Only a few short days until New Year’s Eve, and I’m already exhausted from the seemingly never-ending holiday preparations. Additionally, I am struggling with keeping my immune system from crashing given that everyone around me (including my wife!) has been or is getting sick. It generally isn’t Christmas for me unless I have some sort of upper respiratory ailment. 😉

This time of year, however, does provide me with an opportunity to reflect upon something I am going to term as the Holiday Aesthetic at the Disney Parks.

Cinderella's Castle is adorned with Dream Lights during the holiday season.

Dream Lights on Cinderella’s Castle

Holiday Aesthetic at Walt Disney World

Having experienced a dozen or so excursions to WDW during the holiday season, including one at Disneyland, I am keenly aware that the look and feel of the parks and resorts is strikingly different from November through early January.

WDW Holiday Aesthetic. Main Street is decked out in garlands and wreaths during the holiday season at WDW.

Garlands and wreaths on Main Street, Magic Kingdom.

Aesthetic as a noun indicates the presence of a set of principles governing the idea of beauty at a given time and place or underlying and guiding the work of a particular artist.

Aesthetic as an adjective apparently can refer to the study of the mind and emotions as they are related to a sense of beauty or the appreciation of beauty.

From my perspective, the Disney Holiday Aesthetic can and should be inclusive of both definitions.

At Disney's Wilderness Lodge, the Christmas tree is stands tall in the resort's lobby.

Christmas Tree at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

There can be no doubt that from their inception in the 1950’s, every design detail related to Disney Parks and Resorts around the globe has been planned from a specific set of principles. Those initial principles are very clearly Walt’s. It might be debated as to how much of those principles remain as the Disney company has moved past the millennium, but that is a topic for another day.

A gingerbread carousel greets guests at Disney's Beach Club resort.

Whimsical Gingerbread Carousel at Disney’s Beach Club

The specifics of the look and feel of the Disney Parks and Resorts has been studied and extensively written about in various mediums for decades. Frequently, these musings make mention of individual perceptions and emotions as they relate to the appreciation of architectural design and seasonal decor.

Mickey's Very Merry Christmastime Parade at Walt Disney World

Holiday Parade

I am a Behavior Analyst and concerned with human behavior that is objective as well as measurable. For this reason, The Holiday Aesthetic of WDW for me is difficult to operationalize. However, I am keenly aware that it is something tangible that has always affected me in a visceral manner.

Biergarten in Epcot's Germany pavilion is a great place for a holiday meal

Enjoy a holiday meal at Biergarten

Here are a few more visually represented quintessential examples of the Disney Holiday Aesthetic from my perspective.

The Magic Kingdom is bedecked with holiday decor.

The Magic Kingdom’s Holiday Decor

During the holidays, Port Orleans French Quarter adds gorgeous decor.

Port Orleans French Quarter

Christmas Tree at Disney's Grand Floridian resort.

The Grand Floridian’s Tree

Now you can save on MVMCP Tickets: Save $7 on Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party ticket!

What are your favorite holiday decorations at the WDW Parks and Resorts?

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Michael's travels to Disneyland and Walt Disney World sparked his interest in Walt Disney. He’s also a lifelong fan of Star Wars. Michael is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) with 25 years in the behavioral mental health field and special education. One of Michael’s passions is teaching graduate level courses for Lipscomb University in Nashville.