Walt Disney World on a Budget: Tips for Seasonal Events

Walt Disney World Tickets , Orlando
mickey and minnie xmas
Enjoy the festivities without breaking the bank
Halloween and Christmas are popular times to visit Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, but the extra entertainment and events don’t always come with an extra cost.

We know that events like Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, and Disney Jollywood Nights are highlights in the yearly calendar at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. But we also know that for some people, the additional cost of these after-hours events might not fit into the budget. 

But that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on Halloween and Christmas in Orlando, because there’s still plenty of fun to be had! Here’s how you can make the most of these seasons during your regular park days, plus a few tips for getting the most value for money if you do decide to add a party to your itinerary. 



Disney Springs Christmas Tree Stroll

Cost: Free

If you take a visit to Disney Springs during the Christmas season you can go on the hunt for elaborately-decorated Christmas trees dotted throughout the shopping and entertainment district. From Disney Princesses and Pixar favourites to Star Wars icons and MARVEL Super Heroes, each tree is themed after a specific character or film, with lights, tinsel, ornaments, and some hidden details too. 


EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays 

Cost: Free, with food and drinks available for purchase 

The last of the year’s EPCOT festivals, the International Festival of the Holidays shows guests how the holiday season is celebrated around the world, and almost all of it is included in the cost of your park tickets. 

Apart from the food and drink which can be purchased for an additional cost at the holiday kitchens throughout the park, the festival offerings are completely free; watch celebrity narrators along with a choir of cast members tell the story of Christmas in the Candlelight Processional, meet Santa Claus, and discover holiday legends told by Holiday Storytellers.


Candlelight Processional


Merry Menagerie at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park

Cost: Free

The Merry Menagerie has been a festive staple at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park for a couple of years now, and it’s become one of our favourite additions to the Christmas season. Throughout the day you can interact with life-size artisan puppets of polar bears, penguins, reindeer, foxes and more as they play about on Discovery Island. These beautifully designed puppets make for the perfect photo-op, especially with the Tree of Life in the background. 


Disney Resort Hotel Christmas Decorations  

Cost: Free 

You don’t have to be staying at a Disney Resort hotel to enjoy certain amenities like dining and entertainment, or just to soak up the atmosphere and theming. We’d recommend doing some hotel hopping at any time of year (a tour of the hotels along the Disney Skyliner is always a fun way to explore) but this becomes an even bigger must-do during the Christmas season. 

Each resort hotel is decked out with custom decorations, and giant Christmas trees take pride of place in the lobbies. We love Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, and Disney’s Yacht Club Resort in particular at this time of year, but Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is an absolute must-do. Not only does it have a magnificent tree, but you’ll also find a larger-than-life gingerbread house in the centre of the lobby that you can stand in - there’s even a small shop inside where you can buy gingerbread for yourself or as a souvenir for family and friends. 



Minnie’s Halloween Dine 

Cost: $63 per adult, $40 per child

Hollywood & Vine at Disney’s Hollywood Studios has character dining with Minnie and friends for lunch and dinner all year round, but during the Halloween season things get a little bit spooky! If you aren’t attending Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, this character meal is a great way to guarantee that you’ll get to see some Disney Characters in their Halloween costumes, and you’ll get a delicious all-you-can-eat meal of seasonal dishes too, including salads, pasta, steak, chicken, salmon and more! 


Disney’s Not-So-Spooky Spectacular Fireworks 

Cost: Free/$62 per adult, $40 per child

Disney’s Not-So-Spooky Spectacular is the fireworks show that happens twice a night during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, but there are a few ways to catch a glimpse of them without needing a party ticket. Of course, the only way to get the full experience is to be standing in front of Cinderella Castle, but these are a great alternative. 


not so spooky fireworks


When planning your dining, consider making a late dinner reservation for ‘Ohana at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. As well as being great value for money thanks to its family-style feast of dumplings, salad, noodles, and freshly barbecued steak, chicken, and shrimp, finished with gooey bread pudding, it also has a view straight across Seven Seas Lagoon towards Magic Kingdom Park. That means that if you time your dinner to coincide with the fireworks, you’ll be able to see them through the windows. They’ll even pump in the music through the restaurant’s speakers! 

A second option is to view the fireworks from the beach at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, though from here you might not be able to see the castle. You could get to see something a bit more unique though; the Electrical Water Pageant, a series of light-up floats that make their way across the lagoon every night! 


Halloween Golf Cart Parade at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground 

Cost: Free 

On October 30th and 31st, Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground is the place to be for Halloween celebrations. People staying at the resort have a campsite and cabin decorating competition, and many of them will go all out with inflatables and lights, so it’s well worth having a wander through the site to see what creations you can find. But the real showstopper is the golf cart parade, featuring carts elaborately themed to iconic Disney films and attractions.


Halloween and Christmas Party Money-Saving Tips

Book Early 

Some party dates are more popular than others, which means the cost of tickets is higher for these nights. If you book your Halloween and Christmas party tickets as soon as possible there’ll be better availability for the cheaper dates during your stay (these are normally the mid-week dates), saving you money before you’ve even flown to Orlando. 

Don’t Worry About Expensive Costumes

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is one of the only opportunities for adults to dress up like their favourite characters at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. But that doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of money on an elaborate costume. Consider how the clothes you already own could be turned into a costume with the addition of a wig or other statement piece, or look into DisneyBounding instead. 

For Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, comfort is key. Many guests choose to wear festive pyjamas to the event, which you could purchase before your trip at places like Primark or Asda. 


trick or treatin


Make The Most of Treat Stations 

During the Halloween party, guests can visit Trick-or-Treat Stations to fill up their bags with chocolate and candy, and at the Christmas party there are Holiday Treat Stations where cast members hand out cookies and warm drinks. These treats are all included in the cost of your party ticket, and you can visit them as many times as you like throughout the night. As all the treats are packaged up, any extras that you can’t eat on the night can be saved for you to take into the parks for the rest of your holiday, ready for when you need a snack. 

Has this inspired you to visit Walt Disney World Resort in Florida during the Christmas or Halloween season? Make sure you’re signed up to our mailing list to be the first to know when this year’s festivities will begin! 


Attractions you may be interested in...

Walt Disney World Tickets , Orlando