Skip to content

Mickey's Christmas Party is canceled, but there's still plenty of holiday magic at Disney

Sept. 08, 2020
7 min read
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Editor's Note

As the travel industry reopens following COVID-19 shutdowns, TPG suggests you talk to your doctor, follow health officials’ guidance and research local travel restrictions before booking that next trip. We'll be here to help you prepare, whether you're traveling next month or next year.

A visit to Disney World is a pretty special occasion any day of the year, but the holidays at Disney are the most magical of all. Halloween offers family-friendly and not-too-spooky fun, but the Disney Christmas decorations and programming shine extra bright.

Of course, this is 2020. So, unfortunately, nothing is really going according to plan.

We already knew there wouldn't be an official "Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party" at Disney World this year. But now, we know that Mickey's Very Merry Christmas and the annual Candlelight Processional at Epcot also will be "on hiatus" for 2020.

The good news is, Micky isn't skipping the Halloween and Christmas festivities in Florida completely. Instead, Disney is doing what it's done for the past several months: improvising.

For more curated TPG travel tips and recommendations delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our free daily newsletter.

Halloween at Disney

(Photo courtesy of Disney)
(Photo courtesy of Disney)

Disney World has confirmed to TPG that, beginning on Sept. 15, and lasting until Oct. 31, Main Street U.S.A. will get an autumnal makeover with fall décor. (If that sounds ho-hum to you, just know the changing of seasons in the parks is a big deal for Disney fans.)

Related: What happens at Disney World the day after Halloween

But, it's not just pumpkin décor that will delight travelers who decide to strap on a face mask and make a park reservation to enter the gates of Disney World this fall. While formal parades are still suspended at Disney World to prevent crowding, the park has been doing short, unannounced "cavalcades" since it reopened in early July – which I honestly think are more enjoyable than long, crowded parades.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Related: What it's really like at a reopened Disney World

Soon, some of those surprise character appearances will get a bit spookier with a Halloween theme for Mickey, Minnie, Pluto and pals. That's not the same as the really cool Boo-To-You parade that normally comes with the official Mickey Halloween party, but it's still a very welcome festivity.

(Edward Pizzarello/The Points Guy)
Disney Halloween 2019 (Edward Pizzarello/The Points Guy)

And, for the first time ever, Disney is going to let guests wear Halloween costumes to the Magic Kingdom during regular operating hours.


FOR NO COST ASSISTANCE WITH PLANNING AND BOOKING YOUR NEXT DISNEY VACATION, CHECK OUT TPG'S DISNEY BOOKING PARTNER, MOUSE COUNSELORS.


Usually, that's a treat reserved for the specially ticketed evening Mickey Halloween parties or a few other special events. With your costume, you'll still have to wear a face-covering, and only parkgoers under the age of 14 can wear costume masks. Adults can't wear full-length princess dresses or capes that touch the ground, but there's still more leeway with costumes than during normal park operations.

But in a world where a lot of things are still weird, it will be nice (dare we say normal) to coordinate costumes with your family if you're heading to Disney in the coming weeks. (And here's how to make it happen for less.)

Related: The Disney World changes we hope become permanent

Christmas at Disney

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

While the traditional marquee events at Disney World, such as Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, the Epcot Processional and even the life-sized gingerbread house at the Grand Floridian, won't take place in 2020, the holiday festivities aren't completely on hold.

Disney has confirmed that Christmas decorations and those impressively tall decorated trees will appear in the parks and hotel resorts beginning on Nov. 6 and will remain on view through the end of the year.

There will also be holiday-themed character cavalcades. Expect to see gingerbread men, reindeer, elves and even Santa join the line-up ... but know that Santa will just be waving, not accepting individual gift requests.

The Toy Soldiers, a holiday staple at Disney, will join the Main Street Philharmonic to march through Magic Kingdom Park, which sounds pretty great to me as they're awesome to watch (and hear) marching through Main Street.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Cinderella Castle won't be covered in the Castle Dream Lights this year, but it will get a rotating series of lighted overlays (think: red, green and gold ornamentation).

Over at Epcot, beginning on Nov. 27, holiday kitchens will return to the World Showcase with everything from slow-roasted turkey and stuffing to cheese fondue in a bread bowl.

Also at Epcot, the group Joyful! will perform traditional Christmas and holiday music, and the ever-popular Voices of Liberty will perform carols and songs of the season.

Last but not least, there will be another reopened character meal to add to the existing line-up.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Beginning Nov. 6, Hollywood & Vine at Disney’s Hollywood Studios will feature Santa Goofy and friends in their finest holiday attire. The characters will (presumably) give socially distant waves as you eat your meal. My family tried that holiday dining experience last year (before the pandemic, of course) and it was a great way to see the characters in their holiday outfits.

Related: Best hotels at Disney World

Bottom line

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Disney is working hard to deliver holiday-themed fun while avoiding events likely to draw big crowds. Having traveled to Disney the last few holiday seasons, it sounds like they've done a really good job pausing attractions and events -- like the gingerbread houses -- that really do become choke points.

After going to Disney's reopening a few months ago and watching the park work to manage fun and safety over the last few months from online reports, I'm seriously considering a return trip for a dose of the reimagined holiday fun.

Featured image by Magic Kingdom in 2018 (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site

Rewards

3 - 4X points
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.

Intro offer

60,000 bonus points
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

Annual Fee

$250

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees