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July 24, 2011

Christmas in July: A Disney Family's Holiday Traditions

Hi there and welcome to the Christmas in July Blog Hop hosted by the wonderful Mama of All Trades!  Welcome to those of you just joining in and to those of you visiting from

Today, it is Christmas... Christmas in July, that is, and we are celebrating in true Disney Fashion!

My family always visits Walt Disney World at the end of the Christmas Season, just in time to catch the tail end of the Holiday festivities, but late enough to enjoy the low crowd levels after New my birthday is January 2nd and there's no better way to celebrate! It is an annual tradition, and one that will continue for as long as possible!  Within this tradition are other traditions that we observe each year during the holidays! Here is the Ficili Family's Top 10 Disney Holiday Traditions: What are your holiday traditions?  Leave a comment letting me know!

1. Order Disney-Themed Outfits for my daughter
If you're a follower of my blog, you have probably noticed that I am a huge fan of handmade boutique Disney outfits for my daughter. Before our holiday trip (usually about now), I stock up on cute outfits which I find on Ebay and Etsy!  These make for great pictures and memories to last a lifetime, plus she enjoys showing off her love for Mickey and Minnie with these adorable outfits. Many of you have written in asking me where I find these outfits. Here are some examples:

Minnie Mouse Christmas Shirt and Skirt Set with Rhinestone Personalization

From L-R: A 2 pc. crocheted outfit from  littlebears*crochet*den on Ebay and a 2pc skirt set with rhinestone personalization from TheZboutique on Etsy.

2. Annual Disney Reunion
We travel to Disney World and Disneyland several times each year, but our December trip ALWAYS includes my brother-in-law Robbie and his girlfriend Jenna!  This is the same every year and it's great because since we live so far apart, it is one of the only times we see each other during the year, and we can enjoy our Disney traditions together, as a family, in a place we all love.  Because of the size of our group, we always stay at the Fort Wilderness Cabins during this trip so we have enough room to stay together!  We ALWAYS rent a golf-cart too, which adds to the excitement and fun!

Jenna and I Golf-Cartin' at Fort Wilderness 12/2010

3. Christmas Photo Pass:
I always pre-order the Disney Photo Pass CD which allows me to capture my memories with an unlimited supply of Disney Christmas Photos (plus, pre-ordering saves you a chunk of change)!  Photographers are set up all over the parks to catch the perfect shot of  the whole family in front of the amazing Disney decorations. We run around the parks taking as many pics as possible!  Each year, I order an ornament adorned with my family's photo from the Photo Pass site.

4. Marvel at the Dream Lights:
Christmas at Disney begins in early November with the "lighting" of Cinderella Castle in Disney's Magic Kingdom in which the castle is brought to life with a dazzling display of over 200,000 "Dream Lights."  This enchanting display of L.E.D lights gives the castle a sugar-dipped effect which wows guests nightly through January 3! See for yourself in this behind the scenes look:

5. Gawk at the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights (Hollywood Studios)
One of the most amazing sights I've ever seen...anywhere... is the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights which debuted at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 1995.  A light show of over a 5 million "dancing" lights takes place every 15 minutes on the dot as "snow" falls from above!  Guests can leisurely stroll through the Streets of America to marvel at this amazing spectacle as familiar Christmas tunes fill the air!  Watch this video for the fun history of the Osborne Family Lights... and do yourself a favor:  Make it down to see this at least once in your life!!! You'll thank me!

6. Live it Up at Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party
Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party (MVMCP) is a ticketed event which takes place in the Magic Kingdom after the park has closed to the public!  This party is a must-do and showcases the park in true Holiday Fashion!  Guests will enjoy complimentary cookies and cocoa as falling snowflakes tickle noses.  Christmas tunes fill the air and characters will mingle, dressed in their Holiday best!  The highlight of the party, in my opinion, is Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime Parade which makes its way down Main Street twice during the party!  Other must-sees include a Christmas themed stage show Celebrate the Season, which takes place multiple times right in front of Cinderella Castle, and don't forget your favorite fireworks extravaganza, Wishes!... but even better, Holiday Wishes set to special music and full of beautiful red and green seasonally colored bursts!  Tickets to MVMCP are $67.05 (adult) / $61.72 (child) and include admission to the Magic Kingdom Park from 8pm-midnight!  The party takes place on select nights from November 8 through December 18.  Here's a video with m ore information:

7. Be Moved at the Candlelight Processional (Epcot)
An event which is a definite must-do at Disney during the Holiday Season, is Epcot's Candlelight Processional.  This is a truly moving experience complete held at the America Gardens Theater complete with a live orchestra and mass choir.  Each performance includes a different celebrity narrator who will tell the Christmas Story, accompanied by inspirational music and sounds.  A Dinner Package for the Candlelight Processional goes on sale this Tuesday July 26.  Purchasing the dinner package will guarantee you a seat in the show as well as spot in the preferred Illuminations viewing area after the show! 

CHRISTMAS BY CANDLELIGHT -- Candlelight Processional is a movingpresentation of the traditional Christmas story told by celebritynarrators who are joined by a mass choir and 50-piece orchestra.Performances take place nightly at Epcot.
Photo courtesy of Disney Media

8. Giddy Up - Fort Wilderness Sleigh Ride (Fort Wilderness Resort)
Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort is magical anytime, but especially at Christmas! We rent a Cabin there over the holidays and love to drive around on a golf-cart to admire the lights displays erected by seasonal RV'rs and campers.  Fort Wilderness offers Sleigh Rides during the holidays which offer a unique view of the resort and the incredible lights!  The old-fashion, horse-drawn sleigh departs every 30 minutes from the Blacksmith Shop near the Settlement area,  The price is around $60 per group of 4!  Here's a video of someone's experience! Nothing compares to MAGIC of Fort Wilderness during the Holidays! Check it out!

9. Discover Awe-Inspiring Works of Ginger Bread Art
Disney has a way of turning EVERYTHING into magic, and gingerbread is NO exception!  If you happen to make it down to WDW during the holidays, you absolutely CAN NOT miss these AMAZING gingerbread creations found throughout the property.

One of my favorites is the larger than life Gingerbread House found at the Grand Floridian.

Another edible piece of art can be found at the Beach Club Resort: The Gingerbread Carousel which is full of hidden Mickeys and even features a miniature scale version of the famed Kitchen Sink Sundae from Beaches and Cream Soda Shop!

And finally, the unbelievable Christmas Tree at the Contemporary Resort...Nearly 20 feet of Disney-baked Gingerbread! You have to see it to believe it! 

10. Be Blown Away by NYE Fireworks
Finally, we close the holiday season high atop the Contemporary Resort while watching the most AMAZING fireworks display on Earth.  I simply cannot express the magnitude of this pyrotechniques display in words.  It is one of the most amazing sights to ever meet my eyes!  The burts actually spelled out the countdown...10, 9, 8 and so on...Fireworks as far as the eys can see!  I'll let the pics do the talking!

So there you have it! My family's top 10 Disney Holiday Traditions!  Thanks for visiting the Disney Christmas in July Blog Hop! If you just hopped aboard and want to visit all of today's posts please visit Mama of All Trades to start from the beginning!


Tiffany said...

Great list Amanda! And oh my gosh, love love love the little Disney outfits! I always forget about the Fort Wildnerness cabins, we will have to stay there sometime. We also love driving around the FW campgrounds to look at all the lights! Merry Christmas in July!

Debbie said...

I will never forget the first New Years Eve we spent at Disney World. Just couldn't believe the spectacular decorations and thousands of people with hats and blowing party favor horns. What an experience!