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How Do They Do It: Magic Kingdom Goes From Spooky to Jolly as Christmas Officially Kicks off at Disney World

It’s the day after Halloween at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World, and for many, including Disney, that means one thing: it’s officially Christmas at “The Most Magical Place on Earth.”

Once Upon a Christmastime Parade
Credit: Disney

Bells will be ringing starting tomorrow at Walt Disney World as Magic Kingdom makes the jump from spooky to jolly. The halls will be magically decked overnight in anticipation of the 2023 holiday season.

Related: Complete Guide to Christmas at Magic Kingdom

With the first Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party only a week away, the jump from pumpkin spice to cinnamon sugar happens almost overnight at Disney World. The lights of Main Street have lost their fall-colored wreaths and are now adorned with festive garland, harboring in what many consider to be one of the most beautiful time of the year at Magic Kingdom.

Christmas at Disney World is Here

Magic Kingdom is the central hub for all holiday-related happenings at Walt Disney World. However, it isn’t the only place offering some frosty fun this year. 

Although you’ll find exciting layovers to popular Magic Kingdom attractions like Jingle Cruise, there’s plenty of Christmas spirit to go around all over Disney World’s other parks, resorts, and shopping district, Disney Springs.


Immaculately designed gingerbread houses will make their way back to Walt Disney World Resorts like the Grand Floridian. As well, giant Christmas trees pop up all over Disney World, including at EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom.

Speaking of Hollywood Studios, rivaling the merriment of Main Street, U.S.A. this year, “Jollywood” Nights, Disney World’s newest ticketed event, is bringing that old-school holiday vibe to Hollywood Studios.

Related: Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party SELLS OUT December Date

Of course, old favorites, such as the Candlelight Processional, part of EPCOT’s International Festival of the Holidays, return. However, as everyone knows, the main event happens at Magic Kingdom, especially during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

Magic Kingdom’s Christmas Party

As the calendar turns, Magic Kingdom will once again find itself decked to the tee, ringing loudly in the 2023 holiday season with beautiful decor, amazing eats, and special treats.

Christmas day parade
Credit: Disney

Magic Kingdom is a happening place during Christmas. Not only are there fun ride additions, breathtaking trees and decor, and shops full of wintertime merchandise, but the flagship theme park is also home to Disney World’s premiere holiday event, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

The party is a specialty ticketed event that takes place on select nights beginning November 9 this year. Much like Disney World’s Halloween celebrations, Christmas at Magic Kingdom brings with it rare characters, parades, snow, beautiful projections for Cinderella Castle, and, of course, the main event: Santa Claus.

Related: Christmas Came Early Thanks to This New Popcorn Bucket Announcement!

Mickey Mouse, Cinderella Castle, holiday-themed Space Mountain, and Santa Claus all in one night! What’s not to get excited about?

How Disney Transforms Magic Kingdom Overnight

The ongoing joke amongst Christmas lovers is that as soon as the last trick-or-treater leaves their doorstep, it’s time to put up the tree. Although this is typically a jab at those who get overzealous with their decorating, Disney World takes the challenge quite literally.

Within hours of finishing Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party around Halloween, Magic Kingdom undergoes a vast and magical transformation as it prepares for the arrival of Santa Claus and Christmas.

Once Upon a Christmastime Parade
Credit: Disney

Stepping off of the monorail or ferry boat into Magic Kingdom on November 2 is extremely impressive, especially if you visited the theme park two days prior when Halloween was still in full swing.

So, how do they do it? How does Disney World transform Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom, Disney Springs, EPCOT, and Hollywood Studios into a winter wonderland (as far as Florida goes) overnight? The answer is precision and a well-crafted team of crack-shot holiday-services employees who are up for the challenge.

Related: Disney Releases a Brand New Look at Upcoming Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Event

Through meticulous planning and organization, Disney cast members and Imagineers usher Halloween out the door while strategically decorating sections of their parks, like Main Street, U.S.A., one by one, until Magic Kingdom and the rest of Walt Disney World is a jolly festival that even the North Pole and Santa Claus would be jealous of.

Out of all the attractions and shows at Disney World, the transformation of Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney Springs, and Hollywood Studios into Christmas is one of the more impressive feats that the cast behind the scenes accomplishes each and every year. Despite the massive overhaul, even though Cinderella Castle and other park landmarks will be ready to ring in the “most wonderful time of the year,” sometimes it takes a little longer for trees and other decor to pop up. 

Eat, Drink, and Be Merry

Understanding the finite details that must be considered when overhauling Disney World in preparation for Christmas really puts into perspective how amazing the feat is. Not only do decor and ride layovers need to go up in preparation for the Christmas party and events, but menus often get an overhaul as well.

If You Only Get To Visit One EPCOT Festival, Make It This One
Credit: Disney/ Canva

New snacks, foods, and drinks hit the parks in full force during the holidays. Sugary snacks, savory meals, and spiced adult beverages are all part of the fun at Animal Kingdom, EPCOT, and Hollywood Studios, while Magic Kingdom boasts a more traditional Christmas fare favored by children and adults seeking a more family-oriented celebration.

Although not changing along with the rest of Walt Disney World, EPCOT also acts as a central hub for all those thirsty throats and hungry bellies during Christmas. Beginning November 24, The International Festival of the Holidays will begin this year, bringing unique holiday-themed delights from around the world.

Related: Dining Guide to the 2023 EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays

As much as there is to see and do during Christmas at Walt Disney World, there’s even more to taste, eat, and drink.

Which Do You Prefer: Halloween or Christmas at Magic Kingdom?

Magic Kingdom is so fun around the last few months of the year. The jump from Halloween to Christmas is enjoyed by many, but some prefer pumpkins and skeletons to snow and Santa.

Halloween candy mickey's not so scary halloween party 2023 sold out tickets boo to you halloween parade
Credit: Disney

With all of the fun offerings for both holidays, it can be a toss-up for many who can’t decide when to visit. Of course, if you can, we suggest visiting during both holiday celebrations, taking in all the sights and sounds of Christmas and Halloween at Magic Kingdom.

Both holiday parties are amazing, bringing a unique and fun experience to visitors to both Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Main Street is decorated to the max for both holidays, and although Halloween has Jack Skellington, Christmas typically has both him and the leading man, Santa Claus.

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party
Credit: Disney

It can be a tough decision for those trying to decide which event to attend. There are a lot of factors to consider. At Halloween, guests can gorge themselves on handfuls of candy as they trick-or-treat, but at Christmas time, the desserts and foods take a festive turn to cookies, cupcakes, and more. So, which do you prefer: Christmas or Halloween at Magic Kingdom?

This post originally appeared on Disney Dining.

Michael Arnold

Michael is a father, husband, and an Army Veteran. Michael spends his weekends at Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando checking out new merchandise and food. Michael is a graduate of the University of Alabama and has an education background in Public Health. You can find Michael riding Pirates of the Caribbean over and over again or binge watching new Marvel and Star Wars content. Han shot first. Thor is the strongest Avenger. Roll Tide and Wash Your Hands!

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