The Best of Disney World at the Holidays

Thinking of heading down to Florida for the holidays? Do it! Disney World is never more beautiful or magical than it is between Thanksgiving and Christmas. So if you need convincing, or are already planning a trip this December, here are few not-to-be missed attractions that make the holidays at Disney World unforgettable.

1. Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights

There really are no words to describe this. I posted a video below, but even that doesn’t cut it. It’s a fully immersive experience you have to see to believe.

Every evening from November 9th to January 6th, The Streets of America in Disney’s Studios is alight with color and music. Every inch of the feaux studio is draped in Christmas lights. Larger than life peace globes, reindeer, and Santas adorn the roofs. Select areas even allow you to experience “snowfall” without ever needing to reach for your hat and gloves.

Why are they called dancing lights, you ask? Click the video to find out. Safe to say, it will turn even the biggest Scrooge McDuck among us into a big Goofy-ball of Christmas spirit.

2. Cinderella’s Castle

This is another light spectacle dazzling enough to take your breath away.  As soon as darkness hits, the castle illuminates with white Christmas lights draped to resemble wintry icicles.  And, right before the fireworks show “Wishes” begins, the lights “twinkle” as if bewitched by fairy dust.

Photo by Leah Holstein

3. World Showcase

Epcot’s World Showcase has never been the top of my Disney Hit List, but their take on the holidays is definitely something worth seeing. Especially if you’re trying to trick your kids into learning something over their vacation. Each country represented is dressed to impress and has a “storyteller” who tells a little something about how their nation celebrates the yuletide.

Photo found at

4. Beach and Yacht Club Resort’s Chocolate Carousel

This lesser-known gem gives new definition to “it looks too good to eat.” Although not life size, it’s still impressively big for something made entirely of chocolate. That is, chocolate, icing, honey, and sugar (as described by their recipe listed on a menu made of, what else, chocolate and icing). Additional bonuses are the scattered hidden Mickeys placed around the fully-functioning carousel. For that little extra touch of holiday cheer, head on over the to the Beach Club lobby and check it out!

Photo found at

5. Grand Floridian Gingerbread House

Unquestionably the largest and most elaborate gingerbread house I’ve ever seen. In keeping with their theme of 19th century elegance and indulgence, the Disney elves have created a multistory, intricately designed Victorian gingerbread house (complete with smoking chimney). My favorite part is the wonderful gingerbread smell that fills the lobby. Although, to my disappointment, the last time I tasted the actual gingerbread (sold out of the house!) the actual taste was somewhat disappointing. Even so, it remains a treat for the eyes and olfactory senses that is not to be missed.

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Honorable Mentions: Animal Kingdom Lodge’s African-themed Christmas tree, Disney Studio’s tinsel decorations (tinsel-town, get it?), and the Yacht Club’s holiday train set.

So that’s my completely biased list, feel free to agree or disagree in the comments below. Also, since I’m an East Coast girl this list is entirely based on Disney World. Any Disneyland goers are encouraged to list their favorites below as well!



  • Alex

    This is so true…between Thanksgiving and Christmas is the perfect time to visit Disney World.

    Also, if you get a chance to stay/eat in the Disney World Resort, it is absolutely gorgeous around the holidays and has a huge Christmas tree in the main lobby.

  • Toby

    I agree that the Spectacle of the Dancing Lights is amazing – worth a trip in itself.