Sunday, November 5, 2017

A First Look At Sunset Seasons Greetings - Plus: Our Top 5 Reasons to Visit Walt Disney World During The Christmas Season!

Guide4WDW.com

by: guide4wdw - Collin

Over the last few days, Disney has really ramped up their holiday decor and made the quick change over to the Christmas festivities. Starting tonight, with an Annual Passholder preview, Hollywood Studios officially kicked off it's first debut of Sunset Seasons Greetings, but we'll touch on that more a little later in this post (jump to #4 if you're just here for the video!). However, holidays at Walt Disney World are quite possibly my favorite time of year to visit the parks. In all honesty, this is the one time of year I would recommend anyone to travel to Walt Disney World. Of course, the crowds do tend to be quite heavy but there are so many wonderful reasons to visit that the crowd levels (in my opinion) are easy to overlook simply because there is so much to do that doesn't involve waiting in line. It's nearly all about your surroundings.   

(Photo: Disney) 

1. Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party
The Christmas party is really the 'big show' for Walt Disney World. It is a hard ticketed event that is not included in general theme park admission and costs quite a bit to participate in (ranging from $95-$110 depending on the date - for adults). However, if you could do one add on event during the Holidays at Disney, this would be my highest recommendation. 

I've been blessed to have been able to attend this event on a few different occasions and I can honestly say that it is the one thing I look forward to more than anything at Walt Disney World. The party draws in the Christmas theming in a truly incredible way and sets the mood for Christmas in a way that no other event can really develop. From the unlimited hot cocoa and treats throughout the night, to special character interactions (including one with all seven dwarfs), and one of the greatest parades Disney has ever put on display, the Christmas spirit overflows as the nights events unfold. 

The crowds tend to vary from date to date, but every time we have been there was more than enough attractions that you could simply "walk-on." The highlight of the whole experience is certainly Main Street. The lights of the street and the wreaths surroundings guests of all ages decked out in Santa hats and festive mouse ears creates a scene that can only be best described as magical.      

2. Epcot International Festival of the Holidays
The Festival of the Holidays isn't the longest running event at the Walt Disney World, but it is perhaps one of the best "hidden gems." Around the holidays, Epcot pulls out all the stops and creates booths and activities that share food and quite a bit of history surrounding the countries represented in the World Showcase. For example, the United Kingdom pavilion debuts a representation of "Santa" that many Americans would have never pictured. He sings through the streets and gathers guests to tell a story. It's a simple touch, but one that surprises and enthralls guests in both history and entertainment. Every country has it's own little Christmas spin, but uncovering those little details of the holiday festivities is sincerely a huge part of the fun. You never know what you may come across, but you rarely have to wait in lines, and it encompasses a spontaneous nature that is a breath of fresh air in Disney planning and theme park touring.       


3. Illuminations Holiday Finale
The Illuminations Holiday finale is (again, in my opinion) one of the most under appreciated and under advertised aspects of Christmas at Walt Disney World as a whole. Around Christmas, and the many weeks surrounding it, Illuminations debuts the Holiday Finale. The finale is fairly short but the song "Let There Be Peace On Earth" rings out across the park, flowing over a crowd that views in true awe. Pods of sparkler-style bursts open up across the lake and shimmer on the water as a perfectly synchronized pyrotechnic display fires into the sky. 

It's simple a special ending to the show we all know and love, but there's something about it that makes guests stare in amazement and appreciate, even for just a few minutes, all they have been given and the incredible opportunity it is to experience a simple moment of "Peace on Earth" in this ever changing world we live in. It doesn't matter how you view Christmas or if you feel it's the best/worst holiday around, listen to that show and you'll recognize the wonderful and unifying moment the experience brings.    

4. Sunset Seasons Greetings At Hollywood Studios 
Over at Hollywood Studios, Disney debuted an entirely new experience they're calling Sunset Seasons Greetings tonight (November 5th). While tonight is simply a preview, be sure to check out a video shared with us by Destinations to Travel (quote request form below if you're planing a vacation) below for a closer look at the Tower of Terror's incredible transformation for the event. Utilizing projection mapping, Disney has created a simple show to really bring the holidays in to Hollywood Studios in a brand new way. The projections are simple but highly impressive, but the real show stopping performance has to go out to the park overall. Hollywood Studios is incredibly unique to visit around Christmas. Everything from the Windows lining the entrance way, to the palm trees reaching high into the sky are all a part of the holiday transformation. This year, new decorations have debuted, likely with more on the way, so there's been no better time to enjoy the impressive (while somehow still slightly less crowded than other parks) display.       


5. The People Around You 
This last reason seems incredibly simple, but is perhaps the most important element of this entire list. Many cast members give up time they could be spending with their families and friends to create incredible memories for guests in the parks. Their efforts sincerely show. Many don't get to see their families at Christmas, but each and every cast member tries there best to share an experience with guests that will create memories for others and allow them to play a incredible role in the memories made and experiences created for guests. Cast are truly what make the biggest difference but the guests around you can continue that holiday spirit in a great way as well. 

Guests in the parks around Christmas are excited in anticipation of what Christmas brings. No matter what your background concerning the holiday may be, it's hard not to appreciate the heart that accompanies the Christmas season. People are simply happy, and at Walt Disney World everything on the list culminates to create a truly unforgettable experience full of joy and happiness in a largely unexplainable way. It honestly is the most wonderful time of the year.    

What is your favorite aspect of Walt Disney World during the Christmas season?

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