15 Reasons to Visit Disney World in Winter

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Visiting Walt Disney World during winter can be a truly magical experience! Let’s be honest, there is never really a bad time to visit Walt Disney World, but there is just something about the winter season that makes the trip so much more special. If you are contemplating when to make your next Disney World trip, or have already booked for the winter season and want to know what to expect, we are here to help!!

There are so many reasons our family loves going to Disney World every winter! Read on to see why it is the most magical time to visit and 15 reasons why you should visit Disney World in winter!

Visiting Disney World in Winter

There are tons many details that make a Disney World trip magical. Let’s explore the extra details about a winter visit that make the season just right for a Disney World trip!

1. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

Stitch greets guests at Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party at Disney World in Winter
Credit: MMVMA

The first, and most obvious reason to visit Disney World in winter is for all of the Christmas-themed festivities. At the top of our list is Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party! My family absolutely loves this holiday party and all of the Christmas magic that makes it so special!

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a special event that takes place in Magic Kingdom after the park closes, with party hours typically being from 7:00pm to midnight. This party is a ticketed event, meaning that your regular park ticket will not grant you admission and you will need a party ticket to attend.

Once the sun begins to set and the party begins there are so many things you can partake in:

🎄 Don your matching Christmas pajamas or best Christmas sweaters to get into the holiday spirit!

⭐️ Watch Mickey Mouse and Friends take the stage during Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration in front of Cinderella Castle! 

🎄 Oh and ah over Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks Show —a fireworks display featuring some of your favorite holiday carols!

⭐️ Get your dance on with some of your favorite Disney Junior characters at the Disney Junior Jingle Jam at Storybook Circus!

🎄 Wave to some beloved Disney Characters (and even Santa and his reindeer) during Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade.

⭐️Enjoy your fill of Christmas cookies and hot chocolate at locations throughout the park!

🎄 Ride to your heart’s content on your favorite rides in the Magic Kingdom during this limited-capacity event.

TIP: If you time your vacation just right, you can attend both Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party AND Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party on the same trip! Book a magical holiday package for your family by contacting me today!

2. EPCOT’s International Festival of the Holidays

EPCOT Festival of the Holidays is a great thing to experience at Disney World in Winter
Credit: MMVMA

EPCOT’s International Festival of the Holidays is another great way to celebrate the holidays if you are planning a winter visit to Walt Disney World. The entire park comes alive with the different sights, sounds, and smells of the holidays!

Sample authentic food and drink from the 16 global marketplaces throughout the park. Aside from the dedicated Holiday Kitchens, many of EPCOT’s restaurants and food stands will have special holiday treats on the menu as well!

And while the International Festival of the Holidays may be very popular with adult guests, Disney hasn’t forgotten about the kids! The Holiday Cookie Stroll is a sweet scavenger hunt through the festival and a great way for kids of all ages to feel like a part of the fun! Simply purchase all five holiday cookies at locations throughout the World Showcase. Be sure to get your Festival Passport stamped with each cookie purchase for a special treat at the end of the cookie stroll.

Your EPCOT park admission includes access to the International Festival of the Holidays!

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3. Candlelight Processional

Enjoying the Candlelight Processional is a must at Disney World in Winter
Credit: MMVMA

As a part of EPCOT’s International Festival of the Holidays, the Candlelight Processional is an excellent way to ring in the holiday season. This Disney parks staple is something you can only experience during a winter visit to Disney World.

The Candlelight Processional at EPCOT traces its roots back to 1958 when it debuted at Disneyland in California. Since then, it has evolved into an EPCOT tradition that captures the essence of the holiday season. At its core, the Candlelight Processional is a retelling of the timeless story of Christmas, narrated by a celebrity guest who lends their unique voice to the tale. The harmonious blend of a live orchestra and a massive choir makes the Candlelight Processional a dazzling display of music, storytelling, and Christmas spirit that leaves visitors in awe year after year

TIP: We highly suggest booking a Candlelight Processional Dining package if taking part in this holiday tradition is a must-do for your trip! This allows you to not only enjoy a fabulous meal in the park, but also gives you preferred seating for the performance!

4. Jollywood Nights at Hollywood Studios

Jollywood Nights at DIsney World is a fabulous winter event.
Credit: MMVMA

Disney’s Jollywood Nights at Hollywood Studios is a celebration of the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, combined with the unparalleled magic of Disney. This newest holiday offering will debut in 2023! It’s a chance to experience the park in a whole new light, both literally and figuratively, and to create unforgettable memories with family and friends.

