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19 Fun Holiday Activities Worth Checking Out at Disneyland and World

Erica Corbin
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19 Fun Holiday Activities Worth Checking Out at Disneyland and World

Since 1955, the name “Disney” has been synonymous with family fun. Mention one of Disney’s parks and most people instantly envision hot summer days and ice cream melting down the arms of little kids waiting in line for the latest, greatest ride. But, the summer months aren’t the only time of year when there’s fun to be had at Disney.

Winter brings a sleigh full of exciting shows, activities and tasty treats. From Disneyland’s holiday specials like its seasonal parade changes to new dining experiences, there’s much to be enjoyed. Take some time to discover the best ways to celebrate Christmas and other holidays at Disney — and how much this fun will cost you.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: The 19 Best Holiday Activities at Disneyland and Disney World — and How Much They’ll Cost

Since 1955, the name “Disney” has been synonymous with family fun. Mention one of Disney’s parks and most people instantly envision hot summer days and ice cream melting down the arms of little kids waiting in line for the latest, greatest ride. But, the summer months aren’t the only time of year when there’s fun to be had at Disney.

Winter brings a sleigh full of exciting shows, activities and tasty treats. From Disneyland’s holiday specials like its seasonal parade changes to new dining experiences, there’s much to be enjoyed. Take some time to discover the best ways to celebrate Christmas and other holidays at Disney — and how much this fun will cost you.

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

Park: Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Dates: Nov. 8, 2018-Dec. 21, 2018

Price: Depending on the day you choose to visit, the price ranges from $105-$133, for a one-day, ages 10+ event ticket. Children ages 3 to 9 get a $5 discount off of the normal ticket price.

This mega-party takes place from 7 p.m. to midnight on select nights during the six weeks leading up to Christmas. It promises a special parade complete with falling snow, complimentary treats and drinks, characters dressed in holiday attire and exclusive merchandise such as Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party mugs, pins and ornaments. The annual party truly transforms the park into one of the most festive places to spend the holidays.

 

Epcot International Festival of the Holidays

Park: Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort

Dates: Nov. 18, 2018-Dec. 30, 2018

Price: The festivities are built into the price of a ticket to Epcot, which starts at $114 for a one-day, ages 10+ ticket.

In keeping with Epcot’s mission to teach visitors about cultures both near and far, this festival showcases holiday traditions from nations around the world. Grab food from spots like the Shanghai Holiday Kitchen or Tuscany Holiday Kitchen for their regional take on the season. You can listen to live music, including gospel and rhythm and blues, as the kids help duo Chip & Dale with their scavenger hunt for Christmas tree ornaments.

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Sunset Seasons Greetings

Park: Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World Resort

Dates: Nov. 8, 2018-Jan. 6, 2019

Price: The festivities are built into the price of a ticket to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which starts at $114 for a one-day, ages 10+ ticket.

The Hollywood Tower Hotel is transformed by brilliant lights and lasers for this seasonal spectacular. Using the hotel as a projection screen, Disney’s most iconic characters share their love for the holidays. Special moments include the toys from “Toy Story” discussing which new toys are coming for Christmas and Mickey and Minnie reminiscing about a picture-perfect, hometown holiday. You can also snag seasonal treats as snow falls on Sunset Boulevard.

UP! A Great Bird Adventure

Park: Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Dates: Nov. 8, 2018-Jan. 1, 2019

Price: The festivities are built into the price of a ticket to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, which starts at $114 for a one-day, ages 10+ ticket.

Disney doesn’t just do Christmas — now you can celebrate India’s festival of lights, Diwali, with Russell and Dug from Pixar’s “UP.” The special show lasts 25 minutes and occurs at several times throughout the day. So, if you’re looking to take a break from all those rides, stop over to the Asia area of Disney’s Animal Kingdom and learn about a fantastic cultural celebration with the lovable duo.

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Minnie’s Seasonal Dining

Park: Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World Resort

Dates: Nov. 9, 2018-Jan. 6, 2019

Price: In addition to the price of a ticket to Disney’s Hollywood Studios — which starts at $114 for a one-day, ages 10+ ticket — Minnie’s Seasonal Dining events cost $52 per adult and $31 per child, before tax and tip.

What’s better than delicious holiday food? Eating that food with Minnie Mouse and her pals, of course. Head to the Hollywood & Vine restaurant in the Echo Lake area for a meal spent interacting with Minnie and other friendly characters. They’ll stop by to say hello and play holiday-themed table games during your meal. You can even get your picture taken with them. Just be sure to make a reservation as soon as possible because space fills up fast.

 

Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!

Park: Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World Resort

Dates: Nov. 6, 2018-Jan. 6, 2019

Price: The Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! celebration is built into the price of a ticket to Disney’s Hollywood Studios — which starts at $114 for a one-day, ages 10+ ticket. Prices for the Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! Holiday Dessert Party vary depending on the date you attend. Adults pay $79-$89 and children ages 3 to 9 pay $45-$49, including tax and tip.

