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2014 Holidays at Disney

by Meghann on November 23, 2014

Happy Holidays from Elsa’s Frozen Castle in the Magic Kingdom!

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I’m telling you, Walt Disney World knows how to do the holidays right.

The holiday season is my favorite time to visit Walt Disney World (minus the week between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day – that week is crowded hell and permanently on my Disney blackout list). You can check-out my previous Holidays-at-Disney posts here: 2009 (Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party), 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013.

Since there are so many Holiday festivities to see during November and December at WDW (gingerbread houses! parades! lights! oh my!), it’s always best to go into the day with a plan. Especially when you only have 10 hours to play with and are willing to accept up front you’re not going to see it all. My mom and I started planning our day a week prior, by booking a breakfast reservation at Boma and fast passes for Animal Kingdom on our MyDisney app.

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I don’t know what it is, but nothing makes me more excited for an upcoming trip to Disney than using the MyDisney to reserve everything ahead of time.

We had a plan: breakfast at Boma, rides at Animal Kingdom, gingerbread houses at Magic Kingdom resorts, Magic Kingdom for the castle lighting, and then finally the Osborne Family Lights at Hollywood Studios.  I was hoping we could catch Jingle Jungle Parade at Animal Kingdom, but I was sad to discover the parade was discontinued. Boo.

I met my parents at Boma just before ten. Boma is located in Animal Kingdom Lodge and serves a pretty delicious breakfast buffet. The spread is you typical breakfast eats, with some African influences and flair. I packed my plate and fueled up for the day.

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From Boma we headed to Animal Kingdom.

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Out of all the parks, I’m least familiar with Animal Kingdom. I’ve ridden Expedition Everest hundreds of times, but that’s the only part of the park I know well.

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For instance, we had time to kill before our next Fast Pass so we hopped on a train and ended up at “Conservation Station” – a portion of the park I didn’t even know existed. It’s basically an interactive hands-on area where kids can learn about endangered animals, the rain forest, and can pet snakes.

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Scaley.

There was also a viewing area where we could watch a live monkey surgery. The monkey was experiencing stomach pain when they found an obstruction in his intestines. The doc was in the process of removing a hairball from the monkey’s stomach when we walked up.

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Talk about fascinating. I’m not sure it’s totally appropriate for all the younger kids (it was pretty gruesome), but still very fascinating to see. I guess it’s not any worse than what you would see on the Discovery channel? An Animal Kingdom regular was telling us she’s been to this portion of the park countless times and this was the first time she’d ever seen a live surgery happening.  Apparently we just lucked out.

We took the train back to the main portion of the park and used our Safari fast passes.

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I’m pretty sure the last time I rode the Kilimanjaro Safari was the year Animal Kingdom opened. I forgot how great of an adventure it is. The landscaping, the animals, the vehicle… I really felt like I was on a safari.

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We had fast passes to Finding Nemo (another Animal Kingdom show I’ve never seen before), but decided to skip it and head to the Magic Kingdom area resorts to check out the gingerbread houses. A handful of Walt Disney World resorts build gingerbread houses during the holiday season and one of the grandest (and my favorite) is at the Grand Floridian.

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This year’s gingerbread house is made of:

  • 1,050 lbs of honey
  • 140 pints of egg whites
  • 600 lbs of powdered sugar
  • 700 lbs of chocolate
  • 800 lbs of flour
  • 33 lbs of spices
  • A little bit of magic and pixie dust

 

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I purchased a delicious gingerbread shingle to nibble on. It was light, fluffy and a great snack.

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We took the monorail to see the Frozen themed gingerbread house at the Contemporary. I know a lot of folks are over Frozen Mania, but how cute is this display?

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Next stop – Magic Kingdom!

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We killed time at the park and waited for the main event – the Frozen themed castle lighting. Traditionally Cinderella and her Fairy Godmother have been the star of the show for the seasonal castle lighting ceremony, but this year Elsa and her friends have taken over the honor.

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Again, I know some fans are over “Frozen Mania,” but I think the Magic Kingdom really nailed it with this show. It’s cute, light hearted and Elsa’s actual “freezing” of the castle really plays up the magic of the Magic Kingdom. Whether you’re a Frozen fan or not, I think it’s a great show and worth checking out.

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Our last stop of the night took us to Hollywood Studios.

 

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For The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.

