Going to Disney at Christmas had been a dream of mine for quite a few years. And last year I got that once in a lifetime chance to get to Disney. We arrived on the 22nd of December and stayed through Christmas Eve.
I’d done some research on the holidays at Disney, but it had focused mostly on Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party, but I wasn’t going to be in town for the party so I didn’t know what to expect. Part of me was a bit disappointed that I was going to miss out on the parade and the snow.
We checked into the Contemporary late on the 20th and the decorations were spectacular from the start. I especially loved the Gingerbread tree in the Grand Canyon Concourse and the Small World Cookies they sold there.
Magic Kingdom was absolutely packed. I had never been there during peak season before, usually visiting in August and once in March. But we managed to get seats for the Parade, caught Mickey’s Gift, the Castle lighting, Holiday Wishes, and the Jingle Cruise and ate at the Liberty Tavern. Fast Pass + and Extra magic hours helped too, in fact I think we got almost every ride in the park in on that one day! But the most magical moment of all happened just after the fireworks ended. I turned to look back at my family and froze in surprise. It was snowing on Main Street. That had been the only piece of a Disney Christmas that I was sad about missing. And then all of a sudden I find that I didn’t miss it at all. What I felt at that moment could only be described as joy, not because I was at Disney, but because the last part of my dream was drifting slowly down before my very eyes. I felt so blessed right then. I imagine that what I felt was similar to Rapunzel’s feelings on seeing the lanterns. I had been dreaming of seeing the snow for a very long time and it was just as wonderful as I had imagined.
The next day we spent in Hollywood Studios. Again, it was crowded, but we still managed to do our must dos. But the highlight of the day was the very end. We finished up by heading over to the Streets of America to see the Osborn Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. We thought it was shutting down for the night since the park was officially closed, but as we turned the corner we found that not only were the lights still going, but so were the photographers and Santa Goofy himself! We took pictures with the Goof, explored the streets and even watched a holiday line dance performed by the cast members. But the best moment of all was finding the small nativity scene tucked into one of the back alleys. It’s not very big, and it isn’t very flashy, but it is there, announcing the reason for the season to anyone willing to search it out.
Out last day was Christmas Eve. I got up at 6 am when it was still dark to go see my very first Rope Dropping ceremony. I walked over to the Magic Kingdom from the Contemporary and it was so much fun. I’m not really a morning person though, so I went back to the room afterward and found myself locked out due to Magic Band. Its something we laugh about now. The rest of the Day was spent exploring Epcot during the Holidays. We saw the decorations in Living With the Land, caught a showing of Joyful and snacked our way through the world before catching the Candlelight processional. We were one of the families that didn’t get in with the Meal package, because it was sold out. But, as it turns out, you don’t actually need to be in the theater to see the show. We found a spot on the curb and watched the whole thing! The choirs were wonderful and Steven Curtis Chapman was a brilliant narrator. And experiencing the whole thing on Christmas made the night more than a day in the parks. It turned the day into the celebration of Jesus’s birth that it should be.
We ended our trip with Epcot before heading to spend Christmas with my Grandfather. I’m celebrating Christmas at home this year but we still share the memories of a Disney Christmas when we’re gathered at the dinner table. Even if I never go back during the holidays, or if I’m never able to go back at all, I will always remember how blessed I was to be there with my family at this most wonderful time of the year. And that’s what tops my list of my favorite 25 Disney Christmas things: not the food, or the shows or the things, but the memories of a magical Christmas with my family. So whether you are in Disney, or at home, whether you have many gifts under the tree or a few, remember that what you get isn’t really that important. But the love you give out this time of year, the people you reach out to and the time and care you give are. What better way to celebrate our Lord’s birth than with those you love? I wish you and yours a blessed and joyous Christmas this season