Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and the Epcot’s Candlelight Processional are canceled, but there's plenty happening at the "Most Magical Place on Earth" this holiday season

By Elizabeth Rhodes
September 09, 2020 02:18 PM
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Credit: Courtesy Disney

Editor’s Note: Travel might be complicated right now, but use our inspirational trip ideas to plan ahead for your next bucket list adventure.

The holiday season is truly the most magical time to visit Disney World, as the four theme parks and resort hotels pull out all the stops with festive lights, seasonal treats, and perfectly decorated Christmas trees. Disney just announced major changes to the holiday lineup, including the cancellation of two beloved events — Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and the Candlelight Processional at Epcot — but guests will still be able to find that festive spirit around the resort, even with the current health and safety measures in place.

The holiday season always starts early at Disney World, and this year, guests will be able to enjoy festive decorations, seasonal food and drinks, themed merchandise, and special entertainment across the theme parks, resorts, and Disney Springs from Nov. 6 to Dec. 30, according to a recent post on the Disney Parks Blog.

Credit: Courtesy Disney

Socially distant character sightings will take on a festive flair across the theme parks, and the Magic Kingdom cavalcade will feature a few extra friends, including elves, reindeer, gingerbread men, and more. Instead of the usual Castle Dream Lights, Cinderella Castle will be transformed with a colorful, Christmas sweater-inspired projection at night. Over at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, character dining at Hollywood & Vine provides a seasonal opportunity to see Minnie Mouse, Santa Goofy, and other Disney pals while maintaining physical distancing.

And even though the Candlelight Processional won’t be happening this year, Epcot’s International Festival of the Holidays is coming back, so guests can look forward to traveling around World Showcase and enjoying festive flavors from across the globe. Indulge in seasonal comfort foods like slow-roasted turkey and stuffing at the American Holiday Table, or opt for cheese fondue at the Bavaria Holiday Kitchen.

Credit: Courtesy Disney

Inside World ShowPlace, guests can enjoy music from Joyful, a group offering a mix of R&B, gospel, and contemporary and traditional holiday music, according to the Disney Parks Blog. Visitors will also find the Voices of Liberty singing carols in the America Gardens Theater.

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Disney Resort hotels are known for going all-out this time of year, but one of the main attractions — the adorable gingerbread displays — won’t be coming back in 2020 because of physical distancing guidelines, according to the post.

Credit: Courtesy Disney

Disney Springs, Disney World’s shopping, dining, and entertainment district, will be decked out for the season, too, with Christmas trees and snowfall in select areas. Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar, a fun, themed bar inspired by Indiana Jones, will be turned into Jock Lindsey’s Holiday Bar with festive treats and decor.

Elizabeth Rhodes is an associate digital editor at Travel + Leisure who covers all things theme parks. Follow her adventures on Instagram.