Holiday Happenings in Walt Disney World

The holiday season is a wonderful time to visit Walt Disney World and this year is no exception.  With more lights, fireworks & events than ever,even the biggest Grinch can get into the holiday spirit.

Magic Kingdom

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party


This part runs on select nights from 11/9/17 – 12/22/17 and does require a separate ticket purchase to attend.  You can find a full list of dates & prices HERE.

During the party you will enjoy special character meets, shorter attraction wait times, festive treats & goodies that include complimentary cookies of various flavors, hot cocoa & cider.  This year they are also offering a soft pretzel option which I am particularly fond of instead of all the sweets.  There will be a special Christmas Parade & fireworks show & Voice Play will be performing again in Tomorrowland.  You can also purchase limited edition merchandise and don’t forget to pick-up your Sorcerers of the magic Kingdom Party Card.


International Festival of the Holidays

Although by a different name this year, this event still holds the same holiday magic.  Pick up your booklet & guide to all the fun when you enter the park & enjoy wonderful food from around the World Showcase and my personal favorite are the stories of each country’s unique holiday traditions.

Enjoy this video sample of the holiday traditions in Norway:

Candlelight Processional

This fantastic performance has become our holiday tradition.  Each night, the biblical Christmas Story is told by 1 of 13 celebrity narrators and accompanied by a live choir and orchestra.  Returning narrators include Whoopi Goldberg & Trace Adkins; they will be joined by several new narrators this year including Kurt Russel & Pat Sajak.  Find a full list of narrators HERE. This event runs from 11/24/17 – 12/30/17.

If you want the best seats, consider making a reservation for a dining package.  More details on the dining packages HERE

Chip and Dale’s Christmas Tree Spree

This holiday scavenger hunt is fun for the young ones or the young at heart.  Chip & Dale are collecting ornaments for their Christmas tree & they need your help.  The cost for your scavenger hunt map is $6.99 +tax and when your are finished, you will get a special prize.

After enjoying a day in Epcot with festive food from around the world & stories from Santa, you can enjoy a special Illuminations with a special holiday themed ending.

Hollywood Studios

Hollywood Studios has gone all out for this holiday season.  The Jingle Bell Jingle Bam! show has returned & the elves from Prep & Landing must help & find Santa because he has been kidnapped.

New in Hollywood Studios this year is Sunset Season’s Greetings.  Enjoy a light snowfall on Sunset blvd while the Tower of Terror exterior is brought to life by holiday projections.  You may even run into a friendly holiday face or two such as Olaf the snowman from Frozen.


Minnie will once again be hosting her holiday dine part at Hollywood & Vine Restaurant and you can meet Santa himself at the Once Upon a Time shop through 12/24/17.  When Santa begins to deliver Christmas gifts for the children Santa Goofy will take his place through 12/31/17.

Disney Springs

Although I was personally a little disappointed to see that the holiday drone show will not be returning to Disney Springs this year, there are plenty of festive activities that will hold my family’s attention for an entire day after we watch the new Star Wars movie at the AMC theater right in the middle of the action.

The Christmas Tree Trail will be memorizing as always with 25 Disney themed trees beneath a gentle snow fall.

Festive snacks & food can be found throughout the shopping district and joyful entertainment will welcome everyone.  From caroling to stilt walkers there will be something to watch all around.

Santa’s Chalet will be there where your family can visit & get photos with Santa.  If you have Disney’s Memory Maker, you can get your photos added to your account at no extra charge.  When you visit Santa’s Chalet, you will be given a special pager that will tell you when to return to the line for your visit with Santa.  You do not have to wait in a crazy long line & you can shop while you wait for your turn.

Also returning to Disney Springs this year is Stitch’s Gift hunt.  This is a fabulous activity to keep the kids & family entertained while you shop.  Stitch has misplaced his gift list and he needs your help finding it.  You can pick up your scavenger hunt map with corresponding stickers and hunt your way through 16 locations to match each sticker with the correct place.  Once you have completed the map, you can return it for a special prize.


Resorts and More

The Gingerbread Houses in Walt Disney World remain the most fantastic displays of culinary art that I have seen in my travels.  Each display is a delicate work of art and can be found throughout the parks & resorts.

