Disney via Getty Images

Peak behind the facade to see the gears that make Disney holidays glow.

Bailey Bennett
November 03, 2017

The oversized wreaths and Mickey-shaped baubles have already emerged, and that can only mean one thing: The holidays have come to Disney.

In the days immediately following Halloween at Disney World, guests witness a sudden, magical transformation like no other as the giant Mickey pumpkins and spooky decor are swiftly replaced by yuletide cheer.

How, though, does Disney complete the transformation so quickly, completely, and with such precision?

Guests curious about how Disney brings the holidays to life can find some of the answers they seek in two special, behind-the-scene tours that only take place during the Christmas season. Disney’s Yuletide Fantasy and Disney’s Holiday D-Lights tours are offered on select dates during November and December, and both VIP experiences offer Christmas fanatics a glimpse at the wiring behind Disney’s epic festivities.

Disney’s Yuletide Fantasy, a three-and-a-half-hour tour, offers guests an in-depth look at how Disney parks are decked out for the season. This year, visitors can “head backstage and get the scoop on the staggering logistics involved in the wintertime transformation.”

Participants will be treated to a close-up look at the decorations on Main Street, U.S.A., an exploration of how holidays are celebrated around the globe at Epcot’s World Showcase, and a visit to a Disney resort hotel where they’ll learn how the festive holiday atmosphere is created through decor. They’ll even visit with Disney’s “elves,” or the Holiday Services Cast Members who actually create the decorations for the parks.

Plus, guests will be sent off with a special treat and holiday keepsake. The entire experience is $99 per person.

For a more limited, luxurious experience, guests can also opt for the Holiday D-Lights tour, which is $259 per person and only runs for 12 festive nights during the season.

Although this tour is more expensive, guests are in for a whole lot more cheer. The five-hour tour starts with a family-style barbecue dinner at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, followed by the chance to go backstage at two Disney parks to see how holiday decor is brought to life.

Guests are able to chat with castmembers who work on the dazzling displays and meet the team responsible for the thousands of twinkling lights that cover Cinderella Castle every year. Guests will also see the lighting ceremony firsthand before heading to Epcot for the Candlelight Processional and a viewing of the Illuminations: Reflections of Earth show’s holiday finale. A keepsake pin for each guest rounds out the experience.

While the holidays may prove to be an insanely hectic time in the Disney parks, these backstage tours could prove to be the magical, peaceful solace your family is looking for this season. Reservations can be made by calling Walt Disney World Tours.

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