If you’re looking to do it up big this season, Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! is right for you. The 14-minute, jam-packed show is kicked off by animated hosts Wayne and Lanny of ABC’s “Prep & Landing,” as they search high and low for Santa. This is followed by a firework, laser, projection and snow show that will knock your socks off.

If you want to make it even more special, you can pay a little extra to take part in the Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! Holiday Dessert Party ahead of the show. Enjoy tasty seasonal desserts such as cheese fondue with pretzel bread, wine, beer and specialty alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages like gingerbread martinis. There’s something for kids and adults alike.

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Candlelight Processional

Park: Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort

Dates: Nov. 22, 2018-Dec. 30, 2018

Price: Though the processional is built into the price of a ticket to Disney’s Hollywood Studios — which starts at $114 for a one-day, ages 10+ ticket — dining packages cost extra. Dinner costs between $55 and $80 per adult and $17.50 and $43 per child, ages 3 to 9, not including tax or tip.

Join a massive choir, 50-piece orchestra and celebrity narrator as they tell the story of Jesus’ birth. The celebrities change every few days, so be sure to look ahead at the schedule to find the star-studded night that’s right for you. John Stamos, Neil Patrick Harris, Edward James Olmos and Pat Sajak are among the big names on the list.

If you’d like dinner with your show, you can purchase a Candlelight Dinner Package, which includes one appetizer, one entrée, one dessert and your choice of non-alcoholic beverage. The purchase also gets you seating for the processional.

Disney’s Yuletide Fantasy

Park: Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort

Dates: Various dates and times in November and December

Price: $139 per adult, not including tax.

Have you ever wanted to get the inside scoop on Disney? This special, 3 1/2-hour tour is your best bet. A knowledgeable guide will take you behind the scenes to explain what goes into Disney parks’ holiday prep, from flower arrangements to attractions. Not only will you learn fascinating secrets from a Disney employee, but you’ll walk away with a special treat.

Note that you have to call to make a reservation and learn exact tour times.

 

Disney’s Holiday D-Lights

Park: Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort

Dates: Various dates and times in November and December

Price: $279 per adult, not including tax. You’ll only need to purchase a ticket to a theme park if you want to spend any remaining time there before or after the tour.

If a few hours is not quite enough for you, then take this insanely detailed, six-hour tour that is sure to satisfy all of your Christmas curiosity. The Holiday D-Lights tour starts with a barbecue dinner and then takes you behind the scenes of two different theme parks to discuss everything that goes into decorating Disney for the holidays — including all of those twinkle lights on Cinderella Castle. Afterward, you’ll watch the Candlelight Processional and IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth holiday special. To top it all off, you’ll walk away with a personal gift.

Note that the tour is only offered for 16 nights over the course of November and December, and you’ll need to call to make a reservation and find out exact dates and times.

Disney Festival of Holidays

Park: Disney California Adventure Park, Disneyland

Dates: Nov. 9, 2018-Jan. 8, 2019

Price: The festivities are built into the price of your ticket — which, depending on the day you visit, ranges from $97-$135 for a one-day, ages 10+ ticket — but a Sip and Savor Pass is $54 additional, including tax.

Celebrate the world’s major holidays with this Disney festival filled with live music and tasty foods. There are traditional Bollywood dancers to celebrate Diwali, Mostly Kosher puts on an eclectic Hanukkah performance, a cappella groups sing Christmas and Kwanzaa songs and much more.

Consider purchasing a Sip and Savor Pass, too. It comes with eight coupons that are redeemable at select kiosks for food and beverages. Delectable treats like horchata fudge and meals like braised pork belly adobo with garlic fried rice are on the intercultural menu.

Disney ¡Viva Navidad!

Park: Disney California Adventure Park, Disneyland

Dates: Nov. 9, 2018-Jan. 8, 2019

Price: The festivities are built into the price of your ticket, which, depending on the day you choose, ranges from $97-$135 for a one-day, ages 10+ pass.

Celebrate Latino culture and holiday traditions with Disney’s ¡Viva Navidad! The spotlight of this giant fiesta is a street party with traditional music, dance, décor and cuisine hosted by The Three Caballeros — Donald Duck and his friends José and Panchito. Be sure to catch the finale, Three Kings Day, taking place Jan. 3-8, 2018, which honors the three wise men in the nativity story with fanciful displays and fun children’s activities.

Buena Vista Street Holiday Tree Lighting

Park: Disney California Adventure Park, Disneyland

Dates: Nov. 9, 2018-Jan. 8, 2019

Price: The festivities are built into the price of your ticket, which, depending on the day you choose, ranges from $97-$135 for a one-day, ages 10+ pass.

