This is the last article in my Christmas in July series, so better get to planning your trips! If you would like to see my past articles click the link here. With all the things to see at the parks during the holiday season, many people forget at the resorts the atmosphere is just as magical. Many have special displays like gingerbread houses or giant Christmas trees. Here is a rundown of where to go when taking some time away from the parks.
SPECIAL DISPLAYS-The deluxe resorts have the most elaborate displays and are worth a trip on the monorail or bus to check out. Below are what the resorts have offered in the past but who knows if they may surprise us this year so check with your hotel concierge before you head out.
- The Grand Floridian boasts a life-sized gingerbread house which they actually use as a Bake Shop. Visitors can purchase Christmas Delights and watch Gingerbread House Demonstrations. The Victorian charm of their decorations brings one back to a more elegant time.
- The Contemporary Resort offers a 17 foot tall Gingerbread Christmas Tree and a huge lighted wreath (Mickey shaped of course), visible as you take the monorail through the resort. We did Chef Mickey’s for dinner here on Christmas Day.
- Beach Club has a working gingerbread carousel with white chocolate horses and Yacht Club features a miniature train set running through a candy and sugar-coated landscape. The decor here is light, airy and most decidedly nautical.
- The Boardwalk has a gingerbread and chocolate gazebo display and a gingerbread bake shop. Don’t miss the chocolate seaside amusement park display in the Lobby!
- The Polynesian is decorated throughout and has small gingerbread displays in the Ceremonial House. They do a great job working with their tropical atmosphere so it doesn’t seem tacky.
- Wilderness Lodge boasts homey decor and a cozy, rustic feel the Christmas traditionalist will love. There is a huge tree in the center lobby with plenty of pine cones. Fireplaces grace the main areas and make you want to curl up in front with a hot cocoa and a copy of The Night Before Christmas.
All the resorts boast beautiful trees and decorations throughout. Always in line with the theme of the hotel. Some also have gingerbread displays or train setups, but nothing as elaborate oor consistent as the Deluxe Resorts. If staying at a Value or Moderate Resort, check out your lobby none the less, you will be surprised at what you find.
- Contemporary Resort holds all religious services in their Fantasia Ballroom on Christmas Day.. Catholic Services are held at 8 am and 10:15 am. Protestant Services are held on 9am. The resort will usually limit parking on that day to their guests only, so you must take resort transportation. Leave extra time if taking the bus system from your resort to the Magic Kingdom,, hoping to catch the monorail. Magic Kingdom is so popular that it will take several full busses before you catch one. Ask your resort concierge for an alternate way if possible, depending on your resort.
THINGS TO DO
- Ft. Wilderness Sleigh Ride-Ft. Wilderness offers a 25 minute, horse-drawn, holiday “sleigh” ride throughout the woods of the campground. The rides leave on the half hour and cost $60 per ride. Each sleigh can hold 4 adults or 2 adults and 3 children (under 9). The rides begin at 5:30 am to 9:30 pm and reservations can be made at 1-407-WDW-PLAY.
- Many of the resorts have activities available in the lobby for the kids to do. Often a craft or coloring page. Let them color and watch a little Vintage Mickey as you admire the Christmas displays.
- Some restaurants will have special Christmas menus they announce as the holiday time nears. Some will offer cocoa and cookies on certain nights. Check in your lobby when you arrive.
- Visits with Santa-Most of the resorts will have Santa set up in the lobby on Christmas Eve. Traditionally from 5pm to 8pm. There are schedules at each hotel with other days is “available”. He was there for several days before when we stayed at Coronado Springs. Reminder: Santa is also available at the Magic Kingdom and Downtown Disney.
I hope this article gives you a taste of what to find during the Holiday Season at Walt Disney World. Keep in mind that the exhibits can change at any time and I’m only representing what was available in years past. Consult with your concierge on correct times for all events and services. Have a great time planning your trip to Disney! For me the planning and excitement leading up to a vacation is the best part.
- Disney World Quick Tips – Christmas in the Magic Kingdom (chipandco.com)
- The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights (ideallydisney.com)