Celebrating a Magical Disney Christmas

A very merry Christmas from our family to yours!

We spent our morning watching the Disney Parks Magical Christmas Day Parade in the background, which celebrated its 40th anniversary this year. The holiday spectacular was hosted by Derek and Julianne Hough, who were joined by country music star Mickey Guyton and “The Golden Bachelor” host Jesse Palmer. This year’s event included special performances by many guests, including:

  • Ariana DeBose, who sang “This Wish” from the new Disney film Wish
  • Chrissy Metz – “Silver Bells”
  • The Smashing Pumpkins performing an original Christmas song, “Evergreen”
  • Iam Tongi – “Mele Kalikimaka”
  • The Broadway and North American Tour Cast of Aladdin performing “Friend Like Me” and
  • Michael Bolton – “Joy to the World”

The show also features memorable performances from past years, including

  • NSYNC performing “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” from 1998 (they were so young!)
  • Gwen Stefani “Winter Wonderland” from 2018 and
  • Mary J. Blige and David Foster’s performance of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” from 2013

(In case you missed it, the parade will be streaming today on Hulu and Disney+.)

The annual parade wrapped up a festive season of holiday happenings (some of which you can still experience):



Walt Disney World Rings in the Holidays with Soulful Delights

Throughout the Christmas season, Guests got the chance to enjoy enchanting experiences, cultural immersions and general merrymaking that paid tribute to Black heritage and culture through music, food, art and more. The “Celebrating Soulfully’’ celebration included meeting Santa Claus, who represents the spirit of the holiday season and reflects the diversity of the guests who visit The Most Magical Place on Earth. Saint Nick made appearances throughout the parks and Disney Springs. Other special events included the iconic Candlelight Processional at EPCOT, the new Jollywood Nights event at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and a wide variety of holiday-themed cuisine, music, art and more – all with a soulful twist.




This year saw the debut of EPCOT’s newest nighttime spectacular, Luminous The Symphony of Us. The new show includes dazzling fireworks, fountains, and lights, along with a new musical score. Among the many talented voices contributing to the score is singer/songwriter Shelea, one of the show’s lead vocalists. Her voice can be heard on the two new original songs that bookend the show, with “Heartbeat Symphony” at the beginning and “Beating of Our Hearts” at the end.


You can still experience the EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays presented by AdventHealth, which runs through December 30. This festive event takes place throughout World Showcase (and beyond) and features live entertainment, scrumptious food, and the legendary Holiday Cookie Stroll. The highlight of the Festival is the Candlelight Processional, which takes place in the American Gardens Theatre. The remaining celebrity narrators for this year’s series includes:

  • Steven Curtis Chapman: Dec. 24-26
  • Audra McDonald: Dec. 27-28
  • Lisa Ling: Dec. 29-30

Another returning entertainment favorite is “JOYFUL! A Celebration of the Season.” This uplifting performance of gospel music mixed with jazz and R&B celebrates Christmas and Kwanzaa with multiple performances daily on the World Showcase Plaza Stage.



 Food & Beverage

If you’re looking to tempt your tastebuds over the Christmas season while you’re in Disney, you’ll want to be sure to visit the Holiday Kitchens throughout EPCOT, which feature cultural holiday fare from around the world, including mouth-watering options such as the New Year’s traditional treat Hoppin’ John. This southern dish is a tasty combination of black-eyed peas, ham hocks and kale served over rice with cornbread crumbles. This comforting dish is served alongside Blackened Catfish and Comeback Sauce at American Adventure pavilion.

There are also delicious tastes and sips made with Black-owned liquor brands at various Disney resorts. For instance, the Belle Vue Lounge at Disney’s BoardWalk Resort offers Sparkling Hibiscus, which blends Sorel Hibiscus Liqueur by renowned microdistiller Jackie Summers with a sparkling grapefruit mixer. Additionally, the Pineapple Mule, which features Uncle Nearest Tennessee Whiskey, is available at multiple locations across property and continues to be a favorite among guests.



Let’s Go Find a Christmas Tree!

Another beloved holiday tradition is the Disney Springs Christmas Tree Stroll. As you stroll through the charming marketplace you’ll discover 19 Disney-themed trees throughout the four “neighborhoods” that make up Disney Springs. Be sure to look for the new The Princess and the Frog Tree! In addition, you’ll be entertained by the contemporary Afropop band Wassalou, who performs throughout the season to celebrate Kwanzaa.

All in all, it was a festive and magical Christmas season at Walt Disney World. As we get ready to ring in the New Year, we always like to relax with a great Christmas movie. But which one? Check out our latest podcast episode where we talk about our favorite holiday movies (both Disney and non-Disney), with a few surprises along the way!

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