Christmas is a special time – and it’s only fitting to celebrate it in a special place – Walt DisneyWorld, Orlando!
Central Florida theme parks provide superb seasonal entertainment and Disney is no exception – it puts the ho-ho-ho into Holidays! (or should that be holly days?)
With a huge choice of special festive events, parades, lights and entertainment, Orlando is the place to be for the holidays.
To help make the most of the Christmas and New Year season, tourism authority VisitOrlando has come up with five things to love about Walt Disney World during the holidays
Travel writer, Sarah Sekula, says, “In true Disney style, the holidays at Walt Disney World in Orlando are completely over the top, in a very good way. You’ve got the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (this is the last year to see it), Holidays Around The World at Epcot and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom, just to name a few.”
If you in Orlando over the festive period this year – or planning ahead for next year – here are a few things to watch out for:
- The lights
If you’ve never experienced the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights, now’s the time. This beloved event, now in its 20th year, is in its last season. You can see the extravagant holiday lights display right up until 3 January, 2016. Initially created by an Arkansas man as a gift for his daughter, it had morphed into something that people from around the world come to see.
“Like many things we experience in Walt Disney World, the lights are special,” says Lou Mongello, a Disney expert who has written three books about Walt Disney World. “Not just because of their visual brilliance, but really it’s about how they make us feel and the wonderful, heart-warming family story behind them.”
- The Candlelight Procession
The Candlelight Processional at Epcot is always a crowd-pleaser. A celebrity narrator tells the Christmas story as the 50-piece orchestra and choir performs your favorite holiday songs.
“I think that the processional brings a nostalgic memory of home to many, the childlike feeling of having a parent read the traditional story to us, coupled with a beautiful venue and enchanting musical favorites,” says Lou Mongello.
Shows are each night during the holiday season at 5:00, 6:45 and 8:15pm, except on 6 December, when show times will be at 6:45pm and 8:15 p.m. only. Get there early.
- The entertainment
“Magic Kingdom transforms for the holidays unlike any other time of year, and it really is a completely different experience,” says Lou Mongello. “We talk about how the parks allow us to be a kid again, and I think that is true more so during the party than possibly any other time of year. Simple things like holiday carols, the smell of hot chocolate and everyone enjoying time with family and friends is truly representative of the season and message of the holidays.”
The parade at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas is captivating. There are two parade times. Consider going to the second one; it tends to be less crowded.
- The shopping
If you need some fun holiday presents, Disney’s got it covered. From scarves to hats to necklaces, there’s a lot to choose from inside the parks and at Disney Springs, too.
“So many guests love to not only commemorate their visits, but to also collect a variety of different merchandise items,” Lou Mongello says. “Seasonal merchandise, found during the holidays, lets people bring home not only something to remember their vacation, but to them, a piece of the parks to display at home.”
It is best to do your shopping at the end of the day, so you don’t have to carry heavy bags around.
- The decorations
“The holidays at Walt Disney World is a planning process that takes all year,” Mongello says. “More than 80 cast members work closely with both Walt Disney Imagineering, as well as, the Entertainment division to help pull storylines into holiday décor.”
“Miles of garland, ribbon, twinkling lights and glitter transform Walt Disney World Resort into a winter wonderland during the holiday season,” Mongello says. “More than 1,300 decorated trees can be found throughout the entire property, with a giant Christmas tree in Magic Kingdom standing upon a base that is 25 feet wide. Throughout the entire resort, it’s that attention to detail and level of authenticity that affords guests a wonderful opportunity.”
Garrett Kenny, Chief Executive Officer of Central Florida real estate developer and agent, Feltrim Group says there nothing quite like the holiday period in Orlando and owning a home means you don’t have to complete for crowded and costly hotel accommodation.
“No-one quite does Christmas like Disney and being in Orlando means you get all the benefit of memorable festive touches, which even includes some snow falling on Main Street at some events – although you won’t have to go through the trouble of shovelling it afterwards.”
Feltrim Group not only sells luxury Central Florida homes, like the new prime property at Balmoral at Waters Edge, surrounded by wonderful parks, gardens and lakes, but it now has a new rentals website www.FeltrimResorts.com, with a choice of property to rent.