– Tusker House Restaurant in Animal Kingdom 12/20 – 1/2
– American Adventure in Epcot 11/19 (This location also offers a season menu for your consumption)
– Amorette’s Parisserie in Disney Springs 11/24
– Disney’s Contemporary Resort
– Disney’s Beach Club celebrates their 18th anniversary of this event with 18 hidden Mickey’s on their display
– Disney’s Grand Floridian celebrates their 19th gingerbread anniversary & a special pin trading event in the lobby each day


In addition to larger-than-life gingerbread houses, you can tour each of the Disney resorts & take in all of their fabulous trees & Christmas decor.  Every resort will have a detailed miniature train display in the lobby.


Visiting Walt Disney World ruing the holidays offers numerous holiday activities that will immerse your senses in holiday cheer.  On top of all of the fun actives, the weather here in Florida is amazingly comfortable for park touring this time of year.  If you have never visited Walt Disney World during the holidays, what are you waiting for?  You can book now for 2017 or 2018 and I have a special offer of my own waiting for my holiday guests when you book by 11/30/17.

Thank you for reading.
My name is Melissa and I am a Disney Fanatic; I’m also a travel agent.  You will find me in one of the Disney Parks with my family almost every weekend.  With hours of personal experience, I’m happy to help you plan the perfect holiday vacation for your family at no added cost to you & it all starts with a free, no obligation quote.  Visit my website or contact me to book your vacation.
Melissa Mathies – Pixie Dust Adventures







NEW Star Wars Hyper-Reality Experience coming to Disneyland & Disney World

Attention Star Wars Fans!!!!!

Today Disney Parks Blog announced that The VOID (an entertainment company that combines the magic of illusions and advanced technology) will be bringing a groundbreaking, hyper-reality experience to Downtown Disney in Disneyland and Disney Springs in Walt Disney World.Star_Wars_Hyper-Reality_Experience-01Although no official dates or locations have been announced, this holiday season these immersive social experiences will take visitors to new worlds.

Disney parks blog states that, “Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire will transport you to a galaxy far, far away where you’ll be able to engage with friends, family and Star Wars characters through sight, sound, touch, smell, and motion. It’ll even allow environmental effects to be felt using Haptic feedback – melding the physical and digital worlds together. So, you don’t just see the Star Warsuniverse, you’re part of it at Disney Parks”.

If you have ever played a video game with a remote control that vibrates, then you are no stranger to Haptic feedback that brings you right into the action.

This one-of-a-kind experience is not to be missed by Star Wars fans of all ages and I will be thrilled to try this in person in just a matter of months.

Disney promised more announcments in the future, so stay tuned.
In the meantime… contact me if you would like to plan a Star Wars immersive vacation.

Thank you for reading.  My name is Melissa and I am a Disney fanatic; I’m also a travel agent.  You will find me almost every weekend in one of the Disney parks with my family exploring the new experiences & attractions so that I can help my guests plan their own vacations through hours of personal experience.  The best part is that all of my planning services are FREE when you book your vacation through me.  That’s right, it does not cost any extra over booking directly through Disney.  So, what are you waiting for?  Head over to my website & get started on your dream vacation with a no obligation quote.
Melissa Mathies – Pixie Dust Adventures


Walt Disney World 2016 Holiday Festivities

There is no better place to celebrate the holiday season than at Walt Disney World.  The resorts are all amazingly decorated and the parks are no exception.  Disney prepares all year for the holiday celebrations; watch episode 5 of ‘Inside Disney Parks’ to see how they were busy preparing all the way back in July:

Each Disney Park has its’ own holiday offerings.  Below is a line-up of what is being offered in 2016:

Magic Kingdom Park:
along with the fabulous decorations making Cinderella’s castle the focus of the park, the Magic Kingdom also offers special character meets & holiday treats throughout the park.

