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Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Walt Disney World Holiday Celebrations Kick Off November 6…

But Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and Candlelight Processional Cancelled

by Beth Keating
September 8, 2020

Given that Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party was cancelled this year, and the Epcot Food & Wine Festival morphed into something resembling the Food and Garden festivities, it shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone that Walt Disney World Resorts in Florida today announced some major modifications to its winter Holiday celebrations. While many favorite decorations and foods will return, in keeping with current social distancing responsibilities, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and Candlelight Processional at EPCOT will be on hiatus. 

Laurel Slater, Manager of Communications for Walt Disney World Public Affairs, said, “Building off of our recent experiences of operating in a new environment, we’ve reimagined the holidays which will, of course, apply our current health and safety measures while still keeping the joy and magic of the season. And while things are looking a bit different at Walt Disney World and beyond, we can’t wait to celebrate with you.”

Disney’s Holiday celebrations will kick off on November 6 and run through until Dec. 30. Magical décor, themed merchandise, and specialty food and beverage offerings will help guests celebrate the season in style.  Santa Claus will make special pop-up appearances throughout the Parks, and your favorite Disney characters will make appearances decked out in all their holiday finery.

In Animal Kingdom, the floating character appearances on the Discovery River will continue with holiday themed flotillas, while in the Magic Kingdom, the character cavalcades will also get a seasonal twist as your favorite Disney friends dress up in their seasonal attire. Holiday promenades will entertain at EPCOT, and merry motorcades will tour the park for guests at Hollywood Studios. The beloved Toy Soldiers will join the Main Street Philharmonic as they march through Magic Kingdom, serenading park guests with their favorite holiday tunes.  As is currently the case in the parks, the “spontaneous” character appearances and cavalcades will not appear in the daily times guide in order to keep crowds from forming in any one location. 

For those of you who adore the sparkling Castle Dream Lights, you will have a bit of a twist this year. Instead of the icicle-inspired Frozen look, this year’s celebrations will be marked by brightly colored special projections throughout the night. In order to maintain social distancing, the “rotating series of designs including a whimsical Christmas sweater and a regal overlay of red, green and gold ornamentation” will give guests a colorful and festive backdrop for family photos.  (Think more along the lines of the continuously-changing-throughout-the-night designs on the Tower of Terror in Hollywood Studios, where you can check out the lights then move on to your next experience without forming a crowd.)

Speaking of Hollywood Studios, Minnie’s seasonal dining at Hollywood & Vine will switch over to a yuletide gathering, with Minnie and friends in their new costumes,  starting November 6.  (Rather than the traditional buffet that has been part of Hollywood & Vine, your feast will be brought to your table instead.) Santa Goofy will make an appearance as well.

The Disney Resort hotels, often a destination for holiday touring in their own right, will once again be decorated for the holidays with their unique and magical themes and towering trees. Sadly, however, the gingerbread displays are a casualty of this year’s cuts, and will not be back this season because of social distancing concerns.

In Disney Springs, guests will be treated to a collection of Disney-themed Christmas trees throughout the complex, complete with nightly “snowfall.”  Jock Lindsey’s Holiday Bar will also return this year with a limited-time menu and Jock’s special holiday décor.

Beginning November 27, a modified version of the EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays will begin, bringing with it the kitchens around World Showcase promenade, offering up guests’ favorite holiday goodies. 

The Candlelight Processional is not happening for 2020, but EPCOT will still be creating holiday music in the Parks. JOYFUL!, with their R&B, Gospel, contemporary and traditional Christmas and holiday music, will be back, and the Voices of Liberty will appear on the America Gardens Theatre stage for a special concert of favorite carols. 

Disney Parks Blog will offer updates to the plans for this year’s Holiday celebrations as they become available. 

Beth Keating is a regular contributor to DisneyBizJournal.

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