Disney’s Jollywood Nights is a special event that takes place on select nights in Hollywood Studios after the park closes, with party hours typically being from 8:30pm to 12:30pm. This party is a ticketed event, meaning that your regular park ticket will not grant you admission and you will need a party ticket to attend.

Once the sun begins to set and the party begins there are so many things you can partake in:

🎅 Glam up in your best Disney-inspired dapper holiday attire to experience the glitz and glam of this holiday event!

⭐️ Watch as Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy take the stage in an all-new musical variety show!  

🎅 Oh and ah over the return of Jingle Bells, Jingle BAM! — a nighttime display featuring state-of-the-art projections and jam-packed with your favorite holiday tunes!

⭐️ Join the fun with a sing-a-long experience at Hyperion Theater!

🎅 Explore each area of the park to catch live entertainment such as a DJ spinning a holiday mix on Hollywood Boulevard, vibrant Latin holiday music down Commissary Lane, a jazzy Hollywood-themed lounge at The Hollywood Brown Derby Restaurant, or an otherwordly soiree in the Hollywood Tower Hotel courtyard.

⭐️ Indulge in a variety of savory snacks, sensational sweets, and shimmering sips exclusive just for party guests!

🎅 Ride to your heart’s content on your favorite rides in Hollywood Studios during this limited-capacity event.

5. Minnie’s Holiday Dine at Hollywood and Vine

If you are looking for a fun, holiday-themed character dining experience then try Minnie’s Holiday Dine! This character meal is located at Hollywood & Vine in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

My family really enjoyed our meal at Hollywood & Vine! The food is served buffet style and is all you care to eat. They have a huge variety of dishes to choose from so there is something for everyone. While you are enjoying your meal, Minnie and her friends come around to greet guests! Make sure you have your camera ready to snap pictures with your favorite characters all decked out for the holidays!

Minnie’s Holiday Dine is only available for lunch and dinner.

TIP: Making dining reservations 60 days in advance is a must for Hollywood & Vine!

6. Walt Disney World Marathon Race Weekend

WDW Marathon Weekend is a staple event every winter at DIsney World
Credit: HMT

My first ever live runDisney event was the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend races! To say it was absolutely magical is an understatement! It is a must-do winter activity at Disney World.

If you are a runner then a winter trip to Walt Disney World would be the perfect opportunity to participate in the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend! Even if you are not a runner, completing a runDisney race is a bucket list event!

So what makes the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend so special? First, the marathon isn’t the only distance offered. Runners (or walkers) can choose between the 5K, 10K, half marathon, and full marathon distances. The energy of a runDisney event is phenomenal! There is music and dancing and lots of racers in costumes. And you may even find some hard-to-spot Disney characters on the race course!

Follow us on Instagram to keep up to date on important Walt Disney World Marathon weekend race info! runDisney events are EXTREMELY popular and typically sell out in hours.

7. EPCOT Festival of the Arts

EPCOT Festival of the Arts takes place every winter at Disney World.
Credit: MMVMA

For those seeking to travel to Disney World in winter, there are actually two EPCOT festivals to choose from. The EPCOT Festival of the Arts is a hugely popular annual event. The entire park comes alive with art in varying forms, including to purchase, to eat, and to create yourself.

Much like the other festivals in EPCOT, the World Showcase area of the park is dotted with a variety of Food Studios. Sample delicious bites and sips as you stroll through the park and enjoy the art showcased or performed live. And while in the park make sure to enjoy the Disney on Broadway Concert Series at the American Adventure Pavillion.

And for the younger travelers in the family, be sure to grab a scavenger hunt map and take part in Figment’s Brush with the Masters. You will help Figment learn more about art as you enjoy your park day! And be sure to turn your scavenger hunt map in at the end of the day for a special prize!

Your EPCOT park admission includes access to the International Food and Wine Festival!

8. Disney Princess Half Marathon Race Weekend

Princess Race Weekend is a must do DIsney World winter activiity
Credit: HMT

Just like there is more than one EPCOT festival during the winter season at Disney World, there is also more than one runDisney event! The Princess Half Marathon Weekend happens every February and makes for a fun Disney World girls’ trip!

The Princess Half Marathon Weekend is a little different from the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend in that it does not include the full marathon distance in the races for the weekend. Runners (or walkers) can choose between the 5K, 10K, and half marathon distances. Just like every runDisney event, the Princess Half Marathon weekend is jam-packed with over-the-top energy and camaraderie of runners. And with the Princess Half Marathon Weekend, the race courses are dotted with special characters from your favorite princess movies!

