Christmas 2016 at Walt Disney World
By Dave Shute
The Christmas season at Walt Disney World includes both the best and the worst times to visit, with both prices and crowds at both lower and very high levels over the period.
Decorations, special Christmas shows, programs, and events, and Christmas trees are everywhere, making Disney World as special a place to celebrate the holidays as you can find.
THE CHRISTMAS SEASON AT WALT DISNEY WORLD
December crowds at Walt Disney World begin at lower levels. They will begin to build on 12/17, and by 12/25 will hit their highest levels of the year, where they will stay until about January 6, 2017.
Walt Disney World resort hotel December prices at the beginning of the month are at one of the lower levels of the year.
On 12/11 they go up a lot to 25-45% higher than the lowest of the year, and on December 22, 2016, they increase to 50-65% higher than the lowest levels of the year.
December weather is cooler and variable. While the average daily high is 73, this masks tremendous variability.
CHRISTMAS CELEBRATIONS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD
Each of the parks has wonderful Christmas decorations, and the Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Epcot have special Christmas events, which begin in early November at Magic Kingdom, mid-November at the Studios, and right after Thanksgiving at Epcot.
- At the Magic Kingdom, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party—a special event that requires its own ticket—runs on many nights from November 7th through December 22nd. Later in December, its signature events—a special Christmas parade, and special Christmas fireworks—are available to all guests. Christmas decor is in place by the night of the first party–in 2016, November 7
- At the Studios, the new Christmas projection show Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! kicked off on November 14.
- At Epcot, the evening fireworks show Illuminations has special Christmas additions. In addition, most nights Christmas carols are sung by massed choirs in the Candlelight Processional. Many of the countries in Epcot’s World Showcase have special Christmas events as part of Epcot’s Holidays Around the World program. Epcot’s special events are fully in place the Friday after Thanksgiving–November 25 in 2016
NEW YEAR’S EVE 2016/2017 AT WALT DISNEY WORLD
New Year’s Eve festivities will occur December 31, 2016 at Disney World’s Epcot, Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios theme parks, and also at the Magic Kingdom on December 30. The Animal Kingdom in the past has had no special New Years events, but may well in 2016.
The complete schedule is not out yet, but based on what is out and on the past, the schedule will look like this:
- Epcot will be open until 1a on New Year’s Eve; Disney’s Hollywood Studios until at least midnight, and the Magic Kingdom until 1a or later
- The Magic Kingdom likely will have Wishes at 7.30p and special New Year’s Eve fireworks at 11.48p
- Epcot likely will have its Illuminations fireworks show at 6p and 11.40p, plus DJs in various pavilions.
- Disney’s Hollywood Studios likely may have fireworks at midnight
- There may be a New Years Eve show at the Animal Kingdom–the first ever
- Note that alcohol is not available at the Magic Kingdom, but is available at the other three parks
The Magic Kingdom likely will have the same fireworks at the same times on 12/30/16. This date will likely be a little less crowded than 12/31. Hollywood Studios may also have fireworks on 12/30–either in addition to, or instead of, 12/31 fireworks.