Perhaps the biggest celebration in Walt Disney World is Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, offered in the Magic Kingdom on select nights from Nov 11th – Dec 22nd.  Keep in mind that this is a separately ticketed event.  This festive holiday experience is an entire blog article to itself so I will not go into detail here.  You will be able to experience a light snowfall on main street and make your way to various stations to collect collect different cookies and various drinks.  You will need to purchase tickets in advance to be able to attend this marvelous holiday party.  You can find price & date details HERE


Goodies above from Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

The Jungle Cruise attraction has now been re-themed to the Jingle Cruise for the holidays.  The attraction now includes holiday decorations and a new story line, dialog and even a few holiday jokes.  It might be cheesy, but still a fun & festive experience.

Totally Tomorrowland Christmas is a fun dance party stage show in Tomorrowland starring Mike from Monsters Inc and Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story.  This show usually occurs during the Christmas Party, but is currently listed on the schedule, during regular park days during Thanksgiving week from Nov 20 – Nov 26

A Frozen Holiday Wish, stage show and castle lighting on the stage in front of the castle.  Starring your favorites from Disney’s Frozen, Anna, Elsa, Olaf and Kristoff.  As of today this stage show in front of the castle will occur nightly at 6:30 from Nov 7 – Dec 31 2016. CLICK HERE for my video of the full show.  The video, with my little camera, does not do this show justice, be sure to see it in person.  🙂

Cinderella Castle before and after ‘A Frozen Holiday Wish’ show

Holiday Wishes Fireworks, Celebrate the Season will be showing during the Christmas party but is also currently listed on regular park days for Christmas week from Dec 23 – Dec 31.

On November 4th the magic Kingdom began an all new nighttime show on the castle entitled ‘Once Upon a Time‘.  This show replaced the ‘Celebrate the Magic’ show and features Mrs. Potts from Beauty and the Beast leading guests through various Disney bedtime stories.  If you want to watch my video of this event, CLICK HERE to find the full video on my YouTube Channel


In Epcot all of the countries have been included in the holiday celebration.  During Holidays Around the World, you can lean about the holiday customs of 11 different countries throughout the World Showcase.  Each country will have a story teller (usually the Santa for their culture).  This extravagantly costumed person will be scheduled during certain times of the day to share their holiday traditions with guests.  I can attest to the fact that all of these immersive experiences are both entertaining and educational.  Don’t forget to take the time to taste a few of the holiday treats in the different countries.

In Epcot you will also be able to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus outside of the American Adventure Pavilion

Each year Epcot holds the Candlelight Processional which tells the biblical story of Christmas by a celebrity narrator surrounded by the rich sounds of a live choir and orchestra.  This is an inspiring and uplifting experience that I highly recommend the next time you visit Epcot during the holiday season.  Some of the narrators for 2016 are Whoopi Goldberg, Steven Curtis Champman, Neil Patrick Harris, Cal Ripkin Jr and more.  This show has become such a HUGE success that I highly recommend reserving seats for a meal through the Candlelight Processional dining package.  This will guarantee you a spot at one of the 3 daily performances: 5:00pm, 6:45pm, & 8:15pm Nov 25 – Dec 30.
CLICK HERE for a full video of the 2016 Candlelight Processional narrated by Steven Curtis Chapman

Holidays Around the World in Epcot will offer some new food kiosks along the World Showcase from Nov 25 – Dec 30. You will be able to sample some traditional holiday food.  You collect a special food passport (like the passports that they had out during the Food & Wine Festival) and you can follow along and check off your favorites or the samples that you have tasted.

Hollywood Studios:
On November 14th Hollywood Studios will debut a new nighttime holiday show which follows the Star Wars Galactic Spectacular show on some nights & replaces it on other nights.  The ‘Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!’ show will be displayed on the Chinese Theater and will be lead by the popular elves in Disney’s Prep and Landing.  The projections, fireworks & lasers guarantee to get you in the holiday spirit.  CLICK HERE for my full video of this show on YouTube.

Hollywood Studios will also have a notable opening that is not holiday related.  The grand opening of Pizza Rizzo on Nov 18th.  This new Muppet themed pizza restaurant will offer personal pizzas and other quick service food.

Minnie’s Holiday and Dine Dinner at the Hollywood & Vine Restaurant will take place daily from Nov 7 – Jan 3.  During this dinner hosted by Minnie Mouse herself her pals Mickey, Donald, Daisy and Santa Goofy will join her all dressed in their Christmas best.  be sure that you make reservations well in advance for this holiday meal.

