Get Ready, Walt Disney World Fans, Here Comes Christmas!

While many of us can hardly believe that it’s Halloween already, those of us who have been long-time fans of the Walt Disney World theme parks know that Disney doesn’t play when it comes to celebrating major holidays. I mean, we’ve all been celebrating Halloween since August but tonight, after the last ghost has made its way back to the Haunted Mansion, the installation of holiday décor usually begins throughout the parks and resorts.

Guests who visit Magic Kingdom on November 1st will typically see no traces of Halloween anywhere in the park. In fact, sometimes in years prior, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party would begin just two days after the final Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party event was held. It’s crazy to think that all of that work could possibly be done in two overnight shifts because none of that work occurs on Main Street, U.S.A. while guests are in the park. This year, the team of decorators has a whole week as the first day of the Christmas party isn’t until November 8th.

With that being said, I thought we’d take a little peek at what’s on the agenda so far for the holiday season at Walt Disney World.

Holiday Décor Abounds  

Almost everywhere you look, you will be immersed in festive holiday décor. The theme parks, resorts, and Disney Springs will soon be transformed into all that is merry and bright.

Décor highlights include:  

  • Christmas trimmings and theming throughout Main Street, U.S.A. in Magic Kingdom.
  • Holiday glamour on Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and festive touches in Toy Story Land.
  • Animal-inspired décor, luminaries on Discovery Island, and holiday cheer that expats from Earth have brought to Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  
  • Dazzling international decor around World Showcase at EPCOT.  
  • Nightly snow flurries and Disney-themed Christmas trees at Disney Springs.
  • Iconic Gingerbread displays and embellishments at Disney Resort Hotels.
  • And Christmas trees seemingly everywhere – more than 1300 at last count, some towering 65 feet. 

Experience Enchanting Entertainment This Holiday Season 

As the Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary celebration continues, select theme park icons will continue to transform into Beacons of Magic in between showings of glittering holiday-themed displays. Disney elves have gone above and beyond to bring guests a variety of yuletide entertainment experiences this holiday season.

  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom  
    • A Merry Menagerie of life-sized, artisan-sculpted puppets of winter animals bring Discovery Island to life as they interact with guests alongside serenading musicians. 
    • After dark, watch the Tree of Life awaken as a series of wintry tales emerge from within, complemented by holiday-inspired music. 
  • EPCOT 
    • From November 25 through December 30, 2022, guests will find holiday magic throughout the entire park. 
    • Santa will be greeting guests inside the Odyssey Pavilion as he gets ready for the big day. 
    • Heartwarming performances around World Showcase include Canadian Holiday Voyageurs, Las Posadas with Mariachi Cobre, the Chinese Lion Dance, and holiday storytellers.  
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios
    • Sunset Seasons Greetings brings holiday magic each evening as the iconic Hollywood Tower Hotel transforms into myriad scenes including a “Toy Story” toy hotel, a snowy corner of Arendelle, and more.  
    • The Santa Claus Merry Motorcade features jolly St. Nick cruising down Hollywood Blvd. in his candy-apple red convertible stuffed full of presents. 
    • Olaf stars in a festive finale to “For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration” that delights guests with performances of celebratory songs of the holiday season.  
  • Magic Kingdom
    • On nights when Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is not held, Cinderella Castle transforms to take on a magical holiday look complete with special projection effects, festive colors, and a rotating series of designs including a whimsical Christmas sweater, a jeweled castle look, and more.

So, what are you thinking about the Castle Dream Lights? I am feeling a bit melancholy about them because I’m nervous that we will not get to enjoy them in the future as we have in the past. Those lights were one of the biggest draws for me to start planning a holiday vacation to Walt Disney World. I had only ever seen Disneyland’s tiny pink castle with snow-covered peaks and with Cinderella Castle looking as though it was covered in sparkling sugar crystals, I dreamt of the day that I’d be able to see it in person. Anyhow, fast forward many years to right now, and with those lights still not showing any signs of returning, I’m nervous and hopeful that they’ll return in 2023.

