Disney’s special holiday events are extravagant, beautiful, and amazingly fun.
Their Christmas event in particular brings guests from around the world to celebrate the holiday.
Once Halloween ends, Disney’s Christmas events begin, but when do the festivities stop and the decorations come down?
Typically, the Christmas decorations at Disney World begin to come down on the first Monday of the New Year. Major centerpieces at resort hotels will pretty much be gone by January 3 or 4, but it can take a week or two to get everything put away.
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Decorations
Each year on November 1, Magic Kingdom begins decorating for Christmas.
By the first Friday in November, the park is fully decorated and the Christmas festivities can begin in earnest.
Holiday special events at Disney World work differently than regular operating hours.
On select nights during the events, the parks put on special shows, parades, character events, and parties.
To stay in the parks and be part of the fun, you’ll need a special event ticket. Otherwise, you’ll be asked to leave the park around 6 pm, before the events start for the night.
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas usually runs from the very beginning of November until the first Monday of the New Year.
It was replaced in 2021 by the park’s Very Merry After-Hours due to pandemic restrictions, but it should be starting back up in 2022.
If the year ends on a weekend, decorations will stay up until Monday. This lets guests enjoy the holiday for their full vacation.
Once the new year turns over, the decorations are taken down over the course of three or four days.
All of the parks add some Christmas cheer to their decorations, but Magic Kingdom is the park that hosts the holiday events.
Each park has its own special twist to put on the holiday season. EPCOT decorates the different cultural areas as they would be decorated in that country.
The resort hotels will usually have everything taken down before the parks. Lobby centerpieces come down well before the hanging pieces in the parks.
What to Expect at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
The park’s decorations aren’t the only thing that changes for Christmas at Disney World.
Snow begins falling on Main Street USA and the parks put on exclusive fireworks shows that are (somehow) even bigger than normal.
Dance parties, stage shows, and special parades happen in the park. You’ll find stands with free hot chocolate and cookies that pop up around the park as well.
Because the event requires a special ticket which is sold in limited numbers, there are fewer people in the park once the nightly events start.
That means shorter wait times on rides and for food, more room to breathe as you walk around, and an overall less claustrophobic experience.
Be aware, that even with fewer people in the park, it can feel more crowded than during the day.
This is mostly because the people there will be centered on the events going on, so those areas will be heavily congested.
If the events aren’t a huge interest, lines for rides will be incredibly short so it’s the perfect time to get a few extra rides in.
Disney World is also well-known for its character meet-and-greets, but the Christmas event brings some limited-time characters to the park.
Most of the characters will also be donning special outfits that guests don’t see throughout the year such as Mary Poppin’s traveling costume, a Christmas collar for Pluto, or others with festive scarves.
How Busy is Disney World at Christmas?
Christmas is one of the busiest times of the year at Disney and this doesn’t just mean during nighttime festivities.
The decorations and holiday themes bring in even more people than during summertime. In peak years, well over 100,000 people will pack into Magic Kingdom on Christmas Day.
The closer it gets to Christmas, the busier the parks will be.
The beginning of November is slower than any time in December and is a great time to go if you want to enjoy the decorations and avoid jam-packed crowds.
The park empties around 6 or 7 PM, as the nightly events begin and guests without special event tickets must leave.
Special events tickets are sold in limited quantities to make it more of a VIP experience for guests.
From the event’s start until midnight, there are much fewer people in the parks. Ride times are much lower, but the areas around a parade, party, or event will be heavily congested.
Some guests go to the parks only for the special event evenings, entering later in the day so they can enjoy the rides and attractions with fewer people around.
To check expected guest levels for a given date, use a theme park crowd calendar.
Is Disney Still Decorated for Christmas in January?
Disney World still has some decorations up at the very beginning of January.
The first month of the year begins the off-season for Disney World and is actually one of the best times of year to visit to avoid crowds.
By January 3 or 4, all the decorations will be taken down and the parks will be returned to their normal, magical state.
Not all the parks take down or put up their decorations at the same pace. EPCOT tends to put its decorations up towards the end of November as they host a cultural festival that month.
If timed properly, guests can see the Halloween and Christmas decorations in one trip.
Visiting the parks at the very end of October and staying until a week into November should let this happen.
Disney releases time-lapse videos of the park being transformed from Halloween to Christmas, one of which you can view here.
Disney begins taking down their Christmas decorations on the first Monday of the New Year. This lets guests finish off the weekend enjoying the full level of Christmas decorations in the parks.
Generally, Magic Kingdom is fully transformed from Halloween to Christmas by November 3 or 4.
From then until after the New Year, guests can enjoy the snow on Main Street USA and see their favorite characters in Christmas outfits.