Some may say there’s no place like home for the holidays, but I argue there’s no place like the holidays at Disney World! I know a Disney World trip can be pricey, especially during this time of year when your cash is already spoken for. But I’ve got good news! Much of the Disney holiday magic from the parks can also be found at Disney Springs, no ticket required. So for this installment of Ticketless Disney, let’s take a look at how to have yourself a merry little Christmas at Disney Springs!
Splurge on Bakery Treats
Love the Epcot food festivals? Many of the Disney Springs restaurants and dining spots offer themed holiday dishes and treats to enjoy. There are so many you may need to make several visits to try them all. For instance, Vivoli il Gelato has a Candy Cane Sundae, the 4 Rivers Cantina Barbacoa Food Truck has Gingerbread Churro Balls, Planet Hollywood has Sticky Toffee Pudding, and both Amorette’s Patisserie and The Ganachery offer a wide variety of sweet festive treats. Those strolling through the Tree Trail can also sip on Frozen Eggnog and Frozen Hot Chocolate, as well as snack on special cookies and even eggnog, gingerbread, and peppermint flavored cotton candy!
Meet Festive Characters
Yes, you can meet Santa at the Disney Parks, but you can also meet Santa for free at the Christmas Tree Trail. From 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM, guests can check in at the podium and give Santa’s helper their cell number. Then you and your little prince and princess can pick out what they want to ask him for at Once Upon a Toy or the World of Disney Store instead of waiting in line.
At the Coca-Cola Store, head up to the second floor to meet the Coca-Cola Polar Bear! He’s so cute and possibly my favorite character to meet in all of Walt Disney World these days. Be sure to look down when waiting in line to meet this cuddly guy. The floor looks like floating icebergs and you may see the Polar Bear swimming around! Tip: A photographer is present to take your photos with the Polar Bear, but they’re not included with Disney’s PhotoPass. Fortunately, they will take a photo with your own phone or camera for you for free.
Experience a Snow Flurry
A huge draw at some of the Disney Parks during this time of year, particularly for kids and the young at heart, is their simulated snow flurries that guarantee a White Christmas even in Central Florida. Thankfully, the winter weather isn’t confined to the parks anymore. Now a Disney Springs tradition, the Christmas Tree Trail has 27 Christmas trees elaborately themed after Disney films, franchises, and even attractions! There’s holiday music to listen to, snacks and drinks to indulge in, and yes, even snow!
Wear Your Holiday PJs
Many guests attending Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party wear their holiday pajamas to the event. Fortunately, guests without this special event ticket can still don their festive, comfy, and cozy best! All month long, guests are invited to wear their holiday pajamas to the Maria & Enzo’s Holiday Brunch. Every Sunday through December 30, 2018, groups who wear matching holiday PJs will receive a free commemorative photo. Need another incentive? Kids age 9 and under eat free.
Take Part in a Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger Hunts are common at Epcot during the different festivals, but kids can enjoy a holiday scavenger hunt at Disney Springs too! Stitch’s Holiday Gift Hunt sends participants all throughout Disney Springs in pursuit of a hidden Stitch and his presents. Once a participant has filled out their booklet, they can head to a redemption center for a prize! Parents, if you have little reluctant shoppers, this is a way for them to have fun while you shop.
Christmas Park Merchandise at Disney Springs
A common complaint among Disney fans is the same merchandise is pretty much everywhere these days. However, if you don’t have a park ticket, this is great! At Disney Springs, stores carrying Disney merchandise, namely the World of Disney Store, have much of the holiday-themed merchandise from the parks available. I’m talking ears, spirit jerseys, ornaments, home decor, and the like.
Pick Up Park Snacks
Love the holiday-themed treats at the Confectionary and Big Top Treats? Goofy’s Candy Company and Disney’s Candy Cauldron offer many of the same festive treats from the park bakeries at Disney Springs, such as Cake Pops, Candy Apples, Rice Krispie treats, and the like. Skip the mess and have Cast Members package up your treats so you can take them to go.
Enjoy the Holiday Decor
While I love seeing the Disney Parks all decked out for the holidays, Disney Springs sure knows how to deck the halls too. Like the parks, Disney Springs offers giant trees, Christmas tunes, gorgeous garlands, charming window displays, and plenty of gift inspiration. Amorette’s Patisserie even has a gingerbread display!
If you need a little bit of Disney in your Christmas with as little damage as possible to your budget, be sure to check out Disney Springs. Again, much of the holiday fun from the parks is here too, and you don’t even have to pay to park!