All Photos by Alex Westcott.
Now that it’s December, we’ll enjoy a holiday-focused visit to Magic Kingdom.
The Halloween decorations were a little lackluster this year, but Disney decided to go a little harder for the holiday season. Obviously, both Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween and Very Merry Christmas Parties are/were canceled in their entirety this year. A lot of the decorations are designed to be featured during those events.
We’ll enjoy some of the cavalcades, which have proved popular, particularly on Main Street as we look towards the usual Christmas Tree in the center of Town Square.
Here at 10:29am, it doesn’t look like a whole lot of people are around on Main Street.
But just three minutes later, the people pack in:
Crowds in Liberty Square are typically much lower, though you won’t enjoy the Main Street decorations. You can see there is nobody jostling for position here.
That won’t be the case up front once the music starts.
You may simply catch the cavalcades as they pass by.
And you can enjoy the decorations at your leisure after the people make their way into the Park. Most of the cavalcades run daily and if you stand on Main Street or sit down somewhere in Liberty Square, you should see most or all of them over the course of about an hour. You might grab a snack and enjoy some time off your feet in the middle of the day when wait times are highest.
A few more festive highlights:
Disney surprised everyone with a special holiday version of the Muppets show in Liberty Square.
Talk loudly and carry a small stick.
We previously covered “Disney’s Foodie Guide to Holiday Treats” at Magic Kingdom, which will be available through the end of the year. It occurred to me that they may not be using “Foodie” to describe someone with an elevated palate, but some of these items may not technically be food. You can’t be too careful with such a litigious society.
The “Just a Dream Away Shake – Salted Caramel Milk Shake with a Silver Sugar Churro” is available at Auntie Gravity’s in Tomorrowland through the end of the year.
Ours arrived as a pretty standard vanilla shake, perhaps with a hint of caramel in there somewhere. I have a feeling they ran out of what was supposed to be served and just went with it. We are tourists after all.
The Churros are typically on the staler side, but the ice cream in the shake helps. It certainly looks very Tomorrowland, but perhaps less holiday-y. There’s always that blue Choco Taco from Pecos Bill.
On the other side of the Park in Adventureland, Aloha Isle is serving up this $6.49 “Pistachio Chai Tea Float – Pistachio Soft-serve, Spiced Chai Tea, and a Red Velvet Cake Pop Ornament.”
This one felt a lot more Christmas-y with the cardamom, cinnamon, and spice in the Chai pairing nicely with the subtle nuttiness of the soft serve. It would certainly be refreshing on a warmer day and the little chocolate cake pop is a fun touch.
We’ll wave goodbye to Walt and return in the evening.
And it ended up being quite the sendoff with the Dapper Dans stopping at the Train Station after their cavalcade to sing some tunes.
While I wouldn’t congregate too close, you can watch the various performers come down the ramp next to the Chamber of Commerce, which is to the left of City Hall Guest Services on Main Street.
We return a little after 6pm to enjoy the nighttime festivities:
Disney replaced the usual Castle Dreamlights with a variety of projection shows this year:
With the cranes up most of the year for the Castle repainting, they may have just gotten tired of being up there or run out of time before it was Christmas light time. Also, without the Frozen Holiday Wish show preceding the initial flipping of the Dreamlights switch, the projections probably work fine given the circumstances. The people watch the projections as they pass for a few minutes and then continue on.
Jingle Cruise is always a little more fun at night.
Just after 7pm, the posted wait was 35 minutes.
And the actual wait ended up being half of that:
After not having much of an opportunity to see the Parks after dark over the summer, it’s potentially nice that the sun is down by 6pm these days. It’s also strange that the sun is down by 6pm these days.
We’ll get back for a touring day soon.
We still have the Studios to finish up and then an Animal Kingdom rope drop.
Seeing the characters wave goodbye on the way out is a fun bonus. While the close-up meet and greets remain out, Disney isn’t necessarily skimping on the entertainment front. If anything, they have a good excuse not to run the cavalcades based on how many people bunch together. Come January, they should return to “normal,” and demand will likely go down without any of the festive overlays.
The potential for holiday crowds didn’t seem to dissuade many from visiting on a peak day.
But at least we’re not standing in an extended queue for Muppet*Vision at 11:15am. We’ll get back there next.