Disney Parks Blog just announced tons of holiday news for the happenings, merchandise and more for Disney Parks and Disney Cruise Line in 2021. It looks like some old favorites (Candlelight Processional) still aren’t returning, along with some new favorites (Merry Menagerie at Animal Kingdom) not coming back either. There is still a lot to see and do, including the Christmas version of the After Hours event similar to the Halloween Boo Bash. Keep reading for all of the official news:
All-New After Hours Event Coming to Magic Kingdom Park
Here’s a sneak peek of some of the magical experiences you can expect this season at Walt Disney World Resort:
Magic Kingdom Park
Holidays are sure to be enchanting at Magic Kingdom Park, where quintessential decorations will return to Main Street, U.S.A. When the sun sets, special holiday projections will appear most nights on Cinderella Castle, alternating periodically with the castle’s transformation into a Beacon of Magic.* What a great way to celebrate the holidays and the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort!
Now, talk about an early holiday gift… “Disney Very Merriest After Hours,” a new special-ticketed event, will debut Nov. 8 before all the rest of the festive fun. It will be available on select nights through Dec. 21. The four hours of festivities will delight guests with “Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks,” Disney characters throughout the park, holiday music and décor, treats included and so much more! As with other Disney After Hours events, a limited number of tickets will be sold for this event. It’s held after regular park operating hours, with lower wait times and access to more than 20 select attractions.
Tickets will go on sale next month, with an early purchase window available to guests of select Walt Disney World Resort hotels.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Sunset Seasons Greetings returns to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, as the Hollywood Holiday Tower Hotel on Sunset Boulevard will twinkle once again with projection effects, magically transforming into a snowy corner of Arendelle, a Muppets gingerbread masterpiece, a Toy Story toy hotel, and a Dickensian village inspired by “Mickey’s Christmas Carol.” This holiday show will also alternate with the tower’s nightly transformation into a Beacon of Magic.
Santa Claus will bring some North Pole cheer to a motorcade down Hollywood Boulevard. You will also be able to enjoy “For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration,” with its festive finale featuring everyone’s favorite snowman, Olaf. Minnie Mouse is also returning to host her festive meal at Hollywood & Vine at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Minnie and her friends will be donning their holiday best – even Santa Goofy will be there! And throughout the season, vintage-themed holiday décor will shine bright across the park.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park
It will be a wild holiday time at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park with the return of seasonal décor and festive Disney character flotillas sailing down Discovery River to the sounds of joyful songs of the season. The park’s centerpiece – The Tree of Life – becomes another Beacon of Magic most nights during the 50th anniversary celebration. During the holiday season there’s even more magic inspired by nature as the holiday edition of Tree of Life Awakenings also takes place most nights.
You can happily discover whatever you’re after this holiday season at Disney Springs. The shopping, dining and entertainment destination will transform into a winter wonderland, full of sparkling lights, enchanting décor and holiday surprises. This year sees the return of the Disney Springs Christmas Tree Stroll, with elaborately decorated, Disney-themed trees – some new and some inspired by “The World’s Most Magical Celebration.”
A magical snowfall will add a touch of wonder for holiday shoppers in Town Center.
Here, you can find the perfect gift for everyone on your list, including yourself. Discover holiday ornaments, matching family pajamas, festive Spirit Jerseys, and more – be sure to check your list twice so you don’t forget any holiday must-haves! There will even be themed food and beverages; one of my favorite spots, Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar, will once again transform into Jock Lindsey’s Holiday Bar, with delightful décor and a delicious limited-time menu filled with festive favorites.
Disney Resort Hotels
Our Disney Resort hotels will be decked for the holidays, with iconic trees and other seasonal touches. And a guest favorite will return this year, as select gingerbread displays will once again be part of our holiday season! Also at select resorts, you will find restaurants offering holiday menus and specialty food and drink.
Where can you enjoy traditions from around the world, with inspiring music, tasty treats and family-friendly experiences? If you guessed EPCOT … … you are correct! The EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays will return this year, from Nov. 26 – Dec. 30, with Holiday Kitchens around the park, performances by Voices of Liberty, the guest favorite Cookie Stroll and more!
We’ll have so much more Walt Disney World Resort holiday fun to share with you in the months to come. In the meantime, be sure to be on Santa’s nice list and keep checking the Disney Parks Blog for all of our holiday news!
*Beacons of Magic will be available nightly at select theme parks.
Season’s Screamings! As we announced last week, the Halloween season will once again return to life at the Disneyland Resort from Sept. 3 – Oct. 31. We are pleased that Haunted Mansion Holiday will also return for its 20th season! This merry makeover of the eerie estate, inspired by “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas,” celebrates the collision of Halloween and Christmas.
