Hey everybody, there’s a new itinerary out for arrivals 8/31 through 10/26/2019. You can find it here.

By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2019, the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever.

Available on Amazon here.

Christmas 2018 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.


December crowds at Walt Disney World begin at lower levels. In 2018, they will begin to build the week of 12/25, and by 12/23 will hit their highest levels of the year, where they will stay until about January 1, 2019. Crowds will still be high–though not at the holiday levels–through January 6, 2019.

AK-Christmas Mickey and Minnie at Disney's Animal Kingdom from yourfirstvisit.net

Walt Disney World resort hotel December prices at the beginning of the month are at one of the lower levels of the year.

Prices increase 12/9, again 12/14, and again 12/21, reaching then the highest levels of the year.

December weather is cooler and variable. While the average daily high is 73, this masks tremendous variability.


Each of the parks has wonderful Christmas decorations, and the Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios have special Christmas events, which will begin in early November at Magic Kingdom and the Studios, and the Sunday before Thanksgiving at Epcot.

  • At the Magic KingdomMickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party—a special event that requires its own ticket—runs on many nights from November 8 through December 21st. 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 2018, November 8.
  • At the Studios, in 2018 the Christmas projection and fireworks show Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! returns on November 8 and a projection show on Tower of Terror, Sunset Seasons Greetings, begins that same day.  These two shows, other business–including this year in Toy Story Land–and the Christmas Tree at Echo Lake make Hollywood Studios the second best Christmas park at Disney World, after Magic Kingdom.
  • At Epcot, the evening fireworks show Illuminations has special Christmas additions. In addition, beginning November 22 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 re-named Epcot International Festival of the Holidays which begins in 2018 earlier than it has in the past, on November 18.


New Year’s Eve festivities have not yet been fully announced, but based on the known schedule and past practices will occur December 31, 2018 at Disney World’s Epcot, Magic Kingdom and (likely) 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 fireworks events.

Based on the what’s in the schedule and the past, the schedule will look like this:

  • Epcot will be open until 1a on New Year’s Eve; Disney’s Hollywood Studios likely until at least midnight, and the Magic Kingdom likely until 1a or later
  • The Magic Kingdom will have special New Year’s Eve fireworks at 6.30p and 11.50p
  • Epcot will have its Illuminations fireworks show at 6.30p and New Years fireworks at 11.40p, plus DJs in various pavilions.
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios likely will have fireworks at midnight

Magic Kingdom will have the same fireworks at the same times on 12/30/18. This date will likely be a little less crowded than 12/31.

Note that alcohol is not available at the Magic Kingdom (other than at a few restaurants), but is available at the other three parks

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1 Katie Smith { 07.17.18 at 2:32 pm }

Is it possible to see the Sunset Seasons Greetings and attend the Jingle Bell, Jingle Bam Dessert Party or do they overlap times?

2 Dave { 07.18.18 at 8:29 am }

Hi Katie, sure you can–Sunset Seasons Greetings runs continuously from dark until park close.

3 Crystal Williams { 08.02.18 at 5:32 pm }

How long do the decorations stay up this year? I’m thinking of a trip but after New Years.

4 Dave { 08.03.18 at 9:07 am }

Crystal, commonly they are up for the first few days of January.

5 Melissa { 08.20.18 at 5:56 pm }

Any clue when the decorations would be up. Will be in Orlando November 3-10.

6 Dave { 08.21.18 at 7:41 am }

MK and HS decorations will go up quickly and will be fully in place by the second half of your trip. Melissa. AK and EPcot may be done. Resorts may not be up at all–they commonly start being decorated ~Nov 15.

7 Kathi { 08.31.18 at 2:28 pm }

I will be in Disney 10/31/18 thru 11/04/18 is there anyway I will see Halloween one day and Christmas another ?

8 Dave { 09.01.18 at 9:47 am }

Hi Kathi, you likely will see Xmas decorations starting to go up at the end of your dates!

9 Anjanette Collins { 09.09.18 at 10:05 pm }

How long after Christmas will the decorations be up? I will be in the area January 5 & 6th, 2019.
Thank You.

10 Dave { 09.10.18 at 8:12 am }

Hi Anjanette, it varies but they should be up in the parks at least through the 5th.

11 richard alexander { 11.03.18 at 4:53 pm }

going to disney world 11/5 to 11.13 when will resorts be decorated for christmas ?

12 Dave { 11.04.18 at 8:04 am }

Richard, it varies, but they likely will be fully decorated by 11/15

13 Iris { 12.15.18 at 4:56 pm }

How long will the Christmas Lights & deocrations be up after Christmas? Thinking of going to see the decorations & lights after New Years Day!

14 Dave { 12.16.18 at 8:44 am }

Iris there is not an exact date I can give you. Most will be up at least through January 6. That is a wildly crowded and expensive period, though.

15 Iris { 12.15.18 at 4:59 pm }

What is the best Disney Area to visit with 3 Yr and under kids?

16 Dave { 12.16.18 at 8:42 am }

Iris can you re-ask the question because I don’t quite understand it? Maybe start here first?

But if you are asking what Disney World theme park is best for kids under three, I would say none of them, and wait til they are older. If that repoosense was rejected, I’d say Magic Kingdom.

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