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After a full 10 hours exploring, we were done. Such a fun day of Holiday exploring. I’d love to return to Epcot for a Candlelight Processional in December, but I’ll just have to play it by ear.

What’s your favorite holiday tradition?

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sam @ The Running Graduate November 23, 2014 at 9:47 pm

How magical!! I went to Disney for New Year’s in high school and it was unforgettable! I would to love to go back again for the holidays, and for Halloween too. It looks like you had a great day! You’re lucky to live close 🙂
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2 Caroline @ The Little Things Blog November 23, 2014 at 9:48 pm

This sounds like so much fun! I love reading your Christmas at Disney recaps every year, as I haven’t been to Disney since 3rd grade (and never during any holiday). I love that they made the frozen castle this year- so fun!
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3 Bridgette November 23, 2014 at 10:20 pm

I did that the day before you! Only the Gingerbread house at GF was out of gingerbread shingles 🙁
Did they tell you about why Sven only has 3 legs at the Contemporary?

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4 Meghann November 24, 2014 at 7:59 pm

Ha! I didn’t even notice. Is there a story behind it?

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5 Traci November 23, 2014 at 10:44 pm

I have never been to Disney :[ but the Frozen castle looks very cool! No pun intended, really!
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6 Tricia @ A Couple of Dashes November 23, 2014 at 11:31 pm

These are such beautiful photos! Thank you for sharing! It makes me want to go back! That’s so much fun that you were able to go with your family as an adult.
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7 meredith @ The Cookie ChRUNicles November 24, 2014 at 6:13 am

My son and I are headed down to Disney in just a few weeks! I will be sure to check out the gingerbread houses- forgot about that! Thanks.
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8 Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine November 24, 2014 at 6:18 am

Ah, so much fun! Can they make it more “magical” 😉
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9 Linda @ TheFitty November 24, 2014 at 6:31 am

I’m a huge frozen fan! Oh boy oh boy how I wish I had seen this. it looks. amazing but I’ve never been to Disneyland!

I don’t hve a holiday tradition but this year I’ll be doing a #DecemberWellness challenge so I sorta have a daily holiday-y task.
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10 Christie November 24, 2014 at 8:40 am

Can I just say that I love that you do such fun things with your parents?? You all look like you have so much fun and really enjoy the time you spend together. Love it!

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11 Paige Phillips November 24, 2014 at 9:16 am

My husband and I went to Disneyworld in October. My husband had never been and had no idea what to expect. We don’t have any kids, so it was an adults only vacation. It was like we were kids again–riding rides, no worries! It was the most fun we had ever had. On the adult side, there was the Food and Wine Festival, which was a blast. We have already booked our next trip. I don’t think a lot of people realize how fun Disney can be for adults! Kids only? Nope!
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12 Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed November 24, 2014 at 9:18 am

I’ll be on my way to Disney 2 weeks from today! I’m so pumped. I really loved the Nemo show last year, so if you get another chance I think it’s worth viewing. Not sure you really need the fast pass for it though.
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13 Courtney November 24, 2014 at 11:17 am

We are going on the 12th for Mickey’s Christmas Party and I CANNOT wait. I’ve never been to Disney during Christmas 🙂
I didn’t know about the gingerbread houses! We won’t have a car, but it sounds like getting to the Grand Floridian is easy enough 🙂
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14 Meghann November 24, 2014 at 7:53 pm

Grand Floridian is very easy to get to. If you’re at Magic Kingdom you can take the resort monorail to the hotel.

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15 Lindsey @ Simply Lindsey November 24, 2014 at 11:41 am

That looks like so much fun! The gingerbread shingle looks SO good!

My favorite holiday tradition is going around town looking at Christmas lights after Christmas eve church service. 🙂
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16 Chelsea @ Designs on Dinner November 24, 2014 at 12:32 pm

My favorite holiday tradition is going to cut down a tree with my husband. He is from Illinois where there are no tree farms, so it is such a fun experience for us to take a day and go pick out the perfect tree.
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17 Dana November 24, 2014 at 4:15 pm

This looks like a fun alternative to a snowy getaway. I would never think of Disney as a place to visit for the holidays, but this makes me reconsider.
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18 Lindsay November 25, 2014 at 12:16 am

I live in Illinois and I got married at a tree farm. And it’s not the only one in the area. So Illinois has tree farms.

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