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Disney Dazzles This Holiday Season in Orlando

Walt Disney World Resort blings in the holidays with sparkling, jewel-like crystals adorning the iconic Cinderella Castle in Magic Kingdom and a city streetscape alive with millions of multi-color lights glowing and dancing to music at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and a breathtaking bridge of twinkling lights that welcome guests to World Showcase at Epcot.

And to go with all the sweet treats for the eyes: seasonal festivities that blanket the Vacation Kingdom by late November as first Magic Kingdom and then Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Downtown Disney take the wrappings off their own Santa sleighfuls of yuletide gaiety.

Guests began to get in the spirit the beginning of November by beholding the 200,000 twinkling lights of Disney’s newest holiday tradition – Castle Dreamlights – in Magic Kingdom. Donning their holiday finest, Cinderella and friends take to the Cinderella Castle stage daily for a dream-come-true, light-the-night moment.

Also underway in during the Holiday Season: Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party on select evenings in Magic Kingdom. During this popular special ticket event, guests are treated to “Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade,” “Holiday Wishes-Celebrate the Spirit of the Season” fireworks spectacular plus special holiday-themed shows featuring Disney characters decked out in their seasonal finest, carolers, festive tree lightings and more.

The “Once Upon a Christmastime Parade” celebrates the festive moods of the season with dancing snowflakes, marching toy soldiers, horse-drawn sleighs, enchanting floats and spirited characters all proceeding through the streets of the theme park in a merry and melodic cavalcade.

During “Holiday Wishes-Celebrate the Spirit of the Season,” the radiant castle beams brightly as the evening is magically capped with festive fireworks orchestrated to classic holiday tunes.

Favorite attractions are open throughout the evening, and while forecasters predict the first snowfall of the season will swirl a winter-like effect down Main Street, U.S.A., guests can take heart: there’s hot cocoa and cookies to add a warm spirit for a not-to-miss outing for the whole family.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party dates in 2008: Nov. 10, 11, 14, 16, 20, 21, 30; Dec. 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11, 12, 14, 16, 18, 19, from 7 p.m.-midnight.
Walt Disney World Resort unwraps more wintertime wonderment throughout property beginning Nov. 28. Here’s the lineup:

* Epcot Presents Holidays Around the World – International holiday traditions unfold throughout World Showcase Nov. 28-Dec. 30 when storytellers portraying cultural icons of the season – such as France’s Pere Noel, Italy’s LaBefana and America’s Santa Claus – spread messages of goodwill. Nighttime sparkles with a luminous light bridge adorning the breezeway to World Showcase Plaza, where guests can see a magnificent holiday tree. And to cap off the day, Epcot’s kaleidoscope of lasers, lights, fireworks and music – “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth” – takes on a spirited holiday finale.

* Candlelight Processional at Epcot – A heartfelt holiday tradition led by a mass choir and 50-piece live orchestra showcases the reason for the season Nov. 28-Dec. 30. Staged at America Gardens Theatre at 5, 6:45 and 8:15 p.m., Candlelight Processional features a celebrity narrator who retells the joyous Christmas story. The narration is interspersed with memorable music. Performances are included with Epcot admission.

Scheduled celebrity narrators include (subject to change):


John O’Hurley


Neil Patrick Harris


Brian Stokes Mitchell


Virginia Madsen


Marlee Matlin


Monique Coleman


Chita Rivera


Abigail Breslin


Steven Curtis Chapman


Edward James Olmos


Angela Bassett & Courtney Vance

* The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios – Bathed in bulbs of brilliance, New York Street glows with millions of dancing lights and animated displays in a revered Disney holiday tradition Nov. 28 through Jan. 4, 2009. Amidst gently falling snow, guests will bask in the glow as twirling carousels, melodic angels, colorful wreaths, marching toy soldiers and Santa and his reindeer move to high-energy music and 3-D effects, creating a dazzling symphony for the senses. This enchanting spectacle results from a crew of 18 electricians working some 14 weeks using six miles of rope lights, 84 angels and 66 snow machines.

* Disney’s Animal Kingdom – “Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade” gets a holiday makeover Nov. 28 through Jan. 4, 2009, when it is magically transformed into “Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade.” This rompin’ spectacle is a theatrical showcase of characters with whimsical floats and puppetry with a holiday world-beat twist. Guests also can meet Disney characters decked out in their holiday best at Camp Minnie-Mickey which also features live seasonal entertainment, holiday photo opportunities and decorative Christmas trees.

* Festival of the Seasons at Downtown Disney – There are enough toys to fill up Santa’s sleigh at stores such as Once Upon a Toy, Team Mickey’s Athletic Club, LEGO Imagination Center and the World of Disney store. Guests can finish their holiday shopping at this one-stop mecca featuring something for everyone on their list – Basin bath and body shop, Arribas Brothers, Disney’s Days of Christmas holiday shop, Fuego by Sosa Cigars and more – and enjoy the dazzling light display and holiday décor that adorns the Downtown Disney streets Nov. 28-Dec. 24, 2008. Youngsters can bring their Christmas list and visit Santa Claus from noon-10 p.m. daily.

Information courtesy of Magical Mountain


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