by Blake Taylor
Welcome to E.P.C.O.T., or Efficient Parenting Counsel on Teens.Â The Christmas season is an extra-magical time to visit the most magical place on Earth.Â To celebrate the kickoff of this joyous time, letâ€™s count down the top 5 special events that take place at Walt Disney World during the holidays that teenagers are sure to take a liking to.
5. Citizens of Hollywood Glee Club
The entertaining streemosphere characters who wander around Hollywood Blvd. and Sunset Blvd. at Hollywood Studios are one of the parkâ€™s unsung heroes.Â I feel that they start to be truly appreciated around the teen yearsâ€”not that younger kids donâ€™t find the citizens funny, itâ€™s just that their distinct brand of witty, improv humor is best enjoyed once it can be fully understood, and little tikes may not catch on to some of the references or puns.Â Personally, I used to walk right past the citizens when I visited Hollywood Studios.Â Now, in my upper teens, I find them hilarious and put them at the top of my must-see list every trip.
Anyway, at Christmastime the Citizens of Hollywood put on a special holiday skit called the Hollywood Glee Club, an overlooked gem of Disneyâ€™s holiday festivities.Â The premise of this small show is that the citizens are broadcasting on a â€œliveâ€ radio station for Bing Crosby (this is the 1940â€™s, after all).Â Guests are chosen from the audience to participate in the citizensâ€™ comical Christmas carols, the highlight of which is a veryâ€¦differentâ€¦version of â€œ12 Days of Christmas.â€
The best way to make sure you donâ€™t miss the Glee Club is to directly ask the citizens themselves when you enter the park in the morning.Â Guest Services was able to tell me the wide range of when the performers would be out and about, but it was Dorma Nesmond and Mimi Kaboom who informed me of the specific Glee Club showtime.
4. Â Dance Parties
Mickeyâ€™s Very Merry Christmas Party
For the more extroverted teen, these special occurrences at Mickeyâ€™s Very Merry Christmas Party are a great way to let loose and have some fun.Â There are two dance parties that take place throughout the night: one at the Diamond Horseshoe in Frontierland with Woody and Jessie, and another at Cosmic Rayâ€™s Starlight CafÃ© in Tomorrowland with Goofy, Pluto, Chip, and Dale.Â Theyâ€™re great opportunities to have some fun at the party and have some character interaction outside of the typical meet & greet environment.
3.Â Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade Taping
Depending on the interests of your teen, this could be absolutely thrilling or dreadfully boring.Â If they have an interest in film as a career and/or have an obsession with current pop stars, itâ€™s likely to be an enjoyable endeavor.Â Although it appears as if the parade it broadcast live on Christmas morning, Disney actually films Floridaâ€™s segments the first weekend of December at the Magic Kingdom, including the parade segment and the castle performances.Â Itâ€™s difficult to predict the schedule of who will be where and when theyâ€™ll be there, but for those who are interested itâ€™s a fun treat into some backstage TV magic.
Make sure youâ€™re aware that there will be a lot of standing around and stopping & going as things are rehearsed, rehearsed again, filmed, and filmed againâ€¦and then filmed another time just for good measure.Â Itâ€™s definitely not for impatient folks, but if you know what to expect ahead of time and come prepared, itâ€™s fascinating.
2. Campersâ€™ Decorations at Fort Wilderness
Itâ€™s worth the out-of-the-way trip to Fort Wilderness to see how Guests have decorated their campers and RVs.Â Many of them are fantastic!Â Whatâ€™s so remarkable about the finery is that itâ€™s completely put up by campers, with no Disney involvement at all.Â It might just inspire you to head home and do a little ho, ho, ho-ing in your own yard.
Fort Wilderness can be accessed by ferry boat from the Magic Kingdom.Â Might I suggest seeing the Castle lighting ceremony, takingÂ a boat to the Wilderness Lodge to see Waltâ€™s train room, then moseying on over to Fort Wilderness for the campersâ€™ lights and, perhaps, an evening at the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue?Â Itâ€™s a great little excursion.
1. Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights
Warning: Your jaw will drop.Â Even after years of seeing these on television and in familiesâ€™ vacation photos, I was still blown away by seeing the Osborne Lights in person.Â Pictures do not do them justice.Â They are absolutely breathtakingâ€¦and the snow (in Florida!) really tops it off.Â Theyâ€™re just plain cool.Â And really, isnâ€™t that what every teen is after?*
Disclaimer: Coolness is a matter of perspective. Itâ€™s whatâ€™s on the inside that counts, Charlie Brown.
Remember, there are plenty of other excellent Christmas activities throughout Walt Disney World to enjoy (including Epcotâ€™s Candlelight Processional and Holidays Around the World, the gingerbread house at the Grand Floridian, Mickeyâ€™s Jingle Jungle Parade at Animal Kingdom, and much, much more), but these are the particular happenings that families with teenagers should be sure to seek out during the months of November and December.
Blake is a high-school studentÂ whoÂ has been surrounded by Disney literally since birth, having had a Mickey mobile in his crib.Â BlakeÂ enjoysÂ helping peers plan WDW vacations andÂ writing for his Disney blog, BlakeOnline.com.
Related on WDW Radio:
- Top 10 Hands-On Disney Teen Activities
- 11/9/2011 WDW NewsCast (included holiday happenings)
- WDW Radio Newswire: Holiday Events Around WDW, Part 1