2018 Walt Disney World Holiday Preview From Christmas in July Event

Hi everyone!

We were invited to a Walt Disney World “Christmas in July” holiday preview last week, including a combination tour to showcase the Yuletide Fantasy Tour and Holiday D-Lights Tour. I have an article posted with video that shares some upcoming Christmas and holiday merchandise including an interview I had with Merchandise Communications Manager Steven Miller. And I will be posting an article soon with my thoughts on the Yuletide Fantasy Tour and Holiday D-Lights Tour aspects that I experienced.

All photos by Denise Preskitt, Mousesteps

Of course, we still have Halloween coming up shortly (August 17th, 2018 begins the first Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party!) – but we’ll jump ahead to just some of what we can look for coming up this holiday season. The park enhancements this year are mostly at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, where the biggest changes happened last year due to the Osborne Lights “glowing away”. And in turn, Disney’s Hollywood Studios became my favorite park last year for overall Christmas, with Echo Lake the biggest surprise. Of course, we always (this is our 12th year!) cover the holidays through the parks and resorts, including Disney’s Grand Floridian Gingerbread House, Disney’s Beach Club Resort Gingerbread Display, Amorette’s at Disney Springs, Disney’s Fort Wilderness Christmas Golf Cart Parade and so much more. We always try to get to as many resorts as we can in addition to the parks and Disney Springs. Here are just a few of the highlights this year!

Magic Kingdom

Anna and Elsa will again be lighting Cinderella Castle in A Frozen Holiday Wish. We post about this every year and have since Cinderella’s Holiday Wish debuted in 2007 as the Cinderella Castle Dreamlights were lit for the very first time. This has become more and more popular through the years.

A Frozen Holiday Wish

Cinderella Castle turned to “ice” in A Frozen Holiday Wish at the Magic Kingdom

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party began offering a wider variety of treats in 2016, and that will continue this year. Entertainment Show Director Denise Case told us that she loved the idea because of cookie exchanges and how it encourages sharing a wide variety of items. This was a very popular part of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party last year and included a number of different cookies, a pretzel, and chocolates along with hot chocolate, egg nog and other beverages.

Guest favorite characters will also be back around the park.

Scrooge McDuck and Donald Duck

She also noted it was going to be year ten for A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas – do you remember when that started? I do! It is one of my favorite shows of the holiday season, I always call it my guilty pleasure.

A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas

Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration returns for its third year, the show became an instant classic when it debuted in 2016. It won a Brass Ring Award from IAAPA in 2017 for Most Creative Christmas Show.

The Three Cabelleros in Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration

There may also be another dance party at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, but it hasn’t yet been announced.


Epcot’s offerings are pretty similar to last year, with the beloved Candlelight Processional as the main event for Festival of the Holidays (formerly Holidays Around the World for pretty much forever before that!). My first time seeing the show was probably the mid-90s and it has been a must-do every year since.

Candlelight Processional

Last year, some changes were made in entertainment – one of the highlights for me was Mostly Kosher in between France and Morocco. They will be back this year! And Joyful! A Gospel Celebration of the Season will be back again this year, this will be year ten for them as well! It is hard to believe they began back in 2009.

Not discussed at the event but one I wanted to mention – I expect one of my personal favorite holiday experiences to be back again, and that is the decorations in the Living with the Land attraction (I affectionately call it Living with the Land Holiday). Living with the Land often celebrates festivals and holidays through the year in a small way but Christmas is on another level.

Living with the Land snowman


Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Toy Story Land will receive a Christmas overlay this year, and Entertainment Director Tom Vazzana said they were also working on holiday costume overlays for characters.

Jingle Bell, Jingle Bam! will be back, as will the holiday version of For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration.

Holidays at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Sunset Seasons Greetings will include lasers in the mid-section and top, and will light up the snow. This will be the second year for the show that is on the Hollywood Tower Hotel. The stories include Toy Story and the Swedish Chef, as they did last year.

Sunset Seasons Greetings

Hollywood Tower Hotel as gingerbread in Sunset Seasons Greetings

Mickey and Minnie in Sunset Seasons Greetings

Echo Lake’s decorations really were fantastic last year, and Vazzana said the ornaments would be tripled this year.

Echo Lake

Disney Springs

Five more Christmas trees will be added to the Christmas Tree Trail, now in it’s third year. A Haunted Mansion tree will be included, along with a Star Wars tree, a 4 parks tree, a Nordic Winter tree and a Mickey & Minnie nostalgia tree.

Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail

Vazzana said that 500,000 guests visited the Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail in its first year, and 950,000 in the second year. He’s hoping for over a million this year.

Amorettes had a terrific gingerbread display last year showcasing highlights at Disney Springs. We were told there would be a new display this year. Plus, they will have holiday treats.

There is more that I didn’t mention and much more to see during Walt Disney World holidays – it would be hard to hit every aspect, but we do our best during the Christmas and holiday season. And while Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park isn’t a focal point of the celebrations this year, I always head to Dinoland and visit Santa-Saurus in Chester and Hester’s Dinosaur Treasures and look at the fun Dinoland decorations and large Christmas tree at the front of the park. And each resort has something to offer in terms of decorations! We will bring you as much of the season as we can as we always do!