  • Disney Springs
    • A collection of elaborately decorated Disney trees is on display as part of the Disney Springs Christmas Tree Stroll presented by AdventHealth. Located throughout Disney Springs, these festively decorated trees are sure to spruce up the holiday atmosphere. Guests can even go on a scavenger hunt to find all the trees. Once completed, they can bring it to a redemption location for a special surprise.  
    • Guests can walk in a winter wonderland, strolling through Town Center and the West Side as flurries of snow add a touch of magic to holiday shopping.  
    • Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar transforms into a Holiday Bar complete with jolly decorations to ring in the merry season. Guests can indulge in limited-time holiday-themed sips and snacks to get into the spirit of the season.  
    • Guests will find Santa at Once Upon a Toy where they can take photos and share holiday wishes with him.  
    • Enjoy new and returning festive food items throughout Disney Springs like the Olaf Hot Cocoa Surprise from The Ganachery. 

I do love the way that Disney does the holiday season and I’m looking forward to seeing some of the fun that is coming this year!

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Following a Night of Underage Drinking at Orlando Clubs, Teenager Speeds Into Disney’s Animal Kingdom While Extremely Intoxicated

A Sanford teenager was arrested for driving under the influence after he sped toward the toll plaza at Disney’s Animal Kingdom this summer, frightening the Cast Member collecting parking fees.

disneys animal kingdom entrance parking lot reopening annual passholder preview 3

Sebastian Anyel Salguero-Rivera, 19, has pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanor driving under the influence charge, Orange Circuit Court records show.

The situation took place on the morning of August 21, according to the sheriff’s report released this past week. There were other Disney visitors at the parking plaza when his alleged drunk driving occurred before 8 a.m.

The Cast Member noticed Salguero-Rivera’s Toyota Sienna when he was the fourth car in line. They described what happened next in the arrest report.

Sebastian Salguero Rivera

“Once it was Sebastian’s turn to approach the toll plaza he began to … speed as he was approaching a stop sign. She believed [Sebastian’s] speed was unsafe and put her arm outside in order to stop Sebastian,” the arrest report said. “She stated when Sebastian stopped the car, she instructed him to lower the window, so he could pay for admission to the park. [The Cast Member] stated Sebastian looked at her with his eyes drooping shut. [The Cast Member} stated he then looked forward, closed his eyes completely, and tilted his head forward.”

It apparently did not take long for Orange County Sheriff’s deputy Andrew Nunez to arrive at the scene. Deputy Nunez described Salguero-Rivera as having “bloodshot, glassy, and watery eyes.”

“Sebastian had trouble keeping his head up while he was in the car. Once Sebastian started speaking to me, I could smell the strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his mouth. The smell grew stronger every time he spoke to me. I also noticed Sebastian had a slurred and thick-tongued speech, which made it hard to understand what Sebastian was saying,” the deputy wrote.

“He told me he was working in downtown Orlando; however, I could see he was wearing a green wristband that is used to enter Orlando clubs as a guest. It is also used as a way to order alcoholic beverages at the bar counter. When I asked for his license, he was having trouble finding it, when it was on his lap. I then asked Sebastian to step out (of) his vehicle. Sebastian was stumbling out of his vehicle, and I asked him if he was all right before he continued to stand.”

Salguero-Rivera failed a sobriety test because he kept almost falling and not following the deputy’s instructions. Salguero-Rivera later agreed to do a breath test which showed his blood alcohol concentration measuring .142 or .141. In Florida, it is illegal to drive with a .08 BAC or higher, and Salguero-Rivera is below the legal drinking age of 21.

His Animal Kingdom day ended with his car towed, him going to jail, and Disney trespassing him from all its properties. His next court hearing is scheduled for November 7. His attorney did not immediately comment when WDWNT reached out.

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