A favorite tradition is the yearly changing gingerbread house, which graces the mansion’s Grand Hall. Since today marks our Halfway to the Holidays, we’re excited to give you a first look at this year’s gingerbread house!
We chatted with Tim Wollweber, associate art director for Disney Parks, who designed this year’s house. For 2021, the team decided to pay homage to all previous houses in celebration of this beloved tradition’s 20th anniversary. Tim mentioned, “we went back to the graveyard to dig up all of our ideas from the past 19 years. This year’s Franken-house stitches together favorite elements from the previous 19 houses!”
The houses seem to get more elaborate each year, and for 2021, it’s no exception! As you can see in the rendering above, a piece from each house is represented in this year’s house to create a visually chaotic, yet perfect Dr. Finkelstein-esque mashup! Tim’s favorite element? The giant man-eating wreath from 2005!
- 2001 – Monster House
- 2002 – Present House
- 2003 – Giant Oogie Boogie House
- 2004 – Zero’s Dog House
- 2005 – Giant Man-eating Wreath House
- 2006 – Monster-infested House
- 2007 – Jack-in-the Box House
- 2008 – Giant Gingerbread Coffin House
- 2009 – Scary-Go-Round House
- 2010 – Pop-Up Sandy Claws House
- 2011 – Mimic Monster House
- 2012 – Jack Skellington’s House
- 2013 – 13 Days of Christmas House
- 2014 – Gingerbread Zombie House
- 2015 – Gingerbread Card House
- 2016 – Stitched-Up-Patchwork House
- 2017 – Oogie Boogie Bug-infested House
- 2018 – Giant Gingerbread Spider House
- 2019 – Haunted Mansion 50 Years of Hauntings House
- 2021 – Gingerbread Franken-House
Disneyland Paris Celebrates the Season
Beginning Nov. 13, Disneyland Paris guests can celebrate the holiday magic with Disney’s Enchanted Christmas! at Disneyland Park with iconic characters dressed in their holiday best, snowflakes falling from the sky on Main Street, U.S.A, and more.
Limited Time Holiday Drink Offerings + First Look at Merriest Merchandise
Now through July 18, guests can pick up some jolly java at Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea Company’s The Landing at Disney Springs with the return of their Peppermint Mocha Latte. At Downtown Disney in Disneyland Resort, Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer is bringing back their Peppermint Classic Shake. And, get the first look at the new holiday themed ornaments, ear headbands and more that are coming to Disney Parks and shopDisney.com this holiday season.
Disney Cruise Line Very Merrytime Cruises Return
From early November through December, the Disney Cruise Line fleet is decked out in holiday cheer and entertainment during special holiday sailings.
Whether you are looking for a new family tradition or just simply want to add some cheer to the season, Disney Cruise Line has an option to make the magic of the holidays come alive – Very Merrytime Cruises!
From early November through December, the Disney Cruise Line fleet is decked from bow-to-stern with holiday cheer and entertainment during Very Merrytime Cruises. Holiday magic is unwrapped for the whole family with festive holiday decor, favorite characters in their finest holiday attire and a special visit from none other than Santa Claus.
But don’t just take my word for it! Here are some of my favorite things about these special holiday sailings on board Disney Cruise Line.
Holly Jolly Decor
When you enter the atrium for the first time on your Very Merrytime Cruise, your eyes will likely be immediately drawn to the three-deck-tall Christmas tree. That’s right – from garlands, poinsettias and shimmering lights, décor will fill the nooks and crannies of our ships during these holiday sailings, filling your vacation with holiday merriment from the moment you step on board!
What’s a holiday cruise without Santa and Mrs. Claus? We may not be at the North Pole, but you can still be on the lookout for sightings of ‘Old Saint Nick’ while you’re on board, and you won’t want to miss one of our favorite Disney Cruise Line traditions – Storytime with Mrs. Claus.
Characters in holiday attire
Whether it’s Mickey in his winter sweater, Pluto with antlers or Goofy in a full-fledged Santa suit, your favorite characters will be dressed in their finest holiday garb during Very Merrytime Cruises.
My favorite thing to do for the holidays is trade in white snow for the white sand beaches on Castaway Cay, Disney Cruise Line’s private island. But even though you may be in the Bahamas, this slice of paradise is decked for the holidays as well – with a tropical flair, of course! A massive Christmas tree, holiday island music and even “snow” flurries await your family, guaranteeing that the only “blue” you’ll be feeling this holiday season is the color of the crystal-clear waters!
Has your family ever been on a Very Merrytime Cruise? If so, let me know in the comments below your favorite activities on board and holiday traditions with Disney Cruise Line!
I’ve done a Merrytime Cruise and it truly makes a Disney Cruise even MORE magical, if that’s even possible.