re already familiar with the events of Christmas at Disney World, the cancellations will be mentioned and we’ll dig into the new offerings!
Canceled Disney World Christmas Offerings
Let’s get the bad news out of the way (don’t worry – there’s plenty of good news ahead!).
Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom won’t be adorned with the beautiful Castle Dream Lights, though festive projections will be shown on the castle.
Like Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party has been cancelled for 2020.
Epcot’s Candlelight Processional, with its large choir and famous narrators that draw a full audience nightly, has also been understandably canceled.
At the Disney resorts, the impressive gingerbread displays that draw non-guest visitors will be skipping the 2020 season.
Christmas 2020 in the Disney World Parks
While social distancing guidelines forced the cancellation of several headliner Christmas offerings that typically draw large crowds, there will still be plenty of festive fun at Disney World during the 2020 holiday season. Disney is adding new offerings in place of canceled events and many annual offerings remain.
Beginning November 6, 2020 and continuing through December 30th, the parks will be transformed for the holidays.
In place of character meet and greets, random mini parades have been appearing throughout the parks since Disney World reopened to reduced capacity in the summer of 2020 and these will continue, themed for the holidays. Character cavalcades at the Magic Kingdom will include favorites from the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Parade (which won’t be running this year due to the cancelled Christmas party) including gingerbread men, elves and reindeer, toy soldiers, and the Main Street Philharmonic marching band. Merry motorcades will drive through Hollywood Studios, holiday-themed promenades will circle the World Showcase Lagoon at Epcot, and Christmassy characters on pontoon boats will float on the waters surrounding the Tree of Life at Animal Kingdom.
Do you want to see even more characters?
Make reservations at Hollywood Studios’ Hollywood & Vine for Minnie’s Holiday Dine with friends and Santa Goofy starting November 6, 2020. Santa will even make special pop-up appearances in all the parks.
Of course, festive decor will still be hung throughout the parks. Poinsettias always abound with wreaths, swags, and garlands adorning many buildings. This decor is always imaginatively themed to the surroundings and Hollywood Studios always has a vintage touch – my personal favorite decorated Disney World park during the holidays!
The Epcot International Festival of the Holidays returns on November 27, 2020 with its usual spread of holiday kitchens throughout the park, but without its entertaining cultural storytellers. Live entertainment will be provided by the Voices of Liberty at the American Gardens Theatre while JOYFUL! will perform R&B- and gospel-inspired contemporary and traditional holiday music.
Over in Disney Springs, the Christmas Tree Trail will be modified with decorated trees spread throughout the shopping district. “Snow” will fall at Town Center, West Side, and The Landing. Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar will transform into the Holiday Bar with holiday decor and special holiday menu.
Christmas at Disney World Resorts in 2020
Christmas decorations at Disney World resort hotels are as iconic as the decorations in the parks. The Grand Floridian’s lifesize gingerbread house is on any Disney holiday must-do list and Wilderness Lodge must never be missed during the Christmas season.
Unfortunately, gingerbread displays won’t be appearing at Disney resorts in 2020. These include the Grand Floridian’s gingerbread house, the incredible gingerbread and chocolate carousel in the lobby of Disney’s Beach Club Resort (my personal favorite Disney gingerbread display!), and the Frozen gingerbread castle at the Contemporary Resort.
However, gingerbread has only ever been a small part of the holiday decor at these majestic resorts.
Disney still promises that resorts will be decked out for the holidays with Christmas trees and festive flourishes. Even without gingerbread creations, this means some of the most impressive holiday decor at Disney resorts can be expected. Here are a few favorites to add to your Christmas Disney World resort hopping list:
Wilderness Lodge // Perhaps no resort is more gorgeous during the holidays than Wilderness Lodge with evergreen trimmings throughout that create a cozy, festive feeling in this pine log lodge. The railings in its expansive lobby are adorned with evergreen garland and the 4-story tall tree stands in the middle.
Grand Floridian Resort // Even without its iconic gingerbread house, the Grand is gorgeous during the holidays with a large tree in the lobby and elegant evergreen swags throughout the resort grounds.
Crescent Lake Resorts // The three deluxe Disney resorts just outside Epcot’s International Gateway entrance are beautifully decorated for the holidays. Neither Disney’s BoardWalk Inn, Beach Club Resort, nor Yacht Club Resort have expansive lobbies like the Grand Floridian or Wilderness Lodge, but the thematic holiday decor at these resorts is always festive. With Epcot opening so late (shifting to noon beginning Thanksgiving weekend!), consider visiting these resorts in the morning before you enter the park for the day.
Fort Wilderness // Guests make Fort Wilderness a holiday wonderland! Rent a golf cart for the afternoon and tour the campground loops to see the impressive campsite displays created by your fellow Disney guests!
All Disney World resorts decorate for the holidays, so be sure to add some time to your schedule to mosey around your resort to take in all the festive displays during your Christmastime trip.
Read all about Disney World’s Christmas 2020 plans at Walt Disney World Resort Holidays Start Nov. 6.
Will you be visiting Disney World during the holiday 2020 season?