What’s ON, What’s OFF for the holiday season in Orlando

What’s ON, What’s OFF for the holiday season in Orlando

Greg Nelson Christmas, Guides & Tips, Holidays, Orlando, Theme Parks

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Disney World has canceled this year’s edition of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom and the Candlelight Processional at Epcot. While these and some other popular favorites won’t be happening this year, Disney World still plans to offer plenty of holiday magic with some traditional standbys and some all new experiences like character cavalcades, castle projections and appearances by Santa Clause!

As has been the case in Orlando since the parks reopened, you can continue to expect limited occupancy in all the theme parks as well as ongoing temperature checks, social distancing, required mask usage, lots of hand sanitizing stations, and other safety protocols.

The fun and festivities began November 6 and run through December 30, 2020.

Magic Kingdom Castle during Christmas
Hollywood Studios Christmas Dinosaur

What’s OFF at Disney World - Notable 2020 Cancellations

  • Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom
  • Candlelight Processional at Epcot
  • Castle Dream Lights show
  • Gingerbread displays at Disney Resorts

A long-running tradition at Disney World has been the amazing gingerbread house displays at Disney’s onsite resorts. While the resorts will still be decked out in all their festive holiday glory, there will not be any gingerbread displays in 2020.

What’s ON at Disney World

Magic Kingdom Park

  • Magic Kingdom will feature all new holiday-themed character cavalcades that include an array of gingerbread men, toy soldiers, elves and reindeer.
  • The traditional Cinderella Castle Dream Lights show will be replaced with special, rotating holiday projections designed to give the castle some festive holiday designs such as a Christmas sweater, and red/green/gold ornamentation.
  • The Main Street Philharmonic also receives a holiday update as Toy Soldiers will join the march through Magic Kingdom.


  • At Epcot, you’ll still be able to enjoy some tasty treats. The Epcot International Festival of the Holidays kicked off November 27. The annual festival will offer its holiday kitchens around the world at World Showcase.
  • Epcot guests will also enjoy occasional Holiday Promenades featuring popular Characters.
  • In addition, the Voices of Liberty will be performing carols and other holiday favorites at the America Gardens Theatre.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

  • At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, guests can expect an all new holiday motorcade.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

  • Meanwhile, over at Animal Kingdom, guests will enjoy a variety of festive flotillas. The cavalcades, motorcades and florillas will give everyone a chance to see their favorites Disney characters.

Disney Springs

The expansive shopping/dining/entertainment complex, Disney Springs, will be decked out in its usual holiday glory and you’ll find dozens and dozens of amazing shops for holiday shopping. The trail of trees will instead be spread out throughout Disney Springs, offering an elaborate collection of Disney-themed Christmas trees. Disney Springs will also feature a nightly “snowfall.”

What to expect at SeaWorld Orlando

SeaWorld Orlando Penguins
  • Experience all the sights, sounds, tastes and good feelings of the holiday season at SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration!
  • All the festivities are designed with enhanced health and safety measures in mind including limited capacity to create social distancing space and a safe environment. SeaWorld's Christmas Celebration runs on select dates, now through December 31, and is included with park admission.
  • Experience more than 3 million twinkling lights amid a festive atmosphere featuring the awe inspiring Sea of Trees.

What to expect at Universal Studios Orlando

Universal Orlando Resort is ready to unwrap plenty of merry holiday events and celebrations. From now through January 3, 2021 you can experience a variety of popular holiday favorites, including:

Universal Orlando Christmas Food
Universal orlando Christmas Store
Universal Orlando Christmas Store
Universal Macys Parade

  • Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ - experience the sights and sounds and tastes of the holidays as both Hogsmeade™ and Diagon Alley™ are transformed with holiday lights and wondrous spirit. And don’t miss a dazzling projection show as The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts™ Castle unfolds before your very eyes.
  • Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s - merry mixes with mayhem in this festive parade as the Minions join Santa Claus and many other favorite characters from Madagascar and Shrek.
  • Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular - a live retelling of Dr. Seuss’s classic holiday tale starring the mean green one himself - The Grinch™.

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