Animal Kingdom:
Disney’s Animal Kingdom park will be fully decked out for the holidays and this tree is one of my favorites.  Just look at all of the detail in each one of the larger-than-life ornaments.  Keep your eyes peeled for a meet with Santa Goofy making appearances around the park.
Donald’s Happy Holiday-O-Saurus Dance Party will take place in DinoLand USA from 12/18 – 12/31.  Check the daily times guides for party times.


Disney Springs:
Not only will the parks be offering spectacular holiday cheer in 2016.  Disney Springs has a new line-up of holiday activities.  A festive atmosphere will welcome guests to this spectacular shopping district.  There will be a nightly tree lighting ceremony, carolers and holiday dance parties.

You can walk along the new Christmas Tree Trail through a gentle snow fall with toy soldiers and carolers. The trail will begin at Once Upon a Toy.  Be sure to admire the detail of the 15 different trees themed after Disney Characters.  The themes announced on Disney Parks Blog will be Mickey & Minnie Mouse, Disney Villains, Moana, Beauty and the Beast, Little Mermaid, 101 Dalmatians, Muppets, Mulan, Cinderella, Princess and the Frog, Frozen, Jungle Book, Alice in Wonderland, Tangled and Mary Poppins.  The tree tail will run from November 11th through January 8th.

Experience Festival of Toys at the Once Upon a Toy Fountain in the Disney Springs Marketplace.  Toys will magically come alive for an interactive holiday dance party nightly on the plaza.  Plus, there’s a pin trading, nightly tree lighting ceremony and more.

During the holiday season Disney Springs will be showing off brand new drone technology as 300 drones light up the night sky in Disney Springs Starbright Holidays; This will occur nightly at 7:00pm & 8:30pm.  See a special sample video by Disney Parks blog HERE

Don’t forget to share your wish list with Santa at Santa’s Chalet.  You will need to check in and will be given a pager by one of the elves.  It will page you when it is time to return to the line.  Be sure that you have a good camera handy or that you have purchased Disney’s Memory Maker package.  There will be a Photopass photographer standing by to snap those precious & unforgettable moments with Santa.
Santa will be greeting guests daily from Nov 25th – Dec 30th from noon to 10:00pm  From Dec 25th – Dec 30th Santa Goofy will greet guests while Santa prepares for next year.

Stitch’s Holiday Gift Hunt Stitch has lost his shopping list & needs you to help him complete it.  Pick up a location map and gift stickers at once of 4 locations: Once Upon a Toy, Super Hero Headquarters, Welcome Center or World of Disney information desk.  There are 11 stores on the list to hunt for Stitch & match the stickers to.  Once complete, visit one of the pick up locations for a limited-edition completer button.  THis runs throughout the holiday season from 10:00am until 11:00pm

If you have time for a festive round of golf, be sure to visit Disney’s Winter Summerland Course where you can play on 2 different courses that feature Christmas Decor and Santa.  This course is located just right outside of Disney’s Blizzard Beach water park which will be closed this holiday season for refurbishment.  Unless included with your ticket this course is an added cost

All of the parks and resorts offer fabulous holiday celebrations and I plan to attend each and every one this holiday season.  be sure to watch my Facebook page, You Tube Channel and blog for my personal reports.

My name is Melissa and I am a Florida local.  I am also a travel agent.  I plan to experience each and every one of the above listed holiday celebrations in person this year.  Consider booking through a travel agent for your next vacation.  It never costs extra to you & you get expert advice and planning assistance.  Holiday packages for 2017 are already open, what are you waiting for?  Contact me for a free quote.
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Limited time Princess meet in Disney Springs

For a limited time you will be able to meet various Princesses in Disney Springs.  The Princesses are always a big draw and it seems that Disney is experimenting with some new meet & greet options.  If you remember, back in August Disney offered a princess meet in the Magic Kingdom exclusive to guests that had purchased Memory Maker. However, this particular meet is open to everyone.


When:  This new Princess meet is only available from Oct 1st – November 1st 2016 and is open to everyone, during the hours of 10:00am – 4:00pm.