Gather in the plaza outside of Elias & Co. as a 50-foot tree comes to life with gorgeous multicolored lights and dazzling decorations. It happens at 4:55 p.m. every evening as the park transitions from day to night. Space on Buena Vista Street is sure to fill up fast, so file in with your hot chocolate and churros well ahead of time.

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Holiday Annual Passholder Corner

Park: Disney California Adventure Park, Disneyland

Dates: Nov. 9-30, 2018

Price: The festivities are built into the price of your annual pass. Annual pass options start at $369.

Are you a Los Angeles native looking to get the VIP treatment at Disney parks? Become a Disneyland Annual Passholder and you’ll get access to all sorts of fun events year-round that others won’t. During the month of November, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, the Holiday Annual Passholder Corner is offering annual members special holiday photo opportunities, a seasonal two-in-one magnetic photo frame and an area to create postcards for service men and women overseas.

'Believe… In Holiday Magic' Fireworks

Park: Disneyland Park, Disneyland

Dates: Nov. 9, 2018-Jan. 6, 2019

Price: The festivities are built into the price of your ticket, which, depending on the day you choose, ranges from $97-$135 for a one-day, ages 10+ pass.

This brilliant, 15-minute firework display can be seen from across the park — you really can’t choose the wrong spot to watch. However, if you are on portions of Main Street, U.S.A., near the Rivers of America or by “It’s a Small World” Holiday in Fantasyland, you’ll get an extra special treat: snow. A sparkling pyrotechnic display and falling snow? That’s a winning holiday combination.

A Christmas Fantasy Parade

Park: Disneyland Park, Disneyland

Dates: Nov. 9, 2018-Jan. 6, 2019

Price: The festivities are built into the price of your ticket, which, depending on the day you choose, ranges from $97-$135 for a one-day, ages 10+ pass.

This magical Christmas parade is filled with dancing toys and gingerbread cookies, floats with many of your favorite Disney characters and, of course, Santa. It takes place twice a day and it’s one of the most popular events of the season, so be sure to get there in advance. Viewing options that some people forget to consider are in the areas near the “It’s a Small World” and Matterhorn Bobsleds rides, and, if you can time your reservation right, you can have dinner at Carnation Cafe and watch from one of their outdoor tables.

Haunted Mansion Holiday

Park: Disneyland Park, Disneyland

Dates: November 2018-early January 2019

Price: The festivities are built into the price of your ticket, which, depending on the day you choose, ranges from $97-$135 for a one-day, ages 10+ pass.

It’s one thing to hang up some stockings and tinsel on an attraction, and it’s a whole other story to completely transform it for the holidays. This year marks the 18th year Disneyland’s beloved Haunted Mansion gets a complete makeover in “Nightmare Before Christmas” style. Expect graveyard ice angels, the smell of gingerbread and all of your favorite characters from the Tim Burton classic to make an appearance.

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'It's a Small World' Holiday

Park: Disneyland Park, Disneyland

Dates: November 2018-January 2019

Price: The festivities are built into the price of your ticket, which, depending on the day you choose, ranges from $97-$135 for a one-day, ages 10+ pass.

Another ride that gets the true holiday treatment is “it’s a small world,” located in Fantasyland. Starting at 5:15 p.m., then 5:30 p.m. and every 30 minutes thereafter until the park closes, thousands of dazzling lights covering the outside of the ride blink in time with festive music. And on the inside, regional holiday decorations have been added throughout the various lands. Cruise through and let the children of the world wish you good tidings and cheer.

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Wintertime Enchantment at Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle

Park: Disneyland Park, Disneyland

Dates: Nov. 9, 2018-Jan. 6, 2019

Price: The festivities are built into the price of your ticket, which, depending on the day you choose, ranges from $97-$135 for a one-day, ages 10+ pass.

Gather around Sleeping Beauty’s castle on Main Street, U.S.A. as it shines bright with 80,000 twinkling bulbs. At 7:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., a special lighting occurs in time with music and snow fills the area. There are also several vendors nearby, so feel free to grab a warm beverage or treat to make it truly feel like Christmas. And remember, most people want a good photo or video of the castle, so crowding in the surrounding area tends to start early.

'Holiday Time at the Disneyland Resort' Tour

Park: Disneyland Park, Disneyland

Dates: Nov. 9, 2018-Jan. 6, 2019

Price: $89 per adult, not including tax. You’ll also need to purchase a ticket to Disneyland park, which varies depending on the day you go, with ranges from $97-$135 for a one-day, ages 10+ ticket.

Disneyland’s “Holiday Time at the Disneyland Resort” Tour is a guided, 2 1/2-hour walking tour of both California Adventure and Disneyland parks and delves into holiday traditions around the world. It also includes reserved seating for A Christmas Fantasy Parade, a collectible pin, tasty holiday goodies and more. It’s offered daily at 12:45 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

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