If you ask me, ANY time is a great time to visit the Walt Disney World Resort, but Christmas time is unlike any other at the most magical place on Earth. Nowhere is this more evident than at the resort hotels on Disney property. While all the Disney hotels decorate to some degree, there are certain ones that stand out as especially beautiful and festive! They give a whole new meaning to “Haul out the Holly!”
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Perhaps the most beautiful are located on the monorail line. Starting with Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, where you’ll find Christmas with a Victorian jolly holiday flare. You can’t help but notice the 5-story high Christmas tree in the center of the lobby.
The real centerpiece of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa is the edible, yes EDIBLE, 16 ft. life-size Gingerbread House, complete with gingerbread shingles, shutters and poinsettias made from icing. The best part is, it is actually a store where you can purchase gingerbread shingles to take with you to enjoy later! Available for free is a copy of the gingerbread recipe so that you can try these goodies at home and there’s usually someone there demonstrating how to make your very own gingerbread house! If you find yourself too busy this time of year, they are also available to purchase!
Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Continuing on the monorail just past the Magic Kingdom is Disney’s Contemporary Resort where a giant Mickey wreath that lights up is hanging from the Grand Concourse window. It is simply beautiful at night and you cannot miss it as you enter on the monorail from either entrance. Take a walk down to the 4th floor and you’ll find a very large tree made from gingerbread and it smells delicious! Here, you can also purchase gingerbread creations as well as cookies.
Polynesian Village Resort
After the removal of the lobby waterfall at the Polynesian, Disney added a beautifully decorated tree in the lobby that towers up to the second floor. The tree is adorned with tropical florals including hibiscus and orchids, as well as South Seas ornaments. For some reason, the Polynesian decorations don’t stand out to me like the other resorts do, so let’s head over to check out The Wilderness Lodge.
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
At Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, you will find a beautiful mountain lodge inspired by the rugged Northwest all decked out in pine garland lit with tiny white lights. The centerpiece of the Wilderness Lodge is the 60 foot floor-to-ceiling Christmas tree adorned with wildlife inspired ornaments and teepees. It takes 18 hours to put up! You can’t imagine the beauty and it is well worth going out of your way for!
Disney’s Ft. Wilderness Resort and Campground
Our next stop on the holiday resort tour takes us to Fort Wilderness where the campsites are truly a “sight” to see. No two are alike but all are elaborate and well done. It amazes me that the guests staying here take the time and attention to detail is evident. Even though the Fort is a large resort, there is plenty to see within walking distance after you pull in to the dock. Don’t be shy, walk through the loops and take pictures of all the decorative blow ups and light displays; you’ll be amazed!
Leaving the Magic Kingdom area, our next stop on the holiday resort tour takes us to the Epcot Resort area. Getting there is easy via the Monorail to Epcot, through the entrance and out the International Gateway, or by vehicle if you have one.
Disney’s Beach Club Resort
If you love chocolate, you will be amazed at the chocolate/gingerbread carousel at The Beach Club. Take the time to walk the whole way around and look closely at the sweet details; you may even see a hidden Mickey or two in this delicious creation. If you want to try to make one at home, check out the list of ingredients! Now that’s a recipe for a sweet holiday!
Disney’s Yach Club Resort
The Yacht Club Resort right next door celebrates the holidays in nautical style with lighthouse and sailboat ornaments as well as pine garland accented with white lights. The Yacht Club is also home to one of the most elaborate Christmas Train Villages in Walt Disney World. Be sure to not miss the elaborate train display with many familiar Disney touches.
Disney’s BoarkWalk Inn and Villas
Right across Crescent Lake is The Boardwalk Inn & Villas, where not only the lobbies are decorated but the entire boardwalk from one end to the other. Inside the lobby is a giant gingerbread gazebo that is sometimes occupied by a few familiar Disney characters. In the past, I’ve seen a familiar duck’s webbed feet hanging down from the chimney! A new addition the last couple years is a whimsical sweet treat store stand selling gingerbread and other sweet goodies. You’ll love the holiday atmosphere with a carnival flare!
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
Our Deluxe Resort Holiday Tour would not be complete without seeing Animal Kingdom Lodge. The magic of Christmas and beauty of nature come together in the beautiful lobby in Jambo House with its centerpiece being a giant floor to ceiling Christmas tree decorated in African-themed ornaments. At 5 pm every evening, cast members will give drum lessons to the children and then they march through the lobby and end their march with the lighting of the tree. Everyone gets to participate so be sure to stop by with your kids. If you’re staying at this resort, be sure to sign up the kids for mask making and it will get used as an ornament on the tree! Best time to visit this resort is after your day at Animal Kingdom as it will be a short bus ride away; you will not be sorry!
While each and every Disney resort decorates to some degree, I’ve only covered some of the Deluxe and more elaborate displays. While pictures are beautiful, they don’t do it justice. There’s nothing like seeing them in person!
As you can see, touring the different resorts during the holiday season lets you experience a Disney Christmas in a whole new way. While each one is different and unique in its theming, I can guarantee you will feel the magic of Disney and the warmth of the holiday season unlike anywhere else. Give yourself a treat and take the time to experience it for yourself and let us know what you think. You will see there’s nothing quite like a Disney Christmas!
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Donna is a graduate of the College of Disney Knowledge, is also a Universal Orlando Resort Specialist as well as a Certified Sandals Specialist.