The wonder and joy of Christmas can come early to Disney World – as early as mid-October for Christmas merchandise sales on Main Street USA.

However, when Christmas does come to Disney World, it is always welcome. Walt Disney World is one of the best places to celebrate the wonder of the season.

Each park around the Disney World Resort does something special to celebrate Christmas. Several parks do many things.

Today, I’m going to look at my favorite Christmas events in each park as well as a few runners up.

Christmas At The Magic Kingdom

Favorite event: Castle Dream Lights

The Magic Kingdom celebrates Christmas in many ways, from decorations throughout the park to special parades, but my favorite special happening at Christmastime is the Castle Dream Lights that adorn Cinderella Castle. The 200,000 lights that make the castle glow each evening are truly dazzling – a special visual experience that just feels like Christmastime.

The Castle Dream Lights bring a special sparkle to the Magic Kingdom.

The Castle Dream Lights bring a special sparkle to the Magic Kingdom.

On select evenings in November and December, you can purchase a separate admission ticket to this popular event which starts at 7pm, after the park closes for the day. Enjoy a special parade and fireworks, and consume all the free hot chocolate and cookies you care to enjoy. Also, Disney limits the ticket sales to the party (although we don’t know just how), so lines and crowds are smaller than normal, especially in this extra-busy time of the year.

Christmas At Epcot

Favorite event: Candlelight Processional

A celebrity narrator tells the Christmas story together with a live orchestra and a huge choir. It’s beautiful and inspiring.  For many families, attending the show together has become a yearly tradition.  Be ready to rise to your feet at the end of the presentation when the choir presents a high-spirited rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus.

Runner up: Joyful! A Gospel Celebration of the Season

Easily overlooked, Joyful! combines gospel, R&B, and funk in a fun, high energy show that is lots of fun. Take a few minutes to seek out this show where a group of talented performers presents on a stage by the Fountain of Nations in Future World.

Be sure to seek out Joyful!  You will be glad you did.

Be sure to seek out Joyful!  You will be glad you did.

Favorite event: The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights

There’s one in every neighborhood – the family who goes over-the-top in putting up Christmas lights on their house. And so it was in Little Rock, Arkansas. Jennings Osborne created a display that was so huge and created so much traffic and congestion that it ended in a lawsuit and an appeal to the United States Supreme Court. Eventually, Disney stepped in, took over the display, and now installs it each year in the Streets of America section of Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The display is huge and draws large crowds who enjoy the spectacle.

What can you say about the Osborne lights?  How about "wow!"

What can you say about the Osborne lights? How about “wow!”

Favorite event: Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade

When you think of the jungle, you might not immediately think of Christmas. That’s understandable, but Mickey Mouse and his friends bring a jungle beat to a Christmas celebration in a parade that winds its way around Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It is a crowd-pleaser and a fun time.

What is your favorite Christmas event at Disney World?