9. Milder Weather

Enjoy milder weather during the Festival of Fantasy Parade
Credit: MMVMA

While a good portion of the country has traditional cold and snow during the winter season, Florida remains sunny and warm. The mild winter weather in Florida makes it a perfect time to visit Disney World.

There is no question that Florida is known for its hot, tropical climate. One of the best parts about scheduling a Disney World trip for winter months is the ability to take advantage of milder temperatures. The daily high temperatures are a comfortable mid 70’s for daily highs, but can get a bit chilly after the sun goes down.

Also, winter is not a part of the rainy and hurricane seasons in Florida. This means you are less likely to experience a pop-up afternoon thunderstorm.

TIP: All of the pools at Walt Disney World Resorts are heated! That means you can still enjoy some time in the pool even when the weather begins to cool.

10. Smaller Crowd Sizes

Figment statue in EPCOT
Credit: MMVMA

If you are looking to go to Disney World when crowds are lower then winter is a great season to plan a trip!

Summer at Walt Disney World can be a busy time because most families tend to travel when kids are out of school. But right after the New Year crowd levels tend to drop off and stay at low to moderate levels for much of the winter. Of course, holiday times like Christmas/New Years, MLK weekend, Mardi Gras, and Presidents Day weekend will see higher crowds momentarily.

TIP: If you are not specifically going to Walt Disney World to participate in a runDisney event, I would suggest not booking your trip during race weekends!

11. Festive Holiday Decorations

Christmas trees abound at the Disney World resorts.
Credit: MMVMA

There is nothing quite as magical as Christmas, and Christmas at Walt Disney World definitely doesn’t disappoint! If you are looking for a time to visit the parks when the parks look the most festive, then a trip during the early winter months is exactly what you need!

Not only are the four parks decorated with wreaths and Christmas trees galore; but all of the Disney World Resorts are as well! You can even spot some larger-than-life gingerbread houses in several of the deluxe resorts. It is one of the best reasons to visit Disney World in the winter! It’s a magical way to kick off the holidays!

TIP: If you want to see Christmas decor at Walt Disney World, plan a trip for December through early January. After the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend ends, the Christmas decorations come down.

12. Travel Deals for Off-Peak Months

There are so many fun characters to see during your Disney trip.
Credit: MMVMA

Another great reason to pick the winter months is the possibility of some great travel deals and promos! Because winter months are traditionally lower crowd times, that means there is usually more incentive to book a trip during that time.

It is not uncommon for Disney to release a room promo or another kind of offer to sweeten the deal for those off-peak months. If you are looking for a time to travel to Disney World and possibly save a little money, you will want to schedule your trip for those winter months!

TIP: When booking your Disney vacation with me, you get to take advantage of my complimentary promo-watching service. This means that if Disney offers a promo AFTER you have already booked your vacation, I will automatically apply it to your reservation if applicable so you are always getting the best deal!

13. Idealic Photo Backdrops

CInderella's Castle is all decked out for Christmas
Credit: HMT

If you are looking for the perfect backdrop for those family pictures, then look no further than Disney World at Christmastime! Not only are the parks decked out for the holidays, but with Disney’s complimentary PhotoPass Photographers all throughout the parks, you will have perfect backdrops and professional photographers at the ready!

TIP: Want some really fabulous family pictures? Consider booking a private Capture Your Moment session during your trip to get some truly unique Christmas card worthy photos!

14. Seasonal Snacks and Treats

Yummy treats are available at Festival of the Arts every winter at DIsney World
Credit: MMVMA

Disney snacks are in a class all their own! Disney offers special treats for each of the seasons, and the winter is no exception.

It is worth a trip to Walt Disney World at Christmastime just to get your fill of gingerbread and peppermint-filled treats! And even after the Christmas holiday is over, you can still find plenty of unique Disney snacks and small bites at EPCOT’s two winter festivals.

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15. Fun Seasonal Merchandise

Enjoy shopping for festive seasonal merchandise during your winter visit to DIsney World.
Credit: MMVMA

Grabbing a souvenir from your Disney trip is a must! You can find merchandise only available during the holidays or exclusive to parties and festivals by traveling during winter months. From unique Christmas ornament to Minnie ears, there are lots of things to choose from when trying to find the perfect trip memento!

