Guests can “Celebrate Soulfully’’ this holiday season with festive music, lively entertainment and magical offerings
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – (Dec. 12, 2023) – The holidays are in full swing at Walt Disney World Resort where guests are enjoying enchanting experiences, cultural immersions and general merrymaking that pay tribute to Black heritage and culture through music, food, art and more.
Guests are “Celebrating Soulfully’’ during the holidays at Walt Disney World in a variety of ways, including meeting Santa Claus, who represents the spirit of the holiday season and reflects the diversity of the guests who visit The Most Magical Place on Earth. Jolly Old Saint Nick makes appearances across Walt Disney World Resort, greeting guests at select parks and Disney Springs. There’s also the popular Candlelight Processional, Disney Jollywood Nights, holiday-themed cuisine, music, art and more – all with a soulful twist.
Here are just some of the key holiday offerings guests won’t want to miss:
Guests can check out Walt Disney World’s newest nighttime spectacular from Disney Live Entertainment, “Luminous The Symphony of Us.” The new show includes dazzling fireworks, fountains and lights as well as music, which is a major part of the show. Among the many talented voices contributing to the score is singer/songwriter Shelea, one of the show’s lead vocalists. Her voice can be heard on the two new original songs that bookend the show, with “Heartbeat Symphony” at the beginning and “Beating of Our Hearts” at the end.
The EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays presented by AdventHealth runs Nov. 24 through Dec. 30 offering festive fun throughout World Showcase and beyond with special live entertainment, cultural dining opportunities and more. One of the highlights of the festival is the Candlelight Processional, a beloved Disney Parks holiday tradition. It returns with a lineup of celebrity narrators telling the Christmas story along with performances by a Disney choir and a live orchestra.
Nine new celebrity voices join the ranks this year, including “This Is Us” star Sterling K. Brown (Dec. 19-20), Broadway star Jordan Fisher (Dec. 21-23) and Broadway headliner and Emmy-nominated actress Audra McDonald (Dec. 27-28).
Another returning entertainment favorite is “JOYFUL! A Celebration of the Season.” This uplifting performance of gospel music mixed with jazz and R&B celebrates Christmas and Kwanzaa with multiple performances daily on the World Showcase Plaza Stage.
Food & Beverage
Guests looking to tempt their tastebuds shouldn’t miss Holiday Kitchens throughout EPCOT, which feature cultural holiday fare from around the world, including mouth-watering options such as the New Year’s traditional treat Hoppin’ John. This southern dish is a tasty combination of black-eyed peas, ham hocks and kale served over rice with cornbread crumbles. This comforting dish is served alongside Blackened Catfish and Comeback Sauce at American Adventure pavilion.
There are also delicious tastes and sips made with Black-owned liquor brands at various Disney resorts. For instance, the Belle Vue Lounge at Disney’s BoardWalk Resort offers Sparkling Hibiscus, which blends Sorel Hibiscus Liqueur by renowned microdistiller Jackie Summers with a sparkling grapefruit mixer. Additionally, the Pineapple Mule, which features Uncle Nearest Tennessee Whiskey, is available at multiple locations across property and continues to be a favorite among guests.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
During the new Disney Jollywood Nights, guests can stop by Theater of the Stars for “Disney Holidays in Hollywood,” a new holiday variety show. It features characters like Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, plus Princess Tiana, singers, dancers and live jazz music.
While shopping and dining, guests can take part in the Disney Springs Christmas Tree Stroll. There are 19 Disney-themed trees on display throughout the four “neighborhoods” that make up Disney Springs. And this year, guests can feel connected to Princess Tiana with The Princess and the Frog Tree.
In addition, contemporary Afropop band Wassalou performs throughout the season to celebrate Kwanzaa.
And if guests want to extend the Disney holiday vibes beyond the parks, there’s still time to participate in a new holiday-themed virtual running series – the runDisney Virtual 12Ks of Christmas. Through Dec. 31, runners can sign up for the three 4K virtual races (12Ks total which can be run anywhere) and receive medals that can double as Christmas ornaments. Registration information is at www.runDisney.com/virtual.