The Magic of the Disney World Holiday Decorations
A good friend of mine lives a mere 15-minute drive from Walt Disney World Resort, and after I finished expressing my jealousy for the 100th time, we got to talking about the Holidays and my next visit to the Resort. I won’t be in the place where dreams come true until the transition from Halloween to Christmas has taken place, and she and I got to talking about the magic of the holidays at the Disney Parks and, more specifically, how jaw-droppingly impressive it is that the Disney World Holiday decorations literally go up overnight, and here is how I know…
I was lucky enough to be at the very last Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party of 2017. In my book, the Halloween party beats the Christmas party any day of the week (there is a Hocus Pocus castle show!) from the option to dress up in whatever costume your heart desires to filling your belly with delicious (unlimited!) candy from trick or treating and pretending its dinner, there really isn’t a question that Halloween at Magic Kingdom is magical. On midnight last Halloween, like my sugar high, the smoking, orange-lit clock tower on the train station disappeared into the distance as I drove away.
The very next day I decided to head back to Magic Kingdom before my flight home. Battling a candy hangover and still replaying the bone-chilling ride of the Headless Horseman in my head, I disembarked the ferry to find the train station all decked out in garland, the fall mum-packed gardens at the foot of the station had transformed into a poinsettia paradise, and the scarecrows that had lined Main Street USA just 8 hours prior had been replaced by tall and handsome toy soldiers…yes, Christmas and all the Disney World holiday decorations had arrived overnight!
The Magical Transformation
Usually, an effect as awe-inspiring as a gorgeously decorated theme park DOES NOT happen overnight- unless of course you happen to be one of the theme parks run by Mr. Mouse, that is! After the final sweep is complete after the last Halloween party, the nightly cleaning team is joined by 85-95 workers who, after driving over a dozen trailers loaded to the brim with glittering decorations, get down to business like only Disney knows how. The workers spend the entire 8 hours of a guest-free Magic Kingdom toiling to uninstall, pack, unpack, and install the Disney World holiday decorations that we have all grown to love so dearly. Here are some awe-inspiring facts about the process that I still can’t wrap my brain around:
The tallest tree on Resort property stretches over 70 ft. into the air and features 35,000+ sparkling lights. Cinderella Castle is 199 ft. tall…that’s one big tree!
- I love to run- especially runDisney races- so when I learned that the ribbon used across the Property could be unrolled to equate to the distance of 13 half marathons, my runners’ brain did a double take when the math added up to a staggering 170.3 miles! Try running that distance in one day!
- If you’re an autograph and character photo collector, you’d better plan to make your way to the Resort for the holiday season! Over 30 characters including Mickey and Minnie dress up in limited-time holiday-themed attire. Put on your ugly sweater and hit the Parks for your chance to meet them!
- When Festival of Fantasy Parade debuted, the Christmas garland that stretched across Main Street USA needed a bit of re-imagination. The Maleficent float’s head was too tall to fit under the garland, so all new candle-bearing wreaths now line Main Street USA and, in my opinion, make for much better viewings of the Holiday Wishes fireworks show!
- Just how many lights does it take to light up the night and ignite Holiday spirit at Walt Disney World Resort? Only a mere 8.5 million lights!
- Between Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Disney Springs, and the Resort hotels, more than 4 dozen limited-edition Holiday sweets will be available! Combine that with the limited-time menu offerings and you’ll have to stay for the entire month of December if you hope to indulge in them all!
Unless I become one of the members of the Disney World holiday decorations team, I’ll likely never get to experience the transformation first-hand. I mustn’t be the only fan infatuated by the overnight transformation, because The Disney Parks Blog has created this amazing time-lapse video of Magic Kingdom getting its holiday treatment, and the best part is, this version only takes a few seconds…not 8 hours! What is your favorite Holiday decoration at the Resort? Is it in-Park, or at one of the Resort hotels? Let us know by leaving a comment below!
Are you excited for the holidays at Disney? We are! We hope to see you there!
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Special thanks to Maria Salerno for writing this article: Hiya pal! I am a NYC-based writer thrilled to be a part of your Disney vacation planning! I’m a WDW Annual Passholder, so you can find me in the parks regularly throughout the year. In addition to being a Disney Parks loving girl, I’m also a Disney toy and merchandise collector, a runDisney enthusiast, and Disney music and movie aficionado. You can follow me on Instagram: NYCtoAP and find me on YouTube: NYCtoAP. Thanks for reading, hope to see ya real soon!