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What to Pack for Disney World in Winter

Gingerbread houses at Walt Disney World in the Winter.
Credit: MMVMA

Packing for a winter trip to Disney World requires a thoughtful approach to ensure you stay comfortable while enjoying the magic of the parks. Here’s a comprehensive list of items to include in your suitcase:

Weather-Appropriate Clothing – Opt for a mix of short-sleeve and long-sleeve shirts. Layering allows you to adjust to changing temperatures during the day especially when the sun goes down. You’ll also want to wear comfortable walking shoes! Disney days include lots of time on your feet!

Sun Protection – Even in winter, the Florida sun can be strong, so pack sunscreen with a high SPF. You will also want to include sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun as well

Backpack or Day Bag – A lightweight backpack to carry essentials such as water bottles, snacks, and extra layers.

Portable Chargers – You will also want to keep your devices charged to capture memories and use the My Disney Experience app to navigate your day.

Refillable Water Bottle – Stay hydrated and save money by bringing in a refillable water bottle and refilling at refilling stations or water fountains around the parks.

Disney MagicBands – Your key to accessing the park, Genie+, and charging purchases back to your room is through your MagicBand! We highly, highly suggest investing in them for your trip!

Disney-Themed Clothing: – What better place to show your Disney spirit than in the Disney parks! Pack all of your favorite Disney-inspired clothing or even Disney bound your favorite characters.

Autograph Book and Pen: – If you plan on meeting characters, don’t forget your autograph book!

Bandaids: – Throwing a few bandaids into your park bag isn’t a bad idea! With all the walking required, you’ll want to make sure you can cover any blisters or sore spots throughout the day.

Snacks: – Quick grab-and-go snacks like granola bars, pretzels, or goldfish will give you a little energy boost and save you some money if you get hungry between meals while in the parks.

By planning ahead and packing smartly, you’ll be well-prepared to make the most of your Disney World adventure in winter. Make sure you check out our Travel Resources section for our specific recommendations in each of these categories!

Disney World in Winter: Frequently Asked Questions

Santa cruises through Hollywood Studios
Credit: HMT

Now that you know why to visit Disney World in the winter, the next question is when in the winter to plan your trip?

Is December a Good Time to Visit Disney World?

December is a great time to visit Disney World! What is more magical than Disney at Christmas?! BUT in terms of crowds, we like December the least of all available winter options.

Still Disney World in December has offerings you can only get during that month! Any of the Christmas-themed parties, decorations, and treats can only be experienced in November and December. When planning your trip it is important to consider which things you want to experience and book accordingly.

TIP: Maybe a fall trip is more your style for a Disney World trip. There are lots of great festivals, parties, and special events during that season too. Check out 9 Reasons to Visit Disney World in Fall to find out why a fall Disney World trip is so special.

Is January a Good Time to Visit Disney World?

January is personally one of m favorite months to travel to Disney World. The weather is usually much cooler which makes those long days at the park more enjoyable. You will also find the parks much less crowded.

And while the Christmas decorations may no longer be up in January, EPCOT’s Festival of the Arts kicks off and it is a great way to explore the park!

Is February a Good Time to Visit Disney World?

Going to Disney World in February can be a bit tricky if you want to navigate around crowded events. With Presidents Day weekend, Mardi Gras, and the Disney Princess Half Marathon weekend all in February, finding lower crowd times can be more of a challenge.

However, if you time your trip just right you can still enjoy mild winter and take in EPCOT’s Festival of the Arts!

Where To Buy Your Disney World Tickets for This Winter

Mickey Mouse greets guests at Disney World.
Credit: MMVMA

Ready to plan that winter trip to Walt Disney World? Book your vacation package today!

As an agent with Diamond EarMarked, Magical Moments Vacations, it would be my pleasure to help you book and plan the most magical fall trip to Walt Disney World!

A Disney vacation package of tickets and resort can be booked for as little as a $200 deposit and then you are able to make payments on your trip at your own leisure up until 30 days before your check-in day. Click the button below and we can get started planning your most magical Disney vacation! And when booking a Disney World trip with me, my services are always free!

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Final Thoughts: Disney World in Winter

There are so many reasons that winter can be a magical time to visit Walt Disney World! There are special events and parties, holiday-specific food and decor, and great weather combined with lower crowds. We promise a winter trip to Disney World will not disappoint but will bring a lifetime of memories!

Or if you are interested in seeing what Disneyland has to offer during the holidays, be sure to check out our post on Disneyland in December.

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Disney World in Winter