Disney World Halfway to Holidays: Predictions for Christmas 2023

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We’re almost “Halfway to the Holidays.” Walt Disney World is celebrating Christmas in mid-June with a week of announcements. This post covers what to expect, plus our predictions about what’ll be announced: Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, pricing, entertainment, some triumphant returns, and more.

This is the third year Disney Parks is doing #HalfwaytotheHolidays, and it makes us chuckle just a little bit. Christmas in July is already a thing–why not just embrace that established tradition? Admittedly, it is a bit fitting that Walt Disney World’s holiday season is creeping forward a bit. After all, this is the same place that brings us Halloween in early August!

For normal Americans, there’s great debate about when the holiday season actually begins. Is it the day after Halloween? Is it the day Starbucks releases its Peppermint Mocha? The start of Hallmark Channel’s Countdown to Christmas? Or, are you a Turkey Before Tree stickler? These are the pressing questions of our day, all of which dictate when we’re actually halfway to the holiday season.

On that note, the #HalfwaytotheHolidays festivities will happen from June 13 through 15, and feature announcements, sneak peeks, special treats, and other holiday fun. We are really excited. This Christmas is going to be a big one for us on a personal level, and we’re really hopeful that includes the restoration of holiday season offerings and start of new traditions at Walt Disney World. (Definitely not expecting it, but if they bring back Country Bear Christmas, we will lose our minds.)

Here are some of our predictions for Christmas 2023 at Walt Disney World. Some are pretty much sure things, while others are a tad more far-fetched…

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Returns – Walt Disney World already announced that Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is returning for a second consecutive year, so is probably an inevitability. However, it also seemed like a foregone conclusion that Disneyland would bring back its Christmas party last year…and that didn’t happen.

Regardless, there’s probably at least a 98% chance that Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is returning for 2023. I’m not enough of a contrarian to bet on the 2% chance that a different event is announced for the holiday season. While I wouldn’t put anything past Walt Disney World these days, they’ve gotta realize that Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is iconic and beloved by fans. The smart and safe money is on it happening this year.

No Additional Dates – Last year, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party was held on 24 nights between November 8 and December 22. It started the second Tuesday in November and ended the Thursday before Christmas.

It’s common for Walt Disney World to make events longer and try to squeeze more ticket sales. To that point, this year’s MNSSHP is setting several records: earliest start date, latest end date (tie), and most party nights ever with 38.

I don’t think it’ll be possible for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party to expand. Having the last Halloween Party on November 1 makes that tough, but Holiday Services can turn over Magic Kingdom in a matter of a couple nights.

Still, my guess is the first MVMCP happens on November 7, so unless they squeeze in an extra party that first weekend or in the lead-up to Thanksgiving, it just doesn’t seem likely. Who knows, though. Never bet against Walt Disney World’s desire to capture more revenue.

No MVMCP Price Increase – Last year, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party tickets were $159 to $199 for most nights, with the final two events costing a cool $249. There was a lot of outrage about these price points, but every single night sold out.

This is likely due to supply and demand. There are typically fewer Christmas party nights than Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. The holiday season is far busier, occurring during two of the busiest months of the year as opposed to two of the slowest months at Walt Disney World. Given that, it stands to reason that Walt Disney World will push prices higher.

However, that did not happen with MNSSHP. The price range remained the same, with the average cost increasing by virtue of the distribution of dates skewing higher. That’s exactly what we expect to occur here: ticket prices ranging from $149 to $199. Same as last year.

One wild card is how well tickets to the 2023 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party are selling. No dates have sold out yet, so it certainly doesn’t seem that Disney priced those parties too low. However, it is possible that they’re priced too high, especially with pent-up demand cooling and a slowdown in consumer spending.

If tickets for the MNSSHP are falling short of expectations, or if Walt Disney World is already seeing lighter bookings for fall and beyond, it’s possible the MVMCP price range ends up being lower. Don’t bet on that, though. Even though the last couple months have been slower than expected, we’re still expecting October through December to be incredibly busy. Those are Walt Disney World’s biggest months of the year.

More Characters – Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party had fewer characters than normal last year. This was due almost entirely to staffing shortages, and is also why meet & greet wait times ballooned during the day between last August and December (reduced capacity to reallocate performers to parties).

Bringing back more characters just makes sense. It helps with capacity, and new characters also provide drawing power. My personal hope, and perhaps an unpopular opinion, is that the Seven Dwarfs don’t return. I’d rather have 7 more meet & greets with individual characters, but that’s just me.

More Muppets (or Other Entertainment) – One of the issues we’ve harped on since 2018 is the distribution of crowds at the Halloween and Christmas parties. In a nutshell, even though attendance is capped, it doesn’t always feel that way because a disproportionate number of people crowd into the front of the park. The result is that area being packed–directly in front of Cinderella Castle feels downright unsafe between the parade, fireworks, and stage shows–while other areas are practically empty.

