Walt Disney World is already the most magical place on earth, but at Christmas time there’s just something extra magical. Most guests in WDW on Christmas will likely flock to the Magic Kingdom to enjoy the Christmas parade and fireworks. It’s true that seeing Santa ride in the parade with Cinderella Castle is the epitome of Christmas warm and fuzzy feelings, but the crowds that come with it are not.
The week of Christmas through New Year’s Eve is the busiest time of the year in the Magic Kingdom. It is estimated that the Magic Kingdom has a capacity of 100,000 people, and most years, even prior to the closure years, the Magic Kingdom hits capacity very early. That’s a lot of people and some very long lines.
So, what do you do on Christmas? You want that Disney magic without the crazy crowds… The answer is simple, and it doesn’t even require a Disney World park ticket – DISNEY SPRINGS!
Disney Springs is the free shopping and dining district in Walt Disney World, but really, it is so much more, especially around Christmas. There is entertainment, surprises, snacks, and gifts galore! Let’s explore 5 things you can do in Disney Springs on Christmas to make magical memories with your family.
Yes, it’s true! You can actually see snow in Orlando, Florida at Christmas time! Ok, we’ll be honest here, it’s not really snow, it’s way too hot for that. But Imagineers have created what is lovingly called “snoap” by Disney super fans. This fluffy snowflake-like “snoap” will fly down at night in various sections of Disney Springs. It is truly a sight to see that brings out the child in all of us!
Is it even Christmas if you don’t say thank you to the big man in red? Santa Claus is making appearances in all 4 of the Disney Parks and Disney Springs, even on Christmas!
Make your way over to the Once Upon A Toy store to enter the virtual queue to see Santa. Then when you receive your text indicating that it’s your time to return, scurry on over and get those cameras ready! Is there a better keepsake to preserve the memory of Christmas in Disney than a photo with Santa?
DISNEY FAN TO DISNEY FAN: There is no age limit to seeing Santa. No kids with you? Who cares! Disney World is about leaving all of your worries back in the real world and letting your hair down to live your best life!
Disney Springs shines in nighttime entertainment. There are various stages throughout and each offers different styles and flavors of entertainment. This year we are seeing acapella groups, Latin Christmas groups, and even rock groups grace the schedules this holiday season. In past Christmases, we have even seen wild entertainment like a rolling piano player. Seriously. A pianist playing Christmas music while her piano was rolling through Disney Springs!
Each stage is set to create more intimate entertaining experiences between the artists and guests, so often there are interactive elements to the different shows.
Personal Experience: Real talk, I stopped to listen to an incredible acapella group Christmas 2021. My friend and I were right in front of them. You are so close that you could touch them. (Don’t actually touch the performers. Don’t make it weird.) At one point in the set one of the singers commented on my Disney Bound outfit and *gasp* pulled me into the set to do some fun interaction. It was exhilarating, a little embarrassing, and a whole lot of fun! That ended up being the best moment of the night. That and those incredible Peppermint Nachos at Swirls on the Water, which are back for 2022!!
Eat Christmas Treats!
Disney has become synonymous with food and snacking. There’s a good reason for it! Disney Springs is a bit of a foodie paradise any time of the year, but at Christmas, you get all of the specialty treats, too! (See above note about those Peppermint Nachos. The stuff of dreams right there.)
You will find treats all over Disney Springs loaded with Christmas flavor and zest, but trust us, these 5 need to make your Christmas Day Must Have List:
1. Holiday Mickey Mousse – Amorette’s Patisserie
Enjoy a Santa Mickey dome cake that features chocolate chiffon cake with white and dark chocolate mousse and white chocolate crisp pearls.
2. Peppermint Bark Soft Serve Nachos – Swirls on the Water
This the third time we have mentioned these. Take the hint. The Peppermint Nachos feature peppermint soft serve a top red and green waffle cone nacho chips, drizzled with chocolate sauce and M&Ms. Finally, the whole confection is finished with a single piece of ghirardelli peppermint bark. Delicious.
3. Post-Flight “Milk” and Cookies – Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar
Jock is feeling especially festive this time of the year and changes the name from Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar to Jock Lindsey’s Holiday Bar. And what better way to celebrate the holidays than with Santa’s favorite snack combo? Adding alcohol, of course. Grab some friends and head over to get a small pitcher of Coquito, which is Puerto Rican alcoholic eggnog made with coconut, and a plate of traditional Christmas cookies.
4. Minnie Reindeer Pinata – The Ganachery
There is something so satisfying about smashing such a beautiful and perfect piece of chocolate. This adorable Minnie Mouse reindeer is loaded with peppermint bark, the perfect Christmas treat.
5. Hot Chocolate Peppermint Soft Serve – Swirls on the Water
This treat is perfect if Florida forgot that it’s Christmas and you’re supposed to be cozy in sweaters by the fireplace, but really you’re melting in a pair of shorts. It is sweet and refreshing. It’s a very Orlando take on a Christmas classic.
Spread the Joy!
Even while in the most magical place on earth having the time of your life, it is important to remember the true meaning of Christmas and give to others. Disney Springs is hosting a toy drive for children who are less fortunate this Christmas. There are multiple locations including the World of Disney, the Marketplace Co-Op, the Galactic Outpost, and the Disney Springs Welcome Center for guests to drop off new unwrapped toys.
WE WANT TO KNOW: Would you brave the crowds in the Magic Kingdom on Christmas Day? And if you have spent Christmas Day in Disney Springs let us know in the comment section below.
I am a mother of three that has refused to grow up. Adulting is for the birds, so I go to Disney World every chance I get for that magical escape from reality. I believe that Haunted Mansion is the best ride in all of the Disney Parks, and I am fervently in team Happily Ever After for fireworks spectaculars, (sorry, not sorry, Enchanted). Finally, I hope I never grow tired of skipping down Main Street, USA, and my dream come true would be “friends with” the Fairy Godmother in my old age.