Orlando, Fla. - One of the newest celebrations that I am looking forward to getting wrapped up in the most are in Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World that happen nightly from November 9 until December 31, 2017.
I had the opportunity to preview the new holiday decorations, projection shows, amped up holiday fireworks, treats and more that fill the park with holiday delight, and let me tell you they are FANTASTIC.
The fun goes from day to night, so let's take a look some of the highlights of holiday fun at Disney's Hollywood Studios!
Echo Lake, just off of Hollywood Boulevard, has received a retro and merry makeover that includes extra-large ornaments on the water, colorful garlands and medallions on every light pole, a few woodland friends, decorated umbrellas, and the centerpiece of the decorations is a giant Christmas tree centered on the water that is a perfect backdrop for photos. Dinosaur Gertie is also excited for the fun, and is festively dressed for the holidays.
Don't forget to visit Echo Lake at night, as the area comes alive with lights. A stroll around Echo Lake is a great way to end your day in the park.
For the First Time in Forever Holiday Tag
The ever popular For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration fills the Hyperion Theater with holiday fun and songs as the royal historians, Anna, Elsa, and Kristoff welcome Olaf to the show for the holiday season to share all-new songs from Disney's new animated short “Olaf's Frozen Adventure”.
The holiday addition fits seamlessly into the existing show, and having Olaf in the show is a holiday present for the audience.
Two Santas means twice the fun
You can't celebrate the holidays without a visit to see Santa, but during the Flurry of Fun at Disney's Hollywood Studios there are TWO ways to meet the big guy!
The Once Upon a Time store, located among the star-studded stores all along Sunset Boulevard, you can get in those holiday requests and photos in person with Kris Kringle from November 9 to December 24, 2017.
Jolly Old Saint Nick will be greeting good girls and good boys in an area decorated just for the occasion with Christmas trees, ornate garlands, and even a lovely red and gold rug.
But remember! Santa will only be available to meet until Christmas Eve. Be sure to visit him during his limited appearance dates, taking place from November 9 to December 24, 2017!
After Christmas, “Yule” laugh your way right into the New Year when Goofy takes over for the big guy from December 25 to 31, 2017.
Once Christmas morning arrives, Santa Claus will be well on his way back to the North Pole… but don’t you worry it’s Santa Goofy to the rescue! Don’t miss your chance to ring in 2018 with a hearty laugh and even a picture too as you spend time with the goofiest holiday Character in history.
Please keep in mind that all entertainment and appearances are subject to change without notice, and if you are looking for information on meeting Santa or Santa Goofy check with a Cast Member when you arrive at the park, Guest Relations is located to the far left of the entrance as you are facing the park.
Sweet Treats around the park
The holidays aren't the holidays without sweet treats, and The Disney Parks Blog shared a look at the fun for foodies!
My favorite treat was the over-the-top red velvet whoopie pies that are piled hight with icing garland, ornament pearls, and holiday sprinkles that are tree-shaped and available at Sweet Spells and Fairfax Fare.
Fans of Olaf will be overjoyed, because he stars on several desserts around the park! Olaf can be found dancing on cupcakes at ABC Commissary, Rosie’s All-American Café, Catalina Eddie’s, Fairfax Fare and Sweet Spells. There's an Olaf Pop at Gertie’s Ice Cream of Extinction along Echo Lake, an Olaf Sundae at Hollywood Scoops on Sunset Boulevard, and Sugar Frosted Fruit Bites at Pretzel Palooza on Sunset Boulevard. For even more fun, there is even an Olaf-themed sipper that comes filled with a fun “Frozen” beverage that can be found in several locations around the park.
Fun beverages for adults
For the holiday season, guests over the age of 21 can look forward to a selection of specialty beverages themed to the celebrations.
It isn't always hot in Florida, and you may find that you want to warm up with a spiked hot chocolate that can be found at both Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner along Echo Lake and Fairfax Fare on Sunset Boulevard. The selection of hot chocolates includes a hot chocolate martini, Bailey’s Salted Caramel hot chocolate, black cherry bourbon hot chocolate, and there is even a hot chocolate flight where you can sample all three if you can't choose just one to try.
Other adult beverages available this year include a Peppermint White Russian, a Winterberry Cooler and a Let It Glow drink consisting of vodka and blue-raspberry frozen carbonated beverage with your very own glow cube at various locations around Echo Lake and Sunset Boulevard.
Sunset Seasons Greetings
On Sunset Boulevard, just off of the main entrance's Hollywood Boulevard, as night falls a 'snowy' holiday celebration takes place as billboards above the street move into motion with appearances from some beloved characters who are sharing their love of the holidays.