Trying to draw event attendees or underutilized areas of Magic Kingdom is precisely why Walt Disney World added the Tomorrowland ride overlays a few years ago. That helped, but the problem persists. (If only there were an actual theater back in Tomorrowland. Oh wait.)

Our guess is that in the second year of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party being back, Walt Disney World will attempt to add more outside of Main Street that spreads crowds out. With Disneyland’s Merriest Nites (apparently) going defunct, bringing the characters from the Muppets’ Christmas Caroling Coach to Florida would make sense. Probably not on the Omnibus, though.

Reindeer Return – Finally, my out of left field prediction: the return of the ‘Silly Reindeer’ designed by Disney Legend Bill Justice that appeared in Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade until around 2014. These used to have longer tongues but those were shortened–purportedly by an entertainment manager who felt they looked ridiculous.

The current reindeer are perfectly adequate, but that’s precisely the problem. They look like fake reindeer you could find performing anywhere, and lack the personality that define great Disney characters. “Ridiculous” is a good thing–the Bill Justice reindeer are memorable because of their caricatured appearance.

Obviously, this is a longshot. Given that they’ve been absent for almost a decade, there’s a good chance the old Silly Reindeer costumes are long gone and would have to be refabricated. That’s a big undertaking. Not only that, but I’d hazard a guess that 95% of people reading this had never heard of or seen the Bill Justice Silly Reindeer. That number likely increases to 99% once expanded to the potential guest pool of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

However, Disney has recently revived the Silly Reindeer twice. In last year’s Carousel of Progress refresh, the family was given slippers in the Christmas finale that feature the Silly Reindeer. Of course, that could just be an Easter Egg inserted by a geeky Imagineer wanting to pay tribute to Bill Justice, and have zero bigger-picture significance.

More significant is the Reindeer Sipper that the company just announced is going to be available on Disney Cruise Line sailings this summer. As with Imagineers, merchandise teams love to pay tribute to the past, but the difference here is that this product would’ve gone through several layers of approval and review before release. Together, this two things suggest it’s possible the Silly Reindeer will make a return.

Nevertheless, the odds are low of that happening this year. From my perspective, it seems more like a done the road possibility, happening if the parks (the Bill Justice Silly Reindeer were also at Disneyland) want to lean into the nostalgic characters on merchandise and make them ‘a thing.’ An Easter Egg in a ride and a single sipper probably don’t rise to that level, but things could snowball over time–especially if Disney diehards respond well to the first piece of merchandise.

Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! Is Jingle DEAD – If the holiday pyro and projections show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios were going to return, it would’ve made sense to bring it back previously. For whatever reason, Walt Disney World opted against bringing back Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!

It’s unlikely the calculus on that decision has changed. Both specials now being over a decade old, so perhaps the Prep & Landing IP is viewed as past its prime. With that said, there’s the outside possibility that Walt Disney World will want “counterprogramming” to Fantasmic. There’s a reason why DHS used to have several nightly projection and pyro shows, and the park still has problems keeping guests late. (That was never an issue during the Osborne Lights days–just saying!)

Cinderella Castle Dream Lights Return – Usually, when something is gone for 3 years at Walt Disney World, it’s gone for good. That’s especially true with holiday overlays and offerings. But you know what, Christmas is a magical time of year when miracles happen, and hope springs eternal.

Unlike the Silly Reindeer prediction, I’m not going to hedge this one by saying it’s highly unlikely. I’m calling my shot: Cinderella Castle’s Dream Lights will return for Christmas 2023. No equivocation or asterisks.

For one thing, the 50th Anniversary decorations are now down, so the lights can be installed on Cinderella Castle. For another thing, the moat is still partially drained and the cranes are still on site, even a couple of weeks after all that work wrapped up. Although it would be kind of odd to just have them sit around until August when the Dream Lights typically start going up, I don’t know why else they’re there.

Finally, bringing back the Cinderella Castle Dream Lights after a multi-year hiatus would be one way to lure back fans to Walt Disney World and boost bookings for the holiday season. It’d also be a win from a guest satisfaction perspective, and be another way to say to fans that “we’re listening” to feedback.

Ultimately, those are some of my predictions for the Christmas season at Walt Disney World, not necessarily what’ll be announced during Halfway to the Holidays. Disney could start with vague details and a reveal that Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is returning, while teasing more to come in the future.

Personally, I think that’s unlikely. With some degree of economic slowdown on the horizon and consumer sentiment starting to slump already, it makes much more sense to announce as much as possible now and juice bookings ASAP. Disney might want to get those Christmas trips and ticket sales locked-in before consumers start to rethink their spending.

Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!


Now that I’ve made my Halfway to the Holidays predictions…what are yours? Think Walt Disney World will announce the return of everything that was missing from Christmas the last few years, restoring circa-2019 normalcy? Expecting anything new for the 2023 Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party? Expecting any (negative) surprises? What are your thoughts on ticket prices? Will your family be buying or sitting out the Christmas festivities? Are you excited for Christmas 2023 at Walt Disney World? Do you agree or disagree with our perspective on this? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!


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