The Magic Kingdom is open extended for “Extra Extra Magic Hours” this fall. Extra time to play if you like to get up early on your vacation…like 6am!
♪♫♪ It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…♪♫♪♫♪♪♫♪
Every Disney World park, resort, and cruise ship in the world gets decorated overnight for the holidays in early November. It’s a massive worldwide task transforming from Halloween to Christmas.
At Disney World, Disney Parks manager of Disney’s Holiday Services, Lisa Borotkanics, explains how it happens.
November 2, 2019: The park ‘All Clear’ signal wasn’t given until almost 2:30am causing a delay in getting all the holiday decor deployed overnight. (November 1st was the last night of MNSSHP.) The Halloween bunting was still up at the train station at 8am! It was taken down after park closing that night.
“Yes! All Halloween goes away right after park close [on November 1st, last night of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party] and some Christmas goes up,” a “tired and excited” Lisa says just a few days after managing this year’s holiday overhaul.
By “some Christmas,” she means about 50 percent of what ultimately will comprise the Disney World holiday display.
Christmas wreaths around the Cinderella Castle.
Holiday decorating continues to go on behind the scenes from November 2nd through Thanksgiving, but you’d never know it: “We want guests to feel that it is all done in one night! The reality is, what they see that first morning is done in less than seven hours. And it’s a very large decor package”
In just the Magic Kingdom alone, there are 40 trees to put up and decorate, 147 wreaths to hang and 590 fruit-ladened garlands to adorn the train station, the Cinderella Castle, cornerstone buildings, Main Street USA, and the lamp posts of Magic Kingdom by the time guests walk in the gates the next morning.
November 2, 2019: All the fabulous holiday decor is up on Main Street USA!
Additionally, each of Disney World’s three other theme parks, Blizzard Beach water park, Disney Springs, and all of the Disney World Resorts will have erected their own Christmas trees and wreaths, strung tens of thousands of LED lights and ornaments, and other holiday themed decorations by the morning of November 2nd.
Lots of giant candy canes and toy soldiers.
There are about 160 cast members working on Borotkanics’s Holiday Services team and they are primarily responsible for implementing all these quick turnarounds.
Her job is to ensure that preliminary set-up is both subtle and flawless. For weeks ahead of that crucial November 2nd rollout at around 1am after park close, she oversees the “pre-wiring” of the parks and resorts: “In some cases, like [Disney Hollywood] Studios and [Disney] Springs, we’re putting up the overhead cables early to put up the garlands across the street.”
“Have you ever stood at the Magic Kingdom when it opens on the second day of November and seen the guests come in for the first time when it’s decorated for the holiday season?” asks Lisa. “Hearing children giggle and laugh and say to their parents ‘Oh my gosh, it’s Christmas now!’ That’s just an incredible feeling.”
Once the holiday’s are done on January 6th, 2020, she’s in charge of returning every single one of those 40,000-plus decor items back to Disney World’s 160,000 square feet holiday warehousing backstage, where all the trees, wreaths, garlands, lighting, and other miscellaneous Disney holiday items are put through a cycle of refurbishment and, in some cases, retirement. “Every six years,” she confirms, “there’s a complete change-out” of the decorations.
“We’re always going to decorate on the exterior with fruits and sticks and berries and bows and candles,” Borotkanics says. But the little annual swap-outs and décor updates are all the more reason to keep your eyes open next time you spend the holidays at Disney World.
The Main Street Train Station all decorated for the holidays.
It’s Christmastime at Magic Kingdom!
Just a few hours after celebrating the last Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party of the year on November 1st, Main Street USA is now fully decked out for the holiday season.
It’s amazing how they can transform Main Street overnight from Halloween to Christmas.
Video link: Christmas Decor Arrives at Magic Kingdom
It’s all so beautiful!
November 3, 2019. The Magic Kingdom train is still parked at the Main Street Train Station because of Tron construction. All the Halloween bunting is now gone.
It really is a feast for your eyes…so beautifully decorated!
The new Mickey flower heads have much more elongated ears this year, like Oswald.
Main Street USA decorated for the holidays.
The gaslights are always lit.
Christmas wreaths around the Cinderella Castle.
It’s beautiful during the day, but just magical at night:
So pretty at night! (Tip: The best time to take park photos at night is when you’re leaving…no crowds!)
The Cinderella Castle.
The Main Street Christmas Tree.
Main Street USA at night.
Leaving the Magic Kingdom at midnight.
Disney turns the castle Dream Lights on at 6pm.
7am: They are also turned back on in the early morning!
Christmas by the Numbers
Christmas at Disney World by the numbers.
150 semi-trailer truckloads of decorations are bought in for decorating 27 resorts, 4 theme parks, and Disney Springs.
8.5 million lights are strung throughout WDW property.
99% of the lighting used for holiday décor is now LED while 1 percent is compact fluorescent lighting.
Every building and lamp post is decorated.
There are over 1,300 decorated trees across WDW property during the holidays.
300,000 yards of ribbon and bows are used to decorate the 1,300 Christmas trees.
Over 15 miles of garland is strung.
1,314 wreaths are hung.
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party parade
There are 170 performers and 15 floats in Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade at Magic Kingdom.
The Candlelight Processional at Epcot
More than 800 performers participate the Candlelight Processional at Epcot.
Watching the Dream Lights turn on.
And, finally let’s not forget all these bright lights!
There are over 200,000 LED lights on Cinderella Castle – the fabulous Castle Dream Lights.
We could watch them change colors all night!
The Frozen teal color. Fabulous!
The huge Christmas tree on Main Street USA.
We’ve written two books about our time working – and playing – as Disney Cast Members at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
Both are available on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle: Two Girls and a Mouse Tale and Adventures in the Animal Kingdom.
Adventures in the Animal Kingdom
Two Girls and a Mouse Tale
If you’d like to follow our daily Disney blog, here’s the link: https://collinsrace1.wordpress.com/
Have a magical day!
Two Disney Sisters
Two Disney Sisters enjoying the holidays at Disney World,
Finally, every resort has their own huge decorated tree:
Disney’s Animal Kingdom tree
Disney Hollywood Studios tree
Boardwalk Resort tree
Wilderness Lodge (outside)
Wilderness Lodge tree (inside)
Yacht Club Resort tree. (We were trying to see all the decorated Christmas trees at the Disney Resorts in one day!)
December 1, 2019: The Epcot Christmas Tree at sunset when the lights came on.
Epcot Christmas tree at night.
Grand Floridian tree
Welcome to Castaway Cay during the holidays!
Disney’s Aulani Resort in Hawaii!