When you’re at Disney, there’s always a holiday to look forward to. In fact, some of the busiest days are long weekends and random civic holidays that you may not even realize until you show up at the Magic Kingdom and you see 100+ minute waits for attractions.
Yes…this happened to me on a trip in February 2015 where we didn’t realize that President’s day was on our arrival day. As a Canadian, that was a lil’ bit of a mistake lol!
This article is to provide you with a list of the Holidays that can not only impact crowds but are also able to potentially offer unique experiences.
Annual Holiday Celebrations at Disney World
Spring crowds are at a peak when you put together chocolate and getting away from snow and cold. Disney resorts usually take the starring role, so be sure to check out what’s going on when. Special parades, merchandise and restaurant offerings are also on the schedule!
July 4th is not just the day that Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum save the earth…it’s also an incredibly busy weekend! The Magic Kingdom brings out the big guns with a spectacular* that you’ll want to write home about (*scheduled for both the 3rd and 4th), Hollywood Studios and EPCOT also participate in the celebrations.
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is the star, with this select evening extra-ticketed event starting at the end of August and going all the way through the end of October. Boo To You Parade, trick-or-treating, special characters, merchandise and fireworks….definitely one of the best family activities for Halloween in Orlando!
Keep in mind that tickets for MNSSHP (yea, it’s a long name) go on sale in May and often sell out early.
Any opportunity for folks to get to Disney is a good thing! Thanksgiving is a long weekend at the end of November that brings heightened crowds, special dining opportunities and a few fun character interactions.
We have a list of Christmas Activities that you should check out, so I’ll link that here
Outside of that extensive article that covers the top 8 things at Christmas that you should experience, it’s important to know that “Christmas” usually starts in the Magic Kingdom (and around Disney Resorts) right after all the Halloween decorations come down November 1st. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is another extra-ticketed event that brings the holidays on a massive level! They bring snow to Main Street USA, special fireworks, food, merchandise and a special castle lighting ceremony that is awe-inspiring when you see it live!
There’s also the Candlelight Processional at EPCOT, in which a celebrity narrator, chorus and orchestra present the Christmas Tale to packed crowds in the World Showcase. No extra admission is required, but the dinner packages are a great way to get reserved seating.
Disney Springs, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom all have special programming as well!
New Years Eve
During my 2007/08 contract in the Canadian Pavilion, I had the opportunity to work on New Years Eve. WOW! I just can’t explain the level of excitement that goes into this event each and every year.
Just to plant this in your mind – It’s busy. In fact, the Magic Kingdom usually hits capacity within an hour of opening…yea…that busy!
All theme parks, Disney Springs, Boardwalk and a bunch of restaurants provide unique experiences. The best way to NOT feel like you’re in a sardine can – buy a ticket to a special event.
Related Article – Things I’ll never do at Disney again
And those are the big holidays at the Walt Disney World Resort. Keep an eye out for the long weekends, festivals, sporting events and other random parties and celebrations that can impact the crowds…because you can never be too prepared:)