Best Holidays at Walt Disney World
Each January, some 55,000 entrants descend up the parks for the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. This year's event is January 6 – 9, 2011. Finishers receive a complimentary admission to a Walt Disney World theme park. The weekend includes events for all ages and abilities, including a family run, kids races and a Health & Fitness Expo. For more info, go to disneyworldmarathon.com.
March – June
On Saint Patrick's Day, everyone is Irish-especially at Raglan Road in Downtown Disney. This Irish Pub celebrates the day with music, entertainment and good food.
During Easter, most of the Walt Disney World theme parks will stay open late over the two weeks that straddle the holiday. The parks are very busy during this time, but the weather is beautiful.
The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival runs from March 2, 2011 - May 15, 2011. Although Epcot features beautiful gardens all year long, this event takes the gardens to a new level, using some 30 million blossoms. Topiary displays, behind-the scenes tours and gardening workshops are offered.
Star Wars fans converge on Disney's Hollywood Studios each May/June during the annual Star Wars Weekends. Character appearances, actors, contests and special entertainment are all part of the yearly event.
The Fourth of July is always a very busy time at Walt Disney World, and the parks can be crowded. Double-size fireworks displays at the Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios continue to be popular events.
September – November
Locals come out in droves to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, which runs September 30 to November 13, 2011. This autumn event at the World Showcase in Epcot celebrates the cuisine of many different countries through tastings ($2 to $8 per sample). Wine tastings and chef demonstrations are also a top draw.
Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party runs on select nights in September and October. Special-ticket activities include a costume parade, dance party, trick-or-treating and Halloween fireworks. During Halloween, Downtown Disney also hosts kids' costume contests and trick-or-treating.
November – December
The holidays are celebrated in style at each Walt Disney World theme park.
At the Magic Kingdom, Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party runs on select nights in November and December. The event includes a parade, with a visit from Santa himself, and enchanted dream lights on Cinderella Castle, as well as entertainment with live shows, character greetings and fireworks.
Disney's Hollywood Studios celebrates in November through early January with a Spectacle of Dancing Lights. Millions of lights cover the back lots, synchronized to high-energy holiday tunes.
Santa Claus is coming to town-at Downtown Disney. On select dates he is available to visit with children and pose for pictures at Santa's Chalet.
Mickey and his pals celebrate the holidays with Mickey's Jingle Jungle Parade in Animal Kingdom. The high-energy spectacle runs daily from mid-November to January 3, 2011. At Epcot's World Showcase, you can experience holiday customs from around the world from after Thanksgiving through the end of December. At Holidays Around the World, meet Father Christmas in the United Kingdom and the good-hearted witch, La Befana, in Italy. Eat yummy Christmas candy in Germany, and then partake in a Candlelight Processional on select nights throughout the season. This unique event retells the story of Christmas with the help of a mass choir and 50-piece orchestra. The celebrations of Kwanzaa and Hanukkah are also showcased in Holidays Around the World.
Photo, Walt Disney World