Disney World Cancels Christmas Party, Epcot Candlelight for 2020

September 8, 2020, 1:03 PM · The Walt Disney World Resort confirmed today what many fans had suspected — the cancelation of this year's Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom and the Candlelight Processional at Epcot.

The two events highlighted the annual holiday celebration at Disney, but the pandemic has scrambled operating calendars, as parks look to find ways to remain open while maintaining safe physical distancing and other virus-prevention efforts.

Walt Disney World still will celebrate Christmas and the holidays, even without its two headline events. The celebration kicks off November 6 and runs through December 30. Santa Claus will make appearances in all four theme parks, plus at Disney Springs. Character processions will happen in all four parks, in lieu of parades or holiday shows.

The Magic Kingdom's Christmas character cavalcade will feature gingerbread men, elves and reindeer, while the toy soldiers from the annual Christmas parade will march with the Main Street Philharmonic.

Cinderella Castle will get rotating holiday projections after dark each night, in place of the Castle Dream Lights show. Mickey and Minnie offer a video preview:

Mickey and Minnie are staying on message by remaining a safe six feet apart here, but aren't those two a couple? Then again, they do have separate houses in Toontown, so I guess they're not a household after all. I have questions about those two sometimes....

Anyway, Epcot might not have its Candlelight show this year, but it will continue to host its Epcot International Festival of the Holidays, which will start November 27. The event will feature the return of the holiday kitchens around World Showcase, and the Voices of Liberty will take residence at America Gardens Theatre stage to perform carols and other holiday songs.

Replies (6)

September 8, 2020 at 1:30 PM

It seemed pretty obvious that if Disney couldn't pull of its MNSSHP, then MVMCP and Candlelight Processional were toast too. All of these seasonal events feature shows/attractions that draw people in close proximity to others, so without completely reworking the parks (i.e. setting up screens and viewing areas across multiple lands), these were never going to fly under COVID restrictions.

I'm still a bit surprised that Disney hasn't found a way to leverage the current restrictions to offer any other hard ticket events that give guests exclusive access to lands/attractions before or after normal park hours. The seasonal parties have built in expectations and established baselines for those experiences, but before and after hours events don't have those same burdens.

It seemed pretty natural to me that some guests with money burning holes in their pockets would be willing to pay up the nose to get some exclusive park time, especially considering the shortened operational hours posted for the rest of the year. With Disney spending so much extra money to operate right now, you'd think they would be jumping at the chance to get guests into the parks for a pricey hard ticket event. Guest expectations would never be met by Disney trying to host seasonal hard ticket events right now, but before and after hours events should be a no-brainer.

September 8, 2020 at 4:28 PM

The December 30 end date caught my attention since it makes New Year's Eve and New Year's Day festivities a mystery awaiting a separate update....Holiday Season at Walt Disney World Resort is traditionally till after New Years

September 8, 2020 at 5:40 PM

I hoped we would see the return of nighttime spectaculars by the holidays. Surprising that the international parks have been able to start doing them

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September 11, 2020 at 11:57 AM

Russell makes a great point - hard ticket events that limit the numbers, but have a higher price is a great idea during COVID. Curious if they’ll start thinking in that direction. I would consider going for a guaranteed limited crowd with a social distancing design with masks required. And I’d pay like a COVID test - through the nose.

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