Santa Claus Festive Flotilla Returns to Disney’s Animal Kingdom for 2023 Holiday Season

Kyle Silagyi

Santa Claus Festive Flotilla Returns to Disney’s Animal Kingdom for 2023 Holiday Season

Saint Nicholas has exchanged his reindeer for a raft at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, as the Santa Claus Festive Float has returned to Discovery River for the 2023 holiday season. The big man himself started sailing around Discovery Island on November 11 and will continue to do so through December 24 (we hear he has plans that night).

Santa Claus Festive Flotilla Returns to Disney’s Animal Kingdom

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Santa waves at guests as he passes by in his flotilla that’s fashioned after a sleigh. Its walls are red and contain seasonal imagery such as snowflakes and swirling patterns. Large loops and reindeer flats appear on the sides.

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Festive flowers and lights hang over the walls. Colorful pinwheels stand across the flotilla, which appears aesthetically unchanged from last year.

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Santa wears his traditional fur-lined red coat that’s accessorized with his thick belt. He stands on the deck that’s been painted, in spots, with multi-colored snowflakes and other festive icons. His large bag of toys appears to his left.

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The Santa Claus Festive Flotilla sails down Discovery River periodically throughout each day.

Watch our video of the Santa Flotilla from its introduction in 2020 below.

If you’d like a more personal interaction with jolly old St. Nick, Santa Claus meet and greets are currently offered throughout Walt Disney World Resort at Magic Kingdom (during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party), EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney Springs. Though not available yet, a meet and greet featuring Santa in tropical attire is expected to return to Blizzard Beach soon.

Other festive offerings at Disney’s Animal Kingdom include the returning Merry Menagerie puppets on Discovery Island and the Tree of Life Awakenings Holiday Edition light and projection effects show. Over at the nearby Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, the grand “Gingeraffe” gingerbread display has returned for the season.

Do you plan on celebrating the holidays at Disney’s Animal Kingdom this year? If so, will you be keeping an eye out for the Santa Claus Festive Flotilla? Let us know in the comments.

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