The billboards above direct you to look at the iconic Hollywood Tower Hotel, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, as it is magically transformed, courtesy of some cutting edge projections, bringing to characters’ stories to life and into motion.
The Disney character moments during Sunset Seasons include:
- Mickey and Minnie reminiscing about a hometown Christmas as the scene shifts into a romanticized, Norman Rockwell-inspired town—starting in black and white before slowly changing into color.
- The Toy Story characters guessing which new toys are coming this Christmas as the scene becomes covered in holiday wrapping paper.
- The Swedish Chef from The Muppets babbling as only he can while the scene turns into giant gingerbread houses.
- And finally, Olaf pining over his holiday wish as iconic music plays and the scene freezes over into a Frozen winter wonderland—complete with dancing Aurora Borealis lights and projected falling snow.
Each of these scenes lasts for almost 3 minutes, and play on a loop. So you are invited to slow down your pace and enjoy the show as you make your way to the attractions and restaurants or grab a spot to watch them all. If you do decide to grab a spot for a bit, please make sure you are considerate to other guests who might be making their way down the Boulevard.
Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!
Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! is back this year with even more BAM!
Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!, starting November 9th, is a nighttime spectacular full of fun and hijinks that features traditional holiday tunes, state-of-the-art projections from Disney Animation classics, special effects, fireworks, a little snow, and unexpected surprises.
It's “Kringle Level 9” for the stars of ABC's Prep & Landing Wayne and Lanny as they search for Santa who has gone missing. You will get caught up in the adventure as the Chinese Theater, as well as the surrounding buildings and rooftops, come alive to immerse you into scenes from Mickey’s Christmas Carol, Beauty and the Beast, Pluto’s Christmas Tree, Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, and more. The festive finale is a snowy, visual wonderland that is a must-see for the holiday season.
For the best viewing spot, make sure you arrive early and have a sight line that includes as much of the Chinese Theater and surrounding buildings as you can. Most of the firework bursts happen on the right side of the Theater, but even more effects and fireworks are launched from the surrounding areas.
Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! Dessert Party
If you want to really amp up your merriment, I suggest booking the Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! Dessert Party.
During the party you can enjoy specialty sweets and sips from around the park before you move to a special reserved viewing area to enjoy Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! The viewing area, weather and condition permitting, is located in the Chinese Theater courtyard.
Among the desserts offered are candy cane brownies, holiday Mickey and Minnie sugar cookies, warm pumpkin pie spiced bread pudding, and sweet Yule Log.
And at the end of the party you get to take home a special ornament as a gift to remember your evening at Disney's Hollywood Studios!
The Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! Dessert Party is a premium event that is not included with admission that takes place nightly from November 9 through December 31. Pricing does change based on date, and from November 9 to December 15, pricing is $79 for adults and $45 for children ages 3-9; and December 17-31, adults are $89 and children are $49 (gratuity and tax included).
Reservations must be made in advance either online or by calling 407-WDW-DINE (407-939-3463).
Minnie's Holiday Dine-In
If you want to really amp up your holiday experience at Disney's Hollywood Studios, why not deck the halls at a dazzling dinner party filled with holiday cheer and amazing food.
Minnie Mouse is the hostess-with-the-mostest, and she is throwing a fantastic feast that features a mix of fun music and décor with a seasonal menu that is full of the joy of the season.
Minnie greets you at the door for a special photo opportunity, and while you are dining you can meet Mickey Mouse, Daisy Duck, Donald Duck, and Goofy as they stop by your table to pose for pictures and holiday hugs.
And before you leave, make sure you pick up your gift from your thoughtful hostess!
Minnie’s Seasonal Dining events cost $50 per adult and $30 per child, plus tax and gratuity. Reservations are required and can be made online or using the My Disney Experience App. Some dining plans accepted, so check before you go.
If you are not planning on attending at Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, this is a great time to get photos with some of your favorite characters in their holiday finest while enjoying a great meal. I have had the chance to go to several of Minnie's holiday get togethers, and I look forward to them every time!
And while this is a buffet, don't feel like you can't dine here if you have allergies because they go above and beyond accommodating guests with allergies and dietary concerns!
The MUST HAVE Pluto Popcorn Bucket
This season the most sought after accessory for any guest at the Walt Disney World Resort is the Pluto Popcorn Bucket!
This especially adorable popcorn bucket is available across property, but I would do it as soon as possible because this festive pup won't be around long!
Spending the holidays at Disney's Hollywood Studios was always a great way to kick off our holiday celebrations in November, but this year it is even better with all of these new additions!
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