Where: There will be surprise appearances daily at the World of Disney store.  Guests will need to check in with a cast member and will be informed of the wait time and given return instructions.

Who: Guests could meet Cinderella, Snow White, Aurora, Tiana or another visiting princess.  No set times have been announced for specific characters at this royal reception; it seems that Disney wants to surprise the guests.

Memories: There will be a Disney Photopass photographer available to capture interactions and memories with the princesses and guest will be able to download these photos as part of the Memory Maker product.

My name is Melissa and I am addicted to Disney.  I am a Florida local and spend almost every weekend visiting a new experience in the Disney Parks.  If you would like free planning assistance for your next Disney vacation, it all starts with a free quote:
Thank you for reading,
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What in Walt Disney World… are Smokehouse Nachos?

Perhaps you are wondering around Disney Springs and may be headed for a show at Cirque or a Movie at the AMC Theater & you are a little hungry, but… you have a later dining reservation & you don’t want to eat too much.  The Smokehouse Nachos are the perfect choice for you to share as a snack or make a meal out of a single serving.  We’ve made lunch for our family of four out of two orders of Nachos and four drinks.
These delicious & loaded nachos are very filling  and you have two choices:
1. Smokehouse Nachos with Pulled Pork: (on left above) Crispy fried tri-color corn tortilla chips topped with house-made cheese sauce, avocado lime crema, pickled jalapenos, fresh-made pico de gallo and cilantro with pulled smoked pork
2. Smokehouse Nachos with Pulled Chicken: (on right above) these are almost identical to the Pulled Pork Nachos above with pulled smoked chicken instead of the pork.

You can find these Nachos at The Smokehouse located on the West Side of Disney Springs near the House of Blues.  The cost is $9.99 for each order of Nachos and adult soda’s are $2.25; a child soda is $1.99.  The soda’s are not really large, but were large enough that the ice began to melt before we drank them completely.
This is a walk up counter service location & there is no seating directly in the front of the building.  So eat this snack while you are on the run or find seating on the patio of the House of Blues or around Disney Springs.
The smokehouse also serves other menu items like Smoked Turkey legs for $9.99, pulled chicken sandwich for $11.99 and children’s items like a mini smoked pulled park slider for $6.99.

Overall I enjoyed this affordable & filling snack for sharing.  The Disney Quick Service Meal Plan is accepted at this location as of the date of this being published.

Next time you are searching for a filling snack in Disney Springs, consider trying The Smokehouse Nachos.

My name is Melissa and I am a Florida local.  You will catch me in the Disney parks almost every weekend.  I enjoy being a part of all of the new attractions and I can never get enough of the delicious food that Disney has to offer.  If you would like some assistance booking and planning your next Disney vacation, visit for a no obligation quote & FREE, detailed planning assistance.
Thank you for reading, Melissa
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Buses from Disney theme parks to Disney Springs

Evening bus transportation from Walt Disney World theme Parks to Disney Springs is now offered. Buses will run every 15 minutes beginning at 4:00pm until 11:00pm, or until 2 hours after the park closes (whichever is earlier).


This, long awaited, transportation has been tested in the past at Animal Kingdom Park & has finally been added to all of the parks.  I personally think this is a great idea and hope that people will take full advantage of it so that Disney will keep it around.  Since Animal Kingdom will begin closing at 6:00pm in November, these buses will be a great opportunity to go directly to Disney Springs, see the sights, shop & grab a bite to eat.  In the past going from a park to Disney Springs meant taking a bus back to your resort & then a separate bus from your resort to Disney Springs.  From personal experience, I can say that this is very time consuming when every minute counts on your vacation.

Consider a nighttime visit to Disney Springs during your next visit to Walt Disney World.  The bustling atmosphere, endless food options and lively entertainment all make this shopping district a “must do” for your vacation.

My name is Melissa and I am a Florida local and an avid Disney park goer.  I visit the parks with my family almost every weekend.  If you would like to plan a Disney vacation, why not use the FREE planning services of an experienced travel agent?
Click HERE for a free, no obligation quote
Melissa Mathies – Pixie Dust Adventures

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