When it comes to the holidays at Walt Disney World, there are three questions we receive more than any others: “When will Christmas decorations go up in the parks & resorts?” That’s what we’ll answer in this post.
As people plan their Christmas trips months in advance, it makes sense that this would be important information. For starters, the Christmas season usually kicks off the first Friday in November–that means November 4, 2022. There’s also an outside chance Disney will start Christmas the following Friday, or November 11, 2022.
Unlike the last two years, we are hopeful that decorations won’t be scaled back for Christmas 2022. Two years ago, travel plummeted and a number of modifications for health and safety were made. Last year, the changes are due to Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary, which overshadowed both Halloween and Christmas in the process. With the World’s Most Magical Celebration at its tail end by November 2022, we’re optimistic Christmas will once again take center stage this year.
If you’re hoping to see Christmas decorations at Walt Disney World is that they go up earlier than you might expect. No, not as early as the holiday aisles at Target or Walmart, but decorating usually begins immediately after Halloween has ended. Like, literally overnight right as the fall decorations go down.
One of the common misconceptions about Walt Disney World and the holiday season is that all of the decorations appear overnight, all at once. There are a variety of reasons why this is a persistent urban legend. For one thing, it used to be true. Back when Walt Disney World was just two theme parks and a few resorts, the Holiday Services team did almost everything overnight.
Second, because Walt Disney World still releases time-lapse videos showing the transformation of Main Street USA from Halloween to Christmas. In large part, that does occur overnight–but even that now usually takes two nights, not just one.
Finally, it’s a matter of guest perception. You can leave Magic Kingdom one night and see Halloween decorations on your way out and enter the next morning to see the scene magically transformed to Christmas. It’s an impressive sight to behold, and one that you might be convinced happens “all at once.” However, not all of the details are there at that point, nor are the other parks totally decorated.
Anyway, perception aside, the reality is that Christmas decorations go up pretty early in the parks.
Despite the Christmas 2022 season not officially starting at Walt Disney World until early November, the reality is that decorations will go up before then.
This year, you can expect Magic Kingdom to be mostly decorated by November 1, 2022 and fully decorated by November 3, 2022.
This is a safe assumption because many decorations will go up as Halloween decorations come down. It’s also likely that the first Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party or After Hours event (whichever occurs for 2022) will be held on that Thursday or Friday.
Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be next up after Magic Kingdom.
The timeline there is a little less certain. Both parks have been known to put up more ‘ambiguous’ holiday decorations in late October. In fact, the tinsel stars at Disney’s Hollywood Studios are usually the very first decorations to go up at Walt Disney World, often appearing in by the second to last week of October.
There are a lot of decorations that will be visible during the daytime hours, but the finished product won’t be ready and the lights likely will not be lit up at night until closer to the official start date of Christmas 2022.
Disney Springs also begins its Christmas offerings in early November. Sometimes that happens gradually, so expect some items not to be up until the following week. That’s the good news.
Epcot is the last park to get in on the holiday time fun, and that’s because the lucrative 2022 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival runs until late November. Consequently, decorating for Epcot will begin shortly before Thanksgiving and finish by November 25, 2022.
Due to all of the construction at Epcot, do not expect the front of the park to receive extensive decorations this year. The Epcot International Festival of the Holidays should ensure that World Showcase receives its normal decor for each pavilion.
The resort hotels are the true wildcard. Last year, decorations went up about a week earlier than normal throughout the resorts. We are anticipating that this trend will continue, with almost all major hotels (Deluxe and Moderate Resorts) having their Christmas trees, gingerbread displays, etc. up by mid-November.
Gingerbread displays are usually prioritized, likely because these are accompanied by snack stand kiosks that generate revenue selling snacks.
Usually, Holiday Services can do an entire resort in a single night, with teams deployed to multiple resorts simultaneously. This means that, for instance, Wilderness Lodge (usually done in mid-November) will be completely transformed into the Christmas spirit overnight–in the same evening that Coronado Springs, for example, receives its holiday decor.
However, due to the sheer number of resorts throughout Walt Disney World, even if Holiday Services decorates two hotels in a single night, the process would still take over two weeks to complete. Moreover, there are no hard and fast rules as to the order that resorts receive their decorations. It varies from year to year.
With all of that said, if you’re visiting on or after November 1, you’ll start to see some decorations at Walt Disney World. By that weekend, you’ll see even more items installed–the process should be about half-finished.
By November 4, 2022, you will find that the 3 of the 4 Walt Disney World theme parks are either partially or fully decorated and some of the resorts are decorated. If you visit a week after that, you’ll have the same amount of in-park decorations, but now half of the resorts will also be decorated. Another week and the resorts will be totally decorated. Visit for Thanksgiving week or at any point in December, and everything at Walt Disney World will be decked out for Christmas!
What do you think of Walt Disney World’s ‘process’ for getting decked out for the holidays? Is November 4, 2022 too early for Christmas decorations? Are you excited to experience the holidays at WDW? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!